Colleen Hartland questions the Minister in parliament
My question today is for the Minister for Health. In June 2010 the Liberal-Nationals coalition announced that if elected, it would build a 24-hour ambulance station at Wallan, in north-east Victoria, and that it would be operational by the end of the first term of government. It is 18 months out from this deadline, and I do not believe the government has selected a site for the new station, and there appears to be no funding for it in the recently announced budget.
There are currently 10 Ambulance Victoria staff that service the Wallan community who are forced to operate out of a cramped temporary facility located at Kilmore ambulance station, which is some 12 minutes drive away from the Wallan. My question for the minister is: when does he expect the site to be purchased, building to commence and the new station to be operational?
Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parlaiment
My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, the Honourable Peter Hall. Animal studies TAFE courses provide the skills and knowledge to care for and manage the daily needs of a range of animal species. These courses provide skills for potential careers in pet grooming and veterinary nursing, and for shelter workers, kennel or cattery attendants, animal attendants, pet shop workers, community animal-care workers and farm workers.
Thanks to the government’s TAFE funding cuts Victoria University has been forced to discontinue providing an animal studies TAFE course. There is now no institution offering an animal studies course in the western region of Melbourne.
Speech in parlaiment by Colleen Harltand
I move: That the Accident Compensation Legislation (Fair Protection for Firefighters) Bill 2011, as introduced into this house by myself and ruled out of order by the President on 20 February 2013 for infringing section 62 of the Constitution Act 1975, be referred to the Economy and Infrastructure Legislation Committee for consideration and report by 12 June 2013 on measures aimed at addressing any constitutional impediment to the bill’s introduction into the Legislative Council.
The Accident Compensation Legislation (Fair Protection for Firefighters) Bill 2011, which I introduced into Parliament, would see artificial barriers removed to enable firefighters to access WorkCover compensation when they contract cancer from work-related smoke and toxic exposure. This is a bill with utmost merit. It is the right thing to do. It is the decent thing to do. Unfortunately it is not the merit of the bill that is in question here; it is whether it is constitutionally valid to introduce this bill into the Legislative Council that is in question.
Victorian Greens Health Spokesperson Colleen Hartland has announced a 29 May deadline for the Government to announce a ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas, or face up to the issue in parliament via her smoking in outdoor areas bill.
In response to the release of the Government’s consultation on smoking in children’s recreational areas, and the launch of the peak health organisation campaign ‘Keep Fresh Air Fresh’, Colleen Hartland has announced that she will proceed with her Bill on the 29th May if the government fails to act before then. Ms Hartland’s Bill aims to make outdoor drinking and dining areas smokefree.
“I will give the government the opportunity to do the right thing and act on submissions to the consultation that support making outdoor dining and drinking areas healthy and smokefree. If they do not make this announcement, I will proceed with my bill in parliament.” said Colleen Hartland.
Speech in parliament by Colleen Hartland
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Planning on behalf of the Minister for Public Transport. This government was elected on a promise to fix public transport and to not neglect the west. I would like to remind the government of three public transport projects that need fixing in my western suburbs electorate and that should receive funding in the upcoming budget.
The first is the duplication of the Altona loop single track as far as is possible. The very poor service on the Altona loop is reflected in the fact that its commuters are the most dissatisfied of the whole Metro network and in the loop’s low patronage. Residents have been forced to abandon their trains. Consultants at URS have undertaken preliminary research and have outlined and costed a feasibility study which looks at duplication of sections on the Altona loop and the installation of passing loops. It will cost just $36 000. As far as the state budget is concerned this is chicken feed, but it is desperately needed by the Altona loop commuters.
Speech in parliament by Colleen Hartland
In light of recent reports issued by the Climate Commission and beyondblue, I call on the government to create a climate change and health strategy for Victoria.
In recent weeks beyondblue released a book entitled A Road Less Travelled—A Guide to Children, Emotions and Disasters, which provides deeper insight into the long-lasting mental health impacts of disasters on children. Shortly after the Climate Commission released a report entitled The Critical Decade— Extreme Weather, which confirmed that climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of many extreme weather events, and that there is a high risk of disasters becoming even more intense over coming decades.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) — My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Energy and Resources, the Honourable Nicholas Kotsiras, and relates to the proposed national residential mandatory disclosure scheme for energy, water and greenhouse ratings.
This scheme will allow families to understand whether their new home will stay cool in summer and warm in winter at a low cost. Families deserve to know how much energy and water a home uses before they buy or rent it so they can choose a home that is cheap to run and creates less greenhouse gas pollution.
