Vic. Parliament News – September 2016

Parliament in Practice for Regional Leaders

Visits to Victoria’s Parliament by regional community leaders can now include parliament in practice sessions that help to give insights into the procedures and processes of parliament.

In September, Leadership Great South Coast and Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program included these sessions into their field visits to Parliament House.

They were provided with briefings by the President of the Legislative Council, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and senior parliamentary officials, who spoke about their leadership roles in parliament, the management of parliamentary business during a sitting week and the way in which parliamentary committees operate.

The parliament in practice sessions can be arranged through the Victorian Parliament’s Community Engagement Unit by emailing news@parliament.vic.gov.au or by phoning Communications Manager Andres Lomp on 8682 2814.

Through its committees, the Victorian Parliament is currently investigating a number of issues relevant to Victorians living in regional areas.

The Environment and Planning Committee has just announced a new public inquiry into legislation to restrict the supply and sale of plastic bags in Victoria. The inquiry will focus on the detail of the Environment Protection Amendment (Banning Plastic Bags, Packaging and Microbeads) Bill 2016. Public submissions have been invited by 21 October.

The inquiry into fire season preparation is continuing its public hearings and will be taking evidence in Morwell, Bairnsdale and Colac from 26 to 29 September.

Retirement housing is also under review, with the Legal and Social Issues Committee receiving more than 760 submissions from across Victoria. Public hearings will begin on 28 September and will include hearings in regional centres.

Road safety is another issue attracting the attention of Victorian parliamentary committees. The most recent committee report looked into rule changes that would require motorists to maintain a distance of between 1 and 1.5 metres when passing cyclists.

The Economy and Infrastructure Committee supported the rule change, stating that it is now up to the Legislative Council to decide whether to support the legislation.

“Regardless of whether or not the Bill is passed, cyclists’ safety is an issue that needs the attention of governments,” Committee Chair Joshua Morris said.

“The Committee has recommended that, even if the Bill is not passed, an education campaign about safe passing distances be run, that a stakeholder group be established to advise and assist with cyclist safety initiatives and that mandatory standards be considered for the width of traffic and bicycle lanes.”

Road safety is also one of the features of the P-plate licence age inquiry which recently held hearings in Ballarat and Warrnambool. The inquiry will take further evidence in Wodonga on 4 October.  People interested in contributing can email lrrcsc@parliament.vic.gov.au to register.

The inquiry into control of invasive animals on Crown land will also take evidence in regional Victoria over the coming months. On 6 and 7 October there will be a public hearing and public forum in Sale.

To keep up to date with all Victorian parliamentary committee inquiries and opportunities to contribute, visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/committees or sign up for the free news alert service on parliamentary committee inquiries by emailing: news@parliament.vic.gov.au

And as a follow-up to the regional leadership summit held in Bendigo in August, where the Parliament of Victoria had an information stand, Ballarat sculptor Tas Wansbrough together with Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling have been invited to exhibit their sculptures at Parliament House as part of the 125th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Petition.

The invitation followed a discussion with parliamentary staff who attended the summit about opportunities to showcase regional artists at Parliament House.

The anniversary exhibition of Tas and Pauline’s PODTASTIC will be on show at Parliament House on 28-29 September and 3-4 October. The exhibition will help commemorate the petition with 30,000 signatures that was presented to the Victorian Parliament in 1891 calling for women’s right to vote. 

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Kat Baddeley

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