Decision Maker

James Merlino

  • Minister for Education, Victoria

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Petitioning Luke Donnellan, Daniel Andrews, James Merlino

Hit and Run drivers should lose their Licence automatically.

In October 2017 our son Tyler was taken from us by the actions of a Hit and Run driver whilst he was out riding his bike with a friend. Thankfully the driver was caught, but was just as quickly let out on bail with no conditions. Most astonishingly, he did not have his licence suspended until the outcome of his court case, as there is currently no legislation in place to allow this.  Overall, a person can be ten feet from pulling into their driveway and be pulled over. If they have been speeding excessively or had a few too many drinks they automatically lose their licence after miraculously making it home safely. This is a good thing, BUT, you can kill someone with your car, drive off and leave your innocent victims broken, dead or dying body laying by the side of the road and you get to walk away, live your life, have a child, celebrate birthdays and Christmases for up to, or over, a year whilst the courts process the case. The amount of Hit and Runs over the last few years has increased and the penalty needs to increase with it. It is a cowards crime and the victims families deserve to see that the law takes it seriously from the very first day. The drivers are entitled to bail but they have lost the right to drive a car when they have shown so little respect for others lives. Its hard enough that we have to live without our beautiful son but our pain is so much worse when we see the Driver nonchalantly living his life in our small town, whilst we have lost so much.  Please, change the legislation in honour of Tyler Dean and all the other innocent victims of Hit and Run drivers. For the ones who lived, and the beautiful angels who didn't. Thank you

Jeynelle Dean
32,968 supporters
Petitioning James Merlino

Mental Health Education in School Curriculum

In today's society mental illness is such a common problem among youth, particularly between the ages of 12-19 years old.  We are seeing too many young Australians fall victim to mental health problems, with no real support line within schools, and no education surrounding Mental ill Health within any mainstream curriculum. It is time for the government to act now and implement mental health education within the high school curriculum.

Mental Health in Hume
16,544 supporters
Petitioning James Merlino, Richard Wynne, Cr Noel Cliff, Cr Mike Clarke, Cr Tim Heenan, Cr Tony Stevenson, Cr Terry Avery, Cr Jim Child, Cr Richard Higgins, Cr Fiona McAllister, Cr Len Cox

Save Sherbrooke's Iconic Avenue of Beeches

Developers Shannon Bennett and Adam Garrison submitted a last minute proposal at an Independent Planning Panel hearing in December 2017 which outlined their intention to remove 13 of the National Trust listed Beech trees that line Sherbrooke Road in order to accommodate driveway and road widening works at the entrance to the Burnham Beeches Estate.  This proposal was vehemently opposed by multiple community members who presented at the Panel hearing, citing the importance of the retention of the trees, of which the property is renowned and derives its name, as they form an iconic part of the Sherbrooke landscape and are of highly significant heritage value. The National Trust and Heritage Victoria also expressed their concerns at the possible removal of these trees due to their significance, and the fact that it is the only Avenue of Copper Beeches on the National Trust’s Significant Tree Register, with only 4 other individual Beech specimens classified in Victoria. This issue has also received much local media attention as a result of the contentious nature of the proposal. An alternate proposal was presented to the Panel members at the hearing in December, compiled by a Traffic Engineer contracted by Council, which slightly lowered the amount of Beech trees to be removed to approximately 10 trees. This alternate proposal was touted as a 'solution' to the tree Beech issue, despite the high number of Beeches that would still require removal to accommodate this alternate layout. The Panel members final recommendation was that further investigations be conducted by Council and the developers to establish whether additional alterations could be made to the driveway and road widening layout to potentially increase the amount of Beech trees to be retained - "where possible". The Panel members recommendation included a statement which added that if no solution could be found with regards to the retention of the Beech trees, after these additional investigations had been conducted, then the Council's alternate layout should be implemented, which would still see approximately 10 of the National Trust listed Beeches removed. No formal investigations have been conducted by the Council and/or the developers regarding possible alternate driveway and road works layouts in order to retain the Beech trees since the Panel hearing in December last year. A Yarra Ranges Council meeting was conducted on the 27th of March this year at which Councillors voted in favour of allowing the developers joint planning scheme amendment and planning permit application to be forwarded to Planning Minister Richard Wynne's office for final approval. This was despite the fact that no further investigations had taken place, or finalised plans implemented, regarding the driveway and road widening works, and subsequent potential Beech tree removal. The Councillors essentially voted in favour of seeking the Minister's approval first, and then conducting these investigations after the fact if the Minister approves the amendment. The amendment has now, very recently, been forwarded to the Minister's office by Council. If Minister Wynne chooses to approve the amendment in its current state, he would be signing off on the premise that he is comfortable with the Council and the developers coming to a finalised version of the driveway, road works, and consequent Beech tree removal without the need for him to know what the finalised layout would actually consist of and how many Beech trees would be impacted as a result. He would essentially be putting trust in the Council and the developers to come up with a suitable finalised plan, with faith that they will do their best to retain the Beech trees "where possible"... There is also a small possibility that the Minister may be hesitant in giving his approval on the amendment at this stage without this important information having been provided and without this issue having been first resolved. We are of the opinion that the Minister should not sign off on the amendment until further investigations have taken place and a finalised plan, in relation to the Beech trees and road and driveway widening works, is submitted to his office. As opposed to simply putting trust in the developers and Council to make this decision after the fact, which in many ways comes across as a 'cart before the horse' approach to what is a highly contentious and important issue. Please sign to show your support, and feel free to comment why this matters to you, we won't let them destroy our beautiful area.

