Category Archives: Local

Holiday Time Campaign Launch

 

On Saturday 17 December the ‘ Holiday Time Campaign’ was  formally launched by  Councillor Antonella Celi of the Mornington Peninsula Shire, along with the Member for Nepean the Hon. Martin Dixon MP and Mathew McQuinn of the Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Supporting the initiative were the Rosebud CFA, Mornington SES, Surf Live Saving Victoria (Rosebud and  McCrae), Local Area Commander,  Inspector Nigel McGuirewhite and members from the State Highway Patrol.  

The foundation ‘Little Blue Dinosaur’  started the campaign after tragically losing their four year old son, Tom McLaughlin, when he stepped onto the road whilst on holiday at the beach.

The aim of the ‘Holiday Time’ campaign is to prevent this from happening again. This is done by the placement of colourful road safety banners and signs at key tourist hot spots and thoroughfares to appeal to drivers and pedestrians alike to ‘Slow Down, Kids Around’ and to ‘Hold My Hand’.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire will be the first shire within Victoria where the campaign has been used  on such a large scale.  The campaign  is designed  to raise awareness with 168 signs and five overpass banners.

The shire will be giving away free wristbands and bumper stickers for children and families, which  will be available  from the Rosebud Shire Office and the Rosebud Foreshore camping office.  The Shire was  successful in obtaining a TAC Community Road Safety Grant to implement this project.

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Powerline Grant To Reduce Bushfire Risk

Groundline Australia has been awarded a grant to develop a new method for replacing bare-wire powerlines under the Andrews Labor Government’s Powerline Bushfire Safety program.

The project aims to develop a conductor to replace bare-wire powerlines that will reduce the risk of bushfires and potentially enable a safer alternative technology for use across the state’s electricity network.

The work will be done in collaboration between the Bendigo engineering firm, manufacturer Amokabel, Swinburne University and electricity retailer United Energy.

The Labor Government is providing $291,000 to Groundline Australia to kick start the project.

There is approximately 90,000km of mostly bare-wire high voltage electrical lines across Victoria that this innovation could be applied to, significantly reducing the risk of bushfires.

The ability to fit a treated conductor onto existing infrastructure with minimal impact on the current installation methods will improve efficiency, reduce costs and put Victoria at the forefront of innovation.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“We’re putting people first by reducing the risk of bushfires that start from powerlines.”

“This means that our bare-wire powerlines can be replaced sooner to improve  safety and reduce overall costs.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“I’m thrilled to see local engineering firm Groundline Australia focusing on next-generation innovation to help keep Victorians safe.”

Jetty Road Overpass being ignored by Government

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Meeting with teachers, parents and students at the end of the Freeway. Note the overpass ramp in the background – all we need is the overpass!

Last year I conducted a petition in the local areas to ask for the Jetty Road overpass to be completed, connecting the Mornington Peninsula Freeway to the Arterial Road by crossing over the Jetty Road Intersection.

This intersection has become increasingly dangerous since the completion of Peninsula Link and the subsequent increase in traffic flows.

The petition gathered over 1200 signatures in a few weeks and I have since raised the issue in Parliament and with the Roads Minister Luke Donnellan.

In the most recent correspondence from the Minister dated 30th May 2016 (download here), Mr Donnellan suggests that funding is not a priority due to the ‘historical safety record’ at this intersection however I am sure like me, you would prefer to see a solution before there was any such serious or tragic incident.

As you can see, if we are to ever get this overpass constructed then I will need your help and the best thing you can do is to write or email direct to the Minister and ask him, before there is a serious accident, to:

  1. Undertake an immediate full costing of the overpass/grade separation at the Jetty Rd end of the freeway
  2. Commit funds to the design of this overpass from within the current budget
  3. Commit funds to the construction of this overpass in next year’s budget

The Ministers contact details are as follows, and you are welcome to CC me into any correspondence you send.

