Tag: Andrews government

Labor boosts playgroups program with $22.1 million

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Photo:Medianet.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 1 March: In a big move in Victoria the Andrews Labor Government has announced $22.1 million to expand the Supported Playgroups program, which helps mums and dads improve their skills and gain more confidence in looking after their children.

More than 6,000 families facing disadvantage from across the state will be eligible for the extra parenting help and advice with the boost for supported playgroups.

Ms Mikakos was joined by Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire at a supported playgroup in Dallas to meet local families, who are among 450 Hume families who have access to this important service.

Currently, the playgroups operate in less than half of Victoria’s local government areas, but the expansion means they will soon be available across the entire state.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos said, “We are making sure eligible parents can access the extra support they need to raise healthy, happy kids who are
ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.

“Supported playgroups are just one way we’re helping parents build their confidence and skills, meet other parents and create a positive home learning environment.”

A widening of the eligibility criteria will also result in more families being able to access the service, such as those experiencing family violence, social isolation, mental health issues or homelessness.

The program is about improving learning outcomes for families that need additional support, by fostering quality parent-child connections and making the most of the home learning environment.

Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire said,“Supported playgroups have already helped many local families in Dallas and other communities in my electorate – it’s wonderful to know mums and dads across Victoria will now be able to access this service.

“This is an important investment in the attributes that largely determine where we all end up in life: attitude, education, and opportunity.”

Playgroups are convened by trained facilitators, who provide specialist training advice as well as referrals to additional services.

It forms part of the State Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which is focused on delivering better services to parents with young children, as well as early intervention for kids who need extra support, says a media release.

The Plan recognizes the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so children get the best possible start in life.

Andrews govt. introduces short-term rego payment for vehicles

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BY SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 24 September: The Andrews Labor Government is reducing the stress of car registration costs for Victorian families, introducing
flexible, short-term options for payment of registration for road vehicles. The options will now allow people to pay less upfront and spread the cost of registration renewal across the year to better suit the family budget.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan joined Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan in Chelsea Heights today to announce new three months and six-month registration options that will ease the cost of living pressures for millions of Victorians.

From January 1, 2018, owners of cars, utes, vans, motorcycles and other light vehicles will be able to make the switch to shorter-term registration or continue with an annual registration fee.

Under the new arrangements, an average three-month registration will be $200.20, an average six-month registration will cost $400.40, compared to an average annual fee of $800.80.

Short term registration will be available for light vehicles, excluding trailers, for both new registrations and renewals.

VicRoads currently processes 5.6 million registration renewals each year, including 4.47 million light vehicles.

The Labor Government invested $12 million in the 2016 Victorian Budget to upgrade VicRoads registration systems, paving the way for short-term registration.
Creating a myVicRoads online account will allow owners to choose the registration option that suits them, and receive electronic reminders when their registration is due.

To find out the facts on short-term registration, visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

Labor-Coalition spat over ‘Respectful Relationships’ curriculum

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Source: Vic. Edu. Dept.

By SAT political reporter

Melbourne, 26 October: The Daniel Andrews led Labor government in Victoria and the Liberal opposition are locked in a bitter spat over the proposed ‘Respectful Relationships’ program, which Education Minister James Merlino says, “… is about teaching our kids to treat everyone with respect and dignity so we can start the cultural change we need in our society to end the scourge of family violence.”

But Nick Wakeling MP, Shadow Minister for Education addressing the Indian media today said family violence is a complex issue. The program “is not a true reflection of males in Victoria’, he said replying to a pointed question by SAT, if the program was anti-male.

In a media release dated 20 October and distributed today, Nick says, “Schools should never be used to brainwash our children with propaganda about white male privilege, how “masculinity” encourages “control and dominance” over women, or how men are “socially engineered” to express their pain and stress in anger and violence”.

The Shadow Minister says, “the program goes too far and the coalition will scrap it if returned to power in 2018.”

The Andrews Labor Government has invested $21.8 million to roll out this important initiative, delivering on a recommendation from the Royal Commission on Family Violence.
Age-appropriate resources for the curriculum include lesson plans and activities that help students learn and practice social skills and apply them in a positive way to learning, life, and relationships.

“The focus of the subject in primary years is on treating everyone with respect and dignity, with the secondary years subject building on this by teaching students about the relationship between gender and power, “says a media release by Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, The Hon. James Merlino MP.

The resources have been developed by world-leading experts from Deakin University and the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, led by Associate Professor Helen Cahill who worked with UNESCO on similar resources used in the Asia-Pacific.

“The curriculum has been developed following a trial of a whole-of-school approach that was run in 19 Victorian schools by the Department of Education and Training and the anti-family violence organization Our Watch,” the media release says.

Mary Barry, CEO of Our Watch told 3AW the program works and is not discriminatory and it is about respect. It gives young people, boys and girls, the skills to reject on unhealthy aggressive behaviour and discrimination.

“It is definitely not saying that all men are perpetrators and all women are victims.” – Mary said on 3AW.

She told 3AW survey’s conducted by Our Watch say men are perceived as better politicians than women and have access to better professions than women. – “We’re trying to break down that stereotype and breakdown that power.”

But Nick Wakeling feels it’s an ideological program without community/parents consultations and the Premier should stop implementing the program of “forcing his values on other people’s children, and start focusing on the basics such as teaching our kids to read, write and count.”

Hon. James Merlino defending the program says, All the evidence shows that the education is the key to ending the vicious cycle of family violence, which is why teaching Respectful Relationships as schools are important.”

2016-17 budget for a strong & confident Victoria: Tim Pallas

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By SAT reporter

Melbourne, 4 May: The Victorian budget 2016-17 delivers sound economic management, delivering an estimated surplus of $ 2.9 billion, and an average surplus of $ 2.1 billion a year across the forward estimates, says Treasurer Tim Pallas.

Tim was speaking at a media conference in the Parliament premises with many other Ministers who detailed the budget outline of their portfolios and answered to pointed queries by media persons.

“Victoria remains in an enviable economic position with strong surpluses, jobs growth, and a secure triple-A credit rating.

Net debt and unemployment are both below the levels we inherited from the previous Liberal Government, “ he said.

Multicultural Affairs Minister, Robin Scott said the Andrews government provides an additional $24.3 million over four years for a range of initiatives to
strengthen our cultural diversity, social cohesion and support services for our multicultural community.

In response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, Robin Scott said, “The Andrews Labor Government will invest $6.3 million over four years to better meet the needs of victims in family violence services and targeted prevention strategies for victims from culturally diverse backgrounds, by creating strong support networks and greater access to social services.”

Minister for Small Business, Trade and Innovation Philip Dalidakis said, “This Budget will provide payroll tax cuts for approximately 36,000 businesses across Victoria, with the payroll tax-free threshold lifted to $650,000 over the next four years.
By the time the measure is fully implemented, businesses with annual Victorian payrolls between $4.8 million and $31.5 million will have the lowest payroll tax burden anywhere in Australia.”

Earlier, on the budget day, Premier Daniel Andrews said, “This Budget reflects a strong and confident Victoria. We’re keeping our word, and delivering our election commitments.”

“We’re overhauling public transport, investing in roads, fixing schools and hospitals and we’re cutting taxes for businesses – we’re getting it done, “ he said.

- SAT News Service.