Media Centre

VICTORIA LEADS THE NATION IN VACCINATION RATES

Five-year-olds in Victoria are now better protected against diseases prevented by vaccination than in any other state in Australia, new data shows. Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP announced the latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register that show 96.76 per cent of five-year-olds in the local community are now fully immunised. Across Victoria, 95.7 per cent of kids aged five are now fully immunised – the best rate of all Australian states and territories. The Andrews Labor Government’s ‘No Jab, No Play’ laws have seen a steady increase in immunisation rates for Victorian children. Before these laws came into effect, rates were 92.85 per cent, but thanks to our tough new laws, immunisation rates have powered past our ambitious ‘herd immunity’ target. The data also shows 97.3 per cent of Indigenous children in Victoria aged five years are fully immunised. The 95 per cent ‘herd immunity’ target is necessary to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases such as measles. High rates of vaccination provide important protection for those who cannot receive vaccines, such as babies who are too young or people who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons. The Labor Government takes a strong approach when it comes to vaccination. We brought back the free whooping cough vaccination program for mums and dads after it was cut by the Liberals, protecting Victoria’s youngest people from the deadly disease. The Government’s new ‘No Jab, No Play’ rules mean only Immunisation History Statements from the Australian Immunisation Register will be accepted as evidence of immunisation and as evidence of medical exemption to vaccination when enrolling a child at childcare or kindergarten. The Liberals axed the whooping cough vaccination because they can’t help but cut our health system. They can’t be trusted with it comes to health, because all they do is cut. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy “Immunisation is safe, effective and it saves lives. We’re so glad that more parents than ever before are taking heed of the message and keeping their kids safe.”  “The Liberals axed the free whooping cough vaccination and cut hundreds of millions of dollars from our health system, but we’re putting families first and keeping our youngest Victorians safe.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP “These are more than just statistics – this is about protecting Thomastown Electorate kids from deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases.” “This data shows that parents are listening to the experts and the science – and ignoring those who tout misinformation that puts kids at risk.”

VICTORIA LEADS THE NATION IN VACCINATION RATES

Five-year-olds in Victoria are now better protected against diseases prevented by vaccination than in any other state in Australia, new data shows. Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP announced the latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register that show 96.76 per cent of five-year-olds in the local community are now fully immunised. Across Victoria, 95.7 per cent of kids aged five are now fully immunised – the best rate of all Australian states and territories. The Andrews Labor Government’s ‘No Jab, No Play’ laws have seen a steady increase in immunisation rates for Victorian children. Before these laws came into effect, rates were 92.85 per cent, but thanks to our tough new laws, immunisation rates have powered past our ambitious ‘herd immunity’ target. The data also shows 97.3 per cent of Indigenous children in Victoria aged five years are fully immunised. The 95 per cent ‘herd immunity’ target is necessary to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases such as measles. High rates of vaccination provide important protection for those who cannot receive vaccines, such as babies who are too young or people who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons. The Labor Government takes a strong approach when it comes to vaccination. We brought back the free whooping cough vaccination program for mums and dads after it was cut by the Liberals, protecting Victoria’s youngest people from the deadly disease. The Government’s new ‘No Jab, No Play’ rules mean only Immunisation History Statements from the Australian Immunisation Register will be accepted as evidence of immunisation and as evidence of medical exemption to vaccination when enrolling a child at childcare or kindergarten. The Liberals axed the whooping cough vaccination because they can’t help but cut our health system. They can’t be trusted with it comes to health, because all they do is cut. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy “Immunisation is safe, effective and it saves lives. We’re so glad that more parents than ever before are taking heed of the message and keeping their kids safe.”  “The Liberals axed the free whooping cough vaccination and cut hundreds of millions of dollars from our health system, but we’re putting families first and keeping our youngest Victorians safe.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP “These are more than just statistics – this is about protecting Thomastown Electorate kids from deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases.” “This data shows that parents are listening to the experts and the science – and ignoring those who tout misinformation that puts kids at risk.”