Email: luke.donnellan@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Mail: Hon Luke Donnellan, Minister for roads and Road Safety, Level 22, 1 Spring St Melbourne Vic 3000

Letter from Minister Donnellan to Martin Dixon MP

Jetty Road Overpass Petition

Joe Buffone ex CFA Chief Officer (resigned today) – Interview with Tom Elliot

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Mr Joe Buffone, the latest and most significant casualty in the Premiers war on the CFA
 

Link to Audio File: http://www.3aw.com.au/news/former-cfa-chief-fire-officer-says-hes-absolutely-gutted-over-his-resignation-20160630-gpvkje.html

Transcript – MELBOURNE RADIO 3AW 693

THURSDAY 30 JUNE 2016, 3.10pm

Issues: His resignation as CFA Chief Officer

ELLIOTT

Joe I have in front of me a press release from the new Emergency Services Minister, James Merlino, he claims that you resigned because of an argument over money and seniority.  Is that correct?

JOE BUFFONE

That is absolutely incorrect Tom.

I just want to make a couple of things fairly clear but before I do that Tom, could I just first of all acknowledge the fantastic work that the volunteers, the career staff and the support staff that they do in making Victoria safer.  I just want to acknowledge that.

The next thing I want to touch on Tom is that my position has been very clear about the EBA and the potential impact on the role, on my legislative role, or not so much my role anymore, and the role of the Chief Fire Officer and how that is discharged.

I’ve made that clear in the Commission.  I’ve made that clear in public, I formally wrote to the Minister and I formally wrote to the new Chair, so the new Minister and the new Chair, outlining my concerns.

Well basically when they first came online.  So that’s been my absolute focus.  My commitment has been about doing my job, being apolitical, unbiased and discharging my duties.

Now what has been released Tom, is concerning to me.  And it is concerning because I submitted my resignation because I got to the position where it was untenable for me to continue in my role where I had a different of where I would be going and discharging my role.

So I made that very, very clear.

I had discussions with the new CEO.  I had discussion with the new Chair.  I had discussions with the Emergency Management Commissioner and they were all encouraging me to stay.  So much so that that was continuing.

I wasn’t’ staying and then they continually made offers of what could encourage me to stay on.

Now I want to make a couple of things really clear Tom around how this has been betrayed.

The first thing is, my position about equal standing is not about status.

If you go to the Royal Commission, or if you go to Fire Services Review, it makes it very, very clear that the role of the Chief Officer needs to have the right standing within the organisation.

Now I was being asked to continue in a very, very difficult environment where I still have very strong, a very strong position and I also have legal advice that the facts that they are putting around the current EBA did not remedy my concerns.

Now I haven’t had any formal replies to any of my formal correspondence and therefore I made a decision that it was untenable.

ELLIOTT

So you put your concerns about the EBA in writing to James Merlino, new ES Minister and you received no formal response from him?

JOE BUFFONE

That’s correct.

And also to the new Chair.

ELLIOTT

I find that astonishing.

You were until a few hours ago, the senior CFA firefighter.  You put your concerns about the EBA to the Minister and the Minister does not get back to you?

JOE BUFFONE

That’s correct.

Um, in addition to that Tom I do want to clarify that point about the status.

And then at the end of the day this is not about money because I have walked away from a job that I love.

I’ve walked away from a career that I have dedicated my life to and I have walked away even from my notice period, so this is not about money Tom.  This is about wanting to be able to discharge my legislative role and being able to look after everybody in the CFA and Victoria.

ELLIOTT

Well let’s just focus on that.  Because one of the big issues I’ve had with the EBA *

Is that the CFA ACT * says that the  Chief Fire Officer has complete discretion to deploy assets and personnel as he or she sees fit.

And yet the EBA says that no you don’t have that discretion you have to consult and agree with the UFU.

Was that one of the big sticking points for you?

JOE BUFFONE

That’s correct.  That’s one of the sticking point.

The other one is that the Act clearly says that the Parliament recognises that the Authority is first and foremost a volunteer based organisation, in which volunteer officers and members are supported by employees in a fully integrated manner.

