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  • Jude Perera

    Jude and his family have lived in the local area since 1989 and have been actively involved in the local community

Media Centre

Major Reforms To Overhaul Bail System Pass Parliament

The Andrews Labor Government’s legislation to toughen Victoria’s bail system and give a higher priority to community safety passed Parliament this week. The Bail Amendment (Stage One) Bill 2017 was introduced last month as part of Victoria’s largest ever suite of legislative measures to crack down on crime and keep the community safe. The reforms will implement key recommendations made by Mr Paul Coghlan QC following the Bourke Street tragedy on 20 January 2017. Under our reforms, it will be harder than ever for serious and violent offenders to get bail. The legislation amends the Bail Act 1977 so that decision makers, including magistrates and judges, will be required to place a higher priority on community safety when making bail decisions. Bail will be refused for a range of new offences, including aggravated home invasion and aggravated carjacking, unless there are exceptional circumstances – bringing them into line with murder and terrorism. Additionally, bail will be refused for many more offences unless the accused can demonstrate compelling reasons. These offences include: rape kidnapping armed robbery intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury with gross violence culpable driving causing death dangerous driving causing death or serious injury dangerous or negligent driving while pursued by police persistent contravention of a family violence intervention order People who commit serious indictable offences while on bail, summons, parole, a community correction order or under sentence will not be granted bail again unless they can prove there are exceptional circumstances. The Government will introduce a second wave of bail reforms later this year which will cover more complex matters, including giving police more powers to remand and clarifying the ‘unacceptable risk’ and ‘reverse onus’ tests. Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula “We’re pleased this important legislation that will make Victoria safer has passed Parliament.” “We’re making it harder than ever to get bail in Victoria, and we’re making community safety a higher priority.”

Major Reforms To Overhaul Bail System Pass Parliament

The Andrews Labor Government’s legislation to toughen Victoria’s bail system and give a higher priority to community safety passed Parliament this week. The Bail Amendment (Stage One) Bill 2017 was introduced last month as part of Victoria’s largest ever suite of legislative measures to crack down on crime and keep the community safe. The reforms will implement key recommendations made by Mr Paul Coghlan QC following the Bourke Street tragedy on 20 January 2017. Under our reforms, it will be harder than ever for serious and violent offenders to get bail. The legislation amends the Bail Act 1977 so that decision makers, including magistrates and judges, will be required to place a higher priority on community safety when making bail decisions. Bail will be refused for a range of new offences, including aggravated home invasion and aggravated carjacking, unless there are exceptional circumstances – bringing them into line with murder and terrorism. Additionally, bail will be refused for many more offences unless the accused can demonstrate compelling reasons. These offences include: rape kidnapping armed robbery intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury with gross violence culpable driving causing death dangerous driving causing death or serious injury dangerous or negligent driving while pursued by police persistent contravention of a family violence intervention order People who commit serious indictable offences while on bail, summons, parole, a community correction order or under sentence will not be granted bail again unless they can prove there are exceptional circumstances. The Government will introduce a second wave of bail reforms later this year which will cover more complex matters, including giving police more powers to remand and clarifying the ‘unacceptable risk’ and ‘reverse onus’ tests. Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula “We’re pleased this important legislation that will make Victoria safer has passed Parliament.” “We’re making it harder than ever to get bail in Victoria, and we’re making community safety a higher priority.”

Liberals Blocking Tax Cuts And Home Ownership Support

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with its plans to slash payroll tax for local businesses and other vital reforms that will make it easier for thousands of Victorians to buy their own home. Under the Labor Government reforms, which will be introduced into Parliament this week, the payroll tax-free threshold will increase to $625,000 as of 1 July this year, and to $650,000 from 1 July 2018 – a change that is set to save about 38,000 Victorian businesses up to $48 million. The payroll tax rate will also be reduced by 25 per cent in regional Victoria – from 4.85 per cent to 3.65 per cent. This significant reduction will benefit about 4,000 businesses in our regions and make regional Victoria’s payroll tax rate the lowest in the country. Farmers won’t miss out either with the removal of insurance duty on agricultural products, making it cheaper for farmers to insure against crop, livestock and equipment damage. The Bill also includes significant changes to make buying a house more affordable, including  the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to $600,000 and cuts to stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000. The First Home Owner Grant will be doubled to $20,000 in regional Victoria to make it easier for people to build and stay in their community. The Bill also contains provisions that allow Victorian members of the Australian Defence Force to meet eligibility criteria for the First Home Owner Grant. Off the plan stamp duty concessions for investment properties will be abolished, along with the introduction of a  vacant residential property tax to address the number of properties being left empty across the inner and middle suburbs of Melbourne. It’s time for the Liberal Party to stop playing politics and pass the Bill, which will put the dream of home ownership in the grasp of more Victorians and save local businesses thousands of dollars a year. Quotes attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas “We are getting on with these vital reforms that will slash payroll tax for local businesses and make it easier for thousands of Victorians to buy their own home.”  “The Liberal Party need to stop playing politics and pass these reforms – which are good for business, good for our economy and good for Victorians – wherever they live.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford “This is a win for first home buyers in regional Victoria, and it’s a win for local jobs too. By doubling the grant for first home buyers and slashing payroll tax for business, we’re giving regional Victorians even more reason to stay.”