Dylan Arnold
5,433 supporters
Closed
Petitioning James Merlino

We need more inclusive programs for autistic children in our government schools.

Imagine if your child doesn’t quite fit in……. they are a little cheeky but very funny, highly inquisitive and very intelligent, yet their behaviour and learning needs are quite complex and often challenging. They want to learn but you can’t find a school that can teach them. This is the case for many autistic children who have an average to high IQ (often referred to as High Functioning Autism, Mild Autism, Autism level 1 and/or Aspergers).  They don’t qualify for Special Schools or Autism Schools and have no choice but to attend mainstream schools where they typically do not receive any funding or additional support even when they struggle academically, socially, emotionally and behaviourally. Hi, my name is Lisa and I have a beautiful, intelligent and funny 10 year old autistic son. In less than 12 months he will need to be enrolled in High School. The problem, and the reason I started this petition, is that there are currently no suitable High Schools for my son to attend. I am calling for Mr James Merlino, Victorian Education Minister, to implement into Victorian Schools, a Specialised ASD Learning Program. The program was developed in Western Australia and provides access for autistic children to a quality and inclusive mainstream education. For more information please go to our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/spectrumschoolparentadvocacy/ Please help me secure a better education for my son, and others like him, by signing and sharing this petition. Victoria needs to implement the Specialised ASD Learning Program into Victorian Schools. The more signatures we get the bigger the impact we can have. This is a little something I wrote and a story so typical for many of us….. Imagine holding your crying child in your arms, trying to comfort them because they think no one likes them. Yet in the back of your mind you are reminded that they have never been invited to a birthday party or have never felt the joy of a play date with a school friend. “Mummy loves you” just isn’t the same. Imagine picking up your child from school in tears. Bullied again for being different. Why can’t they see how funny he is or how much he wants them to like him? Imagine being called while you are at work, to pick up your child early because the school can’t manage their behaviour today. What are you going to tell your boss this time? Imagine your child reminding you for the third time that camp deposit is due at the end of the week, knowing full well that the school have already told you that your child can’t attend. How will you explain to them that they will never experience the thrill of going for a hike with friends or sleeping in a cabin with their classmates? Imagine not being able to hold down a job because your child’s school can only manage your child part time. What job can I do that allows me to pick up my child at 1pm every day? Is the school even allowed to request this? Imagine seeing Ds on your child’s report card, yet knowing their IQ is off the charts. How can my child be this disengaged from learning? Why can’t my child’s intelligence be seen at school? Imagine your child is crying and begging you not to make them go to school today. You know they aren’t playing truant, their mental health is at stake. Anxiety, depression are too overwhelming today. What do you do? Do you force them to go to school or do you allow them to stay home? Now imagine there is a program being used in schools in Australia that help children just like your child to learn, to make friends and has an impact on their general health and wellbeing.  But this program is not available in your state…..  Please help me secure a better education for my son, and others like him, by signing and sharing this petition. Victoria needs to implement a Specialised ASD Learning Program into Victorian Schools. The more signatures we get the bigger the impact we can have.

