Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the state government needs to close wetlands to hunters where endangered water birds have been sighted, ahead of duck shooting season commencing on 15 March.
"Last year, we saw a massacre of more than one hundred Freckled Ducks and other protected species at Box Flat on the opening morning. Despite hundreds of hunters being there, no one has been charged or convicted of anything.
"Clearly the shooters can't police themselves, the government isn't willing or able to, so the solution is to close all wetlands where rare or threatened species are present."
"I'm calling on bird watchers report any sighting of Freckled Ducks, which we will put on our website. But really, it's the government who should be doing this job."
Greens MP for the Western Suburbs, Colleen Hartland, launched the ‘Rescue TAFE in the West’ Report today. The Greens used the report to call on the Napthine Government to reinstate the funding cuts to TAFE Institutes in Melbourne's western suburbs to provide re-skilling opportunities to the thousands of Western Suburbs manufacturing workers set to lose their jobs.
"With the loss of many manufacturing jobs in the Western Suburbs, we need our public TAFEs to provide re-skilling opportunities more than ever," said Colleen Hartland.
"It is heartless and wrong-headed to cut $40 million per annum from Victoria University when there is such great need for quality re-skilling opportunities in the West. This is the equal highest cut to any TAFE in Victoria."
Yesterday 92,000 Victorians cleaned up more than 3,000 tonne of rubbish from our creeks, streets, parks and beaches on Clean Up Australia Day. The Greens say we can prevent most of this litter hitting the ground with a Cash for Containers scheme.
"Drink containers are now the largest proportion of littler collected on Clean Up Australia day. We could stop this litter before it hits the ground with a 10 cent refund on bottle and cans," said Victorian Greens spokesperson on waste and recycling, Colleen Hartland.
"A Cash for Containers scheme is supported by 85 per cent of Victorians* as well as the Premier."
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber today called on Premier Denis Napthine to start evacuating the most vulnerable people affected by the Hazelwood coal mine fire.
Mr Barber said, ‘Premier Denis Napthine needs to step up, show leadership and do everything required to protect the health of the people of Morwell.
‘Premier Napthine has to step in and take direct responsibility for the Hazelwood coal fire health crisis.
‘This morning we had a nice gesture with the Premier offering his house in Port Fairy as a safe respite for one family from Morwell, but his job as Victoria’s leader is to fix the problem for all 13,000 people of Morwell.
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- This Sunday, 23 February, will be the fourth anniversary of the Save Live Australia's Music (SLAM) rally, when 20 000 people march from the State Library of Victoria to Parliament House in support of live music and to protest against the blanket security conditions that have been imposed on live music venues.
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber is calling on the state government to put a freeze on gas drilling planned for Gippsland.
"The government's moratorium is on fracking only. Companies like Lakes Oil are moving ahead with an application to do more drilling. The Minister for Resources should tell them 'no way'."
"The Premier and Deputy Premier need to intervene and ensure that Energy Minister does the right thing by regional communities and refuses the current drilling application from Lakes Oil."
The Greens condemn the Napthine Government over its dereliction of duty to fire services and community after the United Firefighters Union released a shocking list of equipment and staff shortfalls during recent fires.
“This is a damming account of the impacts of budget cuts to the MFB and CFA and failure to invest in desperately needed firefighters,” said Greens emergency services spokesperson Colleen Hartland.
“This is a dereliction of duty by the Napthine Government to our firefighters and community.”
Debate on the Sustainable Timber and Wildlife Amendment bill commenced in the state upper house this week.
"This bill is the first of two draconian pieces of legislation before the state parliament that are designed to shut down community scrutiny of government activity," Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik said. "The other is the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment bill, which is still in the lower house.
"This bill is one of the most Orwellian named pieces of legislation I have seen in this parliament," Ms Pennicuik said. "Far from ensuring that logging is sustainable or that wildlife is protected, the bill shuts out the public and provides a free for all for loggers and duck shooters, with draconian penalties for people who enter forests or wetlands to protest or simply to observe what is happening on public land," she said.
