Regional Challenges Investigated
These two inquiries are among several targeted to issues relevant to regional Victoria.
Hearings have commenced on the preparation for fire seasons. The Environment and Planning Committee recently visited Wodonga and Euroa to hear from community groups, local councils and agencies that coordinate with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
“Individuals are no longer taking sufficient responsibility for their own risk management,” said the Bushfires and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre in its submission to the inquiry. “Information about household preparedness, and warnings about leaving early, are mostly unheeded.”
The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority pointed to the ‘Safer Together’ community awareness program as a “good way to promote a proactive fire season preparedness approach”.
Hearings on this inquiry are continuing, along with public hearings about the Victorian Government’s rate capping policy.
That inquiry is in its third stage, having already presented two reports on the impact of the rate capping policy on councils’ viability, service impacts on local communities and impacts on the provision of local infrastructure.
Each of these inquiries provides an opportunity for regional community leaders to contribute their views. An e-submissions form is available on all Victorian parliamentary committee websites to make it easier to contribute.
Submissions can be as short or as long as people like. What’s important is for committees to hear local community experiences in relation to the issues they are investigating.
Committees can also invite people and organisations to public hearings even if they haven’t made a submission to an inquiry.
The Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee is about to commence a series of public hearings on whether the P-plate licence age in Victoria should be lowered to 17. It is exploring the potential impact that a lower driving age could have in assisting young Victorians access employment, training and educational opportunities in regional Victoria. The committee is interested in speaking with regional community leaders. If you have some views to share and want to be included in the public hearings, email the committee at email@example.com or phone 8682 2845.
Two other parliamentary inquiries will also begin hearings soon across Victoria. The Family and Community Development Committee is looking into the services available for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Legal and Social Issues Committee is undertaking a review of the retirement housing sector. Earlier this year those committees delivered landmark reports on abuse in disability services and end of life choices. The end of life choices report recommended an assisted dying framework for Victoria with significant checks and balances. The findings and recommendations in that report can be read at: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lsic There are various ways in which you can keep up to date with the work of the Victorian Parliament and its committees. To get regular and free news alerts on parliamentary committee inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au and click on the subscribe button for news alerts.
Regular updates on new inquiries, hearings and reports are also available from the Victorian parliamentary committees website at: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/committees
You can also follow the Victorian Parliament’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/VicParliament