I spent last week in Parliament.
An important piece of legislation that passed in the legislative assembly this week was the Public Health and Well-Being Amendment (No Jab No Play) Bill 2015.
The purpose of this bill is to increase immunisation rates for young children in the community. Under No Jab No Play all children will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to be enrolled in childcare and/or kindergarten in Victoria. This will come into operation on 1 January 2016. Only children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will be exempt from the new law. Conscientious objection will not be an exception. You can find out more about this legislation including a Q&A sheet at http://www.health.vic.gov.au/immunisation/factsheets/no-jab-no-play.htm
I used my question without notice in parliament to ask the Minister for Public Transport to advise as to when the community can expect the outcome of the consultation to be released and when the government’s response to the plan will be announced. The Minister said that she expects the government’s response to the plan would be released in a couple of months. You can find my question here: http://hansard.parliament.vic.gov.au/isysquery/4b3ee096-0352-4b97-8050-0fa41c47690c/1/doc/
Water has been a major issue in our northern Victorian communities for many years and remains so. I have invited a range of stakeholders to attend a Murray Darling Basin Water Summit at Tatura on 28 October 2015. The Minister for Climate Change Water and Environment will be attending throughout the summit. The aim is to understand the range of scenarios for northern Victorian communities resulting from the sustainable diversion limit negotiations with the federal government in 2016 and to help provide a credible and evidence-based platform for the Victorian government to use in its negotiations federally.
I attended many local events over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, I attended the Shepp Show. There were 14 train cakes entered for the All Aboard Shepparton Bake off. The winning cake was made by Michael Welk. Along with the Shepp Show’s prize, Vline donated a voucher to the winner which allows for four people to travel on a train anywhere in Victoria. I would like to thank all of those who participated in the competition and the help received from the Shepparton Agricultural Show and Vline. It was great to wander around the show and catch up with people showing their animals and produce and otherwise enjoying what was on display.
It was my pleasure to speak in Nathalia at the GRAIN Store’s exhibition “Ray Sizer Selects: Photographs from Our Grand, Grand Tours”. Ray Sizer is a wonderful Shepparton photographer and creator of what he has called ephemeral art. It was a pleasure to see his works and those of 26 other local photographers and to support local art.
On Sunday, I spoke at the Goulburn Valley Regional Council of St Vincent de Paul Society Vic Festival Celebration Lunch in Tatura. There are approximately 300 groups of members known as ‘conferences’ operating across Victoria with 10 operating within the Goulburn Valley Region. Little Government funding is received by the Society so these conferences rely on funds generated by the Vinnies Centres of which there are 6 in the Region. I spoke about areas of disadvantage in our community including unemployment, mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems. I was pleased to be able to congratulate all the St Vincent’s volunteers on the great work that they do in our community.
I will be travelling through south western Victoria for a couple of days this week taking evidence and visiting sites associated with the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services.
Have a good week.