Vic. Parliament News – March 2017

The next chapter at Victoria’s Parliament

The future will be in full focus at the Victorian Parliament this month.

The doors of Parliament House will open on Sunday 19 March for a community day that will explore the next chapter in the story of our iconic Victorian landmark.

A special invitation is extended to people living in regional Victoria to take advantage of this rare weekend opening.

Built in stages, and with construction of the next major stage under way, this year’s Open Day will be an opportunity for people to see the work in progress at Parliament House.

Some of the latest environmental technology is being used in the construction of a new annexe at the rear of Parliament House that will replace a temporary annexe from the 1970s that was riddled with problems and demolished last year.

A geoexchange system is being installed that has fluid circulating through a loop to provide a cost‑effective, energy efficient and environmentally friendly method for heating and cooling the new building.

Displays at Open Day will help to explain some of these innovative features of our new construction project, which is being undertaken at the same time as major stone restoration work is proceeding around the outside of Parliament House.

If you can’t make it on 19 March and want to stroll through Parliament without leaving home, then why not try one of the new virtual tours available from our website. The Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council chambers, Library, Queen’s Hall and Vestibule all feature on this virtual journey.

The new virtual tours are part of efforts to make more digital resources available to people interested in finding out about the Victorian Parliament and the historic building in which it meets. Many of these resources will be directed towards schools and education programs, to help Victorians better understand the work and processes of parliament.

We are currently undertaking a survey of teachers to help us determine how our programs and resources can better meet their needs in teaching the civics and citizenship curriculum. We hope that teachers in regional Victoria will take part in the survey and invite people to share the link to the survey with any teachers they know. The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LKFL9WS.

Teachers who complete the survey can enter the draw for Parliament House high tea or book vouchers.

This month our parliamentary committees are also looking to the future in the inquiries they are undertaking.

A report into the retirement housing sector in Victoria is due to be tabled in March with findings and recommendations from a detailed investigation that held public hearings in a number of regional centres. The report will be available after tabling from the Legal and Social Issues Committee’s website.

The benefits, manufacturing and applicability of electric vehicles in Victoria is being examined in a new public inquiry by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee. The Committee welcomes community input and is calling for written submissions to be lodged by Thursday 1 June 2017. More information on making a submission is available from the Committee’s website.

The drug law reform inquiry is also seeking community input as it examines how effectively laws, procedures and regulations minimise drug-related harms. People and organisations in regional Victoria are encouraged to share their views and experiences with the inquiry by 17 March. See the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee’s website for more details.

Free updates on Victorian parliamentary committee inquiries are available by signing up to Parliament News alerts

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Kat Baddeley

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