Wade Noonan, State Member for Williamstown

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  • About Wade

    Wade was elected to the Victorian Parliament to represent the seat of Williamstown district in September 2007, following the retirement of long serving Victorian Premier and Williamstown MP, Steve Bracks. Wade currently lives in Williamstown with his wife and two children, making him the fourth generation of his family to live in Melbourne’s inner west.

  • Williamstown

    The provenance of the electoral district of Williamstown extends back to the establishment of the first free and independent Victorian Parliament in 1856.

  • West Gate Distributor

    Local communities in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs have long been suffering from the influx of trucks travelling through their suburban and business districts. To address this, the Andrews Labor Government has made the West Gate Distributor project one of its top priorities in Project 10,000.

  • Sky High and the Education Precinct

    The Andrews Labor Government has committed $15 million in order to build a pre-school to tertiary education precinct in the inner west.

  • Investing in Local High Schools

    The Andrews Labor Government understands the importance of education and maintains a proud record of investing in our local schools.

  • About Wade

    Wade was elected to the Victorian Parliament to represent the seat of Williamstown district in September 2007, following the retirement of long serving Victorian Premier and Williamstown MP, Steve Bracks. Wade currently lives in Williamstown with his wife and two children, making him the fourth generation of his family to live in Melbourne’s inner west.

Media Centre

YOUNG LOCAL TO CHAIR GOVERNMENT ADVISORY GROUP

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott announced that Hobsons Bay local and former Youth Parliamentarian, Oussama Abou-Zeid, will act as co-chair of a new advisory group that will support the efforts of the Andrews Labor Government to strengthen social cohesion. Oussama, along with fellow chair Ms Safa Alma, will lead the Social Cohesion and Community Resilience Advisory Group designed to help address economic and social disengagement that may lead to individual or community isolation, anti-social behaviour or violent extremism. The Advisory Group is comprised of representatives from across the multicultural community, with a particular focus on youth. Its role is to provide advice to the recently established Ministerial Taskforce, which is chaired by Deputy Premier James Merlino. Other members of the taskforce include Wade Noonan, Minister for Police, Jenny Mikakos, Minister for Youth and Robin Scott, Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Mr Noonan welcomed the appointment and said it was due recognition for Oussama’s outstanding achievements for the community. Oussama was appointed Hobsons Bay Yong Citizen of the Year in 2013 for his work in establishing the MuJu football club, a club that aims to achieve lasting peace, resilience and friendship between two cultures through competitive sport. He is also a graduate of the Whitten Project at the Western Bulldogs Football Club, a former representative for the Hobsons Bay Youth Parliament Team, and has served as Premier of Victoria’s Youth Parliament. Quotes attributable to Member for Williamstown, Wade Noonan “Oussama is an experienced and exceptional member of our community and this is due recognition for his achievements.” “It’s important that the voices of young people are heard, and Oussama is a great choice to help lead that process.”  “It’s important that the voices of young people are heard, and Oussama is a great choice to help lead that process.” “I congratulate Oussama and look forward to receiving his advice.”

YOUNG LOCAL TO CHAIR GOVERNMENT ADVISORY GROUP

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott announced that Hobsons Bay local and former Youth Parliamentarian, Oussama Abou-Zeid, will act as co-chair of a new advisory group that will support the efforts of the Andrews Labor Government to strengthen social cohesion. Oussama, along with fellow chair Ms Safa Alma, will lead the Social Cohesion and Community Resilience Advisory Group designed to help address economic and social disengagement that may lead to individual or community isolation, anti-social behaviour or violent extremism. The Advisory Group is comprised of representatives from across the multicultural community, with a particular focus on youth. Its role is to provide advice to the recently established Ministerial Taskforce, which is chaired by Deputy Premier James Merlino. Other members of the taskforce include Wade Noonan, Minister for Police, Jenny Mikakos, Minister for Youth and Robin Scott, Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Mr Noonan welcomed the appointment and said it was due recognition for Oussama’s outstanding achievements for the community. Oussama was appointed Hobsons Bay Yong Citizen of the Year in 2013 for his work in establishing the MuJu football club, a club that aims to achieve lasting peace, resilience and friendship between two cultures through competitive sport. He is also a graduate of the Whitten Project at the Western Bulldogs Football Club, a former representative for the Hobsons Bay Youth Parliament Team, and has served as Premier of Victoria’s Youth Parliament. Quotes attributable to Member for Williamstown, Wade Noonan “Oussama is an experienced and exceptional member of our community and this is due recognition for his achievements.” “It’s important that the voices of young people are heard, and Oussama is a great choice to help lead that process.”  “It’s important that the voices of young people are heard, and Oussama is a great choice to help lead that process.” “I congratulate Oussama and look forward to receiving his advice.”

Second Reading: Road Safety Amendment Bill 2015 – 24 June 2015

Mr NOONAN (Minister for Police) — I move: That this bill be now read a second time. Speech as follows incorporated into Hansard under sessional orders: Victorians driving under the influence of drugs is a key cause of road trauma. It is becoming increasingly important to find new ways to try to deter and detect drivers who persist in driving while under the influence of illegal substances. This government is working hard to reduce the effect of illegal drugs on our community. The Ice Action Plan was released in March 2015, and includes a commitment of $45.5 million in new investment, focusing on priority initiatives to reduce the supply, demand and harm of the drug ice. The funding will include greater resources for Victoria Police to take drug-affected drivers off our roads. This bill will also provide Victoria Police with the means to gather evidence necessary to hold those drivers involved in serious vehicle accidents while under the influence of drugs properly accountable for their actions. For people like the families of the couple involved in the tragic crash in Docklands in early 2014, it is clear that there is a loophole that needs to be closed in order to give the courts and police greater powers in dealing with drivers with drugs in their system when involved in serious motor vehicle accidents. In February 2014, a passenger was killed and her partner seriously injured when their car was hit by the driver of a ute that ran a red light in Docklands. A swab sample was taken from the driver, which was positive for ice and amphetamines; however, he refused to provide a blood sample. The current legislation did not allow the driver to be compelled to take a drug test and, as he was not injured himself, he was not admitted to hospital, where a mandatory blood sample would have been taken. A blood test would have provided evidence of the quantity of drugs in his system. Police discovered 50 grams of ice in the driver's vehicle; however, there was no evidence available to show that drug use contributed to his driving at the time. The driver was therefore convicted of dangerous driving causing death, whereas if a blood test had been available to support the contention that he was under the influence of drugs, he would have been charged with culpable driving causing death, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. If released on parole, that driver may be back on the streets in 20 months. The bill will allow police to request a blood sample from persons in charge of motor vehicles that have been involved in an accident causing serious injury or fatality. Police need to be able to make this request to obtain evidence of drug impairment or influence, so they can hold people properly accountable for their actions on our roads. The proposed amendment will also provide evidence to establish a driver was not drug affected when involved in a collision, proving that they had only prescription medicine in their system, or recommended amounts of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. This can be an important issue in some investigations and will assist the police and the courts to make the best decision about which charges are appropriate to be laid against the offender. Victoria Police will be closely monitoring the amendment to ensure its effectiveness. As further advances in technology are created, allowing for new and better ways of drug testing, with greater accuracy of drug levels and impairment caused to people, further amendments may be made to this legislation to ensure the intent of stopping people from driving while impaired by drugs is preserved. In addition to the $15 million provided in the 2015–16 state budget for new booze and drug buses, the Transport Accident Commission has committed a further $2.7 million for further drug testing. The bill will also make amendments to the hoon driving regime. A primary focus of road policing is to reduce fatal collisions and trauma. The economic, social, and environmental cost of road trauma to the community is enormous. Hoon activities are a major contributor to road trauma, as they are intentional high-risk driving activities. The risk of death and serious injury is significantly increased by this dangerous driving, and innocent spectators or bystanders are placed at risk. The sanctions must be effective and severe to deter these dangerous drivers and to protect the community. The bill will assist Victoria Police by ensuring that the impoundment regime is able to function as intended where an offence is detected by a road safety camera. This will assist in deterring high-risk, antisocial and irresponsible 'hoon' driving behaviour, when captured on a road safety camera. The bill will also allow Victoria Police to recoup costs from immobilisation and impoundment by amending the definition of 'designated costs' in accordance with Treasury guidelines. An important aspect of the hoon driving regime is discouraging recidivist offenders. If a person is convicted of a second offence under the scheme, it may result in up to three months vehicle impoundment or immobilisation and a third offence may result in forfeiture of the vehicle. The bill provides clear direction as to when the courts should not consider exceptional hardship as grounds for declining to make an impoundment, immobilisation or forfeiture order — for example, when a driver is suspended or disqualified from driving, and persists in driving so dangerously as to be convicted of an offence under the hoon driving scheme. It is appropriate that those people who have shown that they are a serious risk to our community if allowed on the roads be sanctioned in such a way. I commend the bill to the house. Debate adjourned on motion of Mr CLARK (Box Hill). Debate adjourned until Wednesday, 8 July.