I’ve also got a whole range of others which are around order and control all CFA so the order and control all CFA and brigades, groups, officers and members.  The practice requires a permanent and volunteer brigade.

All the apparatus, the control and direction of brigade, the purpose of the preventing,  extinguishing or restricting the spread of fire throughout Victoria and taking any reasonable measures for the protection of life and property.

Now all the advice, and bear in mind Tom, this is not just I sought best possible advice to come to this position and there is nothing to give me the confidence that it’s going to remedy it so therefore I have no option but to resign.

ELLIOTT

You felt you had no option to resign.  Lucinda Nolan resigned.  The former board was sacked.  Jane Garrett resigned.

Why do you think the Government is being so pig-headed about this when so when senior people like yourself feel they have no choice but to resign?

JOE BUFFONE

Tom I wish I actually understood that and I wish that I could actually answer it.  I can’t answer that.

ELLIOTT

Does the UFU have some sort of secret power over the government that the rest of don’t know about?

JOE BUFFONE

Oh Tom, that’s not a question for me to answer I’m sorry.

ELLIOTT

You do sound emotional, you say that you love the job, it’s not about the money.  How are you feeling right now?  *

JOE BUFFONE

Tom to be honest I feel absolutely guttered at the moment, I have walked away from a job that I love.  I’ve walked away from an organisation that is incredible and it is hurting at the moment.  The organisation is hurting.

And that’s why, yes I do sound a little bit emotional but I’m actually level headed.  I’m actually OK, I’ve thought very, very carefully about this.  This is not an emotional reaction.

I’m also hurt that the is an attempt to discredit me when in actual fact I have discharged my duties in a professional manner.

I’ve brought on a new board, I’ve brought on a new Chair, I brought on a new CEO and in that period I have been absolutely committed to making sure that the organisation remains stable and I had do it the best interests in the people of Victoria and people of CFA.  That is both career and volunteers.

So yes I’m guttered.

ELLIOTT

Until a few hours ago you were the Chief firefighter of the CFA.  What does your resignation mean for all those volunteers out there?  Do you think they might resign on mass as well?

JOE BUFFONE

OH Tom, I would not be asking them to do that.  I would want everybody in the CFA to keep doing the work that they do.  That’s been my consistent message.  Focus on our common purpose and common purpose is about service to the community.  That’s what CFA is about.

CFA is the community Tom.  Some of those volunteers are generations of serving the community.  If you go into some rural areas they will tell you I do not volunteer because it’s a hobby I volunteer because it is a duty to protect my community.

ELLIOTT

OK, I know the new temporary Chief Officer has been appointed.  Steven Warrington [sp?]

Do you think it will be possible to find a permanent replacement for you, given what’s happened?

JOE BUFFONE

Ah look, I think that’s for the individual to work through what’s needed.   I was seeking to get information and advice and comfort that the remedies that were being looked at would mitigate any of those concerns.  I couldn’t get that comfort, that’s the reason for my resignation.

ELLIOTT

What message would you like to give to Premier Daniel Andrews, right now?

JOE BUFFONE

Oh, to be honest, I probably not want to comment on that at the moment.  I’m focussed on just trying to do the right thing.

I will continue to do that and I prefer not to comment on that.

ELLIOTT

Would you like to say something to James Merlino who has attempted to besmirch you via a press release?

JOE BUFFONE

No, I don’t want to do that either.  I’m focussed on doing the right thing.

ELLIOTT

What are you going to do now?

JOE BUFFONE

Um, I’ve just got to get focussed on the next couple of days and then I’ll just have consider what my future holds but I have, I have nothing immediately planned.

Extract From Parliamentary Debates – Mornington Peninsula Freeway sound barriers

June 2016 public meeting in Safety Beach to protest against the increase in noise being suffered by residents

HANSARD – ADJOURNMENT – Wednesday, 22 June 2016

 

Mr DIXON (Nepean) — The matter I wish to raise is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.

