Media Centre

Update to restrictions from 6pm Friday 29 October

Nearly there: return to normality with 80% and 90% vax rates After record vaccination rates that will soon see Victoria become one of the most vaccinated places in the world, our state is set on a path back to normal living resembling our pre-COVID lives. Fabulous news that from Friday 29 October at 6:00pm, Victoria will move forward in opening up and more restrictions will fall away. Moving to Phase C of the National plan. Regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne will unite and have the same restrictions, people from Melbourne to travel to regional Victoria and vice versa. Most indoor settings, including restaurants, pubs, gyms and hairdressers will open with no caps subject to a DQ4 (1 per 4sqm) limit, if all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated. Most outdoor settings will remain at DQ2 (1 per 2sqm) limit up to 500, where staff and patrons are fully vaccinated. Click for updated Regional Roadmap. Roadmap_Regional_24Oct    

Update to restrictions from 6pm Friday 29 October

Nearly there: return to normality with 80% and 90% vax rates After record vaccination rates that will soon see Victoria become one of the most vaccinated places in the world, our state is set on a path back to normal living resembling our pre-COVID lives. Fabulous news that from Friday 29 October at 6:00pm, Victoria will move forward in opening up and more restrictions will fall away. Moving to Phase C of the National plan. Regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne will unite and have the same restrictions, people from Melbourne to travel to regional Victoria and vice versa. Most indoor settings, including restaurants, pubs, gyms and hairdressers will open with no caps subject to a DQ4 (1 per 4sqm) limit, if all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated. Most outdoor settings will remain at DQ2 (1 per 2sqm) limit up to 500, where staff and patrons are fully vaccinated. Click for updated Regional Roadmap. Roadmap_Regional_24Oct    

TUTOR PROGRAM TO CONTINUE IN NORTHERN VICTORIAN SCHOOLS

Tuesday, 5 October 2021 The Victorian Government will make sure that not one school student in Northern Victoria is left behind in the wake of the pandemic, with the state’s extraordinarily successful tutor program to continue until the end of 2022. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced $230.4 million will extend the single biggest boost to individual learning support in the state’s history – allowing Victorian schools to retain the tutors that have supported students throughout 2021. The tutor program has called on pre-service teachers, teachers on leave, retired teachers and casual relief teachers to sign up and get back in the classroom – with at least one tutor in all government schools to ensure every Victorian child comes out of the pandemic with the confidence that their learning is on track. While the past two years have seen some students thrive with the flexibility and self-direction remote learning gave them, for others this period has been profoundly difficult – and the tutors have worked both in the classroom and through remote learning to identify and support the students who needed extra help with their learning. Students who struggled most during the pandemic included those with low levels of English, those already at risk of disengaging from school, or those with home environments not conducive to online learning. The tutors have had a hugely positive impact on hundreds of thousands of students, with Victoria recording nation-leading NAPLAN results in August, and an independent evaluation by Deloitte concluding the initiative improved attendance, achievement, and engagement among students – and had a positive impact on their confidence. Schools are responsible for employing their tutors based on the needs of their students, with tutors offering a range of expertise, experience and support to the students who need it most. Tutors work in small groups to provide tailored support for identified students who need assistance to catch up – regardless of their circumstances or background. The extra support for onsite tutors in 2022 will also ensure teaching teams can continue to provide dedicated and individualised support for students who need help. Small schools will also see their funding allocation increased from a minimum of $15,000 to $25,000 per school – allowing them to hire more support for their students after the challenges of 2021. Individual schools will continue to determine how tutoring support is best implemented in their school, ensuring the program is tailored to the needs of each student – with a focus on ensuring all students have caught up on key skills in numeracy and literacy. Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “There’s no question that this pandemic has been a challenge for many students – but we’re making sure no Victorian child is left behind, with thousands of dedicated tutors to make sure everyone can catch up and prepare for a much better 2022.”  “We’re making sure every child across the north east is given the support they need to succeed at school.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino  “Our tutors have done incredible work throughout this year helping students succeed, and Victoria’s nation-leading NAPLAN results are a testament to their dedication and hard work in schools across the state.”    