Second Reading: Road Safety Amendment Bill 2015 – 24 June 2015

Mr NOONAN (Minister for Police) — I move: That this bill be now read a second time. Speech as follows incorporated into Hansard under sessional orders: Victorians driving under the influence of drugs is a key cause of road trauma. It is becoming increasingly important to find new ways to try to deter and detect drivers who persist in driving while under the influence of illegal substances. This government is working hard to reduce the effect of illegal drugs on our community. The Ice Action Plan was released in March 2015, and includes a commitment of $45.5 million in new investment, focusing on priority initiatives to reduce the supply, demand and harm of the drug ice. The funding will include greater resources for Victoria Police to take drug-affected drivers off our roads. This bill will also provide Victoria Police with the means to gather evidence necessary to hold those drivers involved in serious vehicle accidents while under the influence of drugs properly accountable for their actions. For people like the families of the couple involved in the tragic crash in Docklands in early 2014, it is clear that there is a loophole that needs to be closed in order to give the courts and police greater powers in dealing with drivers with drugs in their system when involved in serious motor vehicle accidents. In February 2014, a passenger was killed and her partner seriously injured when their car was hit by the driver of a ute that ran a red light in Docklands. A swab sample was taken from the driver, which was positive for ice and amphetamines; however, he refused to provide a blood sample. The current legislation did not allow the driver to be compelled to take a drug test and, as he was not injured himself, he was not admitted to hospital, where a mandatory blood sample would have been taken. A blood test would have provided evidence of the quantity of drugs in his system. Police discovered 50 grams of ice in the driver's vehicle; however, there was no evidence available to show that drug use contributed to his driving at the time. The driver was therefore convicted of dangerous driving causing death, whereas if a blood test had been available to support the contention that he was under the influence of drugs, he would have been charged with culpable driving causing death, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. If released on parole, that driver may be back on the streets in 20 months. The bill will allow police to request a blood sample from persons in charge of motor vehicles that have been involved in an accident causing serious injury or fatality. Police need to be able to make this request to obtain evidence of drug impairment or influence, so they can hold people properly accountable for their actions on our roads. The proposed amendment will also provide evidence to establish a driver was not drug affected when involved in a collision, proving that they had only prescription medicine in their system, or recommended amounts of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. This can be an important issue in some investigations and will assist the police and the courts to make the best decision about which charges are appropriate to be laid against the offender. Victoria Police will be closely monitoring the amendment to ensure its effectiveness. As further advances in technology are created, allowing for new and better ways of drug testing, with greater accuracy of drug levels and impairment caused to people, further amendments may be made to this legislation to ensure the intent of stopping people from driving while impaired by drugs is preserved. In addition to the $15 million provided in the 2015–16 state budget for new booze and drug buses, the Transport Accident Commission has committed a further $2.7 million for further drug testing. The bill will also make amendments to the hoon driving regime. A primary focus of road policing is to reduce fatal collisions and trauma. The economic, social, and environmental cost of road trauma to the community is enormous. Hoon activities are a major contributor to road trauma, as they are intentional high-risk driving activities. The risk of death and serious injury is significantly increased by this dangerous driving, and innocent spectators or bystanders are placed at risk. The sanctions must be effective and severe to deter these dangerous drivers and to protect the community. The bill will assist Victoria Police by ensuring that the impoundment regime is able to function as intended where an offence is detected by a road safety camera. This will assist in deterring high-risk, antisocial and irresponsible 'hoon' driving behaviour, when captured on a road safety camera. The bill will also allow Victoria Police to recoup costs from immobilisation and impoundment by amending the definition of 'designated costs' in accordance with Treasury guidelines. An important aspect of the hoon driving regime is discouraging recidivist offenders. If a person is convicted of a second offence under the scheme, it may result in up to three months vehicle impoundment or immobilisation and a third offence may result in forfeiture of the vehicle. The bill provides clear direction as to when the courts should not consider exceptional hardship as grounds for declining to make an impoundment, immobilisation or forfeiture order — for example, when a driver is suspended or disqualified from driving, and persists in driving so dangerously as to be convicted of an offence under the hoon driving scheme. It is appropriate that those people who have shown that they are a serious risk to our community if allowed on the roads be sanctioned in such a way. I commend the bill to the house. Debate adjourned on motion of Mr CLARK (Box Hill). Debate adjourned until Wednesday, 8 July.

Second Reading: Corrections Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 – 24 June 2015