The action I seek is for the minister to make the Mornington Peninsula Freeway sound walls in the section between Safety Beach and Rosebud a funding priority.

This is probably the only urban freeway in Victoria that has no sound walls — it has houses right up to it on both sides in just about all of the places, but it has no sound walls at all.

As members can imagine, like any part of Victoria, the population is increasing, but in our area it has increased incredibly.

Peninsula Link has added to the freeway traffic, not only in terms of people commuting but also in terms of people visiting the area.

More people are living there, so there are more people in the houses that used to be holiday houses, they are living there permanently close to the freeway.

On the hours that traffic runs, residents tell me that it is quite busy up until midnight and that the traffic starts again at 5 or 5.30 in the morning.

Recently the section at Safety Beach was resurfaced, and some bright spark in VicRoads decided to put the roughest possible surface on it. The noise levels have gone through the roof on that section. Even though it is the newest surface it is incredibly noisy.

In relation to the Dromana to Rosebud section, after work by me and the community over the last number of years, we have already had VicRoads come out and test it. Most of the sections of that part of the freeway are above the acceptable noise level and should have sound walls. Instead of putting the walls up, VicRoads decided to trial, in a number of sections, different road surfaces which were quieter.

That has cut the noise down, but VicRoads engineers have told me off the record that that really only makes a 5 per cent to, at best, 20 per cent difference in terms of a reduction in sound. For some reason the monitoring of it is over three years, which I think is just a stalling tactic. I would have thought one year would be the most — you are looking at a whole year’s traffic.

The section from Safety Beach to Dromana, as I said, has just been resurfaced. I recognise the fact that VicRoads is going to rectify that mistake later this year. I also recognise the fact that VicRoads is going to work with the community and do the sound monitoring in that section. But obviously those two sections of freeway adjoin each other, therefore the decibel levels in one area are going to be the same in the other.

It is very, very important that VicRoads get on with that testing, because the case, I think, is already established and this matter is making life hell for those residents.

They think they are being treated differently from all other residents in Victoria who live anywhere near a freeway.

I think this is an urgent matter, a very important matter for the amenity and peaceful life of those people who live near the freeway — a growing number of them — and I ask the minister to make the testing and then the funding of the sound walls a priority.

FWC sidelined experienced commissioner for fireys’ case

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The Fair Work Commission has defended its decision to sideline a commissioner who usually hears cases involving firefighters and ­allocate the dispute between Victoria’s Country Fire Authority and the firefighters union to a former left-wing unionist, who is ­accused of bias.

The handling of the case by ­Julius Roe, former national president of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, infuriated the CFA’s now-disbanded board and chief executive Lucinda Nolan, who quit after refusing to accept his ­recommendations.

CFA volunteers fear the recommendations give the United Firefighters Union of Australia an effective veto over operational ­decisions.

Responding to questions from The Australian to commission president Iain Ross, an FWC spokeswoman confirmed Nick Wilson, an industrial centrist who since being appointed commissioner in 2013 has issued dozens of decisions and orders relating to disputes involving the UFUA, was not allocated the case, in preference for Mr Roe.

Industrial cases are allocated by a “panel system’’ in which ­commissioners are attached to ­industry-specific panels. When the CFA application was lodged last October, Mr Wilson was the only Melbourne-based member of the government services panel that covers firefighting services with extensive experience in firefighter cases, the FWC confirmed.

The CFA, having failed to reach agreement with the union following protracted negoti­ations, applied for the FWC to ­appoint a commissioner to oversee a conciliated resolution to the dispute. Instead of calling on Mr Wilson, the head of the government services panel, FWC vice-president Joseph Catanzariti went outside his own panel and referred the dispute to Mr Roe.

Mr Roe is a member of the services and mining panel that looks after disputes across a wide range of industries, but not firefighting. He has extensive previous experience in firefighters’ cases between July 2010 — shortly after he was appointed by then workplace relations minister Julia Gillard — until late 2013.

