Vic. Parliament News – October 2016

Parliamentary inquiries speak to regional Victoria

Victorian parliamentary committees are conducting public hearings and community forums in various locations in regional Victoria over the coming month.

A comprehensive inquiry into the retirement housing sector in Victoria is being conducted by the Legal and Social Issues Committee, which has received more than 760 submissions. Public hearings have been held in Melbourne and Mornington, and the Committee will be in Ballarat on 19 October to hear from residents of retirement villages, the City of Ballarat and a retirement housing operator.

Stockland, the operator of 29 retirement villages across Victoria, recently told the Committee: “A new approach to encouraging and managing retirement housing is required to ensure that into the future retirees have adequate choice of housing and receive appropriate services, support and care.”

It was one of several retirement housing operators that have giving evidence to the inquiry. More regional hearings are planned into November.

The inquiry into lowering the P-plate licence age in Victoria recently visited Wodonga where it heard from the Wodonga Chamber of Commerce, Wodonga TAFE and students of Wodonga Senior Secondary College.

The Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee has been hearing both sides of the argument. Some have suggested that a lower P-plate age could help young people’s employment prospects, particularly in regional Victoria. Others have cautioned about the safety risks associated with a lower driving age.

Hearings on the issue have also been held in Warrnambool and Ballarat as the Committee seeks a range of perspectives before presenting its report to Parliament.

The Committee also has received a government response to a recent report it presented on fuel drive-offs. The government response is available from the Committee’s website along with the original report.

The invasive animals inquiry is heading to Bright and Mansfield on 19 and 20 October for public hearings and a community forum, having recently visited Sale. The Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee is investigating what is working, what isn’t and what more can be done to control invasive animals on Crown land.

The community forum in Bright on 19 October is an opportunity for people in the area to share their views and experiences with the Committee.

Legislation to restrict the use of plastic bags in Victoria is also being reviewed. The Environment and Planning Committee has called for public submissions by 21 October on an environment protection amendment bill that would restrict the supply and sale of plastic bags and plastic and polystyrene packaging, and prohibit the supply and sale of plastic microbeads.

To keep up to date with parliamentary committee inquiries, visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/committees or subscribe free of charge to the Parliament of Victoria news alerts.

And for anyone planning a trip to Melbourne over the next month, there are various events coming up at Parliament House that you may be interested in.  This year the Victorian Parliament is participating in Melbourne Music Week. To find out about upcoming events at Parliament House visit our Arts and Culture webpage.

As part of Parliament’s events program, recently the 125th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Petition was celebrated with a forum at Parliament House at which the Governor of Victoria, the Hon Linda Dessau AM delivered the keynote address. It was in 1891 that signatures were collected from 30,000 women across Victoria calling for women’s right to vote. The Governor’s speech to the anniversary forum can be viewed on the Parliament of Victoria’s YouTube Channel.

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Kat Baddeley

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