MIL-OSI Australia: Mini-HEY Day To Showcase Youth Mental Health Projects

Source: Premier of Victoria

The 11 successful recipients of round 8 of the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) small grants program gathered in Flagstaff Gardens today to showcase and discuss their planned projects to promote the health and well-being of LGBTIQ+ young Victorians.

Minister for Youth Gabrielle Williams congratulated the recipients and introduced the screening of the film ‘Masked’, which explores issues facing LGBTIQ+ young people and was produced by young people in partnership with round 7 grant recipient, Knox City Council.

The HEY grants program aims to raise awareness, promote acceptance of diversity, eliminate stigma and discrimination and improve mental health in young same sex attracted and sex and gender diverse (SSASGD) people.

HEY Round 8 funding totalling $110,000 will support a wide range of activities in Ringwood, Richmond, Fitzroy, Carlton, Coburg, Epping, Dallas, Beechworth, Swan Hill and Wangaratta.

The ‘Mini-HEY Day’ is an annual event connecting HEY partners with grant recipients and provides a forum for past recipients to showcase how HEY Grant funding was used to support and empower young LGBTIQ+ Victorians.

The annual grants program is administered and coordinated by Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic). To date the program has supported more than 65 organisations to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young SSASGD Victorians.

While most LGBTIQ+ Australians experience good mental health, rates of suicide and poor mental health are much higher among LGBTIQ+ people than for other Australians.  This is even more pronounced among young people.

Late last year the Victorian Government announced a Royal Commission into Mental Health – the first of its kind in Australia. The Royal Commission will provide a comprehensive set of recommendations on how best to support Victorians with mental illness, including those at risk of suicide.

The Government allocated a landmark $705 million to mental health in the 2018-19 Budget.

Further information on the HEY Grants and grant recipients is available on the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria website:

Quotes attributable to Minister for Youth Gabrielle Williams

“Promoting diversity and acceptance in our community should be a priority for all of us. These grants go a long way towards establishing long-term support networks and eliminating stigma and discrimination from the ground up.”

“By actively supporting young people to live full, healthy and functional lives we’re building a stronger, more resilient LGBTIQ+ community in Victoria for the future.”

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MIL-OSI Australia: Helping Young Aboriginal People Get The Care They Need

Source: Premier of Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government is partnering with the Bendigo District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC) to build stronger futures for Aboriginal children in care.

The local organisation becomes the second of its kind in Victoria to be part of the Australian-first Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care program.

The $13.7 million initiative is a vital step forward in Aboriginal self-determination and gives approved Aboriginal organisations greater responsibility for the safety and protection of vulnerable children subject to Children’s Court protection orders.

With BDAC joining the program, more Aboriginal children and young people will be cared for by Aboriginal community services, meaning their support meets their cultural and community needs.

It means Aboriginal children will stay in their communities even if they are living in out-of-home care, and remain connected with family, culture and community.

BDAC will provide care and support for up to 36 children in the Dja Dja Wurrung area, and by 2020 it’s expected 216 Aboriginal children will be supported as part of the Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care program.

The program and pilots have been co-designed alongside Aboriginal agencies, the Commission for Children and Young People and Community Service Organisations.

Quote attributable to Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan

“We’re working closely with Aboriginal communities to make sure their kids get the best care, because all Aboriginal children and young people deserve a connection with their community and culture.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“This is part of our bold plans to make sure all Aboriginal children on protection orders and placed in out-of-home care with Aboriginal organisations.”

Quotes attributable to Bendigo District Aboriginal Cooperative CEO Raylene Harradine

“Full authorisation of Mutjang Bupuwingarrak Mukman is not just a significant achievement for our community, but for all Australia.”

“We have seen transformational changes for our families. Our children are remaining connected to family and their culture through full authorisation.”

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MIL-OSI Australia: Regional Victorians Have Their Say On Mental Health Royal Commission

Source: Premier of Victoria

Mental health experts in regional and rural Victoria will get their say on the issues that matter to them as the Andrews Labor Government’s historic Mental Health Royal Commission starts to take shape.

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley will hold regional roundtable discussions in Ballarat, Bendigo, Mildura and Shepparton today and tomorrow to hear from the people best placed to help shape the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission.

The roundtables will include representatives from the mental health workforce, service providers, community support groups, academics and most importantly, people and their families who have lived experience with mental illness.

Every year, one in five Victorians experience a mental illness, but only about half of these receive treatment. Last year alone, we lost 621 Victorians to suicide.

The Royal Commission is the first of its kind in Australia and will provide comprehensive recommendations on how to best reform the current mental health system and support Victorians with mental illness, including those at risk of suicide.