Pressed to explain its case allocation, the FWC said: “In contentious matters it is generally appropriate to have conciliation and arbitration proceedings conducted by different members. The CFA matters were referred to Commissioner Roe for conciliation as he had extensive experience in dealing with Victorian fire services matters and the allocation of the matters to Commissioner Roe would leave Commissioner Wilson available to deal with any arbitral appli­cations made in relation to the dispute. No party objected to Commissioner Roe dealing with the … application.’’

Despite CFA anger at the outcome of the conciliation overseen by Mr Roe, there appears no prospect of an arbitral application.

UFU Victoria secretary Peter Marshall and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have backed the recommendations and the government dumped the CFA board after it made its opposition clear.

Mr Andrews’s insistence that the CFA accept Mr Roe’s recommendations prompted former emergency services minister Jane Garrett to resign from cabinet.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy publicly accused Mr Roe of bias and said his recommen­dations could have been written by the UFU. Mr Roe had defended his fairness and independence.

Within industrial relations circles, there is growing consternation about perceived political interference in the workings of the FWC and the decision to sideline Mr Wilson, a Harvard-­educated former Fair Work ombudsman. Malcolm Turnbull has promised to legislate to protect volunteer organisations if his government is re-elected. Within the CFA, there is a push to establish an independent inquiry into how the entire case was handled.

FAST FACTS – PEOPLE WHO DANIEL ANDREWS CLAIMS ARE LYING OR SPREADING A FEAR CAMPAIGN

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ANDRE HAERMEYER – Former Bracks Labor Government Minister

 6 Jun 2016

“Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett is right in standing by the Country Fire Authority’s nearly 60,000 volunteers in an industrial dispute with the United Firefighters Union.”

“Many of its [the UFU’s] demands in its current dispute with the CFA are Trojan horses that would sideline CFA volunteers and undermine their interests, with little or no real benefit for the paid firefighters the UFU represents. It would also undermine the operational authority of the CFA’s Chief Officer and operational commanders as well as compromise the fiduciary responsibilities of the CFA’s Board under the Country Fire Authority Act.”

Source: Herald Sun, 6 June 2016

 

GARY JOHNS – Former Keating Labor Government Minister

17 Jun 2016

“The Victorian Labor government called the agreement reform: anyone else would call it a union takeover.”

“At present, the duty officer at a fire station determines the appropriate truck and crew to respond to an incident. If a duty officer has to put together a team with a mandated number of professionals, responsiveness and community safety may be compromised.”

“At present, parties have a wide scope to place matters in enterprise agreements. That scope is too broad and, as with the UFU, too many matters are subject to union veto over management prerogatives.”

“The Andrews Labor government is a union stooge.”

Source: The Australian, 17 June 2016

 

PETER TUOHEY – President, Victorian Farmers Federation

10 Jun 2016

“The Premier and his colleagues risk eroding all the good work they’ve done in country Victoria if they side with the union and sign this deal with the unions.”

Source: Media release, VFF

14 Jun 2016

“The VFF is now throwing its support behind Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria’s legal challenge to the union deal,”

“Ultimately a few dollars donated now could save us all thousands of dollars in higher Fire Services Property Levies to cover this union deal in years to come.”

“Not only has the Premier sacrificed his Emergency Services Minister and the CFA board, he’s sacrificed his credibility among country Victorians and their 60,000 CFA volunteers”

“It’s a sad day when the Premier puts a union with just 500-odd members in the CFA ahead of 60,000 volunteers.”

“Farmers had gained enormous respect for the Premier, since he came to power in November 20I4, given his Government’s investment in rural Victoria and support during the drought and recent dairy crisis.”

“But I can tell now farmer CFA volunteers feel like the Premier and his team have abandoned them in a bid to cut a deal with the unions.”

“We’re already hearing of people wanting to quit the CFA and others wanting to boycott payment of the Fire Services Property Levy that funds it.”