NEW GRANTS TO IMPROVE MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITY FACILITIES IN THE MILL PARK, AND THOMASTOWN ELECTORATE

Communities in the Mill Park, and Thomastown electorate will be able to build new community facilities and improve existing spaces thanks to a new round of grants from the Andrews Labor Government. The 2018-19 Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund will provide $9.5 million towards improving and establishing facilities that support culturally diverse Victorians to participate and contribute to society while remaining connected to their cultural heritage and traditions. Applications are open and communities are invited to apply for projects that build new facilities, improve or restore existing infrastructure, or increase security or accessibility for communities. Community groups, organisations and associations in the Mill Park electorate are encouraged to apply for funding that support projects commencing in the 2018-19 financial year. Applications and expressions of interest can be submitted at any time allowing organisations to undertake sufficient planning of their projects. For more information on the 2018-19 Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund, go to www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/grants, contact community.grants@dpc.vic.gov.au or call the Department of Premier and Cabinet on 1300 366 356. Quotes attributable to Lily D’Ambrosio MP for Mill Park  “The Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund fosters diversity in the Mill Park electorate by providing and improving community spaces and increasing access for residents.” Quotes attributable to Bronwyn Halfpenny MP for Thomastown “We’re promoting an inclusive society in the Thomastown electorate for all people in our community to preserve and share their culture, and have spaces that they can make their own.”

NEW GRANTS TO IMPROVE MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITY FACILITIES IN THE MILL PARK, AND THOMASTOWN ELECTORATE

Communities in the Mill Park, and Thomastown electorate will be able to build new community facilities and improve existing spaces thanks to a new round of grants from the Andrews Labor Government. The 2018-19 Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund will provide $9.5 million towards improving and establishing facilities that support culturally diverse Victorians to participate and contribute to society while remaining connected to their cultural heritage and traditions. Applications are open and communities are invited to apply for projects that build new facilities, improve or restore existing infrastructure, or increase security or accessibility for communities. Community groups, organisations and associations in the Mill Park electorate are encouraged to apply for funding that support projects commencing in the 2018-19 financial year. Applications and expressions of interest can be submitted at any time allowing organisations to undertake sufficient planning of their projects. For more information on the 2018-19 Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund, go to www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/grants, contact community.grants@dpc.vic.gov.au or call the Department of Premier and Cabinet on 1300 366 356. Quotes attributable to Lily D’Ambrosio MP for Mill Park  “The Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund fosters diversity in the Mill Park electorate by providing and improving community spaces and increasing access for residents.” Quotes attributable to Bronwyn Halfpenny MP for Thomastown “We’re promoting an inclusive society in the Thomastown electorate for all people in our community to preserve and share their culture, and have spaces that they can make their own.”

5 MILLION BREAKFASTS SERVED UP TO SCHOOL KIDS

The Andrews Labor Government’s School Breakfast Clubs have served five million meals to students across Victoria, ensuring they start their school day on a full stomach, ready to learn. Minister for Education James Merlino this morning joined students at Morwell Park Primary School, one of the 500 schools that serve up free and healthy Victorian-produced breakfasts. School Breakfast Clubs have been providing 50,000 free meals each week at 500 of Victoria’s most disadvantaged schools since 2016. Across Mill Park, and Thomastown electorate the program has seen 131,155 breakfasts delivered across local schools. In 2017, 569,000 kilograms of food was distributed, with an average 33 students attending a breakfast club in every school, every day of operation. This includes 11,834 kilograms of instant oats, 128,840 apples, and 230,719 litres of milk. Research has shown that since the program started, nine out of ten teachers have seen improved student concentration in the classroom, while seven out of ten teachers have noted improved attendance and more than eight out of ten teachers said they now had better relationships with their students. The research also found in 2017, 87 per cent of schools felt they were meeting the breakfast needs of their students, a dramatic increase from the 43 per cent who felt they were meeting breakfast needs prior to the program. The delivery of the $13.7 million breakfast club commitment is another example of how the Andrews Labor Government is tackling disadvantage and making things fair so that all children can reach their potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. A full list of School Breakfast Clubs can be found at : education.vic.gov.au/breakfastclubs. Volunteering opportunities can be found at: foodbankvictoria.org.au/SBCvolunteers. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “One in seven children arrive at school with an empty stomach and our School Breakfast Clubs mean these students no longer go hungry and can now get the most out of their education.” “Despite its success, the program would be cut by the Liberals if they win the next election. They have already promised a cost audit, which is code for cuts – cuts to breakfast clubs, cuts to the school uniform program and cuts to helping kids go to school camps and excursions. Quote attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “Across the Thomastown electorate alone we have seen students share in more than 72,904 breakfasts.  These are local kids who would have sat through class on an empty stomach without this program.” Quote attributable to Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio “Labor’s program is tackling hunger in the classroom and the results are improved attendance and academic performance.”