TUTOR PROGRAM TO CONTINUE IN NORTHERN VICTORIAN SCHOOLS

Tuesday, 5 October 2021 The Victorian Government will make sure that not one school student in Northern Victoria is left behind in the wake of the pandemic, with the state’s extraordinarily successful tutor program to continue until the end of 2022. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced $230.4 million will extend the single biggest boost to individual learning support in the state’s history – allowing Victorian schools to retain the tutors that have supported students throughout 2021. The tutor program has called on pre-service teachers, teachers on leave, retired teachers and casual relief teachers to sign up and get back in the classroom – with at least one tutor in all government schools to ensure every Victorian child comes out of the pandemic with the confidence that their learning is on track. While the past two years have seen some students thrive with the flexibility and self-direction remote learning gave them, for others this period has been profoundly difficult – and the tutors have worked both in the classroom and through remote learning to identify and support the students who needed extra help with their learning. Students who struggled most during the pandemic included those with low levels of English, those already at risk of disengaging from school, or those with home environments not conducive to online learning. The tutors have had a hugely positive impact on hundreds of thousands of students, with Victoria recording nation-leading NAPLAN results in August, and an independent evaluation by Deloitte concluding the initiative improved attendance, achievement, and engagement among students – and had a positive impact on their confidence. Schools are responsible for employing their tutors based on the needs of their students, with tutors offering a range of expertise, experience and support to the students who need it most. Tutors work in small groups to provide tailored support for identified students who need assistance to catch up – regardless of their circumstances or background. The extra support for onsite tutors in 2022 will also ensure teaching teams can continue to provide dedicated and individualised support for students who need help. Small schools will also see their funding allocation increased from a minimum of $15,000 to $25,000 per school – allowing them to hire more support for their students after the challenges of 2021. Individual schools will continue to determine how tutoring support is best implemented in their school, ensuring the program is tailored to the needs of each student – with a focus on ensuring all students have caught up on key skills in numeracy and literacy. Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “There’s no question that this pandemic has been a challenge for many students – but we’re making sure no Victorian child is left behind, with thousands of dedicated tutors to make sure everyone can catch up and prepare for a much better 2022.”  “We’re making sure every child across the north east is given the support they need to succeed at school.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino  “Our tutors have done incredible work throughout this year helping students succeed, and Victoria’s nation-leading NAPLAN results are a testament to their dedication and hard work in schools across the state.”    

Regional Roadmap

For a summary of proposed restriction levels for Regional Victoria please see pdf below.    

Countering Violent Extremism To Keep Victoria Safe

14th September 2021 A new world-leading scheme designed to tackle the early warning signs of radicalisation and violent and extremist behaviour is being set up to help people most at-risk to turn their lives around – keeping them and the community safe. The Terrorism (Community Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 will mean new laws are introduced that tackle the root causes of violent extremism, providing pathways to support vulnerable people to move away from radicalisation. The Bill will establish a voluntary case management scheme for people who are at risk or radicalising towards violent extremism – connecting them with the services they need and providing them with pathways to reconnect with community support. This approach is backed by research which suggests addressing the broader needs of an individual, such as their health, their housing or employment situation, before addressing their extreme views or ideologies can better prevent a potential escalation to terrorist activity. For individuals who cannot be engaged voluntarily and require intervention, the Bill also sets out a Support and Engagement Order (SEO) scheme. This allows the courts to impose conditions on a person identified to be radicalising towards violent extremism where they must comply with a tailored support and engagement plan. The schemes will be supported by a panel of key departments including Education and Training, Justice and Community Safety, Health, and Families, Fairness and Housing and agencies such as Victoria Police. The panel may also include experts in countering violent extremism or practitioners in mental health. The Bill will also mean information is more easily shared between agencies for case management – supporting community safety through greater oversight and better connected and consistent support. The reforms deliver on key recommendations of the Expert Panel on Terrorism and Violent Extremism Prevention and Response Powers, which looked at the effectiveness of Victoria’s legislation and Victorian and Commonwealth agencies to prevent and respond to terrorism in the wake of the 2017 Brighton siege incident. The Bill will also extend the operation of the Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003 for a further ten years, keeping in place vital counter-terrorism preventative and investigative powers that are currently due to expire on 1 December 2021. This is in line with a review of the Act’s effectiveness, fairness and proportionality, which found broad agreement on the ongoing need for these powers to keep the Victorian community safe. Quote attributable to Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes “When it comes to violent extremism, early intervention is key – that’s why we’re introducing reforms that tackle the root causes of radicalisation and help those at-risk people get their lives back on track.” Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “The threat of terrorism requires ongoing caution. We’re making sure that we continue to have strong, effective and balanced measures in place to keep the community safe.”