Source: Media release, VFF

 

MACHELLE CRICHTON – President, Country Women’s Association of Victoria

10 Jun 2016

“These recommendations have the potential to put our communities at risk. We are especially concerned for the safety of our rural families and their communities.”

“The Country Women’s Association of Victoria’s primary concern was the welfare of our women and children, their families and communities. We are very concerned by the lack of consultation with rural CFA volunteers, which is required under our current legislation, and the resultant damage that would occur.”

Source: Facebook post, The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Inc. – CWA, 10 June 2016

 

MELINDA RICHARD (CROWN COUNSEL)

8 Jun 2016

“We agree with VEOHRC that the clauses in the proposed agreement that prohibit or restrict part time work are likely to indirectly discriminate against employees who are women, pregnant, have the status of parent or carer, have a disability and possibly also older people.”

Source: CFA Crown Counsel advice, 8 Jun 2016

 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

5 Jun 2016

“The agreement effectively bans employees working part time at a station as an active career firefighter,”

“Any employee who wishes to work part time under the proposed (agreement) must first get the employer and union’s agreement to do so.”

Source: The Age, 5 June 2016

 

JACK RUSH QC

13 Jun 2016

Journalist:

Have you had a look at the EBA?

Jack Rush QC:

I’ve had a look at the EBA and I think it’s highly unsatisfactory for volunteer firefighters.

Journalist:

Tell us, what areas concern you?

Jack Rush QC:

I think it’s going to be looked at particularly in this regard that volunteers run their own show and the whole idea behind recruiting is a commitment to your community and a commitment to the safety of the community. And to have people imposed on you or to have ideas imposed on you that don’t fit in with that ethos is going to impact generally on firefighters. You have a look at seven firefighters on the ground in particular circumstances, paid firefighters. What you’re losing is the ability of the CFA and the volunteers to run their own show and I think that’s of critical importance as has been pointed out; critical importance to recruiting into the CFA and you will not get the volunteers, you will not get the people committing if they know that their operation, this fire station, is going to have at some stage, or a potential at some stage, to have a will imposed on it that’s not like them.

Journalist:

The Fair Work Commission recommendation say that the role of volunteers wouldn’t be altered, do you disagree with it?

Jack Rush QC:        

Yeah I do and I think what we’ve seen, as I understand it, advice has been provided to government by crown council to indicate that that’s not the situation. I don’t think you would see a Minister resigning if it was all well and good. I have my own views on the EBA. I think the fact that we’ve lost minister supports where I’m coming from.

Source: Doorstop, Molyullah CFA, Molyullah VIC

“The EBA is highly unsatisfactory for volunteer firefighters. The government should be placing volunteers first. This proposal should be distressing for everyone in our state”

“The ability of the CFA to run their own show will be completely lost … It will affect their morale, it will impact recruitment.”

Source: Courier Mail, 14 June 2016

 

WARREN MUNDINE AO

15 Jun 2016

“Look, I come from the bush, the volunteer fire fighters in NSW, and Victoria’s the same, they get out there, they do this for free, they work for their communities, so you know… anytime the volunteers want to stand up, I’m behind them.”

Source: 3AW, Neil Mitchell program

 

SUE NOBLE – Volunteering Victoria CEO

8 Jun 2016

“In rural areas, volunteers in the emergency services are connected and contribute across their communities in ways that extend far beyond fighting fires. Devaluing the work of volunteers will act in the same way as pulling a linchpin from the axle of these communities; the wheels that keep these rural areas turning will simply stop without support for emergency services volunteers.”

Source: Bendigo Advertiser, 8 June 2016

Position Paper – Point Nepean National Park

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Attached at the link below are my current thoughts and representations on the future of Point Nepean National Park.

This issue has been front of mind for our local community over recent years and was thrust into Statewide prominence in the lead up to the last election.

The Government have sought feedback once again from the community and this position paper is my contribution which will also frame my formal response to the first draft of the new master plan, due to be released in the next few weeks.