Liberals Blocking Tax Cuts And Home Ownership Support

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with its plans to slash payroll tax for local businesses and other vital reforms that will make it easier for thousands of Victorians to buy their own home. Under the Labor Government reforms, which will be introduced into Parliament this week, the payroll tax-free threshold will increase to $625,000 as of 1 July this year, and to $650,000 from 1 July 2018 – a change that is set to save about 38,000 Victorian businesses up to $48 million. The payroll tax rate will also be reduced by 25 per cent in regional Victoria – from 4.85 per cent to 3.65 per cent. This significant reduction will benefit about 4,000 businesses in our regions and make regional Victoria’s payroll tax rate the lowest in the country. Farmers won’t miss out either with the removal of insurance duty on agricultural products, making it cheaper for farmers to insure against crop, livestock and equipment damage. The Bill also includes significant changes to make buying a house more affordable, including  the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to $600,000 and cuts to stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000. The First Home Owner Grant will be doubled to $20,000 in regional Victoria to make it easier for people to build and stay in their community. The Bill also contains provisions that allow Victorian members of the Australian Defence Force to meet eligibility criteria for the First Home Owner Grant. Off the plan stamp duty concessions for investment properties will be abolished, along with the introduction of a  vacant residential property tax to address the number of properties being left empty across the inner and middle suburbs of Melbourne. It’s time for the Liberal Party to stop playing politics and pass the Bill, which will put the dream of home ownership in the grasp of more Victorians and save local businesses thousands of dollars a year. Quotes attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas “We are getting on with these vital reforms that will slash payroll tax for local businesses and make it easier for thousands of Victorians to buy their own home.”  “The Liberal Party need to stop playing politics and pass these reforms – which are good for business, good for our economy and good for Victorians – wherever they live.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford “This is a win for first home buyers in regional Victoria, and it’s a win for local jobs too. By doubling the grant for first home buyers and slashing payroll tax for business, we’re giving regional Victorians even more reason to stay.”

Protecting Victoria From Terror

The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Victoria Police and other law enforcement agencies have all the powers they need to protect the community from terrorism and violent extremism. Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that a new expert panel will carry out a root-and-branch review of the laws currently available to prevent, investigate, monitor and respond to acts of terror. The Expert Panel will be led by former Chief Commissioner of Police, Ken Lay, and former Supreme Court of Appeal Justice, the Hon David Harper. It will look at all options available at all stages of the system – including pre-charge, pre-sentence, during sentence and post-sentence measures. It will also provide advice on removing any barriers to Victoria Police in responding to terrorist acts. Recent terrorist incidents in Manchester and London, the Brighton siege in Melbourne, and the Lindt Café siege in Sydney show that the threat from terror is real – and we must act to make sure we have the best powers, procedures and laws in place to keep Victorians safe. The Panel will report to Government within weeks on practical reform options to the powers, guidance and protections available to Victoria Police, with a more detailed report on wider reforms across the entire justice system to follow in coming months. All relevant agencies will have a say – from Victoria Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions, through to Federal security agencies – to make sure there is no stone left unturned and every option is considered. The work of the Panel will build on the considerable reforms that have already progressed at both a state and Commonwealth level to fight terror and keep Victorians safe. These measures include presumptions against bail for those who publicly support terrorism or are charged with terror-related offences, and working to establish a post-sentence preventative detention scheme. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We make no apologies for doing whatever it takes to keep Victorians safe from terror.” “This may not be popular, but we will act to make sure our police and the courts have the powers they need to prevent and respond to terrorism and violent extremism in our community.” Quote attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula “This review will look at our entire law enforcement framework, to ensure we have the strongest laws, powers and procedures in place to protect Victorians.” Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “We need to ensure that police have the powers needed to respond to the changing challenges posed by terrorism. This will be a critical part of reducing risk for the Victorian community.”