5 MILLION BREAKFASTS SERVED UP TO SCHOOL KIDS

The Andrews Labor Government’s School Breakfast Clubs have served five million meals to students across Victoria, ensuring they start their school day on a full stomach, ready to learn. Minister for Education James Merlino this morning joined students at Morwell Park Primary School, one of the 500 schools that serve up free and healthy Victorian-produced breakfasts. School Breakfast Clubs have been providing 50,000 free meals each week at 500 of Victoria’s most disadvantaged schools since 2016. Across Mill Park, and Thomastown electorate the program has seen 131,155 breakfasts delivered across local schools. In 2017, 569,000 kilograms of food was distributed, with an average 33 students attending a breakfast club in every school, every day of operation. This includes 11,834 kilograms of instant oats, 128,840 apples, and 230,719 litres of milk. Research has shown that since the program started, nine out of ten teachers have seen improved student concentration in the classroom, while seven out of ten teachers have noted improved attendance and more than eight out of ten teachers said they now had better relationships with their students. The research also found in 2017, 87 per cent of schools felt they were meeting the breakfast needs of their students, a dramatic increase from the 43 per cent who felt they were meeting breakfast needs prior to the program. The delivery of the $13.7 million breakfast club commitment is another example of how the Andrews Labor Government is tackling disadvantage and making things fair so that all children can reach their potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. A full list of School Breakfast Clubs can be found at : education.vic.gov.au/breakfastclubs. Volunteering opportunities can be found at: foodbankvictoria.org.au/SBCvolunteers. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “One in seven children arrive at school with an empty stomach and our School Breakfast Clubs mean these students no longer go hungry and can now get the most out of their education.” “Despite its success, the program would be cut by the Liberals if they win the next election. They have already promised a cost audit, which is code for cuts – cuts to breakfast clubs, cuts to the school uniform program and cuts to helping kids go to school camps and excursions. Quote attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “Across the Thomastown electorate alone we have seen students share in more than 72,904 breakfasts.  These are local kids who would have sat through class on an empty stomach without this program.” Quote attributable to Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio “Labor’s program is tackling hunger in the classroom and the results are improved attendance and academic performance.”

PACKAGING UP JOBS AND INVESTMENT FOR VICTORIA

A global food packaging company has expanded its operations in Victoria, retained its local workforce and boosted its export capability as part of a multimillion dollar project supported by the Andrews Labor Government. Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Employment Vicki Ward joined Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny on a tour of the state-of-the-art dairy sack manufacturing line at Orora Limited. The new $25 million manufacturing line at Orora’s Thomastown facility will enable the company to service global markets, secure 102 local jobs and create jobs for several workers displaced from the automotive industry. So far, the project has enabled Orora to generate additional sales and secure new contracts to export its products to countries like New Zealand and the United States. Orora is an Australian publicly listed company with operations in seven countries that manufactures and supplies packaging products and services to the grocery, fast moving consumer goods and industrial markets. The company employs more than 1,100 people in manufacturing and distribution across 13 locations in Victoria, producing and supplying a wide range of packaging solutions, including boxes and cartons, bags and sacks, glass bottles and aluminium cans, and packaging materials and supplies. Victorian manufacturing contributes $27.7 billion to the Victorian economy and is home to over 13,000 businesses employing more than 286,000 people. To date, the Labor Government has committed $120 million in manufacturing support, which is creating over 6,000 jobs and driving $1.6 billion in private investment. Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Employment Vicki Ward    “Because of our support – Orora has been able to secure its operations in Victoria, invest in new state-of-the-art equipment and continue to employ locals.” “Companies like Orora bring together the very best of Victorian capability in food and advanced manufacturing, allowing locally grown products to be taken to the world.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny    “Melbourne’s north is the hub of food innovation and this investment by Orora Limited is a great outcome for local industry and jobs.” “We’ll continue supporting manufactures in Thomastown – they’re part of our areas DNA.”

