Business of the House-Program

FREGON (Mount Waverley) (13:15): Thank you, Deputy Speaker, and can I also add my congratulations on your birthday. I would sing but I will not, because I will do you all a favour.

What a great government business program we have, and isn’t it fantastic to be back in bigger numbers. I think we are all sounding very refreshed and renewed and ready to get back into it, and this year will be a series of government business programs that are all about rebuilding and continuing that investment in the Victorian people so they can get back to the pre-COVID activities that our economy is quickly rebounding towards.

Obviously of the bills that we will be debating, the Summary Offences Amendment (Decriminalisation of Public Drunkenness) Bill 2020 is very timely—and if you think about the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody from 1991, I mean that is 30 years ago. If you compare the size of my mobile phone of 30 years ago, we have come a long way in technology. But obviously I am looking forward to my chance to speak on that bill later in the day.

The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Provisional Payments) Bill 2020 is, again, another timely bill, especially when we think about the royal commission coming up later this week—and we are going to hear more about them and mental health being such a crucial field of our health responses all the time and obviously very strong aspects of the last 12 months in relation to how people have dealt with the trials of 2020. So having a bill that addresses the needs of people with mental health conditions from workplace incidents is going to be a very, very important move and one that is another thing that we have committed to do, and now we are going back to doing it.

The Education and Training Reform Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 is the third bill. This government has shown year after year after year after year our commitment to education. Listening to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education earlier, 14 new schools have just opened up—48, I believe that is, of the 100 that we committed to build by 2026. So, you know, we are already just shy of halfway there, and that is very exciting for not only us, the members in this house, but all Victorians, all parents or expecting parents. We do not have any new schools in Mount Waverley district—which is a bit of a shame; I would love to have some new schools—but we are upgrading all of those, which I did mention in my budget speech before we all went on leave.

And again, we are taking note of the budget later this week. I will be listening very, very closely to hear some of my colleagues talk about all their local wins and local aspects and those local commitments that we are doing, because whilst we all know of the great big statewide things that we are doing—$5.3 billion in housing; those monumental investments in the Victorian people that we are making—sometimes I do not get around to all of those little local aspects. I would love to hear from the members for Frankston and Narre Warren, who were sitting in here, just to hear about their commitments. And if the Manager of Opposition Business is not called away to the CFA, maybe he can tell me about what is going on in Rowville. That would be nice to hear, because I am sure there is some excellent stuff—

Mr Wells interjected.

Mr FREGON: I would love to see that area. I will buy you a coffee. There you go.

It is a fantastic government business program that we have, and it strikes me, going back to the public drunkenness bill, that that really is a bill that will have a great influence on our society, especially with respect to our Indigenous Australians. I was lucky enough early last week, on Australia Day, to join a good mate of mine, Dave Arden, on stage at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for the Share the Spirit gig. It was fantastic to see the talent of our Indigenous Aussies on show that day and the way that they celebrate their survival. I have got some stuff to say later today when we do debate the bill—obviously I will not do it now. But there were some very poignant conversations on that day, and I am just proud to be in a government where we are making real change. Although we may have been able to do it previously and we should have done it previously, we are doing it now. So I commend the government business program.