Countering Violent Extremism To Keep Victoria Safe

14th September 2021 A new world-leading scheme designed to tackle the early warning signs of radicalisation and violent and extremist behaviour is being set up to help people most at-risk to turn their lives around – keeping them and the community safe. The Terrorism (Community Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 will mean new laws are introduced that tackle the root causes of violent extremism, providing pathways to support vulnerable people to move away from radicalisation. The Bill will establish a voluntary case management scheme for people who are at risk or radicalising towards violent extremism – connecting them with the services they need and providing them with pathways to reconnect with community support. This approach is backed by research which suggests addressing the broader needs of an individual, such as their health, their housing or employment situation, before addressing their extreme views or ideologies can better prevent a potential escalation to terrorist activity. For individuals who cannot be engaged voluntarily and require intervention, the Bill also sets out a Support and Engagement Order (SEO) scheme. This allows the courts to impose conditions on a person identified to be radicalising towards violent extremism where they must comply with a tailored support and engagement plan. The schemes will be supported by a panel of key departments including Education and Training, Justice and Community Safety, Health, and Families, Fairness and Housing and agencies such as Victoria Police. The panel may also include experts in countering violent extremism or practitioners in mental health. The Bill will also mean information is more easily shared between agencies for case management – supporting community safety through greater oversight and better connected and consistent support. The reforms deliver on key recommendations of the Expert Panel on Terrorism and Violent Extremism Prevention and Response Powers, which looked at the effectiveness of Victoria’s legislation and Victorian and Commonwealth agencies to prevent and respond to terrorism in the wake of the 2017 Brighton siege incident. The Bill will also extend the operation of the Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003 for a further ten years, keeping in place vital counter-terrorism preventative and investigative powers that are currently due to expire on 1 December 2021. This is in line with a review of the Act’s effectiveness, fairness and proportionality, which found broad agreement on the ongoing need for these powers to keep the Victorian community safe. Quote attributable to Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes “When it comes to violent extremism, early intervention is key – that’s why we’re introducing reforms that tackle the root causes of radicalisation and help those at-risk people get their lives back on track.” Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “The threat of terrorism requires ongoing caution. We’re making sure that we continue to have strong, effective and balanced measures in place to keep the community safe.”

 

SUPPORT TO EDUCATE ALPINE RESIDENTS ON NEW RECYCLING SERVICES

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 Victorian councils are being supported to roll out new education campaigns to help residents understand the four bin recycling system, as part of the Victorian Government’s goal to divert 80% of waste from landfill. All Victorians will soon be sorting their household waste and recycling into four streams – with all local government’s to transition to new glass services by 2027 and new food and garden organics services by 2030. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said Alpine Shire Council was one of 17 councils across the state to share more than $1 million in grants. The funding will support councils to deliver local education campaigns to help residents prepare for the new glass recycling services, food and garden organics services, or improve their existing four-stream household recycling services. Sustainability Victoria will provide communication materials based on behaviour change theory and research, developed in partnership with local government and industry, allowing councils to focus their funding efforts on advertising and engaging with residents. All councils and alpine resort management boards are eligible for funding under the $6.03 million Recycling Victoria Household Education and Behaviour Change Fund to be shared across four funding rounds. For more information on the Fund, visit Sustainability Victoria’s website. The Victorian Government has invested over $515 million to deliver the biggest transformation and reform of Victoria’s waste and recycling industry. This includes $380 million to deliver Recycling Victoria which will fundamentally reduce waste, boost jobs and establish a recycling system Victorians can rely on. Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “We know all Victorians care about recycling and this funding will provide the tools and support to ensure they are using their new services correctly.” “The campaigns will help all Victorians prepare for these new recycling services and understand what is changing and what they need to do.”  “Our new household recycling services will maximise our recycling capacity, create new jobs and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”    