PACKAGING UP JOBS AND INVESTMENT FOR VICTORIA

A global food packaging company has expanded its operations in Victoria, retained its local workforce and boosted its export capability as part of a multimillion dollar project supported by the Andrews Labor Government. Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Employment Vicki Ward joined Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny on a tour of the state-of-the-art dairy sack manufacturing line at Orora Limited. The new $25 million manufacturing line at Orora’s Thomastown facility will enable the company to service global markets, secure 102 local jobs and create jobs for several workers displaced from the automotive industry. So far, the project has enabled Orora to generate additional sales and secure new contracts to export its products to countries like New Zealand and the United States. Orora is an Australian publicly listed company with operations in seven countries that manufactures and supplies packaging products and services to the grocery, fast moving consumer goods and industrial markets. The company employs more than 1,100 people in manufacturing and distribution across 13 locations in Victoria, producing and supplying a wide range of packaging solutions, including boxes and cartons, bags and sacks, glass bottles and aluminium cans, and packaging materials and supplies. Victorian manufacturing contributes $27.7 billion to the Victorian economy and is home to over 13,000 businesses employing more than 286,000 people. To date, the Labor Government has committed $120 million in manufacturing support, which is creating over 6,000 jobs and driving $1.6 billion in private investment. Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Employment Vicki Ward    “Because of our support – Orora has been able to secure its operations in Victoria, invest in new state-of-the-art equipment and continue to employ locals.” “Companies like Orora bring together the very best of Victorian capability in food and advanced manufacturing, allowing locally grown products to be taken to the world.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny    “Melbourne’s north is the hub of food innovation and this investment by Orora Limited is a great outcome for local industry and jobs.” “We’ll continue supporting manufactures in Thomastown – they’re part of our areas DNA.”

 

CRIME DOWN IN THE CITY OF WHITTLESEA

State MPs Danielle Green, Lily D’Ambrosio and Bronwyn Halfpenny have welcomed figures released by the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) that indicate a reduction of crime in the City of Whittlesea. New figures released by the independent CSA show the six-year crime trend that started in 2011 has been turned around, with people in Whittlesea experiencing a decline in crime rates for the past 12 months. The Members for Yan Yean, Mill Park and Thomastown said the investment of 3135 new police – the biggest police recruitment drive in Victoria’s history – funded by the Andrews Labor Government, was starting to have an impact on the ground – with crime in the Whittlesea local government area down by 9.3 per cent. In the year to March 2018, burglaries/break and enter offences are down by 30 percent. A number of offences decreased in the 12 months to March 2018 in the City of Whittlesea, including a 13 per cent decrease in property and deception offences and an 18.1 per cent decrease in theft. Further reductions in crime included a decrease in family violence serious assaults by 7.4 per cent and an 8.2 per cent decrease in sexual offences. While the CSA has shown that there has been increase in family violence common assault and breaches of family violence orders, this has been driven by an increase in reporting and a focus on enforcement. In fact, crime has dropped across Victoria, with 68 of Victoria’s 79 local government areas experiencing decreases in recorded offence rates from the previous 12 months – with a 9.5 per cent decrease in the crime rate. Despite these community safety gains family violence remains one of the most significant issues facing the Victorian community with demand for services and support continuing to increase. That’s why the Labor Government is deploying family violence police specialists to communities across Victoria to help tackle family violence. Following the unprecedented $2 billion in Victoria Police to deliver the biggest recruitment drive in its history – the Whittlesea Police Service Area will receive eight new police as part of the 825 scheduled to graduate from the academy over the next 12 months This year’s Community Safety Statement builds on the record police investment with new laws, more specialist police, equipment and technology to crack down on serious and organised crime. Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “The independent crime statistics released today highlight the relentless work police are doing – day in, day out – to keep people in the City of Whittlesea safe.” “While these are promising figures there is always more to be done to drive down crime further – that’s why we’re making record investments to give police the resources, powers and equipment they need to keep us safe.”  Quotes attributable to Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green “Our local police members in the Whittlesea municipality are working hard to target issues including burglaries/break and enter and family violence, which we can see reflected in these latest statistics.” “More police in our community means more police patrolling the streets and more police employed in specialist roles to prevent crime and prosecute offenders – with more to come over the coming years.” “The Andrews Labor Government is making record investments in community safety and we’re seeing that in the north with the newly opened Mernda Police Station and the extra police officers on the beat.” Quotes attributable to Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio “Thank you to all Victoria police officers, across all ranks of our local police force, for their dedication and hard work.” “The Andrews Labor Government will continue to work alongside Victoria Police to deliver the resources and powers they need to keep Victorians safe.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “We are seeing decreases in the local crime rate overall but there is still more to do and the Andrews Labor Government is committed to providing police with the resources to keep our community safe, including boosting family violence policing capacity.”