Mr NOONAN (Minister for Corrections) — I move: That this bill be now read a second time. Speech as follows incorporated into Hansard under sessional orders: In summary, the bill will amend the Corrections Act 1986 to: clarify the conditions for the automatic cancellation of parole due to reimprisonment in or outside Victoria for offences committed either before or during a parole period; update the powers and procedures of the adult parole board (the board) in relation to taking evidence including at parole hearings; clarify prosecution procedures including increasing the time limit for Victoria Police to lay a charge for breach of parole from within one year to two years, from the date of an alleged offence; permit the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise departmental officers to exercise the statutory powers and functions of a community corrections officer or regional manager and confirm the new position of parole officer; permit the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise departmental officers to fulfil the position of a secretary and acting secretary of the board; provide an explicit power for a prison governor to require a prisoner to be electronically monitored (with a consequential amendment to the Surveillance Devices Act 1999); clarify provisions authorising information use or disclosure including for law enforcement purposes; update the list of bodies and persons whose correspondence may not be read or censored by prison staff (subject to inspection or disposal on safety grounds by a prison governor) by amendments and by a regulation-making power. The amendments add independent oversight bodies: the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and Victorian Inspectorate, the Freedom of Information Commissioner, the legal services commissioner, mental health complaints commissioner, commissioner for privacy and data protection, and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) and persons acting on their behalf. Proposed regulations will add other persons or bodies such as some royal commissions from time to time and some equivalent interstate bodies to IBAC; make a technical amendment to clarify the minimum quorum for meetings of the board when deciding questions; make a range of housekeeping amendments including removing obsolete references to the repealed Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005. Part 3 of the bill also amends the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act 1983 to validate certain past parole order transfers made under the national scheme. Key parole-related amendments The bill contains parole amendments that were developed in consultation with Victoria Police and the adult parole board (the board). Automatic cancellation of parole due to re-imprisonment in or outside Victoria Section 77(6A) of the Corrections Act currently provides that if a prisoner is sentenced to another prison sentence while on parole, the prisoner's parole is taken to have been cancelled on the sentence being imposed. In February this year, a Supreme Court judgement held that this provision did not encompass prison sentences imposed outside of Victoria, and queried whether it applied to offences committed before the parole period. Division 1 of part 2 of the bill amends section 77 of the Corrections Act to make clear that any prison term imposed by an Australian court requiring a Victorian prisoner on parole to be returned to prison automatically cancels their Victorian parole. Parole is automatically cancelled if a court in or outside Victoria imposes a term of imprisonment for offences committed either before or during the parole period. Reimprisonment includes a partially suspended sentence as it entails time in prison, unlike a wholly suspended sentence which is fully served in the community. For example, a sentencing court in New South Wales (NSW) which imprisons a Victorian prisoner on parole for a threat to kill committed before or during their Victorian parole period will automatically cancel that parole. The amendments confirm that a person cannot be in prison under another sentence and be on parole at the same time. This is because a prisoner cannot comply with parole conditions such as a residence curfew or community treatment conditions while in prison. If the offender completes the period in prison under the sentence, is bailed or is otherwise released from prison, the Corrections Act empowers the board to revoke the cancellation and re-grant parole, but after giving paramount consideration to community safety and protection. Procedures for prosecuting breach of parole — extension of time limit to prosecute Since 1 July 2014 it has been an offence punishable by up to three months imprisonment to breach parole conditions. Currently, the charge must be filed within 12 months of the date of the alleged offence. Division 9 of part 2 of the bill increases the time limit to two years. The new time limit is not expected to delay prosecutions and the amendment was developed in consultation with Victoria Police. A police officer can still immediately lay a charge and at the same time as any alleged further offending. The amendment aims to ensure prosecutions are not barred simply by being out of time, particularly in serious or complex cases of breach of parole. Some breaches may be more difficult to detect than others and a criminal investigation may evolve over time. In some cases police informants may first await the court outcome of a charge for further offending. There is no change to current parole laws empowering police officers and the board to respond to risks to community safety. Police officers may arrest and detain prisoners on parole reasonably suspected of a breach offence. If reasonably satisfied that a breach offence has occurred, the board may cancel parole. Under the Corrections Act, a charge for this offence and any further offending require the board, at a minimum, to review parole in each case (if it is not already cancelled). Powers and procedures of the adult parole board in relation to taking evidence Section 71 of the Corrections Act deals with the powers and procedures of the board in relation to taking evidence by incorporating a number of sections of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958. These sections of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act were repealed on 15 October 2014 as a consequence of the Inquiries Act 2014 but the Corrections Act preserves those evidence laws and hence they continue to apply to the board. Those laws are difficult to locate and have become outdated. Division 2 of part 2 of the bill therefore updates the current evidentiary tools that may be used by the board at parole hearings. These powers also complement existing powers the board has for supervision order hearings under the Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision) Order Act 2009 (the SSODSA) without changing any powers under the SSODSA. The new provisions, for example, confirm that the board in performing its functions is not bound by the rules of evidence and is not a court. The bill also provides that the board may require production of documents and other things, attendance of witnesses and obtaining evidence. The board may require evidence to be provided on oath or affirmation and may use video link. Protections and immunities for the board and other persons who give evidence are re-enacted. Expenses and allowances are permitted for certain persons, excluding prisoners and prisoners on parole, who attend or give information to the board. It continues to be an offence for certain persons to fail to comply, without a reasonable excuse, with an evidentiary requirement of the board (punishable by up to three months imprisonment). The bill does not change existing powers of the board to direct prisoners and prisoners on parole to attend before the board including for interview (including by video link). The amendments largely re-enact, codify, consolidate or update existing practices of the board. These reforms improve the accessibility and transparency of the board's evidentiary powers and procedures. Secretary and acting secretary of the adult parole board Section 12 of the Corrections Act currently provides that there may be employed under part 3 of the Public Administration Act 2004 a secretary of the board. Due to recent changes in the structure of the board including the role of the chief administrative officer fulfilling the position of secretary, division 7 of part 2 of the bill provides that the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation may authorise a Department of Justice and Regulation employee to perform the functions of secretary of the board. If the secretary of the board is absent or vacant, an acting secretary fulfils that position for that period. There is no change to the power, functions and duties of the secretary. Departmental employees exercising functions of a community corrections officer or a regional manager Recent significant parole reforms and other community correctional reforms have resulted in position titles in the Department of Justice and Regulation employees that do not uniformly correspond to the statutory titles of 'community corrections officer' and 'regional manager'. Division 5 of part 2 of the bill amends the Corrections Act to explicitly enable the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise any departmental employee to exercise any or all statutory powers, functions and duties of a community corrections officer or a regional manager. Parole officers Division 5 of part 2 of the bill amends the Corrections Act to inserts the new position of parole officer. A specialist parole stream within Community Correctional Services was established in April this year. A parole officer may transition an offender from imprisonment on to parole which could then be followed by a community correction order. This reflects the important role and responsibility parole officers have in the parole system. The bill also makes other minor and technical changes including to clarify the minimum quorum for meetings of the board when deciding questions. Electronic monitoring of prisoners in prisons Currently, a prison governor can require any prisoner to be electronically monitored in reliance on the general powers of officers under section 23 of the Corrections Act to give an order to a prisoner for the security or good order of the prison or the safety or welfare of the prisoner or other persons. However, other potential uses for electronic monitoring include to monitor the movements of selected prisoners from certain areas of the prison or to remain separated. It may also be used to monitor the health of prisoners, irrespective of their security rating, to assist in a medical response if the electronic monitoring indicates that they are not moving. To make clear the use of this technology in prisons, division 4 of part 2 of the bill inserts an explicit power for a prison governor to require any prisoner to be electronically monitored for the security or good order of the prison or the safety or welfare of the prisoner or other persons. In line with similar provisions for electronic monitoring of parole and community correction orders, it is an offence punishable by up to three months imprisonment to fail to comply with conditions such as tampering with the device or equipment. A consequential amendment is made to the Surveillance Devices Act to exempt persons, such as Corrections Victoria staff, from liability for installing a tracking device for electronic monitoring. Disclosure of information The bill also clarifies provisions in part 9E of the Corrections Act which authorise information use or disclosure of personal and confidential information about a prisoner or an offender, including use and disclosure for law enforcement purposes. One effect of the amendments is that authorised persons, such as Corrections Victoria staff, can share such information about a prisoner or offender to a police officer in Australia to investigate a possible crime. The bill also allows for authorised use or disclosure to administer an order under the Mental Health Act 2014 which replaced the Mental Health Act 1986; and to administer or enforce of an order of a court or tribunal, such as a community correction order. To align with language in the Sentencing Act 1991 concerning the use and disclosure of electronic monitoring information under a community correction order, the bill also makes reference to information regarding a journey made by a person. Protected correspondence to and from prisoners The current category of independent persons with oversight of prisons whose correspondence is protected needs updating. The bill amends the Corrections Act and inserts a regulation-making power to update the list of bodies and persons whose correspondence may not be read or censored by a prison staff (but can be subject to inspection or disposal on safety grounds by a prison governor). The amendments reflect the creation of oversight bodies (such as the IBAC, Victorian Inspectorate, the Freedom of Information Commissioner, the legal services commissioner, mental health complaints commissioner, commissioner for privacy and data protection, and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC). The proposed regulations made under this power would add other persons and bodies including relevant royal commissions such as the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and some equivalent bodies to IBAC; and persons acting on behalf of these bodies. These letters can still be inspected and disposed of due to safety grounds by a prison governor per current law (such as suspected contraband). The bill also notes corresponding laws already in force for the IBAC and Victorian Inspectorate to align with the Victorian Ombudsman. Parole order transfer amendments The bill also amends the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act to validate certain past parole order transfers made under the national scheme. Part 3 of the bill retrospectively validates, from 1 May 1984 to 21 October 2014, parole transfer orders made by Victoria to another state or territory that was inadvertently not declared by Victoria, such as the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia. A national audit (instigated by Victoria) identified a failure by some participating jurisdictions to do so. Last year, NSW Parliament also passed validating legislation. It is not possible to determine the number of parole transfers that may (potentially) be validated by part 3 of the bill. Records dating back to the 1980s are either no longer available or the records were not or are not kept in a manner that enables such numbers to be determined. The period of the validation is therefore from the commencement of the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act in Victoria to until the date last year that the then Minister for Corrections declared all corresponding laws under the scheme. Part 3 of the bill validation gives continued effect to the transfer of parole that was made including any consequences arising from that transfer (such as reimprisonment due to a cancellation of parole in the receiving jurisdiction). It also validates anything done or omitted to be done despite the failure to declare the other jurisdiction as a corresponding law. The bill also inserts a definition of 'corresponding law' to mean not only a law declared by the minister but also a law of another state or territory that corresponds or substantially corresponds with the Victorian parole transfer legislation, even if the corresponding law is not declared. Housekeeping amendments The bill also contains a range of consequential, other minor and technical amendments. One consequential amendment is to remove references in the Corrections Act to the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 (SOMA) which was replaced on 1 January 2010 by the SSODSA. On 16 April 2014, the last offender subject to a SOMA order was placed on a SSODSA detention order. Consequently, the SOMA scheme has ceased operation. Division 10 of part 2 of the bill therefore removes from the Corrections Act obsolete references to the SOMA. The bill also updates the references in the Corrections Act as a consequence of the Premier's order on 1 January 2015 which changed names and structures of Victorian government departments. The bill delivers a range of improvements to ensure the smooth operation of the corrections system including to the operation of prisons, parole and the national parole order transfer scheme. I commend the bill to the house. Debate adjourned on motion of Mr CLARK (Box Hill). Debate adjourned until Wednesday, 8 July.