“Evidence from five trials across Australia shows that voluntary pre-commitment does not work, it does not limit the harm of problem gambling,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on Gambling Colleen Hartland.
“Voluntary pre-commitment has failed to limit problem gambling elsewhere in Australia and it will fail here in Victoria. The scheme is absolute rubbish and contrary to evidence on effective measure to reduce problem gambling."
ENERGY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (GENERAL) BILL 2013
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I am very saddened to hear that the members of the Labor and Liberal parties think that the kind of minor level tinkering contained in this bill is up to the job of addressing the crisis in energy affordability that has been ongoing for a number of years now.
The Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill will be debated in state parliament this week. The bill expands the circumstances in which police and PSOs may direct a person to ‘move on’ from a public place.
"This bill fundamentally changes the rights of citizens to protest, demonstrate or picket a particular place," Victorian Greens Justice spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik MLC said. "Whether people are protesting about environmental, social or industrial issues, they will now be subject extended ‘move on’ and arrest powers."
Victorian Greens LGBTI spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik MLC will join the Pride March in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda this Sunday.
“I am excited to be starting the march with Australian Marriage Equality, representing the Greens' strong support for Marriage Equality across Australia," Ms Pennicuik said.
Sue will also be marching with the Victorian Greens along with Ellen Sandell, Greens candidate for Melbourne, Cr Neil Pilling, Glen Eira’s first Greens Mayor, Stonnington Council's first Green councillors, Cr Sam Hibbins and Cr Erin Davie, other Greens councillors from around Melbourne and many other Greens.
“The Greens have been campaigning for marriage to achieve full equality for many years," Ms Pennicuik said.
The Greens announced today they will introduce legislation to the Victorian Parliament for $1 bet limits on the State’s poker machines. The announcement comes ahead of next week’s vote on the Coalition Government’s voluntary pre-commitment laws, which The Greens say will fail to address problem gambling.
“The Greens are determined to do something meaningful to help problem gamblers and their families” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on gambling Colleen Hartland.
“Currently problem gamblers can lose thousands of dollars per hour on pokies and with average loses of $840 per hour. A $1 bet limit would limit losses to $120 per hour.”
“This will make a huge difference to Victorian families suffering from the detrimental impacts of problem gambling.”
Greens say the Napthine Government is failing to take heatwaves as seriously as bushfires and is under-resourcing responses to protect Victorians.
"The deaths so far this summer are greater than the road toll, greater than bushfire, but there's no screaming sirens, just people dying quietly, often alone and isolated in their homes” said Colleen Hartland, Victorian Greens Health Spokesperson.
“Heatwaves should be on the same emergency planning level as bushfires and floods in Victoria’s emergency management planning. Despite having the highest death toll, they take second rung.”
"This has been a full blown natural disaster, with many avoidable deaths and the Napthine Government is doing little more than issuing heat alerts."
Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Effects of climate change on health will affect people across the globe, Australia and here in Victoria.
Warming is anticipated to increase four-fold in the coming decades which will create unprecedented living conditions. Australians are already experiencing the impacts from dangerous and deadly weather events from current and relatively modest levels of global warming.
Victoria one of the planet’s worst polluters per capita. The current government has made matters worse by cutting the greenhouse gas reduction target from 20 per cent to five per cent, making it harder for households to install solar panels, obstructing wind farm developments and expanding logging operations in Victoria's native forests.
No action on climate change means serious health consequences:
The Greens ‘Maternity Matters’ survey results released today reveal that maternity services do not meet the needs of many Victorian Women.
The survey was open for a period of three weeks, had 8,329 views, 1,100 Facebook shares and a total of 895 Victorian participants.
“The survey results demonstrate that many women are deeply unsatisfied with maternity services as they are unable to access their preferred models of care” said the Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland.