CRIME DOWN IN THE CITY OF WHITTLESEA

State MPs Danielle Green, Lily D’Ambrosio and Bronwyn Halfpenny have welcomed figures released by the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) that indicate a reduction of crime in the City of Whittlesea. New figures released by the independent CSA show the six-year crime trend that started in 2011 has been turned around, with people in Whittlesea experiencing a decline in crime rates for the past 12 months. The Members for Yan Yean, Mill Park and Thomastown said the investment of 3135 new police – the biggest police recruitment drive in Victoria’s history – funded by the Andrews Labor Government, was starting to have an impact on the ground – with crime in the Whittlesea local government area down by 9.3 per cent. In the year to March 2018, burglaries/break and enter offences are down by 30 percent. A number of offences decreased in the 12 months to March 2018 in the City of Whittlesea, including a 13 per cent decrease in property and deception offences and an 18.1 per cent decrease in theft. Further reductions in crime included a decrease in family violence serious assaults by 7.4 per cent and an 8.2 per cent decrease in sexual offences. While the CSA has shown that there has been increase in family violence common assault and breaches of family violence orders, this has been driven by an increase in reporting and a focus on enforcement. In fact, crime has dropped across Victoria, with 68 of Victoria’s 79 local government areas experiencing decreases in recorded offence rates from the previous 12 months – with a 9.5 per cent decrease in the crime rate. Despite these community safety gains family violence remains one of the most significant issues facing the Victorian community with demand for services and support continuing to increase. That’s why the Labor Government is deploying family violence police specialists to communities across Victoria to help tackle family violence. Following the unprecedented $2 billion in Victoria Police to deliver the biggest recruitment drive in its history – the Whittlesea Police Service Area will receive eight new police as part of the 825 scheduled to graduate from the academy over the next 12 months This year’s Community Safety Statement builds on the record police investment with new laws, more specialist police, equipment and technology to crack down on serious and organised crime. Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “The independent crime statistics released today highlight the relentless work police are doing – day in, day out – to keep people in the City of Whittlesea safe.” “While these are promising figures there is always more to be done to drive down crime further – that’s why we’re making record investments to give police the resources, powers and equipment they need to keep us safe.”  Quotes attributable to Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green “Our local police members in the Whittlesea municipality are working hard to target issues including burglaries/break and enter and family violence, which we can see reflected in these latest statistics.” “More police in our community means more police patrolling the streets and more police employed in specialist roles to prevent crime and prosecute offenders – with more to come over the coming years.” “The Andrews Labor Government is making record investments in community safety and we’re seeing that in the north with the newly opened Mernda Police Station and the extra police officers on the beat.” Quotes attributable to Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio “Thank you to all Victoria police officers, across all ranks of our local police force, for their dedication and hard work.” “The Andrews Labor Government will continue to work alongside Victoria Police to deliver the resources and powers they need to keep Victorians safe.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “We are seeing decreases in the local crime rate overall but there is still more to do and the Andrews Labor Government is committed to providing police with the resources to keep our community safe, including boosting family violence policing capacity.”

