The response of local government across my electorate to respond to the myriad of stresses and needs of their residents has been dynamic and with a huge heart. They have pivoted to the needs of their residents, ramped up services, created new service where there were gaps, providing financial and emotional support. This will need to continue through the response and recovery phases and I thank them for their diligence and commitment.
Kiewa Valley Kindergarten was offered a lifeline last week, with the news that the Government has now guaranteed their funding for Terms Two and Three.
Alicia Little died on 28 December 2017, leaving a heartbroken family including four children.
Alicia sustained critical injuries after being crushed against a water tank by the car her fiancé was driving. Her injuries were horrific and, despite efforts by attending paramedics and police, she did not survive.
Restrictions across the borders into New South Wales and South Australia continue to impact the lives of tens of thousands of people across Northern Victoria.
Over the last eight weeks, we’ve seen instances where changes to permits were imposed without 24 hours notice, valid permits were cancelled overnight and health clinicians, students, teachers, farmers, businesses and the general public were left flummoxed and uncertain about their eligibility.
For many residents, loneliness is an increasing issue with no visits from family, no outings, no special guests for singalongs or other activities that bring stimulation and joy to their days. There is no substitute for human contact and many families report to me the stress on both sides of not being able to visit their parent in aged care and the psychological impact of continued lockdown.
Through this Members Statement, I wish to raise my concerns about a recent incident, and the fallout from that incident, at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre in my electorate. Reportedly, this was also the latest in a series of around 30 serious assaults committed against staff and other inmates by this same offender. This elicits a number of questions, one being, what the implications are for the Government’s minimum sentencing laws for attacks on staff at Youth Justice Centres and other emergency workers.
Today, I want to talk more specifically about some of the (many) everyday difficulties and anomalies it has generated.
Among these are the innumerable problems associated with obtaining (and retaining) permits, especially for health professionals. Confusion likewise reigns for students and their families and, especially cruelly, for people trying to care for loved ones, including those with terminal illnesses and those going through pregnancy.
The people of Northern Victoria are experiencing ridiculously bureaucratic, illogical and unequal treatment.
The border restrictions imposed by the New South Wales Government continue to deliver personal and traumatic impacts to residents in Northern Victoria, denying people access to work, services and family. These communities have low – and in some cases no – cases of coronavirus, and the restrictions are completely disproportionate to the risk, serving absolutely no purpose than to delivery misery to families already under enormous stress.
Regrettably, the shock 6 July announcement of the shutdown of the Victoria-New South Wales border has meant that many individuals, businesses and other organisations in border communities (where there still remain no, or very low numbers of, cases of coronavirus) are now being excessively punished for the mistakes of others elsewhere.
I had the great pleasure last week of visiting the Wangaratta District Specialist School. A shout out and thank you to their engaging students, to their energetic Principal, Chris Harvison, and the incredible staff.