Lisa Whittam
4,991 supporters
Closed
Petitioning Malcolm Turnbull, Malcolm Turnbull MP, Daniel Andrews, James Merlino, Gayle Tierney

Urge the government help stranded Sage students and make the directors of Sage accountable

Please do not let us spiral into the abyss of hopelessness. Many students are going to lose all their hard work of the past 1-2 years without gaining a certificate of completion because of Sage Institute of Educations liquidation. The Australian Council for Private Education Training (ACPET), said they will help where possible. Victorian Training Minister Gayle Tierney said the state government would support all affected students and help them complete their training elsewhere.All Registered Traning Organizations, that have been contacted by students said, without a statement of attainment from Sage, students have to redo all work and the 240 hours of placement all from scratch,  students can not start off from where Sage left them. That is the entire year's work, for which we have invested much time, money, effort, and sleepless nights. Many of us went through terrible ordeals in our lives and commenced this certificate course as a last strand of hope to fight back and do something worthwhile in our lives. It took a lot of courage and mental strength to begin this journey. Leaving us nowhere (even though many are at the verge of finishing) without the certainty of a certificate of completion would throw us back into depression and anxiety, and pave our paths back to Centrelink indefinitely. Who is going to listen to each of our stories?  Will you help us get something that we have rightfully earned? With your support, we want to appeal to the Government to step in by funding Sage institute's trainers and assessors to continue until all the current Sage students complete their qualification. This will allow us to join the workforce soon, boosting the economy, improve our mental health, coming out of Centerlink, and save a lot of taxpayers’ money in the long run.  We also humbly request that the Australian Government plan a safety net for students in the future from a similar fate and make a sound policy about liquidations and intermediate processes for education institutes, such as mandatory insurance, paying for the trainers until the students finish their qualifications.

Sage students
2,208 supporters
Victory
Petitioning State Government of Victoria

Improve school funding for kids diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder

Too many kids are falling through the cracks and being failed by the current system, it is important to improve access to the school funding system for integration aides to ensure the futures of these kids are to their full potential so they lead full adjusted lives and dont end up on disability support pensions