Second Reading: Corrections Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 – 24 June 2015

Mr NOONAN (Minister for Corrections) — I move: That this bill be now read a second time. Speech as follows incorporated into Hansard under sessional orders: In summary, the bill will amend the Corrections Act 1986 to: clarify the conditions for the automatic cancellation of parole due to reimprisonment in or outside Victoria for offences committed either before or during a parole period; update the powers and procedures of the adult parole board (the board) in relation to taking evidence including at parole hearings; clarify prosecution procedures including increasing the time limit for Victoria Police to lay a charge for breach of parole from within one year to two years, from the date of an alleged offence; permit the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise departmental officers to exercise the statutory powers and functions of a community corrections officer or regional manager and confirm the new position of parole officer; permit the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise departmental officers to fulfil the position of a secretary and acting secretary of the board; provide an explicit power for a prison governor to require a prisoner to be electronically monitored (with a consequential amendment to the Surveillance Devices Act 1999); clarify provisions authorising information use or disclosure including for law enforcement purposes; update the list of bodies and persons whose correspondence may not be read or censored by prison staff (subject to inspection or disposal on safety grounds by a prison governor) by amendments and by a regulation-making power. The amendments add independent oversight bodies: the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and Victorian Inspectorate, the Freedom of Information Commissioner, the legal services commissioner, mental health complaints commissioner, commissioner for privacy and data protection, and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) and persons acting on their behalf. Proposed regulations will add other persons or bodies such as some royal commissions from time to time and some equivalent interstate bodies to IBAC; make a technical amendment to clarify the minimum quorum for meetings of the board when deciding questions; make a range of housekeeping amendments including removing obsolete references to the repealed Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005. Part 3 of the bill also amends the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act 1983 to validate certain past parole order transfers made under the national scheme. Key parole-related amendments The bill contains parole amendments that were developed in consultation with Victoria Police and the adult parole board (the board). Automatic cancellation of parole due to re-imprisonment in or outside Victoria Section 77(6A) of the Corrections Act currently provides that if a prisoner is sentenced to another prison sentence while on parole, the prisoner's parole is taken to have been cancelled on the sentence being imposed. In February this year, a Supreme Court judgement held that this provision did not encompass prison sentences imposed outside of Victoria, and queried whether it applied to offences committed before the parole period. Division 1 of part 2 of the bill amends section 77 of the Corrections Act to make clear that any prison term imposed by an Australian court requiring a Victorian prisoner on parole to be returned to prison automatically cancels their Victorian parole. Parole is automatically cancelled if a court in or outside Victoria imposes a term of imprisonment for offences committed either before or during the parole period. Reimprisonment includes a partially suspended sentence as it entails time in prison, unlike a wholly suspended sentence which is fully served in the community. For example, a sentencing court in New South Wales (NSW) which imprisons a Victorian prisoner on parole for a threat to kill committed before or during their Victorian parole period will automatically cancel that parole. The amendments confirm that a person cannot be in prison under another sentence and be on parole at the same time. This is because a prisoner cannot comply with parole conditions such as a residence curfew or community treatment conditions while in prison. If the offender completes the period in prison under the sentence, is bailed or is otherwise released from prison, the Corrections Act empowers the board to revoke the cancellation and re-grant parole, but after giving paramount consideration to community safety and protection. Procedures for prosecuting breach of parole — extension of time limit to prosecute Since 1 July 2014 it has been an offence punishable by up to three months imprisonment to breach parole conditions. Currently, the charge must be filed within 12 months of the date of the alleged offence. Division 9 of part 2 of the bill increases the time limit to two years. The new time limit is not expected to delay prosecutions and the amendment was developed in consultation with Victoria Police. A police officer can still immediately lay a charge and at the same time as any alleged further offending. The amendment aims to ensure prosecutions are not barred simply by being out of time, particularly in serious or complex cases of breach of parole. Some breaches may be more difficult to detect than others and a criminal investigation may evolve over time. In some cases police informants may first await the court outcome of a charge for further offending. There is no change to current parole laws empowering police officers and the board to respond to risks to community safety. Police officers may arrest and detain prisoners on parole reasonably suspected of a breach offence. If reasonably satisfied that a breach offence has occurred, the board may cancel parole. Under the Corrections Act, a charge for this offence and any further offending require the board, at a minimum, to review parole in each case (if it is not already cancelled). Powers and procedures of the adult parole board in relation to taking evidence Section 71 of the Corrections Act deals with the powers and procedures of the board in relation to taking evidence by incorporating a number of sections of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958. These sections of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act were repealed on 15 October 2014 as a consequence of the Inquiries Act 2014 but the Corrections Act preserves those evidence laws and hence they continue to apply to the board. Those laws are difficult to locate and have become outdated. Division 2 of part 2 of the bill therefore updates the current evidentiary tools that may be used by the board at parole hearings. These powers also complement existing powers the board has for supervision order hearings under the Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision) Order Act 2009 (the SSODSA) without changing any powers under the SSODSA. The new provisions, for example, confirm that the board in performing its functions is not bound by the rules of evidence and is not a court. The bill also provides that the board may require production of documents and other things, attendance of witnesses and obtaining evidence. The board may require evidence to be provided on oath or affirmation and may use video link. Protections and immunities for the board and other persons who give evidence are re-enacted. Expenses and allowances are permitted for certain persons, excluding prisoners and prisoners on parole, who attend or give information to the board. It continues to be an offence for certain persons to fail to comply, without a reasonable excuse, with an evidentiary requirement of the board (punishable by up to three months imprisonment). The bill does not change existing powers of the board to direct prisoners and prisoners on parole to attend before the board including for interview (including by video link). The amendments largely re-enact, codify, consolidate or update existing practices of the board. These reforms improve the accessibility and transparency of the board's evidentiary powers and procedures. Secretary and acting secretary of the adult parole board Section 12 of the Corrections Act currently provides that there may be employed under part 3 of the Public Administration Act 2004 