Protecting Victoria From Terror

The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Victoria Police and other law enforcement agencies have all the powers they need to protect the community from terrorism and violent extremism. Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that a new expert panel will carry out a root-and-branch review of the laws currently available to prevent, investigate, monitor and respond to acts of terror. The Expert Panel will be led by former Chief Commissioner of Police, Ken Lay, and former Supreme Court of Appeal Justice, the Hon David Harper. It will look at all options available at all stages of the system – including pre-charge, pre-sentence, during sentence and post-sentence measures. It will also provide advice on removing any barriers to Victoria Police in responding to terrorist acts. Recent terrorist incidents in Manchester and London, the Brighton siege in Melbourne, and the Lindt Café siege in Sydney show that the threat from terror is real – and we must act to make sure we have the best powers, procedures and laws in place to keep Victorians safe. The Panel will report to Government within weeks on practical reform options to the powers, guidance and protections available to Victoria Police, with a more detailed report on wider reforms across the entire justice system to follow in coming months. All relevant agencies will have a say – from Victoria Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions, through to Federal security agencies – to make sure there is no stone left unturned and every option is considered. The work of the Panel will build on the considerable reforms that have already progressed at both a state and Commonwealth level to fight terror and keep Victorians safe. These measures include presumptions against bail for those who publicly support terrorism or are charged with terror-related offences, and working to establish a post-sentence preventative detention scheme. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We make no apologies for doing whatever it takes to keep Victorians safe from terror.” “This may not be popular, but we will act to make sure our police and the courts have the powers they need to prevent and respond to terrorism and violent extremism in our community.” Quote attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula “This review will look at our entire law enforcement framework, to ensure we have the strongest laws, powers and procedures in place to protect Victorians.” Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “We need to ensure that police have the powers needed to respond to the changing challenges posed by terrorism. This will be a critical part of reducing risk for the Victorian community.”

Upgrading Kinders And Childcare Centres Brick By Brick

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure more families can access better local kindergartens and early childhood centres by building and upgrading early year’s facilities across Victoria. Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today opened the 2017-18 Children’s Facilities Capital Program Major Grants, which provides grants of up to $1.6 million to build new facilities, integrate services and upgrade existing facilities. Local councils and kindergarten operators can apply for grants to build and significantly refurbish their centres across three categories: Up to $1.6 million to build children’s hubs for early years and family services, co-locating kinder with Maternal and Child Health services, playgroups and parenting support Up to $650,000 to build new early learning facilities Up to $350,000 for significant upgrades to existing facilities The Labor Government is investing a record $70 million to build, expand and upgrade early years infrastructure across Victoria, including $10 million targeting growth areas. Research shows that children who have a stimulating, supportive and healthy start to life are more likely to do well later in life, and that children who attend kinder score between 10 and 20 points higher on NAPLAN tests. Families will also benefit from the Government’s $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, announced in this year’s Victorian Budget 2017/18. This ground-breaking plan recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so kids are ready for kinder and ready for school. It will mean parents can access improved parenting support and Maternal and Child Health Services, as well as higher quality and more inclusive kindergartens. In an Australian first, kinders will also receive an extra $55 million to help children who are facing particular challenges, including speech therapy, and literacy and numeracy support. Applications for funding through the 2017-18 Children’s Facilities Capital Program’s Major Grants close on 15 September. For more information go to: schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos “This is about investing in our children by giving families flexible, accessible and affordable local kindergarten and childcare services.” “We are improving kindergartens to make sure our kids can enjoy the benefits that quality early years education and care provides.”