Speech in parliament by Greens MP Colleen Hartland.
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith. It relates to an issue that is very important for the people of the Northern Territory and the businesses that have invested in a recycling scheme there—the container deposit scheme.
The Northern Territory 10 cent deposit scheme is based on the very successful South Australian model, and the Northern Territory now enjoys recycling rates amongst the highest in the world. On Monday, 4March 2013 the Federal Court of Australia, in the case of Coca-Cola Amatil (Aust) Pty Ltd v. Northern Territory of Australia , ruled in favour of beverage companies Coca-Cola Amatil, Lion Nathan and Schweppes that the Northern Territory container deposit scheme was inconsistent with the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 and that therefore the container deposit scheme is invalid.
Statement made in parliament by Colleen Hartland
This morning I joined Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG), No More Trucks for Moore Street and other residents of the inner west to blockade Shepherd Bridge in Footscray. The reason MTAG and No More Trucks for Moore Street called the blockade and the reason I supported the action is that the government has completely ignored the health and noise issues that have come about by having 21 000 trucks going through the inner west communities every day. We were reminded during question time today, by the Minister for Health’s inaction on diesel issues, that the government is not concerned about the health of residents in the inner west.
Question in parliament to the Minister for Health by Colleen Hartland
My question is also for the Minister for Health. On 19 June 2012 in a response to my question without notice regarding the World Health Organisation diesel pollution report and the need for a health impact assessment, the minister said:
I too saw that report, and I have sought some information. I have not made any decision at this point to take the action that she indicates in terms of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, but I did see the report and will respond in due course.
I asked this question of the minister eight months ago, and I would have thought that was long enough to consider this issue. I would now like to ask again: will the minister give an undertaking to do a health impact assessment on the effects of diesel?
SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT: My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education, the Honourable Martin Dixon. Essendon North Primary School, located in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region, is in desperate need of an upgrade and refurbishment of its aged student toilets. These 1950s toilets are deteriorating. Their tiles, walls and partitions have been breaking. There is a lack of ventilation and there are unclean surfaces, and a strong odour emanates from the male toilets. The toilets also have asbestos-related material, which given the deteriorating state is a potential health and safety risk to the children.
The school has growing enrolment levels, and it has been able to secure funding in the order of $8.5 million over recent years to upgrade office buildings, but when it comes to the humble toilet block no funding has been forthcoming.
SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT: Sunday, 3March, was Clean Up Australia Day. This fantastic day sees thousands of volunteers across Victoria and Australia hauling rubbish out of our creeks, parks, beaches and roadsides. I spent the day visiting three sites in the western suburbs. I went to Fairbairn Park and helped the 15th Essendon Sea Scouts, I went to Pipemakers Park to pick up bottles with the Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley, and I picked up pest sea stars at the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary in Williamstown.
I was aware that a lot of the rubbish we collected would not have been there if we had container deposit legislation.
My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Health and it relates to the responsibility creep and underfunding of community organisations.
The Vulnerable People in Emergencies policy, released in November 2012, implements recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission—Final Report including: …compile and maintain a list of vulnerable residents who need tailored advice of a recommendation to evacuate… It does this by establishing the vulnerable persons registers in local regions across Victoria. Information in vulnerable persons registers will be available for consideration by emergency service organisations in planning for and responding to a range of emergencies.
My question is for the Minister for Health, and it is in relation to the eviction of the Footscray mobile intensive care ambulance (MICA) unit from its current site. As the minister would know, MICA paramedics save lives with their higher clinical skill set and ability to perform more advanced medical procedures. The eviction will leave residents in the inner west vulnerable, without their local MICA paramedics. This unit is the second busiest in the state. Obviously saving lives in the inner west is much more important than the rent, and the question I ask the minister is: will the government find the funding to make up the shortfall so the MICA unit can stay in the Footscray area?
On 5 Febrary 2013, Colleen Hartland attended a rally against Gillard's regressive cuts to single parent payments. The rally was organised by the wonderful & recently formed Single Parents Action group. Colleen also raised the issue in parliament. Here is her statement:
Earlier this day I was out on the steps of Parliament House with the Single Parent Action Group, which is justifiably concerned about the massive cut that will occur and has occurred to the single parent benefit.
My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Planning. The minister would be aware of the redevelopment of Moonee Valley Racecourse and the concerns that have been raised by the council, members of Save Moonee Ponds and local residents. Because of these concerns all are eager to participate in the consultation process, and I am sure that the minister wishes to protect the interests of the community, as I do.