a secretary of the board. Due to recent changes in the structure of the board including the role of the chief administrative officer fulfilling the position of secretary, division 7 of part 2 of the bill provides that the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation may authorise a Department of Justice and Regulation employee to perform the functions of secretary of the board. If the secretary of the board is absent or vacant, an acting secretary fulfils that position for that period. There is no change to the power, functions and duties of the secretary. Departmental employees exercising functions of a community corrections officer or a regional manager Recent significant parole reforms and other community correctional reforms have resulted in position titles in the Department of Justice and Regulation employees that do not uniformly correspond to the statutory titles of 'community corrections officer' and 'regional manager'. Division 5 of part 2 of the bill amends the Corrections Act to explicitly enable the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise any departmental employee to exercise any or all statutory powers, functions and duties of a community corrections officer or a regional manager. Parole officers Division 5 of part 2 of the bill amends the Corrections Act to inserts the new position of parole officer. A specialist parole stream within Community Correctional Services was established in April this year. A parole officer may transition an offender from imprisonment on to parole which could then be followed by a community correction order. This reflects the important role and responsibility parole officers have in the parole system. The bill also makes other minor and technical changes including to clarify the minimum quorum for meetings of the board when deciding questions. Electronic monitoring of prisoners in prisons Currently, a prison governor can require any prisoner to be electronically monitored in reliance on the general powers of officers under section 23 of the Corrections Act to give an order to a prisoner for the security or good order of the prison or the safety or welfare of the prisoner or other persons. However, other potential uses for electronic monitoring include to monitor the movements of selected prisoners from certain areas of the prison or to remain separated. It may also be used to monitor the health of prisoners, irrespective of their security rating, to assist in a medical response if the electronic monitoring indicates that they are not moving. To make clear the use of this technology in prisons, division 4 of part 2 of the bill inserts an explicit power for a prison governor to require any prisoner to be electronically monitored for the security or good order of the prison or the safety or welfare of the prisoner or other persons. In line with similar provisions for electronic monitoring of parole and community correction orders, it is an offence punishable by up to three months imprisonment to fail to comply with conditions such as tampering with the device or equipment. A consequential amendment is made to the Surveillance Devices Act to exempt persons, such as Corrections Victoria staff, from liability for installing a tracking device for electronic monitoring. Disclosure of information The bill also clarifies provisions in part 9E of the Corrections Act which authorise information use or disclosure of personal and confidential information about a prisoner or an offender, including use and disclosure for law enforcement purposes. One effect of the amendments is that authorised persons, such as Corrections Victoria staff, can share such information about a prisoner or offender to a police officer in Australia to investigate a possible crime. The bill also allows for authorised use or disclosure to administer an order under the Mental Health Act 2014 which replaced the Mental Health Act 1986; and to administer or enforce of an order of a court or tribunal, such as a community correction order. To align with language in the Sentencing Act 1991 concerning the use and disclosure of electronic monitoring information under a community correction order, the bill also makes reference to information regarding a journey made by a person. Protected correspondence to and from prisoners The current category of independent persons with oversight of prisons whose correspondence is protected needs updating. The bill amends the Corrections Act and inserts a regulation-making power to update the list of bodies and persons whose correspondence may not be read or censored by a prison staff (but can be subject to inspection or disposal on safety grounds by a prison governor). The amendments reflect the creation of oversight bodies (such as the IBAC, Victorian Inspectorate, the Freedom of Information Commissioner, the legal services commissioner, mental health complaints commissioner, commissioner for privacy and data protection, and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC). The proposed regulations made under this power would add other persons and bodies including relevant royal commissions such as the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and some equivalent bodies to IBAC; and persons acting on behalf of these bodies. These letters can still be inspected and disposed of due to safety grounds by a prison governor per current law (such as suspected contraband). The bill also notes corresponding laws already in force for the IBAC and Victorian Inspectorate to align with the Victorian Ombudsman. Parole order transfer amendments The bill also amends the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act to validate certain past parole order transfers made under the national scheme. Part 3 of the bill retrospectively validates, from 1 May 1984 to 21 October 2014, parole transfer orders made by Victoria to another state or territory that was inadvertently not declared by Victoria, such as the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia. A national audit (instigated by Victoria) identified a failure by some participating jurisdictions to do so. Last year, NSW Parliament also passed validating legislation. It is not possible to determine the number of parole transfers that may (potentially) be validated by part 3 of the bill. Records dating back to the 1980s are either no longer available or the records were not or are not kept in a manner that enables such numbers to be determined. The period of the validation is therefore from the commencement of the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act in Victoria to until the date last year that the then Minister for Corrections declared all corresponding laws under the scheme. Part 3 of the bill validation gives continued effect to the transfer of parole that was made including any consequences arising from that transfer (such as reimprisonment due to a cancellation of parole in the receiving jurisdiction). It also validates anything done or omitted to be done despite the failure to declare the other jurisdiction as a corresponding law. The bill also inserts a definition of 'corresponding law' to mean not only a law declared by the minister but also a law of another state or territory that corresponds or substantially corresponds with the Victorian parole transfer legislation, even if the corresponding law is not declared. Housekeeping amendments The bill also contains a range of consequential, other minor and technical amendments. One consequential amendment is to remove references in the Corrections Act to the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 (SOMA) which was replaced on 1 January 2010 by the SSODSA. On 16 April 2014, the last offender subject to a SOMA order was placed on a SSODSA detention order. Consequently, the SOMA scheme has ceased operation. Division 10 of part 2 of the bill therefore removes from the Corrections Act obsolete references to the SOMA. The bill also updates the references in the Corrections Act as a consequence of the Premier's order on 1 January 2015 which changed names and structures of Victorian government departments. The bill delivers a range of improvements to ensure the smooth operation of the corrections system including to the operation of prisons, parole and the national parole order transfer scheme. I commend the bill to the house. Debate adjourned on motion of Mr CLARK (Box Hill). Debate adjourned until Wednesday, 8 July.