Upgrading Kinders And Childcare Centres Brick By Brick

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure more families can access better local kindergartens and early childhood centres by building and upgrading early year’s facilities across Victoria. Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today opened the 2017-18 Children’s Facilities Capital Program Major Grants, which provides grants of up to $1.6 million to build new facilities, integrate services and upgrade existing facilities. Local councils and kindergarten operators can apply for grants to build and significantly refurbish their centres across three categories: Up to $1.6 million to build children’s hubs for early years and family services, co-locating kinder with Maternal and Child Health services, playgroups and parenting support Up to $650,000 to build new early learning facilities Up to $350,000 for significant upgrades to existing facilities The Labor Government is investing a record $70 million to build, expand and upgrade early years infrastructure across Victoria, including $10 million targeting growth areas. Research shows that children who have a stimulating, supportive and healthy start to life are more likely to do well later in life, and that children who attend kinder score between 10 and 20 points higher on NAPLAN tests. Families will also benefit from the Government’s $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, announced in this year’s Victorian Budget 2017/18. This ground-breaking plan recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so kids are ready for kinder and ready for school. It will mean parents can access improved parenting support and Maternal and Child Health Services, as well as higher quality and more inclusive kindergartens. In an Australian first, kinders will also receive an extra $55 million to help children who are facing particular challenges, including speech therapy, and literacy and numeracy support. Applications for funding through the 2017-18 Children’s Facilities Capital Program’s Major Grants close on 15 September. For more information go to: schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos “This is about investing in our children by giving families flexible, accessible and affordable local kindergarten and childcare services.” “We are improving kindergartens to make sure our kids can enjoy the benefits that quality early years education and care provides.”

 

Intervening Early To Support Vulnerable Families

The Andrews Labor Government is intervening earlier so that vulnerable families and children are better supported to stay together. Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos announced $29.2 million for ChildFirst and family services to work with more than 2,000 additional families at risk of becoming involved with child protection or out-of-home care at today’s Roadmap for Reform symposium. The funding was provided in the Victorian Budget 2017/18 and incorporates $5.1 million to trial and evaluate evidence-based programs that improve family capability and child safety through a state-wide submission process to open next month. The latest investment will enable the child and family services system to identify families at risk earlier and connect them with the right support services. A new evidence-based strategy and grant funding opportunities will transform support for the child and family services sector, to ensure services are evidence-based, improve outcomes and provide better support to some of the state’s most vulnerable people. Ms Mikakos also launched the Children and Families Research Strategy 2017-2019 at today’s symposium, which will develop the evidence-base and provide grant funding opportunities for the sector. The Labor Government is providing $800,000 to improve collaboration between practitioners and researchers in the sector, and to record their own evidence-based data. Front-line staff, researchers and policy makers will work together to support vulnerable families and children, based on evidence. Child and family services will be able to share their knowledge about the services and approaches that they know work through the newly created Outcomes, Practice and Evidence Network (OPEN). OPEN will be sector-driven and managed by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. The Children and Families Research Strategy 2017-2019 and information on the learning system grants can be accessed at strongfamiliessafechildren.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos “We know that prevention and early intervention is the most effective way to prevent harm, abuse or neglect. That’s why we are working with families to ensure they can provide a safe and stable environment at home.” “We are ensuring that vulnerable families are better supported much earlier so that every Victorian child has the best start in life and the best chance to reach their full potential.” Quote attributable to CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Deb Tsorbaris “The Centre is pleased to see the government investing in early intervention and prevention services to work with vulnerable families. We believe this will prevent children and young people going into care.”

Intervening Early To Support Vulnerable Families

The Andrews Labor Government is intervening earlier so that vulnerable families and children are better supported to stay together. Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos announced $29.2 million for ChildFirst and family services to work with more than 2,000 additional families at risk of becoming involved with child protection or out-of-home care at today’s Roadmap for Reform symposium. The funding was provided in the Victorian Budget 2017/18 and incorporates $5.1 million to trial and evaluate evidence-based programs that improve family capability and child safety through a state-wide submission process to open next month. The latest investment will enable the child and family services system to identify families at risk earlier and connect them with the right support services. A new evidence-based strategy and grant funding opportunities will transform support for the child and family services sector, to ensure services are evidence-based, improve outcomes and provide better support to some of the state’s most vulnerable people. Ms Mikakos also launched the Children and Families Research Strategy 2017-2019 at today’s symposium, which will develop the evidence-base and provide grant funding opportunities for the sector. The Labor Government is providing $800,000 to improve collaboration between practitioners and researchers in the sector, and to record their own evidence-based data. Front-line staff, researchers and policy makers will work together to support vulnerable families and children, based on evidence. Child and family services will be able to share their knowledge about the services and approaches that they know work through the newly created Outcomes, Practice and Evidence Network (OPEN). OPEN will be sector-driven and managed by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. The Children and Families Research Strategy 2017-2019 and information on the learning system grants can be accessed at strongfamiliessafechildren.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos “We know that prevention and early intervention is the most effective way to prevent harm, abuse or neglect. That’s why we are working with families to ensure they can provide a safe and stable environment at home.” “We are ensuring that vulnerable families are better supported much earlier so that every Victorian child has the best start in life and the best chance to reach their full potential.” Quote attributable to CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Deb Tsorbaris “The Centre is pleased to see the government investing in early intervention and prevention services to work with vulnerable families. We believe this will prevent children and young people going into care.”