SUPPORT TO EDUCATE ALPINE RESIDENTS ON NEW RECYCLING SERVICES

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 Victorian councils are being supported to roll out new education campaigns to help residents understand the four bin recycling system, as part of the Victorian Government’s goal to divert 80% of waste from landfill. All Victorians will soon be sorting their household waste and recycling into four streams – with all local government’s to transition to new glass services by 2027 and new food and garden organics services by 2030. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said Alpine Shire Council was one of 17 councils across the state to share more than $1 million in grants. The funding will support councils to deliver local education campaigns to help residents prepare for the new glass recycling services, food and garden organics services, or improve their existing four-stream household recycling services. Sustainability Victoria will provide communication materials based on behaviour change theory and research, developed in partnership with local government and industry, allowing councils to focus their funding efforts on advertising and engaging with residents. All councils and alpine resort management boards are eligible for funding under the $6.03 million Recycling Victoria Household Education and Behaviour Change Fund to be shared across four funding rounds. For more information on the Fund, visit Sustainability Victoria’s website. The Victorian Government has invested over $515 million to deliver the biggest transformation and reform of Victoria’s waste and recycling industry. This includes $380 million to deliver Recycling Victoria which will fundamentally reduce waste, boost jobs and establish a recycling system Victorians can rely on. Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “We know all Victorians care about recycling and this funding will provide the tools and support to ensure they are using their new services correctly.” “The campaigns will help all Victorians prepare for these new recycling services and understand what is changing and what they need to do.”  “Our new household recycling services will maximise our recycling capacity, create new jobs and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”    

KINDER UPGRADE BLITZ TO IMPROVE FACILITIES

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 The Victorian Government is making sure young children have access to the best kinder facilities with hundreds of projects to upgrade and improve learning environments while supporting local jobs across Victoria. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced that kindergartens across Benambra have been given at total of $737,297 funding to upgrade amenities and refurbishments from the first round of grants in the $30 million Building Blocks – Refurbishment and Minor Works program. Projects include: Kids on Campus, West Wodona - $491,397 for the refurbishment of three and four year old kindergarten spaces. Dederang Primary School Care - $71,600 for bathroom extension & space for maternal health nurse visits. Kiewa Valley Kindergarten, Tangambalanga - $174,300 for playground upgrade and new building verandah.   In total, $12 million worth of grants will go towards 105 projects at kinders across the state. Forty-seven projects will receive grants of up to $500,000 for major works and refurbishments, while 58 centres will receive grants of up to $50,000 for minor works and refurbishments. Funding in this round will also help boost local economies by supporting more than 180 jobs in construction and associated industries. Building Blocks Grants is a streamlined overarching funding scheme that supports early childhood providers with new and existing infrastructure and facilities for eligible three and four-year-old kindergarten services. For more information about Building Blocks Grants, visit: https://schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Building-Blocks. In an Australian-first, the Government is investing almost $5 billion this decade to provide three-year-old children with access to an additional year of funded kindergarten programs. From 2022, three-year-old children across the state will have access to at least five hours of kindergarten. Services will then scale up their hours to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten roll-out, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested $1.68 billion to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state over this decade. Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “We know the importance of making sure early learning centres across northern Victoria are able to give our local children the best start to their early education.” “This funding not only improves the condition of early childhood buildings, it also supports jobs and local communities.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Building the Education State starts with the early years ─ we are raising the condition of existing kindergartens by ensuring they are modern, safe and fit-for-purpose to give our children the best start.”              

KINDER UPGRADE BLITZ TO IMPROVE FACILITIES

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 The Victorian Government is making sure young children have access to the best kinder facilities with hundreds of projects to upgrade and improve learning environments while supporting local jobs across Victoria. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced that kindergartens across Benambra have been given at total of $737,297 funding to upgrade amenities and refurbishments from the first round of grants in the $30 million Building Blocks – Refurbishment and Minor Works program. Projects include: Kids on Campus, West Wodona - $491,397 for the refurbishment of three and four year old kindergarten spaces. Dederang Primary School Care - $71,600 for bathroom extension & space for maternal health nurse visits. Kiewa Valley Kindergarten, Tangambalanga - $174,300 for playground upgrade and new building verandah.   In total, $12 million worth of grants will go towards 105 projects at kinders across the state. Forty-seven projects will receive grants of up to $500,000 for major works and refurbishments, while 58 centres will receive grants of up to $50,000 for minor works and refurbishments. Funding in this round will also help boost local economies by supporting more than 180 jobs in construction and associated industries. Building Blocks Grants is a streamlined overarching funding scheme that supports early childhood providers with new and existing infrastructure and facilities for eligible three and four-year-old kindergarten services. For more information about Building Blocks Grants, visit: https://schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Building-Blocks. In an Australian-first, the Government is investing almost $5 billion this decade to provide three-year-old children with access to an additional year of funded kindergarten programs. From 2022, three-year-old children across the state will have access to at least five hours of kindergarten. Services will then scale up their hours to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten roll-out, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested $1.68 billion to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state over this decade. Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “We know the importance of making sure early learning centres across northern Victoria are able to give our local children the best start to their early education.” “This funding not only improves the condition of early childhood buildings, it also supports jobs and local communities.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Building the Education State starts with the early years ─ we are raising the condition of existing kindergartens by ensuring they are modern, safe and fit-for-purpose to give our children the best start.”              