Ministers Responses: Loddon and Tarrengower prisons – 23 June 2015

Mr NOONAN (Minister for Corrections) — It is my pleasure to respond to the member for Bendigo West, who is a very hardworking — — Mr Watt — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I refer to the question from the member for Wendouree. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I advise the member for Burwood that it is not a question; it is an action. Mr Watt — I refer to the non-action, considering that Rulings from the Chair states: The adjournment debate should not become a second question time, the distinction being that question time is an opportunity to seek information whilst, conversely, the adjournment debate is an opportunity to give information which members consider require attention. The member for Wendouree asked for an update. She asked for information on the rollout of natural gas. She did not ask for an action; she asked for information, which is clearly against the standing orders. If you look at Rulings from the Chair in relation to the adjournment debate you will see under 'Procedure for raising matters', but the first ruling lists as further references Wheeler, 1974, and Plowman, 1997. Based on that particular ruling, which has quite clearly been confirmed by a number of Speakers, I would ask you to rule the member's adjournment matter out of order, considering that she asked for an update and not an action. Mr Foley — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, I was listening intently to the contributions of all members in this adjournment. My notes show that the honourable member for Wendouree dealt precisely with the standing orders in terms of the specific action she sought from the Minister for Regional Development — that is, to keep residents of Invermay up to date regarding the rollout of the natural gas processes in her electorate. With the greatest respect to the hillbilly from Burwood, I seek that you rule his frivolous interjection and frivolous point of order out of order. What we have here is a repeat offender who diminishes the processes of this house through his smart alec approach to this place. I urge you to rule the member's contribution out of order. Mr Burgess — Further to the point of order, Deputy Speaker, the minister may like to conveniently put the member's submission in terms that make it look like it fits within the standing orders, but in this case, regardless of the insults that the minister has thrown at the member for Burwood, it is very clear that there was an update asked for. The update unfortunately does not qualify within the terms of the standing orders regarding the adjournment, so unfortunately you are going to have to rule this one out of order. Ms Knight — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, the specific action that I requested was for the minister to provide the Invermay Progress Association with progress reports and information about the rollout of natural gas to Invermay — a project that the coalition was incapable of delivering. Mr R. Smith — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, every member of this house has a right to get to his feet and take a point of order. They do not need to be abused by ministers of the Crown criticising their point of order. All our communities send us here to stand up for communities. There are forms of the house that need to be maintained — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! If this is a different point of order, I will hear it at a later stage. At the moment we are debating the point of order raised by the honourable member for Burwood. Unless it is on that point of order, I will sit the member for Warrandyte down. But I will hear him again on a different point of order at a later stage. Mr Mr R. Smith — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, I just say that when we are talking about the form of members here, the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing has form in abuse across the chamber. It is not becoming of a member of the government — a member of the executive council — to speak in that way to a member of this house. He should be counselled. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! That is a different point of order, but I will take it on board. Ms Ryan — Further to the point of order, Deputy Speaker, the member for Wendouree very clearly stated that she was seeking an update from the minister. I submit to you that she cannot now reconstruct her question in order to fit the standing orders. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The house will pause while I take some advice. Mr Burgess — Deputy Speaker, do you want now to go on with other points of order? The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! No. I will rule on this point of order first. If there are further points of order, I will hear them. The house will pause while I take some advice. Honourable members interjecting. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I ask honourable members on both sides of the house to be quiet while I take some advice. I will rule on the point of order. The honourable member for Burwood was correct when he said that this is not question time and the adjournment is a time to ask for action. He is correct on that point. The second point is that the adjournment is about asking for action, but there is no ruling that an update is not an action. The request was in actual fact an action, and I was listening intently to the honourable member for Wendouree. I have taken advice on this, and what I will do, along with the clerks, is refer this matter to the Speaker. We will have a discussion about it and come back to the house on this particular matter. Mr Burgess — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, I would like to move that we have the abuse that was thrown at the member for Burwood by the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing referred to the Speaker for consideration of some sort of action. This is not the place for this. The minister has a real problem, and the way he treats — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The member for Hastings has proposed a motion. Is leave granted? Leave refused. Mr Burgess — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, is it appropriate for the person that the leave is being sought against to be the one who denies the leave? The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! Yes. Any member of the house can deny leave to any member of Parliament proposing a motion. Mr Burgess — Deputy Speaker, I suggest that you counsel the minister on the basis that he stood here seriously abusing the member for Burwood while he was on his feet. I am not sure whether you heard it. I would be disappointed if you had heard it and not asked for that to be withdrawn. The minister called the member names like 'hillbilly', which is a derogatory term. He called him names like 'goose' — another derogatory term. It is indicative of the problem that this minister has. He seriously needs to be counselled. In fact he needs some assistance with it, because he has had the same problem over a number of years. I am asking, Deputy Speaker, that you seek that some action be taken against the minister on this basis. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have heard enough on the point of order. I will rule on the point of order the member for Hastings has brought to the house. The member cannot ask for a remark to be withdrawn on behalf of another member; it has to be done by the member who has been slighted at the time. That is number one. I take on board that it would be best for all members to respect each other in the house. If the member for Hastings is looking for some counsel, I ask every member to respect other members within the house. Mr R. Smith — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, members of the community should be able to walk into any workplace, whether it be a nursery, whether it be a school, whether it be a cafe, whether it be a restaurant or whether it be any business or the Legislative Assembly of the Victorian Parliament, and not be bullied, not be intimidated and not be called names. Even while you were making your ruling, the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing was abusing me across the table. The Andrews Labor government claims to be against bullying — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! If the member debates a point of order, I will sit him down. Mr R. Smith — The minister is persistently abusing members of the opposition. It was only in recent times that the Speaker had to come in here and ask the minister to remove himself because of his abuse of the member for Caulfield. I believe he needs to be counselled about the forms of the house. Mr Foley interjected. Mr R. Smith — Again we see it; I am getting spoken over again. The minister only — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have heard enough on the point of order. I do not uphold the point of order. I said in my previous ruling that all honourable members need to be respectful of each other, and I say that to both sides of the house. I ask members to do that. Mr Watt — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I would ask the member to withdraw the comments he made. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I seek the assistance of the minister in withdrawing. Mr Foley — I am unclear as to what I am being asked to withdraw, but to assist the processes of the house, I withdraw. Mr R. Smith — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, when a member is asked to withdraw a comment it is the form of this house that their withdrawal be unqualified and unconditional, and I ask you to ask the minister to withdraw unconditionally and in an unqualified manner as per the forms of the house. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I do not uphold the point of order. The minister has withdrawn. An honourable member — He said he didn't know what he was withdrawing. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! He has withdrawn, and that should satisfy the honourable member for Burwood. Mr Burgess — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, how can — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have not called the member for Hastings yet. The honourable member for Hastings on a further point of order. Mr Burgess — Going on from the point of the member for Warrandyte, how can the minister possibly have withdrawn when he has stood in front of you and told you that he did not know what he was withdrawing? The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! Because he said, 'I withdraw'; he withdrew. That represents the form of the house. That is the form — — Mr Burgess — No, it's not. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! That is the form and the customs and practice — — Honourable members interjecting. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! No. I will not have an argument about my rulings. The minister has withdrawn. I asked him to withdraw, he has withdrawn and that is the end of the matter. I will not hear any further on that point of order. Mr Watt — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, I do not feel that the withdrawal was acceptable. It is my understanding that members should withdraw unconditionally, and if this is your ruling — and I accept your ruling — I would request you to ask the Speaker to make a broader ruling about whether or not a member can withdraw while making qualifications around their withdrawal. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I do not uphold the point of order. The minister withdrew. I asked him to withdraw, and he withdrew. Mr R. Smith — Conditionally. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! No, he did not withdraw conditionally. Further, it is the form of the house that if an honourable member is asked to withdraw, he withdraws, and whether a member feels the withdrawal was right or not is irrelevant. The forms of the house require the member to withdraw, and that is what the minister did, so there is no point of order. The minister to continue. Mr R. Smith interjected. Mr NOONAN — I am being hassled to be fast now, after 10 minutes of points of order. I thank the member for Bendigo West for raising this important matter and indeed for her ongoing commitment to her electorate. The member has invited me to visit the Loddon and Tarrengower prisons. I have done so in the past, but I did so in the context of an initial round of visits before the state budget. I was very pleased to visit the Dhurringile and Beechworth prisons last week to see how some of the investments by the Andrews Labor government will be utilised in terms of making our prison system run much more effectively than it has over the last four years. We are investing $9.2 million in the expansion of the health centre and program spaces building at the Loddon prison, which is a very important investment, as outlined by the member, and $7.9 million in a multipurpose building to be used, importantly, for rehabilitation and education programs. We are investing in an 18-bed unit at Tarrengower prison. These are very important investments, as the member has pointed out, in terms of ensuring that we give prisoners in the corrections system every opportunity to tackle their offending behaviours, rehabilitate them and prepare them for transition back into the community in order to keep our community safe. As the member outlined, the two prisons in her electorate she wishes me to visit are very large employers. The figures I have indicate that approximately 334 full-time equivalent staff are employed across these two prisons. I am keen to visit them, as the member seeks, and to do so in the context that the prison system — and these two prisons in particular — has been under enormous pressure due to the dramatic growth in the prison population. There has been a 25 per cent increase in the last two years. We have seen beds being placed in prisons without the supporting infrastructure to ensure that the prisons can run and keep up with the rehabilitation needs of prisoners. Under our government we will take a different approach, one that is ultimately about keeping the community safe by tackling the high levels of recidivism. I look forward to joining our hardworking member for Bendigo West on these two prison visits.