More Corrections Staff To Keep The Community Safe

The Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in community corrections is helping to keep Victorians safe with more staff added to the ranks. Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney joined 38 new Advanced Case Managers at their graduation ceremony today – meaning there are now more than 900 Community Correctional Services (CCS) staff in Victoria. Today’s graduates come from all walks-of-life with extensive case management backgrounds in the areas of disability services, child protection and mental health. The Labor Government has spent more than $320 million strengthening and expanding CCS, adding more than 300 additional staff to respond to growth in the number of people on community based court orders. More than 100 new Advanced Case Manager positions have been added to the community corrections system in the last year with around 40 per cent of these new roles based in regional Victoria. The former government’s community corrections model failed with a substantial number of offenders not completing their court orders because of the Liberals under resourcing and mismanagement of the system. There was a lack of proper risk assessment, not enough staff, and not enough training and support. The Labor Government’s record investment helped introduce a new operating model early this year. The new model is providing more intensive case management and better-targeted rehabilitation and support services, and behavioural programs to reduce reoffending. The Labor Government has also opened new Justice Service Centres or CCS offices at Wonthaggi, Cranbourne, Pakenham, South Morang, Warrnambool and Derrimut with more to follow in the coming months. Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney “Our record investment in Community Correctional Services is helping to keep the community safe.” “Only the Andrews Labor Government will give the community corrections system the resources needed to keep Victorians safe.” “We’re employing more staff than ever before which means they can reduce their caseloads to more intensely manage offenders on court orders.”

More Corrections Staff To Keep The Community Safe

The Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in community corrections is helping to keep Victorians safe with more staff added to the ranks. Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney joined 38 new Advanced Case Managers at their graduation ceremony today – meaning there are now more than 900 Community Correctional Services (CCS) staff in Victoria. Today’s graduates come from all walks-of-life with extensive case management backgrounds in the areas of disability services, child protection and mental health. The Labor Government has spent more than $320 million strengthening and expanding CCS, adding more than 300 additional staff to respond to growth in the number of people on community based court orders. More than 100 new Advanced Case Manager positions have been added to the community corrections system in the last year with around 40 per cent of these new roles based in regional Victoria. The former government’s community corrections model failed with a substantial number of offenders not completing their court orders because of the Liberals under resourcing and mismanagement of the system. There was a lack of proper risk assessment, not enough staff, and not enough training and support. The Labor Government’s record investment helped introduce a new operating model early this year. The new model is providing more intensive case management and better-targeted rehabilitation and support services, and behavioural programs to reduce reoffending. The Labor Government has also opened new Justice Service Centres or CCS offices at Wonthaggi, Cranbourne, Pakenham, South Morang, Warrnambool and Derrimut with more to follow in the coming months. Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney “Our record investment in Community Correctional Services is helping to keep the community safe.” “Only the Andrews Labor Government will give the community corrections system the resources needed to keep Victorians safe.” “We’re employing more staff than ever before which means they can reduce their caseloads to more intensely manage offenders on court orders.”

Financial Counsellors Supporting Family Violence Victims

The Andrews Labor Government’s specialist family violence financial counselling service has helped more than 1100 victims across Victoria since October. Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz today visited the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service in St Albans, where family violence financial counsellors have so far supported 44 women living in the Brimbank and Melton areas. In September 2016, the Labor Government announced $1.75 million to train and employ 10 full-time family violence financial counsellors at 14 agencies across the state. The counsellors help vulnerable women access financial hardship programs and negotiate with creditors and debt collectors to protect assets from repossession. Family violence perpetrators can trap their victims in violent relationships by taking control of their victim’s money – making them financially dependent on their abuser. Funding for family violence financial counsellors is provided as part of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Financial Counselling Program (FCP) – a free, independent and confidential phone or face-to-face service delivered by community agencies across Victoria. The FCP includes 74 full-time equivalent counsellors and is supported by the National Debt Helpline website and telephone service. The family violence financial counselling service is a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and is part of the Labor Government’s unprecedented investment in addressing Victoria’s number one law and order issue. Victorians experiencing financial difficulty can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit moneyhelp.org.au for information and advice. Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz “We’re the first state Government in Australia to fund financial counsellors specifically for family violence victims – an initiative that is already improving the lives of those who need it most.” “Good Shepherd clients are dealing with a range of issues, including abusive partners incurring fines in their name and utility debts after moving home.” “The Andrews Labor Government’s family violence financial counselling program is helping victims leave abusive relationships and rebuild their lives.”

