News and Updates

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  — I love living in the Prahran electorate. It has been my home for a decade now. Our shared commitment to values like diversity and equality is what makes it such a special place. When I was elected as one of the first Greens MPs in the lower house I had three local priorities: to make sure the new Prahran High School went ahead, and that is opening next year; to upgrade South Yarra station, which we finally got funding for this year, and we are still fighting for that connection with Melbourne Metro; and to care for people most in need, and our public housing tenants have now had their kinder upgraded and security doors installed on their homes.

In Parliament my Greens colleagues and I have fought and won on dying with dignity laws, a renewable energy target, a ban on fracking and better rights for renters. As a community we have achieved so much together, but there is still more to do: developing a long-term plan to transform public transport by investing in trains and trams rather than tollways; increasing renewable energy and cutting bills by putting solar and batteries on homes and schools; improving housing affordability by building more public housing, not selling it off; protecting our environment for future generations by ending logging of our native forests; and reducing waste. With your support we can do all this together, so I look forward to continuing to keep Prahran livable, holding the other parties to account and fighting for a future for all of us. Let's keep it going.

Could I just put on the record my sincere thanks to all my electorate staff in my office. They work really hard. They do a great job, and I want to put on the record my sincere thanks to them.

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Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  — I rise to show my support for community mental health and for the Fund the Gap — Mental Health Matters! campaign being run the Australian Services Union. Community mental health services are so important to the Prahran electorate. We are a community for everyone that looks after people most in need. We have got two really important providers of mental health services in Prahran: Star Health, formerly Inner South Community Health, and UnitingCare, formerly Prahran Mission. We saw the results of what cuts to community mental health services can do with the recommissioning of mental health funding under the previous Liberal government, which resulted in funding cuts and the closure of the Prahran Mission drop-in centre on Chapel Street, something that is still raised with me by former clients of the centre.

Community mental health services play a critical role in providing services to people experiencing mental illness in our community. They are an effective early intervention to ensure people do not end up in crisis at hospital, in the justice system or homeless. Many people in the Prahran electorate who need these services will not be eligible for national disability insurance scheme funding, meaning they will fall through the cracks if the state government rips $75 million away from community mental health. Prahran is a community that cares about people in need, and I urge the state government to fund the gap in community mental health services and work with our fantastic community mental health workers and services to ensure they can continue to meet the needs of people experiencing mental illness in our community.

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Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  — I rise to speak on behalf of the Greens to the Transport Legislation Amendment (Better Roads Victoria and Other Amendments) Bill 2018. This bill covers a range of areas, primarily looking at the funding of roads, particularly in rural and suburban interface areas. There are some changes to how interlock devices are administered and a number of other administrative and technical amendments that I will address.

I will focus on the roads funding part of it first. Essentially we have got an existing Better Roads Victoria trust account that is used for road funding. This bill will formalise that payments going into that account will be fines from speed cameras and, I believe, other road offences. This bill will add some additional specifications as to where those funds go. There is a section in there providing that funds must be used for the repair and upgrade of roads in outer suburban interface communities, roads and level crossings in rural and regional Victoria and roads and level crossings in metropolitan areas in Victoria. There is an additional requirement on what percentage of those funds need to be spent on both rural and regional roads and interface and outer suburban roads, which has been given as 33 per cent for each, with the balance, I think, to be at the discretion of the government. The opposition has circulated an amendment saying that that should be boosted to 40 per cent. The member for Broadmeadows has said, 'Hey look, we are overcommitting. This is not just a set figure. We are actually overcommitting to that'. But it does look like they are putting into it because perhaps this government or governments cannot trust themselves to actually spend the money required in those outer suburbs and rural and regional Victoria, which is a bit of a shame because much of the urban growth and urban sprawl has been in outer suburbs.

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Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I rise today to speak on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 and I am very, very pleased to see that this bill has come before this house before the end of this term of Parliament. I was not sure if we would get there in the end but we have, which is great. The commitment was made, I think, some time ago during the Northcote by-election, so I am glad to see that this bill has been brought before this Parliament before the end of its term. Hopefully, should it pass this house, it will pass through the other place as well, but I know they have got a big backlog of bills to get through.

The reason I want to speak on this bill is that it is important to many people within the Prahran electorate. This bill will have a positive impact on renters in the Prahran electorate. I know that 60 per cent of people in the Prahran electorate are living in rental accommodation. I think that is the highest proportion of any electorate in the state. Improving the rights of renters is absolutely critical to keeping Prahran livable. The reality is that long-term renting and renting for life are a reality these days, notwithstanding that renting is always going to be an important part of someone's life before they own their own home, which of course because of poor housing affordability is more and more out of reach.

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Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  —  My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for the minister to put in place a long-term plan to transform our ageing, unreliable public transport network into a reliable, frequent, high-capacity system. I enjoyed debating with the minister at the Melbourne town hall the other day, so what I am about to say probably will not come as much of a surprise, but the reality is at this moment this government does not have a transport plan, and in fact we have not had a transport plan for many years. The absence of such a plan is why we are seeing these mega toll roads like the West Gate tunnel, which is only there for Transurban. We see these pop up and we have at times just piecemeal investment in other forms.

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