Ministers Responses: Loddon and Tarrengower prisons – 23 June 2015

Mr NOONAN (Minister for Corrections) — It is my pleasure to respond to the member for Bendigo West, who is a very hardworking — — Mr Watt — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I refer to the question from the member for Wendouree. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I advise the member for Burwood that it is not a question; it is an action. Mr Watt — I refer to the non-action, considering that Rulings from the Chair states: The adjournment debate should not become a second question time, the distinction being that question time is an opportunity to seek information whilst, conversely, the adjournment debate is an opportunity to give information which members consider require attention. The member for Wendouree asked for an update. She asked for information on the rollout of natural gas. She did not ask for an action; she asked for information, which is clearly against the standing orders. If you look at Rulings from the Chair in relation to the adjournment debate you will see under 'Procedure for raising matters', but the first ruling lists as further references Wheeler, 1974, and Plowman, 1997. Based on that particular ruling, which has quite clearly been confirmed by a number of Speakers, I would ask you to rule the member's adjournment matter out of order, considering that she asked for an update and not an action. Mr Foley — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, I was listening intently to the contributions of all members in this adjournment. My notes show that the honourable member for Wendouree dealt precisely with the standing orders in terms of the specific action she sought from the Minister for Regional Development — that is, to keep residents of Invermay up to date regarding the rollout of the natural gas processes in her electorate. With the greatest respect to the hillbilly from Burwood, I seek that you rule his frivolous interjection and frivolous point of order out of order. What we have here is a repeat offender who diminishes the processes of this house through his smart alec approach to this place. I urge you to rule the member's contribution out of order. Mr Burgess — Further to the point of order, Deputy Speaker, the minister may like to conveniently put the member's submission in terms that make it look like it fits within the standing orders, but in this case, regardless of the insults that the minister has thrown at the member for Burwood, it is very clear that there was an update asked for. The update unfortunately does not qualify within the terms of the standing orders regarding the adjournment, so unfortunately you are going to have to rule this one out of order. Ms Knight — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, the specific action that I requested was for the minister to provide the Invermay Progress Association with progress reports and information about the rollout of natural gas to Invermay — a project that the coalition was incapable of delivering. Mr R. Smith — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, every member of this house has a right to get to his feet and take a point of order. They do not need to be abused by ministers of the Crown criticising their point of order. All our communities send us here to stand up for communities. There are forms of the house that need to be maintained — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! If this is a different point of order, I will hear it at a later stage. At the moment we are debating the point of order raised by the honourable member for Burwood. Unless it is on that point of order, I will sit the member for Warrandyte down. But I will hear him again on a different point of order at a later stage. Mr Mr R. Smith — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, I just say that when we are talking about the form of members here, the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing has form in abuse across the chamber. It is not becoming of a member of the government — a member of the executive council — to speak in that way to a member of this house. He should be counselled. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! That is a different point of order, but I will take it on board. Ms Ryan — Further to the point of order, Deputy Speaker, the member for Wendouree very clearly stated that she was seeking an update from the minister. I submit to you that she cannot now reconstruct her question in order to fit the standing orders. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The house will pause while I take some advice. Mr Burgess — Deputy Speaker, do you want now to go on with other points of order? The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! No. I will rule on this point of order first. If there are further points of order, I will hear them. The house will pause while I take some advice. Honourable members interjecting. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I ask honourable members on both sides of the house to be quiet while I take some advice. I will rule on the point of order. The honourable member for Burwood was correct when he said that this is not question time and the adjournment is a time to ask for action. He is correct on that point. The second point is that the adjournment is about asking for action, but there is no ruling that an update is not an action. The request was in actual fact an action, and I was listening intently to the honourable member for Wendouree. I have taken advice on this, and what I will do, along with the clerks, is refer this matter to the Speaker. We will have a discussion about it and come back to the house on this particular matter. Mr Burgess — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, I would like to move that we have the abuse that was thrown at the member for Burwood by the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing referred to the Speaker for consideration of some sort of action. This is not the place for this. The minister has a real problem, and the way he treats — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The member for Hastings has proposed a motion. Is leave granted? Leave refused. Mr Burgess — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, is it appropriate for the person that the leave is being sought against to be the one who denies the leave? The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! Yes. Any member of the house can deny leave to any member of Parliament proposing a motion. Mr Burgess — Deputy Speaker, I suggest that you counsel the minister on the basis that he stood here seriously abusing the member for Burwood while he was on his feet. I am not sure whether you heard it. I would be disappointed if you had heard it and not asked for that to be withdrawn. The minister called the member names like 'hillbilly', which is a derogatory term. He called him names like 'goose' — another derogatory term. It is indicative of the problem that this minister has. He seriously needs to be counselled. In fact he needs some assistance with it, because he has had the same problem over a number of years. I am asking, Deputy Speaker, that you seek that some action be taken against the minister on this basis. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have heard enough on the point of order. I will rule on the point of order the member for Hastings has brought to the house. The member cannot ask for a remark to be withdrawn on behalf of another member; it has to be done by the member who has been slighted at the time. That is number one. I take on board that it would be best for all members to respect each other in the house. If the member for Hastings is looking for some counsel, I ask every member to respect other members within the house. Mr R. Smith — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, members of the community should be able to walk into any workplace, whether it be a nursery, whether it be a school, whether it be a cafe, whether it be a restaurant or whether it be any business or the Legislative Assembly of the Victorian Parliament, and not be bullied, not be intimidated and not be called names. Even while you were making your ruling, the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing was abusing me across the table. The Andrews Labor government claims to be against bullying — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! If the member debates a point of order, I will sit him down. Mr R. Smith — The minister is persistently abusing members of the opposition. It was only in recent times that the Speaker had to come in here and ask the minister to remove himself because of his abuse of the member for Caulfield. I believe he needs to be counselled about the forms of the house. Mr Foley interjected. Mr R. Smith — Again we see it; I am getting spoken over again. The minister only — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have heard enough on the point of order. I do not uphold the point of order. I said in my previous ruling that all honourable members need to be respectful of each other, and I say that to both sides of the house. I ask members to do that. Mr Watt — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I would ask the member to withdraw the comments he made. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I seek the assistance of the minister in withdrawing. Mr Foley — I am unclear as to what I am being asked to withdraw, but to assist the processes of the house, I withdraw. Mr R. Smith — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, when a member is asked to withdraw a comment it is the form of this house that their withdrawal be unqualified and unconditional, and I ask you to ask the minister to withdraw unconditionally and in an unqualified manner as per the forms of the house. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I do not uphold the point of order. The minister has withdrawn. An honourable member — He said he didn't know what he was withdrawing. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! He has withdrawn, and that should satisfy the honourable member for Burwood. Mr Burgess — On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, how can — — The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have not called the member for Hastings yet. The honourable member for Hastings on a further point of order. Mr Burgess — Going on from the point of the member for Warrandyte, how can the minister possibly have withdrawn when he has stood in front of you and told you that he did not know what he was withdrawing? The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! Because he said, 'I withdraw'; he withdrew. That represents the form of the house. That is the form — — Mr Burgess — No, it's not. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! That is the form and the customs and practice — — Honourable members interjecting. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! No. I will not have an argument about my rulings. The minister has withdrawn. I asked him to withdraw, he has withdrawn and that is the end of the matter. I will not hear any further on that point of order. Mr Watt — On a further point of order, Deputy Speaker, I do not feel that the withdrawal was acceptable. It is my understanding that members should withdraw unconditionally, and if this is your ruling — and I accept your ruling — I would request you to ask the Speaker to make a broader ruling about whether or not a member can withdraw while making qualifications around their withdrawal. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I do not uphold the point of order. The minister withdrew. I asked him to withdraw, and he withdrew. Mr R. Smith — Conditionally. The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! No, he did not withdraw conditionally. Further, it is the form of the house that if an honourable member is asked to withdraw, he withdraws, and whether a member feels the withdrawal was right or not is irrelevant. The forms of the house require the member to withdraw, and that is what the minister did, so there is no point of order. The minister to continue. Mr R. Smith interjected. Mr NOONAN — I am being hassled to be fast now, after 10 minutes of points of order. I thank the member for Bendigo West for raising this important matter and indeed for her ongoing commitment to her electorate. The member has invited me to visit the Loddon and Tarrengower prisons. I have done so in the past, but I did so in the context of an initial round of visits before the state budget. I was very pleased to visit the Dhurringile and Beechworth prisons last week to see how some of the investments by the Andrews Labor government will be utilised in terms of making our prison system run much more effectively than it has over the last four years. We are investing $9.2 million in the expansion of the health centre and program spaces building at the Loddon prison, which is a very important investment, as outlined by the member, and $7.9 million in a multipurpose building to be used, importantly, for rehabilitation and education programs. We are investing in an 18-bed unit at Tarrengower prison. These are very important investments, as the member has pointed out, in terms of ensuring that we give prisoners in the corrections system every opportunity to tackle their offending behaviours, rehabilitate them and prepare them for transition back into the community in order to keep our community safe. As the member outlined, the two prisons in her electorate she wishes me to visit are very large employers. The figures I have indicate that approximately 334 full-time equivalent staff are employed across these two prisons. I am keen to visit them, as the member seeks, and to do so in the context that the prison system — and these two prisons in particular — has been under enormous pressure due to the dramatic growth in the prison population. There has been a 25 per cent increase in the last two years. We have seen beds being placed in prisons without the supporting infrastructure to ensure that the prisons can run and keep up with the rehabilitation needs of prisoners. Under our government we will take a different approach, one that is ultimately about keeping the community safe by tackling the high levels of recidivism. I look forward to joining our hardworking member for Bendigo West on these two prison visits.