EQUIPPING KINDERS IN THE THOMASTOWN & MILL PARK ELECTORATE FOR KIDS OF ALL ABILITIES

Thousands of little Victorians - including here in the Mill Park and Thomastown electorate will benefit from new equipment, toys, learning kits and more to ensure they get the most of their early years’ education – regardless of ability. Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos has announced 219 kinders across Victoria have been successful in securing grants for new equipment, such as wheelchair ramps, moveable change tables, sensory playkits, adjustable chairs and Braille books. It includes South Morang Preschool Association in South Morang that has been granted $10000 thousand dollars for inclusive equipment, and Thomastown West Kindergarten Inc in Thomastown that has been granted $9386.45 for a sensory playground. The Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program provides up to $10,000 per kinder for one or more items that promote inclusiveness and diversity. In total, the 219 kinders – from Mildura to Horsham, Shepparton and Gippsland – will share in more than $1.2 million worth of funding. Miners Rest Kindergarten in Ballarat will be able to buy a selection of resources – such as sensory stepping stones, a motor skills kit and other teaching aids – to provide a more inclusive environment for the children with disabilities and additional needs who attend their service. Other recipients include Benalla District Pre-school Partnership, which will be able to purchase height adjustable and wheelchair accessible tables, and Clunes and District Preschool, which has won funds for sensory equipment and a support chair. These grants are the first to be provided through the new $6.4 million Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program - a Victorian-first initiative. The program will also provide kinders with up to $200,000 to upgrade buildings and playgrounds to make them more inclusive through the buildings and playgrounds stream. The Labor Government has invested a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria to ensure local families can continue to access great local kindergartens. It builds on the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which recognises the importance of giving families support in early childhood so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life. Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos “Building the Education State begins with the early years – and all kids deserve the very best start to their education, regardless of their ability.” “These grants are about ensuring our littlest Victorians get the support they need to thrive.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “It’s wonderful to know kids in the Thomastown electorate will benefit from even more inclusive, welcoming environments when at kinder.” “Whether it’s wheelchair access ramps or modified play spaces – we’re helping delivering world-class and welcoming environments for all Victorian children.”

EQUIPPING KINDERS IN THE THOMASTOWN & MILL PARK ELECTORATE FOR KIDS OF ALL ABILITIES

Thousands of little Victorians - including here in the Mill Park and Thomastown electorate will benefit from new equipment, toys, learning kits and more to ensure they get the most of their early years’ education – regardless of ability. Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos has announced 219 kinders across Victoria have been successful in securing grants for new equipment, such as wheelchair ramps, moveable change tables, sensory playkits, adjustable chairs and Braille books. It includes South Morang Preschool Association in South Morang that has been granted $10000 thousand dollars for inclusive equipment, and Thomastown West Kindergarten Inc in Thomastown that has been granted $9386.45 for a sensory playground. The Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program provides up to $10,000 per kinder for one or more items that promote inclusiveness and diversity. In total, the 219 kinders – from Mildura to Horsham, Shepparton and Gippsland – will share in more than $1.2 million worth of funding. Miners Rest Kindergarten in Ballarat will be able to buy a selection of resources – such as sensory stepping stones, a motor skills kit and other teaching aids – to provide a more inclusive environment for the children with disabilities and additional needs who attend their service. Other recipients include Benalla District Pre-school Partnership, which will be able to purchase height adjustable and wheelchair accessible tables, and Clunes and District Preschool, which has won funds for sensory equipment and a support chair. These grants are the first to be provided through the new $6.4 million Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program - a Victorian-first initiative. The program will also provide kinders with up to $200,000 to upgrade buildings and playgrounds to make them more inclusive through the buildings and playgrounds stream. The Labor Government has invested a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria to ensure local families can continue to access great local kindergartens. It builds on the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which recognises the importance of giving families support in early childhood so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life. Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos “Building the Education State begins with the early years – and all kids deserve the very best start to their education, regardless of their ability.” “These grants are about ensuring our littlest Victorians get the support they need to thrive.” Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “It’s wonderful to know kids in the Thomastown electorate will benefit from even more inclusive, welcoming environments when at kinder.” “Whether it’s wheelchair access ramps or modified play spaces – we’re helping delivering world-class and welcoming environments for all Victorian children.”

EXTRA SERVICES FOR SOUTH MORANG AND MERNDA PASSENGERS

The Andrews Labor Government will deliver three stations and hundreds of extra train services every week on the new Mernda Line when the $600 million Mernda Rail Extension opens later this year. The timetable will deliver 115 new and extended weekday services for the Mernda Line and 982 weekly services will be extended from South Morang to Mernda. It will add 45 extra peak trains, and 70 daytime or evening services for South Morang passengers each week, creating room for an additional 115,000 passengers. This will reduce overcrowding in the morning and evening peak periods and provide people with more options to travel to work, school or leisure activities throughout the day. The Plenty Valley bus network will be expanded and adjusted to coordinate with the new train services to ensure the community has quick and easy links to Mernda Station where passengers will be able to access 982 weekly services and 962 weekly services at Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge stations. When introduced later this year, the new timetable will deliver 190 new and 957 extended services across the Mernda, Werribee, Hurstbridge and Dandenong lines. The new timetable will help make public transport a convenient and attractive transport option in the lead up to the opening of the Metro Tunnel, which will create space to run more trains, more often, right across Melbourne. The Labor Government is also making space for more passengers with 14 of its order of 24 Ballarat-made X’Trapolis trains now in service and the first new High Capacity Metro Trains rolling out on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in mid-2019. Train and bus timetables will be available at ptv.vic.gov.au before the changes are introduced in coming months.