Financial Counsellors Supporting Family Violence Victims

The Andrews Labor Government’s specialist family violence financial counselling service has helped more than 1100 victims across Victoria since October. Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz today visited the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service in St Albans, where family violence financial counsellors have so far supported 44 women living in the Brimbank and Melton areas. In September 2016, the Labor Government announced $1.75 million to train and employ 10 full-time family violence financial counsellors at 14 agencies across the state. The counsellors help vulnerable women access financial hardship programs and negotiate with creditors and debt collectors to protect assets from repossession. Family violence perpetrators can trap their victims in violent relationships by taking control of their victim’s money – making them financially dependent on their abuser. Funding for family violence financial counsellors is provided as part of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Financial Counselling Program (FCP) – a free, independent and confidential phone or face-to-face service delivered by community agencies across Victoria. The FCP includes 74 full-time equivalent counsellors and is supported by the National Debt Helpline website and telephone service. The family violence financial counselling service is a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and is part of the Labor Government’s unprecedented investment in addressing Victoria’s number one law and order issue. Victorians experiencing financial difficulty can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit moneyhelp.org.au for information and advice. Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz “We’re the first state Government in Australia to fund financial counsellors specifically for family violence victims – an initiative that is already improving the lives of those who need it most.” “Good Shepherd clients are dealing with a range of issues, including abusive partners incurring fines in their name and utility debts after moving home.” “The Andrews Labor Government’s family violence financial counselling program is helping victims leave abusive relationships and rebuild their lives.”

Grants To Give People With A Disability More Access

The Andrews Labor Government is investing $2 million in new accessible bathrooms across the state, to boost access and equality for Victorians with a disability. Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley today urged local governments and not-for-profit organisations to apply for one of 20 grants to help build a Changing Place in their community. Changing Places are larger than standard accessible toilets that have extra features and more space to meet the needs of people with a disability. Each facility has a height-adjustable, adult-size changing bench, a tracking hoist system and space for two people in a safe and clean environment. The facilities support more than 326,000 Victorians with complex disabilities and enable greater participation within the community. The Labor Government has funded Changing Places at Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria Park in Ballarat and a mobile Marveloo available for public hire at events and festivals managed by Maroondah City council. A sixth facility located in the Shepparton CBD is scheduled for completion this year. Applications are open until 13 October. For more information go to www.dhs.vic.gov.au/changingplaces Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley “Changing Places are changing lives for people with a disability – that’s why we’re investing in them.” “Building more of these bigger, safer, more accessible bathrooms will enable people with disabilities to live their lives with greater freedom, and participate more fully in our community.”

Grants To Give People With A Disability More Access

The Andrews Labor Government is investing $2 million in new accessible bathrooms across the state, to boost access and equality for Victorians with a disability. Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley today urged local governments and not-for-profit organisations to apply for one of 20 grants to help build a Changing Place in their community. Changing Places are larger than standard accessible toilets that have extra features and more space to meet the needs of people with a disability. Each facility has a height-adjustable, adult-size changing bench, a tracking hoist system and space for two people in a safe and clean environment. The facilities support more than 326,000 Victorians with complex disabilities and enable greater participation within the community. The Labor Government has funded Changing Places at Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria Park in Ballarat and a mobile Marveloo available for public hire at events and festivals managed by Maroondah City council. A sixth facility located in the Shepparton CBD is scheduled for completion this year. Applications are open until 13 October. For more information go to www.dhs.vic.gov.au/changingplaces Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley “Changing Places are changing lives for people with a disability – that’s why we’re investing in them.” “Building more of these bigger, safer, more accessible bathrooms will enable people with disabilities to live their lives with greater freedom, and participate more fully in our community.”