autism awareness and advocacy
2,034 supporters
Petitioning Daniel Andrews

Allow Greyhounds to play off the leash in Victoria

 *NOTE: If you are a resident of Victoria, Australia please sign the e-petition on the Parliament of Victoria web: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/59 Summary: Pet Greyhound owners and greyhound advocates ask the Members of the Legislative Council of Victoria to table our e-petition in Parliament. GRIEVANCE The Petition of pet greyhound owners and greyhound advocates draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that Victorian law specifies that greyhounds must be, when in public areas, ‘under the effective control of some person by means of a chain, cord or leash’. However, it has been documented and scientifically studied that: Greyhounds are not classified as 'restricted breeds' under Section 3 of the Domestic Animal Act 1994 (which identifies American Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, dogo Argentinos, fila Brasileiros and Perro de Presa Canarios as restricted breeds) and are therefore not able to be summarily classified as 'restricted dogs' by authorised officers (under Section 98A), the only grounds for which are the belief that a dog is of a restricted breed as specified in Section 3. Not all greyhounds are retired racing dogs, nor have they all been trained to ‘chase’ a fake lure. There is no evidence whatsoever suggesting that an ex-racing dog can possibly mistake a small dog for a stuffed lure. Despite the public belief, greyhounds are not less able to learn various commands (sit, hold, come here and wait) than any other dog based on their breed, nor are they incapable of receiving effective recall training. Although greyhounds are known as one of the fastest dog breeds, and will outrun a human by foot, there is absolutely no logical argument supporting the idea that other breeds would be easier to catch by a human. The average speed of a running human is slower than the average speed of any dog breed, including labrador retrievers, huskies, chihuahuas, poodles, and Australian kelpies, among others. Research suggests that greyhounds are no more likely to prove 'dangerous' than any other breed of dog, and, according to Council reports, may in fact be less likely to attack other dogs and humans. In any case, the Australian Veterinary Association is opposed to breed-based dog control measures as evidence shows that they do not, and cannot work. The decision of Councils to ban greyhounds from off-leash areas, and grouping them with dangerous and restricted dog breeds, could prove extremely damaging to the breed's profile with the public, and thus pose a threat to greyhound adoption rates. Considering the high numbers of abandoned dogs by the racing industry, the ban on off-leash greyhounds could have negative repercussions for the cause of greyhound welfare and adoption in Victoria. ACTION The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to stop perpetuating the myth that greyhounds are by default 'dangerous', and allow pet greyhounds to enjoy the same privileges as other 'non-dangerous' and 'non-restricted' companion animals, whose only qualification for being able to enjoy those privileges is, apparently, their NOT being born greyhounds. The solution we propose is to allow every greyhound who has been assessed to wear a green collar, to be let off the leash in Victorian designated off leash areas, as every other non-restricted breed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Full text: Victorian Law specifies that Greyhounds must be, when in public areas, ‘under the effective control of some person by means of a chain, cord or leash’. More over, it states that 'Greyhounds, dogs declared dangerous, and restricted breed dogs' are prohibited to be off leash in any public area, including designated off leash parks. This ban effectively classifies Greyhounds as either 'dangerous' or 'restricted breed' dogs, in that it specifies Greyhound as being subject to the same access restriction applied to dangerous and restricted breed dogs [1,2]. However, Greyhounds are: NOT classified as 'restricted breeds' under Section 3 of the Domestic Animal Act 1994 (which identifies Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasilieros and Presa Canario) [1]. Therefore not able to be summarily classified as 'restricted dogs' by authorised officers (Section 98A), the only grounds for which are the belief that a dog is of a restricted breed as specified in Section 3 [1]. Not all greyhounds are retired racing dogs, nor have been all trained to ‘chase’ a lure. There is no evidence whatsoever suggesting that an ex-racing dog can possibly mistake a small dog for a lure. Despite the public belief, Greyhounds are not less able to learn various commands (sit, hold, come here, wait) than any other dog based on their breed, nor are they incapable of receiving effective recall training [3]. Not less likely to be catched by a human by foot than any other dog based on their breed. Labrador retrievers are reported to run between 23 and 30 km/h, while the average human reportedly runs at 16 to 24 km/h. There is no logical argument supporting the idea that, because of their  speed, other dogs will be easier to catch. Do not have endurance. Greyhounds can not run at full speed more than a couple hundred meters. After that, they get tired and stop, or keep jogging at human pace. Other breeds, however, can run for hours, various kilometers non stop. Furthermore, it is inappropriate (let alone inaccurate) for the Council to effectively designate ALL Greyhounds, as a breed, as 'dangerous', considering that the stipulated criteria for making such a declaration are that a dog, in order to be declared dangerous, must be one that: (a) if the dog has caused the death of or serious injury to a person or animal by biting or attacking that person or animal; or (b) if the dog is a menacing dog and its owner has received at least 2 infringement notices in respect of the offence in section 41E; or (c) if the dog has been declared a dangerous dog under a law of another State or a Territory of the Commonwealth that corresponds with this Division; or (c.a) if there has been a finding of guilt or the serving of an infringement notice (which has not been withdrawn and the penalty has been paid under the Infringements Act 2006) in respect of 2 or more offences under section29(5), (6), (7) or(8) in respect of the dog [1]. More importantly, research suggests that Greyhounds are no more likely to prove 'dangerous' than any other breed of dog, and, according to Council reports as cited below, may in fact be LESS likely to attack. The Council Reports of Dog Attacks in NSW (2011/2012), released by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, lists Greyhound as 74th of 115 on the list of purebred dogs responsible for attacks (in order of attack frequency) [4]; well behind other common breeds which are not excluded from the Victorian off leash designated areas (Labrador Retrievers, for instance). A study from the University of Pennsylvania concludes that there exist “significant differences across breeds in displays of aggression toward unfamiliar dogs and several breeds stood out as being particularly aggressive: Akita, Boxer, Australian Cattle Dog, German Shepherd, Pit Bull, Chihuahua, Dachshund, English Springer Spaniel, Jack Russell Terrier and West Highland White Terrier (Figure 1)”, while “Greyhounds and Whippets were the least aggressive toward both humans and dogs” [5]. Yet, none of the breeds listed as aggressive, with the exception of Pit Bull, are treated as restricted breeds by the Victorian Government. (Figure 1: https://imgur.com/gallery/A6ExW Mean scores (95% confidence intervals) for dog-directed aggression for each of the 33 breeds of dog from the survey. Horizontal bars indicate the population means. 