Victorian Greens spokesperson on emergency services Colleen Hartland has today called on the Premier to support The Greens Fair Protection for Firefighters Laws, or introduce their own as firefighters are exposed to toxic chemicals and smoke yet again.
"Firefighters go into fire zones while everyone else gets as far away as they can," said Colleen Hartland.
"We're very pleased to see all citizens safe today. However, the health of firefighters battling today's fire is far from safe."
"The Wells Road fire is a large and serious toxic fire. Though it's important to remember that every house and structure fire that firefighters face also contain toxic chemicals and smoke."
Colleen Hartland has again called for documents that show details of costings of the Greens proposed legislation that automatically provides WorkCover compensation to firefighters that contract cancer on the job. This information is crucial for testing whether cost claims are inflated by the government. The government again refused to provide the documents or the details required to interrogate their costings. What have they got to hide?
Colleen Hartland motioned the Legislative Council to, based on committee inquiry recommendations, change practices with respect to bills with disputed flow-on costs. These changes would allow the Fair Protection of Firefighters bill to make some progress through parliament. The Government voted against this and instead have chosen to further delay progress by sending the proposed changes to a procedures committee for review.
The Greens have welcomed the Victorian Mental Health Act passed this week as a big step forward, but flawed practices which potentially impact children and women's health have been allowed continued. The Greens say it is a huge missed opportunity.
While The Greens were successful in getting up an important gender identity amendment, the government and Labor's rejection of other Greens initiatives means that children can continue to receive electroconvulsive treatment and there is no principle included that women should be housed separate to men where possible.
"The Greens identified gender identity as critical to be excluded from the definition of a mental illness. Our community members have a right to express their gender identity without fear of this being labelled a mental illness,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on health, Colleen Hartland.
Last week I joined the students and staff at Footscray Primary School for National Ride2School Day.
It was a wonderful morning, with the kids full of energy after their ride and wearing the most elaborate and wonderfully decorated helmets.
I congratulate Footscray Primary School on participating in this event. It shows that the school knows the value of active transport and the benefits it brings to the students. A special thanks to Chris Wilson, the health and physical education teacher, and well done to all the children for riding to school and in their amazingly decorated helmets. I was impressed with the skill and creativity demonstrated by the children and it was a pleasure to be part of the event.
Colleen Hartland questions the Minister in parliament over his heatwave and climate change comments:
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan)—My question is for the Minister for Health. The minister has stated the importance of not confusing the response to individual occasions of heatwave with more 'esoteric' debates on climate change. The year 2013 was the hottest on record in Australia. The January heatwave was the hottest four-day period on record. The Bureau of Meteorology has said that there have been 21 days from 2001–14 which have has reached 45 degrees Celsius, compared with 13 days in the 44 years before that. CSIRO has stated that climate change is happening. Does the government reject these scientific findings and deny that heatwaves are becoming worse in Victoria as a result of climate change?
Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parliament regarding the government legilsation on voluntary pre-committment on pokie machines.
The Greens will oppose the bill because it is completely useless. There is no basis, there is no evidence, that a non-binding, partial precommitment system on pokies will be effective in reducing losses amongst problem gamblers. The Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) report titled Counting the Cost—Inquiry into the Costs of Problem Gambling released in October 2012 found that gambling addiction costs our state between $1.5 billion and $2.8 billion each year.
Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parliament.
In light of the January 2014 heatwave that led to over 100 deaths across Victoria, Colleen Hartland has called for the government to take heatwaves more seriously. In parliamnet she motioned for a review of the government's heatwave planning, saying heatwaves deserve a whole of government emergency response, similar to that of bushfires.
Colleen Hartland questioned the Minister for Health in parliament regarding providing funding for frontline agencies to respond to heatwaves. The Minister responded by indicating funding would not be provided and saying that heatwaves should not be confused with the esoteric debate about climate change.