Mr BURGESS: I have been approached by a Somerville constituent who is deeply concerned by the steep increase in his land tax bill, which has almost doubled in just two years—from $1605 in February 2017 to $3175. Victorians are facing higher land tax bills every year under the Andrews Labor government, who have shamefully removed the power of local governments to undertake land valuations and have instead shifted the process to the valuer-general, who is re-evaluating them every 12 months instead of over the years—yet another example of the complete lack of care this government demonstrates when dealing with Victorians’ money.
Mr BURGESS (Hastings) (09:44:29): On 23 February the Somerville community joined to witness the unveiling of the portrait of local pioneer Annie Sage at the iconic Somerville Community House. The event commemorated Annie Sage’s work with the Australian Army Nursing Service, for which she was made matron-in-chief of the Australian Imperial Force (Middle East) in May 1941 and was then appointed a member of the Royal Red Cross for exceptional administrative ability and gallant and distinguished service. In May 1942, back in Australia, Annie Sage was elevated to deputy matron-in-chief at Land HQ in Melbourne. In May 1943 she was promoted to the rank of colonel. Affectionately known to the community as Sammie, in 1952 she unsuccessfully sought Liberal preselection for the federal seat of Flinders but continued to be a strong advocate for her community. In 1956 Annie Sage became a partner in a local grocery shop in Somerville, with well-known and loved local Maisie Lewis, that traded as Sage & Lewis. I congratulate the organisers and all who attended this historic local community event.
Mr BURGESS: I was very pleased to join the federal member for Flinders and Minister for Health, the Honourable Greg Hunt, local councillor Julie Morris and the local Somerville community on Monday, 11 March, to celebrate Somerville Family Day. This event gets bigger and bigger every year, with rides, stalls and attractions. There is something for everyone. This year I was thrown in the deep end, quite literally, along with intrepid local councillor Julie Morris, as we were dunked many times, all in the name of fun and supporting the local community. I cannot imagine why locals would line up and pay money just to drop us into cold water. Thanks to the fantastic local organisers, including Cally McNulty and Chrissy Kouvaras, for another wonderful day, and their committees of course.
Mr BURGESS (Hastings) (11:40:22): (406) My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. I am seeking information on behalf of my broader electorate community regarding the reintroduction of the police in schools program. The wonderfully successful police in schools program continued for 16 years until axed in 2005 by the then Labor government despite a Department of Justice-commissioned Monash University study into the program in 2004 which found the program was effective and recommended its continuation. The program also allowed local police to establish positive relationships with local young people by visiting the schools regularly and getting to know them and letting them know that police are on their side and that they are their friend, not their enemy. Up until the program was axed there were 75 police on the ground around Victoria regularly visiting 650 primary and secondary schools, speaking on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, leading anti-crime and good citizenship initiatives and developing critical early links with young people. By removing that relationship-building opportunity between impressionable kids and those who are responsible for minimising criminal and antisocial behaviour, the Victorian Labor Party contributed directly to a worsening situation of a lack of respect for authority and combative relationships between police and our youth.
As the very proud Patron of the Western Port Festival, it gave me great pleasure to join the Hon Greg Hunt and Cr Kate Roper in judging the winning float the parade, last Saturday.
Congratulations to all winners and the entire committee for their work in organising a wonderful festival for the community.
State Member for Hastings, Neale Burgess is encouraging young people aged 16 to 25 to make their voices heard as part of the annual YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament.
Users of the Port of Melbourne are alarmed that the Ports Minister the Hon Melissa Horne failed to explain in Question Time on Wednesday, why access fees charged by the major cargo handling companies have increased from $3.60 to $80.00 per container over the past 2 years.
Mr BURGESS — Over the past four years I have visited the majority of electorates across Victoria, many of them numerous times, to meet and talk to many hundreds of small and medium‑sized businesses. Often it is not what they say that you learn from; it is what they do not say. Numbers of these businesses described how they had met with their local MP and a few had even met the minister, but the feeling they were given was that they were expected to sit there and listen while the MP and/or minister spoke.
Mr BURGESS — I want to acknowledge Bayside Christian College, Langwarrin. On 12 September I was pleased to be invited to address year 9 Bayside Christian College students, which was great fun because it was about the role and responsibilities of a member of Parliament. I get a real buzz out of meeting with students and telling them about the role of an MP —
Mr BURGESS (Hastings) (11:37:45) — (15 000) My question is to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. I am seeking information on behalf of my Blind Bight and Warneet communities about the provision of a new public toilet in Warneet. Blind Bight and Warneet constituents have stated that a new public toilet with facilities for people with disabilities is badly needed on Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning land at the Warneet boat ramp. The old toilet is unusable. It has no lights, it is too far from the boat ramp and the local council has stated that the area is in fact snake infested. Local residents have stated that on weekends, when over 1000 people visit the town to use the boat ramp, visitors are forced to use the surrounding brush as a makeshift toilet, creating not only a hygiene problem but an embarrassing situation for adults and children alike, while the situation is immeasurably worse for people with a disability.