Over the last few years, and particularly since the Government allowed the Point Leisure Group lease to lapse, I have had many representations made to me in relation to the future use and development of the Park as a valued resource for all Victorians.

This paper is in some ways a summary of these representations as well as my own personal views on how I would like to see the Park conserved and preserved into the future.

You are welcome to email me any comments to me at  martin.dixon@parliament.vic.gov.au

PointNepean-PositionPaper-MartinDixonMP

Labor slashes funding for training at Chisholm

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Labor has slashed funding for student training at Chisholm Institute of TAFE, despite promising before the elections to grow enrollments and ‘rescue’ TAFE.

Chisholm’s annual report, tabled in Parliament last week, reveals funding to subsidise student training was cut from $54.4 million in 2014 to $50.4 million in 2015.
(Annual report p.60 Note 2: Income from Transactions ‘State Government contributions -contestable funding’ http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Chisholm_Annual_Report_2015_kDYT4L56.pdf)

Funding to directly subsidise student training has declined by $4 million or 7.3 per cent.

As a result of Labor’s cuts to TAFE, Chisholm’s student contact hours plummeted by 1.3 million hours and enrolments declined from 38,018 in 2014 to 35,524 in 2015. (Annual report p.21)

The Dandenong campus was the worst affected, with 1878 fewer enrolments last year. Enrolments at the Frankston campus also dropped by 896.

Last year the 2014 training market data report was released in March. Daniel Andrews is yet to release the 2015 report which details the true extent of his cuts to training in south-east Melbourne.

Comments from Shadow Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Steph Ryan:

“Daniel Andrews’ promise to ‘rescue’ TAFE was a cruel hoax.

“Under Labor, Chisholm has lost $4 million for training and there are now 2494 fewer enrolments at the Institute than when Daniel Andrews took office.

“These cuts are particularly cruel when the future of tertiary education in south east Melbourne is under threat.

“Daniel Andrews must immediately release the training data detailing the full impact of these cuts on student enrolments at Chisholm.”

Fire risk and the Mornington Peninsula

Over recent years, particularly since Black Saturday, there has been increased awareness around the fire risk on the Mornington Peninsula. Parks Vic and DELWP acknowledge that Arthurs Seat is probably the highest risk area in terms of a fast spreading fire threatening residential property.

This was discussed at a Mornington Peninsula Shire meeting on the 27th January 2016, where senior CFA representative Arthur Haynes described this risk in some detail, during debate on the Arthurs Seat Skylift fire plan – (as per YouTube audio link above – approx. 8 minutes in total) Local brigades and emergency services are well drilled in how to deal with this risk however there is increasing concern from residents on the Southern Peninsula as well.

These concerns are driven by a number of factors:

  • Large amount of fuel loads on
    • Council owned land
    • Parks Vic land (Mornington Peninsula National Park)
    • Vacant land
    • Land with non permanent residents

DELWP have recently done some fire modelling which show that the real risk of a catastrophic bushfire in the Rye/Blairgowrie/Sorrento area is relatively low, there is still a need for some consideration to fire breaks and access tracks for emergency vehicles.

This then highlights the main concern, which is the complete state of gridlock our roads face in the summer period, the time when the fire risk is at its greatest. Mr Haynes, in the attached recording (in the last minute) also points to this issue and it is on this basis that I would like to see a more collaborative approach to the completion of works outlined in the 2013 Pt Nepean Road Study.  Those works were in order of priority:

  • Alteration to the Truemans Rd intersection
  • Construction of the Jetty Rd overpass to connect the freeway to the existing arterial road extension
  • Completion of the arterial road extension from Boneo Road to Melbourne within the existing (or revised) VicRoads road reserve

I am currently seeking advice from the Government on the progress of planning for the Jetty Road overpass as this is widely recognised, in particular by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, as the most urgent road infrastructure project on the Southern Peninsula.

Overall, we need to see these projects as first and foremost a public safety issue and I will continue to work with all interested stakeholders and relevant authorities, including the Minister, to ensure these projects receive the attention and funding they deserve.