“Maternity services in Victoria are not currently meeting the needs of many women”
Public transport shouldn't be a contact sport.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- On behalf of my Green colleagues in this Parliament I would like to wish all members an enjoyable summer break. By the time we get back here a number of religious observances will have taken place in multicultural Victoria. They will include Hanukkah and the Greek Orthodox Christmas Day in January, as well as the Prophet's birthday and Chinese New Year, which is celebrated by a number of groups. Aside from the spiritual component, these holidays and observances allow us to come together, to reflect, to be with people we love and to reconnect with our communities.
“The High Court decision to disallow the ACT Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013, has put the focus squarely on the federal parliament to legislate for marriage equality as the majority of Australians want to see," Victorian Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik said today.
The Court held that the federal Parliament has power under the Australian Constitution to legislate with respect to same sex marriage, and that under the Constitution and federal law as it now stands, whether same sex marriage should be provided for by law is a matter for the federal Parliament and that "Marriage" in s 51(xxi) includes a marriage between persons of the same sex.
“Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has introduced a federal marriage equality bill today,” Ms Pennicuik said.
TRANSPORT (COMPLIANCE AND MISCELLANEOUS) AMENDMENT (ON-THE-SPOT PENALTY FARES) BILL 2013
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The Liberal Party had a lot to say about fare evasion when it was in opposition, but in government it has achieved very little.
That is because its members persist in using the same old failed model inherited from the Labor Party, involving for the most part bands of randomly roving ticket inspectors. From the government's own fare evasion plan, the so-called Network Revenue Protection Plan, you can easily derive the following numbers: authorised officers or ticket inspectors, who are employees of Metro Trains Melbourne, check about 2 per cent of all tickets -- that is, about 2 per cent of all rides. Of those they check, they issue fines to about 2 per cent of fare evaders, despite the government telling us from other survey methods that fare evasion is much higher, so your chances of being checked by a ticket inspector are extraordinarily low on any given day.
Colleen Hartland - Speech in Parliament. Along with Mr Pallas, the member for Tarneit in the other house, last week I attend a meeting at Werribee Secondary College to discuss the poor physical condition of the buildings and grounds. I understand from the school that the Minister for Education, Mr Dixon, Mr Elsbury and Mr Finn were invited; unfortunately none of them were able to attend.
I knew there were many problems with the school, but I was shocked at how bad the situation is. The school council outlined the situation for us. There is a substantial drain upon school maintenance funds, as the school has to divert funds from the current educational program, and there are potential safety, occupational health and safety and fire hazards. The urgent need for building works poses a significant risk to student and teacher safety as well as to the general community.
Victorian Greens Disability Spokesperson Colleen Hartland has called the Disability Amendment Bill, which passed through parliament last night, a cash-grab gone bad as it will take from the pockets of many residents in disability support housing.
“Residents of disability support housing are going to get caught in the crossfire as the state government attempts a cash grab from the Commonwealth as it will actually take from the pockets of many residents instead" said Ms Hartland.
"There could be hundreds, or even more, people in disability support housing who will now be out of pocket $82 dollars per fortnight as a consequence of this Bill."
“The state government’s latest proposal to house low security prisoners in shipping containers is a costly and unnecessary measure,” Green spokesperson on Corrections, Sue Pennicuik said today.
“Prison overcrowding is a problem of the government's own making,” Ms Pennicuik said. "Its flawed and populist changes to sentencing laws, which are not evidence-based, is leading to low risk, non-violent offenders being imprisoned where in the past they would not have been.”
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the State of the Environment Report is a poor report card on a government that has no plan to reverse the trends.
"Nearly every measure in this environment report card is down, except for greenhouse gases which are up," said Greg Barber MLC
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- On Sunday, 17 November, along with tens of thousands of Australians in capital cities and many regional centres, I attended the National Day of Climate Action, calling on the Australian government to step up action to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. In September this year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth assessment report, which states: