Members Statement- Border closure difficulties and anomalies

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.

Members Statement- Border restrictions and the terminally ill

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.

Adjournment- Coronavirus changes to court and bail arrangements

My matter is for the Attorney-General. Through it, I again want to express the concerns of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party about the changes during the coronavirus period to court processes, and bail arrangements and conditions. Through this adjournment matter, the action I seek is that the Attorney provide me with key statistics reflecting the practical impact of these various changes.

Adjournment- Suppression orders

My adjournment matter is for the Attorney-General. It concerns the serial, continued use of suppression orders by Victorian courts. People are entitled to expect that the principles of transparency and openness will always be fundamental to the conduct of court cases in Victoria. The action I seek from the Attorney-General is that she provide an explanation of what remedies will be pursued by the Government in order to overcome the over-use of suppression orders and the courts’ failure to correctly notify the public about them in many cases.

Adjournment- Therapeutic justice

My adjournment matter is for the Attorney-General. It is about therapeutic justice.  This is a term that essentially refers to the use of non-traditional approaches to the sentencing of offenders. The Department of Justice Annual Report 2017-2018 cites funding of $1.1m over two years specifically for this. I ask the Attorney-General if she can indicate what the nature and results of that funding so far have been.

Constituency question- COVID checking of bus and train passengers to Northern Victoria

My question is to the Minister for Public Transport and I ask the Minister what is being done to ensure that passengers on VLine bus and train services are complying with COVID restrictions when travelling from Melbourne to my electorate.

Constituency question- Snow industry assistance

My question is to the Minister for Coordination of Jobs and I ask the Minister as to what practical actions will the Government be taking to provide new, urgently needed assistance to the snow industry and businesses within during the covid period.

Constituency question- Financial assistance for sole traders

My question is to the Minister for Coordination of Jobs, Precincts and Regions – COVID-19. I asked the Minister what further actions will be taken to support sole traders, including in tourism, in desperate and urgent need of help in my electorate.

Adjournment- Concerns of CFA volunteers

The action I seek from the Emergency Services Minister is that she participate, with me, in an online meeting with CFA volunteers from my electorate. I request this because volunteers continue to express to me their considerable frustration and disenchantment with the implementation of Victoria’s fire services restructure. CFA volunteers are feeling increasingly undervalued, unappreciated and disillusioned.  They also believe that Victoria’s until-now longstanding volunteer firefighting model and ethos is in danger of collapse. 

Constituency Question- Workers' non-access to cross-border permits

As a result of the staggering recent decision to close the Victoria-New South Wales border for the first time in over 100 years, there are now thousands of residents in our electorate of Northern Victoria who are being prevented from attending work each day.

Constituency Question- Eligibility for Small Business Bushfire Support Grant

Many small business owners and primary producers in my electorate, in the Towong, Alpine and Indigo Shires, have applied for the $10,000 Small Business Bushfire Support Grant in the wake of the disastrous 2019-20 bushfires. Unfortunately it appears that many applicants’ claims for support have been rejected – because of the near-universal application of the strict 40% revenue decline rule.

Constituency Question- Travel for real estate inspections during COVID

My constituents, especially around Mansfield, are telling me that a host of people have been travelling to Northern Victoria from Melbourne during recent weeks.  Many of these visitors are saying that they have come to inspect local real estate. To my great surprise, I understand this has been permitted as a reason to leave home – even under restrictions that purport to allow only essential movement.

Members Statement- Border closure

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.

Members Statement- Wangaratta Specialist School

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.

Speech - Sentencing Amendment (Emergency Worker Harm) Bill 2020

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party has, for some time, been pushing for the type of action that is reflected in this Bill. There is an unmistakable and urgent need for changes to this area of law that better safeguarded emergency workers from assaults, and more effectively prevented the perpetrators of such assaults from avoiding minimum sentences.

Adjournment- Illegal tobacco

My matter, for the Health Minister, is about the general lack of success and enthusiasm of Victorian health officials to curtail illegal tobacco retailing.

Speech - Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2019

The Derryn Hinch's Justice Party did not support this bill, as evidence and argument left us concerned about the practical impacts of the establishment of a new regime under which lawyers can charge contingency fees.

Question without Notice - Health spending priorities

My question is to the Health Minister, Ms Mikakos. Billions of dollars of unscheduled expenditure is being spent in the health portfolio, can she now tell us how COVID-19 expenditure pressures have altered the Government’s overall future spending priorities (and savings priorities) in the Health portfolio for the remainder of the two-and-a-half years of this term of Parliament?

Constituency Question - Exemptions for retirement villages

My question is to the Minister for Consumer Affairs. Constituents within a Wangaratta retirement village are asking for reassurance that there will not be changes to the application of the exit entitlements regulation for departing residents.

Members Statement - Exceptional Woman in Victorian Resources

Congratulations to Sue Mills from Bendigo East, who has been named 2020’s exceptional woman in Victorian resources.