EXTRA SERVICES FOR SOUTH MORANG AND MERNDA PASSENGERS

The Andrews Labor Government will deliver three stations and hundreds of extra train services every week on the new Mernda Line when the $600 million Mernda Rail Extension opens later this year. The timetable will deliver 115 new and extended weekday services for the Mernda Line and 982 weekly services will be extended from South Morang to Mernda. It will add 45 extra peak trains, and 70 daytime or evening services for South Morang passengers each week, creating room for an additional 115,000 passengers. This will reduce overcrowding in the morning and evening peak periods and provide people with more options to travel to work, school or leisure activities throughout the day. The Plenty Valley bus network will be expanded and adjusted to coordinate with the new train services to ensure the community has quick and easy links to Mernda Station where passengers will be able to access 982 weekly services and 962 weekly services at Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge stations. When introduced later this year, the new timetable will deliver 190 new and 957 extended services across the Mernda, Werribee, Hurstbridge and Dandenong lines. The new timetable will help make public transport a convenient and attractive transport option in the lead up to the opening of the Metro Tunnel, which will create space to run more trains, more often, right across Melbourne. The Labor Government is also making space for more passengers with 14 of its order of 24 Ballarat-made X’Trapolis trains now in service and the first new High Capacity Metro Trains rolling out on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in mid-2019. Train and bus timetables will be available at ptv.vic.gov.au before the changes are introduced in coming months.

GETTING THINGS DONE FOR THOMASTOWN

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 will deliver new skills, good jobs, more schools and better roads for every Victorian. Families in Thomastown will have good schools close to home, with nearly $1.3 billion for schools around the state. This includes building and planning 28 new schools, and upgrading 130 existing schools. Locally, $3 million will go to upgrading facilities at Epping Secondary College, including improvements to the school’s classrooms. Three new local schools will also be established, with fund to purchase land for Wollert Central P-6, Wollert East P-6 and Wollert East 7-12, giving local families certainty about their children's future. This Budget also provides $3.8 million to Lalor Gardens Primary School to modernise their facilities, including a new gymnasium, music facility and canteen. Local commuters will also benefit from this Budget, with 74 more parking spots to be created at Epping Station, part of a $60 million package from the Andrews Labor Government. Local roads will also be upgraded as part of a massive $2.2 billion Suburban Roads Upgrade investment. This will see four kilometres of Epping Road, from Craigieburn Road East to Memorial Avenue, doubled from two lanes to four lanes. New traffic signals will be installed at one intersection and five other existing signalised intersections will be upgraded. Childs Road, from Beaumont Crescent to Prince of Wales Avenue, will also be doubled from two lanes to four lanes, while a new bridge will be built over Darebin Creek, and the Bowman Drive roundabout upgraded to a signalised intersection. Cost should never stop someone from learning new skills, that’s why this year’s Budget includes $172 million to make priority TAFE courses free, giving more Thomastown residents the chance to be able to train at TAFE and get the right skills they need for a good job. 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses will be made free, while more than 30,000 new TAFE places will be funded across the state. More local students will also be able to finish school qualified and ready to work, with the introduction of Head Start Apprenticeships and Traineeships in 100 secondary schools. It means kids in our community will have the option to undertake an additional year of high school, and graduate with an apprenticeship or traineeship, ready to start work in a good job. Thomastown students will also get expert advice to help them make the right career choices, with career education in schools to be overhauled across the state and start from Year 9. In more good news for local families, this year’s Budget includes $1 million for the Northern Regional Trails Strategy to plan and prioritise local cycling and hiking trails, as identified by the Northern Metropolitan Partnership. A $23.9 million investment in this year’s Budget will go toward improving road safety around our schools and boosting Victoria’s School Crossing Supervisor Program. This funding boost will give local parents confidence that as they send their kids off to school, a crossing supervisor will be looking out for them – rain, hail or shine. This is a Labor Budget that delivers on the things that matter most to our state. This is a Budget that gets things done. Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “As we all know, our community is growing like never before. Our Labor budget invests in vital infrastructure for this growth but also recognises that we cannot forget the needs of those in more established areas as well.” “We have continued on from previous budgets – investing in road duplications as well as land for new schools, and further school rebuilds to remove asbestos.”  “It still doesn’t cover everything we need but we are definitely getting there with these strong Labor budgets. To date I have calculated that the previous Liberal Government spent less than $40 million in the Thomastown electorate compared to almost $400 million under the Andrews Labor Government.” “TAFE is extremely important for residents. Over 11,000 people in the Thomastown electorate have a TAFE qualification. The Victorian Budget 2018/19 will provide training at no cost for 30 courses, cutting down another barrier to getting a good and secure job.”

