Regional focus for parliamentary committees
Public hearings have been held across Victoria over the past few weeks as parliamentary committees seek the input of regional communities on a range of issues being investigated.
The parliamentary inquiry into recycling and waste management has taken evidence from various local government representatives in Dunkeld, Echuca and Morwell as it examines the Victorian government’s waste management approach, the response to China’s waste ban and solutions to the recycling and waste crisis, including reduction strategies.
The impact of animal rights activism on Victorian agriculture is also being investigated, with public hearings held in Warragul, Bairnsdale, Warrnambool and Horsham. Among the issues being considered are the effectiveness of legislation and other measures to prevent and deter activities by unauthorised persons on agricultural and associated industries. This includes an examination of the type and prevalence of unauthorised activity on Victorian farms and related industries, and ways of improving animal welfare outcomes. The inquiry will wrap up with a final public hearing in Wangaratta in early October.
Tackling climate change in Victorian communities is another parliamentary inquiry getting input from a variety of people across Victoria, with the first public hearings held recently in Ballarat and Bendigo. As part of the hearings, MPs undertook some site inspections, including a visit to the Hepburn Shire Council waste to energy plant in Creswick. The council’s sustainability officer explained how the plant breaks down the community’s organic waste to create biogas, which can be used as fuel, and a fertiliser called digestate.
October will see further public hearings in various regional centres. The parliamentary inquiry into sustainable employment for disadvantaged jobseekers will hold hearings in Bendigo on 22 October, Ballarat on 23 October and Geelong on 24 October. The inquiry is examining the social and economic benefits of seeking to place disadvantaged jobseekers into sustainable employment. This includes how well current programs or activities meet the needs of disadvantaged jobseekers and employers looking for workers.
Some new public inquiries have also been announced for which parliamentary committees are seeking input from people living in regional Victoria. The topics include homelessness, gender sensitive budgeting, anti-vilification protections, and the increase in Victoria’s road toll.
For more details on current parliamentary inquiries, visit: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/committees
To subscribe free of charge to news alerts on committee inquiries, including opportunities to make a submission, details of upcoming hearings and new reports, go to: vicparl.news/subscribe
Photo: Members of the Legislative Assembly’s Environment and Planning Committee inspecting the Hepburn Shire Council waste to energy plant in Creswick.