3791 dogs were included in the survey [5].) An earlier study ranked Akita, Boxer, Chihuahua, Dachshund, German Shepherd, and West Highland White Terrier the sixth decile or higher for ‘aggression toward other dogs’ [6]. The two studies agree with most of the listed breeds, and again, none of these breeds are considered restricted dogs in the State of Victoria.  Specifically, Greyhounds are not genetically prone to be aggressive. Wether a particular Greyhound is aggressive, it is already determined by the green collar assessment, there is no reason not to include the permision to be off-leash in general designated dog parks, like any other dog, even more, given that virtually any other breed is more aggressive toward other dogs than Greyhounds [5 – 10].  In regards of the “prey drive” that might be particular to certain breeds, it is clear that several other breeds have a strong prey drive, some of them are chasers (Lurchers, Saluki, Whippet), some of them are ‘grab-bite’ or ‘kill-bite’ (Terriers), while others are searchers and can go on for several kilometers (Beagles). However,despite the possible breed specific prey drive, it is understood that each dog has it’s own temperament, and can be thrusted if it has had the proper care and training. It would be absurd to generally ban Salukis, Beagles and Whippets for their prey drive. Just as it is absurd to ban all Greyhounds for the same belief, more so given that not all Greyhounds have been racers. In any case, the Australian Veterinary Association is opposed to breed-based dog control measures as evidence shows that they do not, and cannot work. National veterinary associations of Britain, the United States and Canada, and major animal welfare organisations internationally also hold this view [11]. Moreover, “it is clearly shown that not only characteristics of the dogs belonging to the group of victims and aggressors are found (including breed, gender, background, training, and housing), but also typical characteristics of the dog owners. Therefore, it is not enough to issue rigid laws for the prevention of potential and real aggression in dogs, based on a breed classification. These decisions are the result of a pragmatic process in politics, but will not lead to a valid solution of the present problem” [6]. As stated by the Victorian Government [12-14] Greyhounds, as any other dog and pet animal, need to be able to ‘express normal behaviour’ and be provided enough exercise and interaction with other animals of the same species. Preventing a Greyhound from running is clearly a direct attempt against this basic animal wellfare right. The decision of Council to ban greyhounds from off-leash areas, and its grouping them with dangerous and restricted dog breeds, could prove extremely damaging to the breed's profile with the public, and thus pose a threat to greyhound adoption rates. Considering the high numbers of 'wastage' greyhounds that are abandoned by the racing industry each year, the decision of Council to senselessly reinforce the outdated and inaccurate perception of greyhounds as a 'dangerous' breed could have serious negative repercussions for the cause of greyhound welfare & adoption in Victoria. Therefore we, pet greyhound owners and greyhound advocates, ask that you stop perpetuating the myth that greyhounds are by default 'dangerous', and allow pet greyhounds to enjoy the same privileges as other 'non-dangerous' and 'non-restricted' companion animals - whose only qualification for being able to enjoy those privileges is, apparently, their NOT being born greyhounds. The solution we propose is to allow every Greyhound who has been assessed to wear a green collar to be let off the leash in Victorian designated off leash areas, as every other non-restricted breed. The green collar assessment can easily include an evaluation of a Greyhound's behaviour around small dogs.   REFERENCES: [1] Domestic Animal Act 1994, Authorised Version incorporating amendments as at 1 September 2012 : http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/LTObjSt7.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/1CA2B9A2AFD8349ECA257A6800031762/$FILE/94-81aa056%20authorised.pdf [2] Legal requirements for owners of greyhounds in Victoria, http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/greyhounds [3] Myths about Greyhounds debunked, photographic evidence, http://greyhoundscansit.com/greyhound-topics/greyhound-myths-2/ [4] http://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au/dlg/dlghome/documents/Information/Council Reports of Dog Attacks in NSW 2011-12.pdf [5] Deborah L. Duffy, Yuying Hsu, James A. Serpell, Breed differences in canine aggression, In Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 114, Issues 3–4, 2008, Pages 441-460, ISSN 0168-1591, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2008.04.006 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159108001147 [6] B.L. Hart, L.A. Hart, The Perfect Puppy: How to Choose Your Dog by its Behavior W.H. Freeman and Company, New York (1988) pp. 1–182 [7] A. Roll, J. Unshelm, Aggressive conflicts amongst dogs and factors affecting themAppl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 52 (1997), pp. 229-242 [8] Greyhounds one of the 10 least aggressive dog breeds, https://www.cuteness.com/article/10-least-aggressive-dogs [9] Greyhounds among the 5 least aggressive breeds: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-least-aggressive-dog-breed/answer/Vladim-Ilich?srid=zo9f [10] Third least aggressive just after Labrador and Golden Retriever, https://animals.onehowto.com/article/list-of-the-least-aggressive-dog-breeds-4170.html#anchor_3 [11] Dangerous dogs – a sensible solution, The Australian Veterinary Association Ltd, http://www.ava.com.au/sites/default/files/AVA_website/pdfs/Dangerous dogs - a sensible solution FINAL.pdf [12] Dog’s wellfare, http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/your-dogs-welfare-needs [13] Pet-Care practice, http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/your-dogs-welfare-needs/pet-care-practices-research-results-dogs [14] Animal Wellfare, http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/care-and-welfare/animal-welfare/what-is-animal-welfare  

