Greens say auditor reveals tough challenges for legal aid

Victorian Greens Justice spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik, expressed concern that the Victorian Auditor-General’s report on Access to Legal Aid, has revealed that funding to Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) is based largely on the level of demand of 2008.  

The report confirms that there is a lack of appropriate up to date funding coupled with an increase in demand and this has resulted in VLA tightening eligibility for its most intensive and costly legal services.

Greens support Equal Love and call for an end to ten years of marriage discrimination

Victorian Greens spokesperson for LGBTI, Sue Pennicuik MLC, will be speaking at the Equal Love rally in Melbourne this Saturday marking the 10th anniversary since the federal Marriage Act 1961 was amended to define marriage as between a man and a woman only.

“It is not a happy anniversary," Ms Pennicuik said. "The Greens have long been fighting against discrimination in all aspects of the law and in particular in the last ten years to achieve marriage equality."

Greens will legislate on redress for child sex abuse victims

The Greens announced their plan to introduce legislation for redress for child sex abuse victims ahead of tonight's forum on inaction on the Betrayal of Trust report*.

“If the Greens do not see action on redress for victims by the next government by June 2015, we will introduce legislation ourselves,” said Greens spokesperson on community services Colleen Hartland.

The Napthine Government has indicated that it may wait for the outcomes of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which could be years away, before acting on redress recommendations made in the Betrayal of Trust report.

“The Greens will not sit idle while a government of any persuasion delays action on institutional child sex abuse victims,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson for children, Colleen Hartland.

Greens announce Victorian Cash for Containers election commitment

The Greens will announce their plan to clean up Victoria with a 10c Cash for Container scheme.
 
“A Cash for Containers scheme will reduce litter and improve the natural environment, create jobs and reduce climate pollution,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on waste management, Colleen Hartland.
 
“We all want a clean, healthy environment. But currently our streets, creeks, and beaches are littered with drink bottles, cans and cartons. We can stop rubbish before it hits the ground with a 10c refund scheme.”

Lib and Lab choose pokies over people - problem gambling harm to continue

 
Victorian Greens gambling spokesperson Colleen Hartland says that both the Coalition and Labor voting down the Greens Pokies Bill today shows they care more for their political donors than the Victorian people.
 
Both Labor and the Coalition voted against the Greens Dollar Bet limits Bill today in the Victorian Parliament. 
 
"It's a sad day for families affected by problem gambling,"said Victorian Greens spokesperson on gambling Colleen Hartland.
 
"The Napthine Government is addicted to gambling revenue and beholden to the lobby groups who donate hundreds of thousands to the Victorian Liberal party, and Labor isn't too far behind.”

TAFE in trouble: VAGO

Greens MP Sue Pennicuik says a new report by the Auditor General shows Victoria's TAFEs are in financial trouble due to Labor and Liberals funding policies.

"The Labor and Liberal parties won't admit their policies have been a failure,” Ms Pennicuik said.

"The policies kicked off by Labor and continued under the Liberals have done damage to the efficient, effective and trusted TAFE system.

Napthine government signs another grand prix secret deal costing taxpayers millions

“After twelve months of so-called ‘tough negotiations’, the Premier Napthine government  has surprised no-one by signing another secret deal with Mr Ecclestone, that appears to be set to cost taxpayers another $250 million”, Greens MP for Southern Metropolitan Region said today.

“If that is the case, by the time the new contract expires, the grand prix will have cost Victorians around a billion dollars at a time when millions have been slashed from schools, TAFE, justice and health budgets.

"All that Premier Napthine and Minister for Major Events, Louise Asher have ‘secured’ for Melbourne is another five years of wasted taxpayers money,” Ms Pennicuik. “The government won’t even release details of how good a deal it supposedly is, because it isn’t. It will still be a huge cost to taxpayers with exaggerated benefits.

Government delays smokefree health reform by 2 years: Greens

Smokefree diningThe Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland has accused the government of playing politics with people's health by delaying smokefree health reforms by two years.

"We know banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas works to reduce smoking and Victoria is the only state that has not already made it law," said Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland.

"The government’s refusal to support the Greens smokefree bill*, and now announcing their own plan, is playing politics with people's health. This political game playing has delayed this important health reform by two years."

All horses birthday reminder to ban jumps racing: Greens

"All horses birthday is a timely reminder to remember the four victims that the 2014 Victorian Jumps Racing season has already claimed due to this cruel and deadly sport," Victorian Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik MLC said today.

"Jumps racing has long been banned across Australia, but inexplicably, is still allowed in Victoria and South Australia. If jumps racing was banned in Victoria, it would probably not be viable for it to continue in South Australia.

"Racing Victoria's so-called safety measures are not working. The only way to guarantee safety is to end Jumps Racing which is 10 - 20 times more dangerous to horses than flat racing.

No place for religious proselytising in government schools

“The recent ministerial directive clarifying what is and is not permitted in public schools regarding religious activities is welcome, as there has been a lot of pushing of the boundaries in schools by religious ‘volunteers’,” Greens spokesperson on Education, Sue Pennicuik said today.

“The directive has come about after complaints that religious volunteers are breaching guidelines and I have heard of this occurring from a number of sources.”

The government is correct in making it clear that activities such as religious ‘clubs’ run by external ‘volunteers’ and the distribution of religious material is not permitted under the act.

“Public schools are secular and so religious proselytising and distribution of religious material has no place,” Ms Pennicuik said.