Last month, the Labor Government gave all Victorians an opportunity to have their say over the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission. Already, more than 5,000 Victorians have made a submission online.

Regional roundtables will also be held in Geelong and Traralgon over the next fortnight. To have your say on the Terms of Reference into Mental Health, visit

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“One in five Victorians experience mental illness every year. We know we don’t have all the answers to improve the system – only a Royal Commission will help us do that.”

“Regional Victorians are disproportionately affected by poor Mental Health. We want to know what matters to them – and what we can do better.”

“The Mental Health Royal Commission Terms of Reference won’t just be developed by the experts – it will be shaped by the everyday Victorians who count on the system to be the best it can be.”

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MIL-OSI Australia: Victorians Urged To Be Careful During Extreme Heat

Source: Premier of Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government is pleading with Victorians to heed the warnings this summer and look after themselves and others – particularly the elderly and young children – when the weather heats up.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today joined Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton, Ambulance Victoria and the Bureau of Meteorology to promote the Never Leave Kids in Cars and Survive the Heat campaigns.

The Labor Government’s Never Leave Kids in Cars campaign warns parents about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars where they are at great risk of life-threatening heatstroke, dehydration and organ damage.

The temperature inside a car can double in just minutes in extreme conditions and a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, meaning there is no safe amount of time to leave children unattended.

Between 1 September 2017 and August 31 2018, paramedics responded to 1,587 calls to people ‘locked in vehicles’ – the majority being children aged under 13. The five local government areas with the most callouts were Casey (113), Wyndham (79), Whittlesea (69), Greater Geelong (60) and Hume (60).

Extreme heat kills more people in Australia than any natural disaster and can affect anybody – during the 2009 heatwave, the number of deaths in Victoria was 374 more than under normal conditions and almost 80 per cent of those deaths were people over 65. During the 2014 heatwave the number of deaths increased by 167.

On a 44 degree day in January 2014, there was a 700 per cent increase in paramedic call outs for cardiac arrests.

The Survive the Heat campaign urges Victorians to take heatwaves as seriously as they would any natural disaster.

Simple steps to stay safe during heatwaves include:

  • Drinking more water by taking small sips from a drink bottle throughout the day
  • Keeping cool and seeking out air-conditioned buildings
  • Planning ahead and scheduling activities in the coolest part of the day
  • Looking out for most vulnerable – this might be your neighbour living alone or the elderly.

People at the highest risk of heat exhaustion include people aged over 65, people with a pre-existing medical condition, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and babies and young children.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“We want Victorians, especially the elderly and those with medical conditions, to stop underestimating heatwaves – they are just as dangerous as floods and bushfires and we need to be prepared.”

“Hot cars can kill. Even if you’ll only be a couple of minutes, you should never leave kids unattended in cars.”

Quote attributable to Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton

“Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can affect anyone, but isolated elderly people are especially at risk. That is why, as a community, we need to look out for one another and check on your neighbours on hot days.”

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MIL-OSI Australia: Essential Services Commission Chairperson Steps Down

Source: Premier of Victoria

Dr Ron Ben-David will step down as the head of the Essential Services Commission later this year, seeing out his 10-year term in the role.

Dr Ben-David was appointed as the chair and one of the ESC’s three commissioners in 2008.

The Andrews Labor Government will now begin an open process to seek his replacement, ahead of his term officially ending on 31 May.

During his time as Chairperson, Dr Ben-David has overseen the implementation of a world-leading pricing framework for regulated water prices, obligations on water businesses to assist customers experiencing family violence and a new regulatory framework for the Port of Melbourne.

Dr Ben-David previously headed up the Commonwealth Secretariat for the Garnaut Climate Change Review and was a Deputy Secretary in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The ESC is Victoria’s independent regulator of essential services supplied by the electricity, gas, water, ports, rail freight and taxi industries.

The Commission will be responsible for delivering key aspects of the Labor Government’s Energy Fairness Plan – the biggest regulatory shake-up of the energy sector in Victoria’s history – providing stronger penalties for retailers who do the wrong thing and better protections for customers.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Treasurer Robin Scott

“Dr Ben-David has provided strong stewardship of the Commission over the past 10 years, significantly contributing to public policy in Victoria and ensuring the Commission’s reputation as a high-performing regulator.”

“We wish Dr Ben-David all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for his decades of service to the state.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: First Automated Vehicle To Hit The Road

Source: Premier of Victoria

Cutting-edge automated vehicle technology will be tested in rural Victoria this year in the first on-road trial approved under the new Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan today announced that Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Trial Grants Program and granted the state’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.

Last year, Victoria finalised regulations to support the ADS permit scheme, which authorises the use of automated vehicles for testing and development on our roads.