Artemio Soto Breceda
1,418 supporters
Victory
Petitioning James Merlino

Save Kyabram's Year 9 Community

Kyabram P-12 is the only public School in Kyabram. The buildings are in bad shape, many of them have been damaged by white ants and are unsuitable to be used. The portable is one of the better buildings with 4 classrooms and a large common area. It is essential in delivering the Year 9 program, which relies on the communal nature of the building. The Labor Government has advised the Kyabram community they are turning up with their trucks to remove the buildings that make up the Kyabram P-12 year 9 learning community. This is the last straw in a long battle to provide decent facilities to educate our kids. The Kyabram community will stand together and fight.

Sally halliwell
1,403 supporters
Petitioning James Merlino

School Bus Travel Charges

School Bus charges have been introduced by the Victorian State Government for all Victorian school children opting to go to a school, which has accepted individual enrolments, that suits the child (and their family) but is by-passing a closer government high school.  A flat fee per term per child has been introduced to attend a school outside your zoning, despite the fact that the buses are going past our front gates and streets. Picking up children that are allowed to use the government bus service despite the fact they also are also choosing to by-pass the closest school to go to a catholic or independent school. We believe that if the school accepts our enrolment then the charges must be the same for all school goers and not discriminate based on where we live, which is usually not a choice. This is a discriminatory, punitive and unnecessary charge.  We want to fit the school to our child and not the child to the school. Help us change this policy to ensure fairness for all children regardless of where they live. The policy must be non-discriminatory and non-punitive; once a child has been offered a place it must be on an equal and inclusive basis to all children at school.