GETTING THINGS DONE FOR THOMASTOWN

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 will deliver new skills, good jobs, more schools and better roads for every Victorian. Families in Thomastown will have good schools close to home, with nearly $1.3 billion for schools around the state. This includes building and planning 28 new schools, and upgrading 130 existing schools. Locally, $3 million will go to upgrading facilities at Epping Secondary College, including improvements to the school’s classrooms. Three new local schools will also be established, with fund to purchase land for Wollert Central P-6, Wollert East P-6 and Wollert East 7-12, giving local families certainty about their children's future. This Budget also provides $3.8 million to Lalor Gardens Primary School to modernise their facilities, including a new gymnasium, music facility and canteen. Local commuters will also benefit from this Budget, with 74 more parking spots to be created at Epping Station, part of a $60 million package from the Andrews Labor Government. Local roads will also be upgraded as part of a massive $2.2 billion Suburban Roads Upgrade investment. This will see four kilometres of Epping Road, from Craigieburn Road East to Memorial Avenue, doubled from two lanes to four lanes. New traffic signals will be installed at one intersection and five other existing signalised intersections will be upgraded. Childs Road, from Beaumont Crescent to Prince of Wales Avenue, will also be doubled from two lanes to four lanes, while a new bridge will be built over Darebin Creek, and the Bowman Drive roundabout upgraded to a signalised intersection. Cost should never stop someone from learning new skills, that’s why this year’s Budget includes $172 million to make priority TAFE courses free, giving more Thomastown residents the chance to be able to train at TAFE and get the right skills they need for a good job. 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses will be made free, while more than 30,000 new TAFE places will be funded across the state. More local students will also be able to finish school qualified and ready to work, with the introduction of Head Start Apprenticeships and Traineeships in 100 secondary schools. It means kids in our community will have the option to undertake an additional year of high school, and graduate with an apprenticeship or traineeship, ready to start work in a good job. Thomastown students will also get expert advice to help them make the right career choices, with career education in schools to be overhauled across the state and start from Year 9. In more good news for local families, this year’s Budget includes $1 million for the Northern Regional Trails Strategy to plan and prioritise local cycling and hiking trails, as identified by the Northern Metropolitan Partnership. A $23.9 million investment in this year’s Budget will go toward improving road safety around our schools and boosting Victoria’s School Crossing Supervisor Program. This funding boost will give local parents confidence that as they send their kids off to school, a crossing supervisor will be looking out for them – rain, hail or shine. This is a Labor Budget that delivers on the things that matter most to our state. This is a Budget that gets things done. Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny “As we all know, our community is growing like never before. Our Labor budget invests in vital infrastructure for this growth but also recognises that we cannot forget the needs of those in more established areas as well.” “We have continued on from previous budgets – investing in road duplications as well as land for new schools, and further school rebuilds to remove asbestos.”  “It still doesn’t cover everything we need but we are definitely getting there with these strong Labor budgets. To date I have calculated that the previous Liberal Government spent less than $40 million in the Thomastown electorate compared to almost $400 million under the Andrews Labor Government.” “TAFE is extremely important for residents. Over 11,000 people in the Thomastown electorate have a TAFE qualification. The Victorian Budget 2018/19 will provide training at no cost for 30 courses, cutting down another barrier to getting a good and secure job.”