Bosch is currently developing its automated vehicle technology and will begin testing on high-speed rural roads later in 2019. The aim of the Bosch trial is to use the state-of-the-art technology to improve safety on rural Victorian roads – where drivers are five times as likely to be killed in a crash than in metropolitan areas.

The testing will be conducted on roads that expose the automated vehicle to a range of different conditions including traffic, weather and infrastructure.

The $9 million Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program is funded through the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.4 billion Towards Zero Action Plan.

In late 2017, VicRoads called for expressions of interest from companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations to apply for funding to spur the development of these emerging technologies. which will lead to reduced deaths and serious injuries. Other successful applicants will be announced soon.

The trials will support Victoria’s readiness for CAV technologies and the knowledge gained will provide a better understanding of the infrastructure required to get these vehicles on the road, maximising their safety benefits.

Quotes attributable to Acting Premier Jacinta Allan

“Victoria is leading the nation in the future of on-road technology and this trial is an exciting step towards driverless vehicles hitting the road.”

“The tragic fact is that you’re five times as likely to be killed on a rural road than in the city. That’s why we’re rolling out a record roads investment in rural Victoria – and this is another way we can improve safety and save lives.”

Quote attributable to Member for Clarinda Meng Heang Tak

“This is not only great news for road safety – but our local community also benefits with high skilled jobs and more investment.”

Quote attributable to President, Bosch Australia Gavin Smith

“Bosch is a proud leader in vehicle safety systems and is eager to commence this trial with technologies that will show how we can improve road safety and reduce road trauma on rural roads.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Thousands Of Doctors, Nurses And Midwives Start Their Careers

Source: Premier of Victoria

Thousands of doctors, nurses and midwives are preparing to begin long and rewarding careers in Victoria’s world-class public hospitals.

Around 810 first-year medical interns and 2,500 new nurses and midwife graduates will start their careers in 2019, ushering in a new era of highly-trained medical professionals to care for patients in hospitals and health services all over Victoria.

Regional Victoria will be a big winner, with 290 of the medical interns to be based at rural and regional hospitals.

The Andrews Labor Government is funding 500,000 more specialist appointments in regional Victoria, so that people don’t have to travel long distances to get the care they need.

Victoria’s next wave of doctors, nurses and midwives will receive the best education available, so they can offer the highest quality care. In 2018, the Labor Government invested $90 million to train and develop more medical interns, nursing and midwifery graduates and allied health staff.

The Labor Government will always stand with our hard-working health staff so they can deliver the best care. Legislation introduced on the first day of the 59th Parliament will enshrine better nurse and midwife to patient ratios in law.

Once these improvements are made, the Government will commence a new round of changes that will see the total number of new nurses and midwives in Victoria reach 1,100.

The Government will also deliver on its commitment to create a $50 million Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund, which will expand the existing Registered Nurse and Midwife Graduate Program and establish a graduate program for Enrolled Nurses for the first time.

This will employ 400 Enrolled Nurses over the next four years, with 100 of these positions to be available to TAFE graduates from next year – meaning Victorians will be able to study a Diploma of Nursing for free at TAFE, as one of the Labor Government’s free priority TAFE courses, then start work as an enrolled nurse once they graduate.

The fund will also provide up to 400 postgraduate scholarships for current nurses and midwives to upgrade their skills, 400 places in programs such as the Postgraduate Midwifery Employment Program and refresher programs for 800 nurses and midwives currently registered but not practicing so they can re-enter the workforce.

It will also include $10 million for grants, scholarships, graduate jobs and refreshers for regional students and current nurses and midwives.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“Congratulations to the hundreds of new doctors, nurses and midwives who are about to join our highly-trained army of health professionals. I wish them long and rewarding careers.”

“Growing our health system to give patients the very best care that they can count on, no matter where they live, is a never-ending job that we’re committed to.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Transporting Australia’s Top All-Abilities Cricketers

Source: Premier of Victoria

More than 110 bus services will transport the 240 players participating in next week’s National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Geelong.

Buses have been specially arranged to move the all-abilities cricketers to and from games during the week-long championships, for free.

The National Cricket Inclusion Championships will take place across more than 10 cricket grounds in Geelong between January 21 and 25, featuring 240 players from around Australia.

The bus services, which will be run by Geelong bus operator McHarry’s, will also transfer the interstate players and their carers from Melbourne Airport before and after the tournament.

Competitions are divided into categories for players who are blind and have low vision, deaf and hard of hearing and players with an intellectual disability.

This year’s event will for the first time also include two women’s teams, which will take part in a deaf women’s exhibition series.