Natasha Hogan
1,223 supporters
Petitioning Brian Paynter, Daniel Andrews, James Merlino, Jordan Crugnale, Matthew Guy

Help Koo Wee Rup Primary School students get the gymnasium they deserve

Koo Wee Rup Primary School and the Koo Wee Rup community needs a new multipurpose gymnasium. As Koo Wee Rup Primary School continues to grow, our current facilities do not meet the needs of our students and our wider community. At the end of last term, School Council met with both Brian Paynter, our local member for Bass and Jordan Crugnale, the Labor Party candidate for Bass to express our concerns. Below are the main points outlined in both meetings. School Council recently engaged Mike Williams, a local architect to assess our current reality in terms of our buildings and facilities and highlight the under entitlements within our current structures. Based on an enrolment band of 300-325, the key findings from this assessment are as follows: We currently have 6 fixed classrooms, yet we are entitled to 10 fixed classrooms. The remainder of our classrooms are portables. We are entitled to a multi-purpose space of 150 square metres and a canteen space of 39 square metres. Currently our school only has a rundown shed facility which includes an open space and our canteen area. This facility was school built and is clearly not up to Education Facility Standards. This is simply sub-standard and does not meet the needs of the school, its students and the entire Koo Wee Rup community. The school is currently using an old school building (over 100 years old) which has been refurbished inside as its staff room. This is a sub-standard building for staff to be using but it is the reality of the school at the minute. This is due to the fact that the current administrative buildings within the school are simply too small to facilitate the constantly growing staff for meetings or during morning tea and lunch breaks. The current multi-purpose space cannot be used to run a purposeful and effective physical education program, which means that the learning program has to be adjusted any time there is inclement weather. The size of the area, the height of the buildings and the quality of the lighting and flooring all make this space sub-standard for the students. Because it is essentially a shed facility, birds, rats, spiders, lizards, snakes and other pests are a constant issue within the shed facility. This clearly becomes a safety issue for our staff and students. Whilst we continue to offer these facilities to local groups and clubs, the above reasons mean that the space is not suitable and they need to seek alternative facilities outside of Koo Wee Rup.  With our enrolments going beyond 300 students at the beginning of 2019, we are entitled to the building of a new multipurpose building. However we are asking for a commitment to show vision beyond our current enrolments and to be proactive in its decisions to benefit the school and the wider community immediately and for the long term future. Koo Wee Rup Primary School is seeking an electoral commitment from all major state political parties to recognise the continued growth within Koo Wee Rup and commit to building a new full size gymnasium facility. We are also asking for a commitment to increase the size of the current administrative buildings at Koo Wee Rup Primary School to allow for the school to function effectively to meet all of the needs of our students. These improved facilities would be used by Koo Wee Rup Primary School during school hours and made available to the ever growing community groups seeking access to appropriate facilities after school and on weekends. We are asking for all major state political parties to show vision and foresight in making decisions NOW for the FUTURE of Koo Wee Rup Primary School and the wider community. The Koo Wee Rup community has stood by for too long and watched all of the new schools within the Pakenham area being built with state of the art facilities, whilst our school and community continues to be neglected with sub-standard facilities. Our students deserve access to facilities which will provide better outcomes for them; academically, physically, socially and emotionally. The time is now for a commitment to be made to the Koo Wee Rup Primary School and wider community which will allow for our school and community clubs to grow and prosper in the future. We are yet to have any commitment from either the Liberal or Labor Party. It’s time for our local representatives to show a commitment to our growing community. Show your support by sharing and liking this post to have our voice heard loud and clear by Brian Paynter and Jordan Crugnale.  

Nathan Jagoe
1,140 supporters
Don't ignore kids driven to suicide from homophobic bullying – provide victims counselling

Bullying will not be tolerated in our schools. All children and young people have a right to be treated with dignity and respect no matter their background, disability or sexual orientation The allegations raised in this case are deeply concerning and I have asked the Department to investigate. All schools must have in place policies and procedures to prevent bullying and to ensure the safety and well-being of students. There are a range of expert services and supports available to students who are victims of bullying within schools such as student wellbeing coordinators, chaplains and through School Services Support Officers, such as psychologists, social workers and guidance officers. I am pleased that Nathan is currently in school and continuing his education. This clearly demonstrates his resilience and courage in extremely difficult circumstances.

3 years ago