Campaigns

Investing in Local High Schools

The Andrews Government understands the importance of education and maintains a proud record of investing in local schools. Following on from our election commitment, Williamstown High School has received $500,000 towards the construction of a new Performing Arts Centre of Excellence, while Bayside College has received $300,000 to upgrade the technical wing at the Williamstown campus. These investments formed part of the first Andrews budget, and continue the proud Labor record of supporting our local schools.

Investing in Local High Schools

The Andrews Government understands the importance of education and maintains a proud record of investing in local schools. Following on from our election commitment, Williamstown High School has received $500,000 towards the construction of a new Performing Arts Centre of Excellence, while Bayside College has received $300,000 to upgrade the technical wing at the Williamstown campus. These investments formed part of the first Andrews budget, and continue the proud Labor record of supporting our local schools.

SKY High and the Education Precinct

For over a decade, local residents in Yarraville, Seddon and Kingsville have been campaigning to have a high school built in the local area. Due to the rising population of the area, such a project was increasingly becoming a priority. In this years Victorian budget, $1 million of the total $15 million has been provided to kick start the project planning stages. A Project Steering Group has also been established to consult with the community, which will include members of SKY High. This is the beginning of the innovative project that will bring together early childhood education providers, local schools and Victoria University.  

SKY High and the Education Precinct

For over a decade, local residents in Yarraville, Seddon and Kingsville have been campaigning to have a high school built in the local area. Due to the rising population of the area, such a project was increasingly becoming a priority. In this years Victorian budget, $1 million of the total $15 million has been provided to kick start the project planning stages. A Project Steering Group has also been established to consult with the community, which will include members of SKY High. This is the beginning of the innovative project that will bring together early childhood education providers, local schools and Victoria University.  

Port Phillip Woollen Mills site

Over the past few years, local residents of Williamstown have been campaigning against the development of a series of high rise properties on the Port Phillip Woollen Mills site at the end of Nelson’s Place. On the 24 February 2015, the Hobsons Bay City Council voted unanimously to approve the Planning Scheme Amendments which would limit any development on the Woollen Mills site to 25 metres. This was the original recommendation by the Port Phillip Woollen Mill Advisory Committee Report. The Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has now approved the planning scheme amendment keeping any development to a maximum of 25 metres over 60% of the area. The planning scheme also introduces a development contributions plan overlay for new local infrastructure and requires a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment. This is a victory for common sense in Williamstown as well as the wider Williamstown community who have fought hard for this outcome.

Port Phillip Woollen Mills site

Over the past few years, local residents of Williamstown have been campaigning against the development of a series of high rise properties on the Port Phillip Woollen Mills site at the end of Nelson’s Place. On the 24 February 2015, the Hobsons Bay City Council voted unanimously to approve the Planning Scheme Amendments which would limit any development on the Woollen Mills site to 25 metres. This was the original recommendation by the Port Phillip Woollen Mill Advisory Committee Report. The Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has now approved the planning scheme amendment keeping any development to a maximum of 25 metres over 60% of the area. The planning scheme also introduces a development contributions plan overlay for new local infrastructure and requires a coastal hazard vulnerability assessment. This is a victory for common sense in Williamstown as well as the wider Williamstown community who have fought hard for this outcome.

West Gate Distributor

Local communities in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs have long been suffering from the influx of trucks travelling through their suburban and business districts. To address this, the Andrews Government has made the West Gate Distributor project one of its priorities in Project 10,000. The first stage of the development includes the widening of Moreland Street to provide a four lane divided road, along with an upgraded connection to Footscray Road. Shepherds Bridge, running over the Maribyrnong River, will also be widened and strengthened. New signalised intersections will also be placed at Footscray Road, Parker Street and Whitehall Street. On the 29th January 2015 VicRoads also implemented a new truck curfew in Moore Street, Footscray, and additional truck curfews during school hours on Somerville Road, Yarraville, in order to enhance the benefits of the project. This project will increase the liveability of the inner west as well as improve the safety of our local roads.

West Gate Distributor

Local communities in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs have long been suffering from the influx of trucks travelling through their suburban and business districts. To address this, the Andrews Government has made the West Gate Distributor project one of its priorities in Project 10,000. The first stage of the development includes the widening of Moreland Street to provide a four lane divided road, along with an upgraded connection to Footscray Road. Shepherds Bridge, running over the Maribyrnong River, will also be widened and strengthened. New signalised intersections will also be placed at Footscray Road, Parker Street and Whitehall Street. On the 29th January 2015 VicRoads also implemented a new truck curfew in Moore Street, Footscray, and additional truck curfews during school hours on Somerville Road, Yarraville, in order to enhance the benefits of the project. This project will increase the liveability of the inner west as well as improve the safety of our local roads.