I am also certain that the minister would by now have received a letter dated 24 January 2013 which gives an excellent outline of the concerns of Save Moonee Ponds. It has raised a number of important issues in its letter, with community consultation being at the top of the list.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan)—My question today is for the Minister for Housing, Ms Lovell, and it is in relation to public housing. Considering that this summer is projected to be hot, with a 60 to 75 per cent chance of exceeding the long-term median maximum temperature across Victoria and a 35 to 40 per cent chance of exceeding the long-term median minimum temperature, and given that air conditioning reduces heat exposure, which is critical for vulnerable groups, including many elderly public housing residents, to ensure that they stay safe during heatwaves, my question is: will the government ensure that every public housing complex has at least one communal area that has air conditioning?
My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Planning. Residents’ group Save Williamstown has organised a public rally at 11.00 a.m. on 8 December at the Williamstown Mechanics Institute. The Williamstown community is facing a development proposal with no height limits and developers wanting to build a high-rise building with 813 dwellings that will house approximately 2000 people. The site used to have strict heritage controls and a three-storey height limit. However, the proposed Williamstown high-rise building will tower over the surrounding areas of Williamstown and will be out of place and out of character with heritage values. An extra 2000 people will put a strain on services such as health care, child care, schools and public transport.
This morning I was to attend a rally organised by the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) and called ‘Deliver us from Diesel’. It had to be cancelled because of the incredibly bad weather, as organisers were concerned about safety. However, the rally is clearly going to be reorganised, and when it is reorganised I will be with the residents at that rally, because people in the inner west are saying clearly to the government that they are no longer prepared to put up with the amount of diesel fumes that go into the atmosphere every day.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan)—My question today is for the Minister for Health. On 16 November it was very pleasing to hear the Premier stating a commitment to bring in a ban on sunbeds within the next two years. When can we expect to see legislation in this Parliament, and does the minister already have a consultation plan for informing the industry and the community in general about how the government is going to do that?
Smoking related deaths account for nearly 12% of deaths from all causes in Victoria. Smoking kills 4000 Victorians every year, that's considerably more than road accidents, alcohol and other drugs combined. Smoking is the biggest preventative health issue of our times.
Despite significant progress in reducing the prevalence of smoking, there is still more to be done. Victoria is the only state that has not already introduced or announced an intention to introduce smoke-free outdoor dining and drinking areas. The Victorian Premier's inaction on this serious public health issue puts us at risk of becoming the cancer state.
This week Colleen Hartland will introduce legislation in parliament that aims to limit smoking in outdoor areas of restaurants, cafés and pubs to designated sections in licenced venues, freeing our outdoor dining and drinking areas from the risks of second hand smoke.
Colleen Hartland's pressure on the government to take action and protect Victorians from cancer causing solariums has acheived a fantastic outcome for public health. On 14 November 2012 Greens MP Colleen Hartland moved a motion in parliament calling on the Government to follow the lead of South Australia and NSW and ban solariums. Both the Government and the Opposition were forced to show their hands and support the motion. Less than two days later Premier Baillieu announced that a ban will be introduced! A month later the baillieu govenremnt confirmed a timeline to ban solariums by 2014.
This is a fantastic win for the health of Victorians! This will bring us into line with other states also moving on this health initiative, including NSW and SA.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) — My adjournment matter this evening is also for the Minister for Planning—he is obviously very popular tonight. On 7 December last year the Auditor-General tabled his report titled Managing Contaminated Sites. I direct my matter to the Minister for Planning as the Auditor-General recommended in this report that the Department of Planning and Community Development should play a leadership, coordination and oversight role in managing contaminated sites.
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health. Women’s Health West has received a welcome $600 000 funding as part of a statewide bucket of money to prevent violence against women, which is the greatest cause of ill health and hospitalisation of women.
The need to fund independent women’s health services is reflected in the most recent Cambridge University research that shows that strong, autonomous feminist movements were the first to articulate the problem of violence against women and the key catalysts for government action.
Disappointingly, though, at the same time the government has cut funds to community and women’s health programs in the west. It seems the government gives with one hand and takes away with the other.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan)—I move: That the Council take note of the Minister for Public Transport’s letter of 7 October 2012 in relation to the production of documents relating to VicTrack’s lease premises at Castlemaine.
I will be very brief on this matter. I find it interesting that when I put forward this production of documents motion some four weeks ago it was agreed to. It seemed very straightforward. We are talking about an active lease between VicTrack and the Maryborough Highland Society for a pokies venue in Castlemaine.