Health Community facilities Education Speeches | October 15, 2019
Second Reading - Land (Revocation of Reservations) Bill 2019
Victorian Parliament - 15 October 2019
Ms KEALY (Lowan) (17:28:50): It is a privilege, as always, to rise to add my contribution to the Land (Revocation of Reservations) Bill 2019. This is an important bill for my electorate of Lowan over in far west Victoria because it does relate to a specific racecourse—in fact a quite famous racecourse, in Coleraine. In fact The Nationals have enjoyed some produce from Coleraine today. I brought along some fine chocolates from Glenelg Fine Confectionery. Mr Edbrooke: You didn’t share them, Emma. Ms KEALY: It is always a good way to win friends in this place, to bring along some delicious truffles. I would invite the member for Frankston to join me over in the Lowan electorate. I would be more than happy to take him for a tour through the delicious chocolate factory in Coleraine. It is a fantastic asset for our local region. Given Lowan is one-sixth of the state, I think it just goes to show we can do anything in our part of the world, whether it is broadacre cropping and farming or whether it is producing great stock, including sheep—wool, lamb. We have got great dairy produce, some beef as well, and pig products. We also do great chocolate. Come along my way, and for any MP who wants to come and taste the fine chocolate produce of the Lowan electorate, I will host them for a visit at the Glenelg Fine Confectionery chocolate factory. Also in Coleraine of course is this fantastic racecourse, and this bill specifically addresses a unique issue at Coleraine in that there is a group of trustees who through legislation are responsible for the racecourse. Unfortunately over the course of time a number of these trustees have passed on, and we are now in a position where it is really tying up the opportunities of the racecourse and the race club to manage their fantastic facilities. I would like to just make comment for these trustees. These are volunteers. They do an absolutely amazing job, and as we see in so many of our race clubs in the Lowan electorate, on race day you will head along and you will see not just a great day with a lot of people enjoying themselves, enjoying the races and having a good social time as well, but the track is always in impeccable condition. This is no different at Coleraine. It is in fact home to Australia’s oldest ongoing jumps race. I think it is quite interesting to think we have got such significance for horse racing and particularly steeple racing in western Victoria. The Great Western Steeplechase was first run in 1857 or 1858; there is conflicting evidence on the internet, so I am not exactly sure which year it was, but certainly it is Australia’s oldest ongoing jumps race. Interestingly enough it was also the subject of a poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon. A bit of a daredevil and horseman, he, I think, famously tried to jump over Blue Lake in Mount Gambier and came to his demise, and there is a statue in Mount Gambier in memory of him. He raced in the Great Western Steeplechase, and there is a fantastic poem, which goes into great detail about the type of track that it is but also about the specific race. There is a fair bit of humour in there, so I would recommend that anybody who is interested in poetry or is perhaps just considering this bill google The Fields of Coleraine by Adam Lindsay Gordon. They will get a true sense of what it is like to be a jockey racing in the Great Western Steeplechase in Coleraine. This bill will revoke two restricted Crown grants issued to trustees for Coleraine Racecourse, which will enable a committee of management to be appointed to manage the reserve. This is appropriate and it is timely. The current legislation which governs the trustees for Coleraine Racecourse is the Coleraine Race-course Act 1901. This has provided some limitation to the club being able to deal with their own committee and do their own thing, so it is my understanding that it is certainly something that is welcomed by the Coleraine community but also by other racing clubs in that local area. In particular I would like to make mention of and thank someone who is a fantastic friend of mine and a good family friend as well, John Donnelly. JD always has a hot tip for you on race day anywhere in the Western District. He has done an enormous amount for racing through the Western District. A member: Do they get up? Ms KEALY: They often get up. However, I have been part of JD’s tipping competition, and unfortunately I have never come home with any bucks following that. But JD is always up for a good chat and a good tip, and I do thank him for his input on this bill but also for all the work that he has contributed to local racing clubs in the Western District. This bill does make other provisions besides assisting the Coleraine Racecourse to form their own management committee, and they are around a permanent reservation for public recreation over Crown land adjoining Frankston Hospital—to replace it with a temporary reservation for hospital purposes to enable extensions to Frankston Hospital. This is of course something that the Liberal-National coalition strongly supports. We know we need to see further investment in our health services, including in the Frankston Hospital but not limited to it. Certainly across my electorate we have a number of big concerns when it comes to health care in our region. We have got significant doctor shortages, which is putting enormous pressure on our hospitals. In fact there are a couple of hospitals that are unable to find doctors to service and provide that 24‑hour care. It is a real problem in our region and it is certainly something that needs to be a front-of-mind focus for the Andrews Labor government. If we do not have GPs, we really fall short in so many areas. It is not just in terms of primary health care; this is a key point in our mental health services. It is really a touchstone. If you cannot see a GP to get your mental health script, you really are lost in the system and often cannot find anybody to provide that mental health support for you. Something I would get an email about on a daily basis at the moment is the shortage of GPs but also the shortage of mental health services across not just the Lowan electorate but right across rural and regional Victoria. We need to see that addressed. It is too important to get wrong. We have also heard in recent weeks issues around primary care partnerships and enormous concerns that this funding may be cut from June or July of next year. PCPs are invaluable. They do so much work around providing mental health support in particular but also chronic disease management and integration and cohesiveness between the various levels of health services. So I do urge the government to make sure they continue to fund PCPs. I also refer to bush nursing centres. I am deeply concerned that there is a proposed cut to bush nursing centres into the future. If we do not have bush nursing centres, we simply will have enormous gaps when it comes to primary health care in our most remote areas of Victoria. I know for many people who live in Melbourne it is very difficult to think about Victoria being an area where we have got remote sections. When I look at the bush nursing centres in my electorate, there is one in Dartmoor, there is one in Lake Bolac and we also have one in Harrow and one in Balmoral. There is also one just out of the electorate to the north at Woomelang. These centres do an amazing job. They are the first point of call. Staff there often double as ambulance officers. They provide immediate urgent care for local residents. They provide follow-up support when people have been into hospital for any surgery. Please never, ever cut funding to bush nursing centres, and certainly make sure it is an increase in funding, not a cut, because staff in those centres are really struggling at the moment because the nursing enterprise bargaining agreement has not been fully funded. We have seen cuts to services to people who live in remote areas of Victoria, and that is just not fair. This bill also seeks to revoke permanent reservations over part of the existing permanent public gardens reservation over the Lower Reserve in the Camberwell area, which is currently managed by the council, and replace it with a temporary reservation for state school purposes used by the Camberwell Primary School. Again, it is great to see support for building new schools. Can we look at finishing the Warracknabeal education precinct? That was put in place and started a couple of years ago. We have now got a third of the special development school, we have had cuts to the education programs for some of our kids who are most in need, we have got half a secondary college, a brand-new science lab that is being used as storage room. Secondary school students in Warracknabeal cannot access the educational programs they need. Please in this next budget finish what you started, Premier, and please make sure that we see a delivery of full funding for this school to get it finished. So in summary I do support this bill in full. It is good to see that there will be finally some resolution for Coleraine Racecourse and for the trustees, who have done such a great job for so many years—over 100 years, in fact 118 years. They have managed that reserve extraordinarily well. I thank them for all of their contributions to the community, to making sure Coleraine remains one of the premier racecourses in the state. For those who have not attended the Coleraine Cup or the Great Western Steeplechase, please come to Coleraine. Maybe you can get a chocolate at the same time at the chocolate factory.
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