UPDATE ON COVID RESTRICTIONS 09/09/21

Please see pdf below for changes to restrictions from 09/09/21.  

Strengthening Anti-Hate Protections In Victoria

2nd Sep 2021 Victoria will become the first state or territory in Australia to make the public display of Nazi symbols illegal – in a landmark reform to help stamp out hateful behaviour and boost human rights protections. The Andrews Labor Government will also extend the state’s anti-vilification protections beyond race and religion to cover areas such as sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and HIV/AIDS status. To help people subjected to vilification seek justice through the courts, the Government will make civil and criminal vilification easier to prove. Earlier this year the Victorian Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee delivered its report on the effectiveness of the state’s anti-vilification laws – which had bipartisan support from the committee. The report found that sadly, vilification is all too common for many Victorians – including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, particular faith groups, those who identify as LGBTIQ+ and people with a disability. The harm caused by hate conduct and vilification can be profound, affecting the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals and often preventing them from feeling comfortable participating in their community. The Government’s response to the report vows to better protect the community from vilification and discriminatory practices, and boost human rights and equal opportunity for all. Planning is underway on the best way to make these changes, with some recommendations requiring the government to change laws and others needing input from the Victorian community – such as community groups that experience vilification. The Government will also legislate a ban on the public display of Nazi symbols, expected in the first half of 2022, in recognition of the rise in neo-Nazi activity and its role in inciting hate behaviour. Extensive consultation will be undertaken on how the Nazi symbol ban is crafted, to ensure appropriate exceptions are in place, such as for educational or historical purposes, or for other uses of the symbol. The Government’s Anti-Racism Taskforce is also developing Victoria’s new Anti-Racism Strategy, which will complement the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations. Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes “All forms of hate are unacceptable and have no place in Victoria – expanding our anti-vilification laws to protect more Victorians sends a clear message that this vile behaviour will not be tolerated.” “I thank the committee and all those who participated in the inquiry for their work on these complex issues. Our new laws will build upon their efforts and we will make sure we consult widely with the community and impacted groups to get the settings right before making legislative changes.” Quote attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence "Nazi symbols glorify one of the most hateful ideologies in human history. We must confront hate, prevent it, and give it no space to grow."

Strengthening Anti-Hate Protections In Victoria

2nd Sep 2021 Victoria will become the first state or territory in Australia to make the public display of Nazi symbols illegal – in a landmark reform to help stamp out hateful behaviour and boost human rights protections. The Andrews Labor Government will also extend the state’s anti-vilification protections beyond race and religion to cover areas such as sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and HIV/AIDS status. To help people subjected to vilification seek justice through the courts, the Government will make civil and criminal vilification easier to prove. Earlier this year the Victorian Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee delivered its report on the effectiveness of the state’s anti-vilification laws – which had bipartisan support from the committee. The report found that sadly, vilification is all too common for many Victorians – including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, particular faith groups, those who identify as LGBTIQ+ and people with a disability. The harm caused by hate conduct and vilification can be profound, affecting the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals and often preventing them from feeling comfortable participating in their community. The Government’s response to the report vows to better protect the community from vilification and discriminatory practices, and boost human rights and equal opportunity for all. Planning is underway on the best way to make these changes, with some recommendations requiring the government to change laws and others needing input from the Victorian community – such as community groups that experience vilification. The Government will also legislate a ban on the public display of Nazi symbols, expected in the first half of 2022, in recognition of the rise in neo-Nazi activity and its role in inciting hate behaviour. Extensive consultation will be undertaken on how the Nazi symbol ban is crafted, to ensure appropriate exceptions are in place, such as for educational or historical purposes, or for other uses of the symbol. The Government’s Anti-Racism Taskforce is also developing Victoria’s new Anti-Racism Strategy, which will complement the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations. Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes “All forms of hate are unacceptable and have no place in Victoria – expanding our anti-vilification laws to protect more Victorians sends a clear message that this vile behaviour will not be tolerated.” “I thank the committee and all those who participated in the inquiry for their work on these complex issues. Our new laws will build upon their efforts and we will make sure we consult widely with the community and impacted groups to get the settings right before making legislative changes.” Quote attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence "Nazi symbols glorify one of the most hateful ideologies in human history. We must confront hate, prevent it, and give it no space to grow."