The Cricket Australia event, secured for three years in Geelong thanks to an Andrews Labor Government Significant Sporting Events Program grant, gives cricketers of varying abilities the chance to compete in and enjoy the sport they love.

During the championships, games will be played at various ovals around Geelong, including Burdoo Reserve, McDonald Reserve, Highton Reserve, Richmond Oval, Walker Oval, Osborne Oval and Jarvis Oval.

For more information go to

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne

“Providing free transport for these players is just one small way we can help deliver this event and bring these passionate cricketers together.”

“This is a great event for the Geelong sporting calendar and for all-abilities cricket – and we’re making sure players can get to and from the Championships.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan

 “Players with disabilities deserve the opportunity to play championship cricket, that’s why we’re proud to support the Inclusion Cup.”

“These are Australia’s top all-abilities cricketers who will be attracting supporters and spectators from all over the country, giving them the chance to bowl and bat on a national stage.”

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MIL-OSI Australia: Bush Food Trials To Explore A New Agricultural Industry

Source: Premier of Victoria

Some of Victoria’s oldest flavours will soon be accessible to dining tables across the world, thanks to an Andrews Labor Government grant to expand the bush food industry on the Great South Coast.

Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes today announced the $30,000 Food Source Victoria grant, which will allow WG Enterprises to start supply chain mapping, field trials and kitchen trials to expand the emerging industry.

WG Enterprises provides economic opportunities to Aboriginal people by assisting individuals into employment and creating sustainable, Aboriginal-operated commercial enterprises.

The demand for bush foods is currently exceeding supply, with several key crops being exported to overseas markets. The grant will identify where the opportunities lie for Great South Coast producers, processors, distributors and retailers, and demonstrate a model to commercialise the businesses.

The field trials will assess the capability of several species, with viable plants then taken to large scale production testing. With most bush food research currently focused on northern or central Australia, this work will break new ground and test species that have never been researched before.

The trials will test Apium Prostratum (Sea Celery), Tasmania Lanceolata (Mountain Pepper), Kunzea Pomifera (Muntries), Prostranthera Rotundifolia (Round Leaf Mint Bush), Mentha Australias (River Mint), Carpobrotus Rossii (Pigface), Arthropodium Strictum (Chocolate Lily), Arthropodium Milleflorum (Vanilla Lily), Billardiera cymosa (Sweet Apple Berry) and Trachymene Incisia (Wild Parsnip).

The Labor Government’s Food Source Victoria program supports producers and businesses working in partnership to develop products that take the state’s best produce to the world, creating new jobs and growing exports.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaclyn Symes

“We’re proud to support WG Enterprises to expand the emerging native bush foods industry and create more jobs for Aboriginal Victorians.”

“This exciting project has the potential to bring some of Australia’s oldest flavours to dining tables right across the world.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Boosting Visitors For Geelong’s International Students

Source: Premier of Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government is helping Geelong’s visitor economy grow by supporting a plan to increase the number of people travelling to the region to visit international students.

Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes today announced the Labor Government will provide $50,000 from the Stronger Regional Communities Plan to Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine to develop the first Geelong-specific marketing and travel packages for people visiting the region’s international students.

Capitalising on the Air Asia flights to Avalon that commenced in late 2018, the project will be delivered in partnership with Study Geelong and will use insights from Geelong’s international students on what will attract their family and friends to visit the area.

The project will create tailored campaigns for key international markets and develop country-specific itineraries to encourage people from across Asia to visit Geelong and the south-west.

With more than 3,400 international students enrolled in the Geelong area, the international student market is growing export sector for Geelong, rising by 20 per cent in 2016-17 alone.

The international student market is Victoria’s largest services export industry, worth almost $10 billion – with the visiting friends and relatives market providing a further boost to Victorian tourism.

The Labor Government’s Stronger Regional Communities Plan invests in community-led projects to make regional Victoria a better place to live and work and help them grow their economies.

Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes

“Avalon Airport is a gateway for travellers from Asia so it makes sense we are encouraging people to visit international students in the region to boost the local economies and cement Geelong, the Bellarine and the Great Ocean Road as must-see destinations in Victoria.” 

Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens

“We’re proud to be building stronger communities across regional Victoria hand in hand with locals through projects like this.”

Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren

“We’re excited to support Tourism Greater Geelong and Bellarine to work with Geelong’s international student community to give their overseas friends and family better access to our beautiful region.” 

Quote attributable to Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine – Roger Grant, Executive Director

“International Education is an important part of the Geelong region’s visitor economy. With from the Victorian Government, we will promote the increased accessibility to the region through Air Asia and all that Geelong has to offer, to the friends and families of international students studying here.”

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