Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — Today was another freezing morning. In fact it has been one of the coldest starts to Melbourne's winter in 36 years. I want to take up one of the boldest ideas that came from the audience at my recent Homelessness Action forum. I call on the government to provide immediate relief to every person sleeping rough in Melbourne this winter. If New Zealand can do it, we can do it for three months during one of Melbourne's coldest winters.
I want to thank everyone who turned out to the forum. It was a big turnout that really showed that our community cares, sees the rise in homelessness and wants to take action. We heard from experts and from people who have experienced homelessness: Maurya Bourandanis from Voices of the South Side, Lucy Adams from Justice Connect, Cr Kat Copsey from the City of Port Phillip and Dr Sam Ratnam, the Leader of the Victorian Greens. We heard a range of solutions from prevention to building more social housing — not selling it off, as the minister wants to do — and making sure that we have support services to meet people's needs. Of course we also heard about the power of community — making sure we see people who are experiencing homelessness as part of our community, not separate from our community, and making sure we build those important connections to support each other.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I rise to speak on behalf of the Greens on the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2018. This bill has been a long time coming, and I am going to particularly focus on the donations reform part of this bill. It has not been canvassed that much by previous speakers, but I am sure I will be able to make up for that in my contribution, because donations reform comes after a long time over which the Greens have been calling for reform, particularly in Victoria, where we have some of the weakest laws in the country. In fact one could almost say we have no laws, given that we have simply been relying on the weak federal donations laws.
This reform is really important because it goes to the heart of the integrity of our political system, the integrity of our democracy and the core principle that we should be here acting in the public interest and for the public good and should not be seen to have conflicts of interest where there are favours or special deals for vested interests or for those who fund our political campaigns — that is, where there is a blatant conflict of interest between politicians or a political party and the donations they receive, which are often from highly regulated industries. I am referring specifically to property developers, to the gambling industry and to energy companies, where often with just the stroke of a pen the government can make a decision that affects their profits.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My constituency question is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, and I ask: will funding from the school area safety initiative announced in this year’s budget be allocated to fix the South Yarra Primary School crossing at Punt Road? Parents have regularly raised this dangerous crossing with the government over a number of years — a crossing that was made worse by its botched relocation by the former government. Through my campaign to fix local pedestrian crossings, the minister would have received almost a hundred letters from parents calling for it to be fixed before a serious accident happens. In his most recent answer to my question about the crossing, the minister stated that as a result of the road safety audit VicRoads notified the maintenance team to install a different colour tactile ground surface indicator as the need arises. Well, I would say the need is there. The question now is: will this occur? I am also advised that there is no crossing supervisor at Punt Road and Commercial Road, which is a busy intersection. If this is the case, will funding be provided for that?
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I rise to call on the government to establish a fund to pay for the immediate replacement of dangerous cladding and other safety measures on apartment buildings found to have non-compliant, flammable cladding. Many residents in the Prahran electorate have raised this serious issue with me. Some have bought units in apartment buildings in good faith and are now being left in the lurch, faced with massive costs of tens of thousands of dollars to replace cladding, install safety measures or alternatively face eviction. What was for some people their dream home is now turning into a nightmare.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, and the action I seek is that the minister invest more in cycling infrastructure. When it comes to bikes, last week's budget was the same old news: stuff-all for cyclists yet again. Less than 1 per cent of new transport infrastructure spending was for bikes, and what was in there came about because the Greens pushed for more bike funding in negotiations with the government.
We all know good cycling infrastructure is absolutely essential to a livable city, and as a commuter cyclist who regularly rides into Parliament I know how difficult it can be to find a safe route, whether it be down Chapel Street or down St Kilda Road. I also know how good it is to ride for health and for our environment and just how affordable and convenient it is. Yet we have been let down by a seemingly anti-bike Premier who offhand dismisses cycling projects because they might not be good for cars.
Honourable members interjecting.
Mr HIBBINS — There is a lot of excitement in our community as progress toward the opening of the new Prahran high school continues. The new school has come a long way in the last four years, from securing a location and getting the extra funding required to construction, which is now taking shape on High Street. We now welcome the appointment of the new principal, Nathan Chisholm, who is engaging closely with our community. This school has been a real community effort, particularly by the School for Prahran community group and the new school planning group. It certainly has been one of my top priorities as the local MP. I look forward to further progress towards the school opening in 2019.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I rise to congratulate the Prahran basketball team, who were grand finalists in the recent City Basketball League finals. The league was contested by teams from public housing estates across inner-city Melbourne. I was proud to sponsor the Prahran team, who were fantastic ambassadors for our community as they competed in each round at a different public housing estate, going undefeated in the regular season and making the grand final. Well done to Solomon Deng, Yor Nyangyok, B. J. Noble, Fource Nyieker, Johnny Darcy, Osman Farah and Brett Boscacci. Congratulations also go to coach Jeremy Corea, the man who put it all together, Steve Bacash, all those who helped out and of course Prahran's number one fan, Liz Charles.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) I rise briefly to speak to the Justice Legislation Amendment (Access to Justice) Bill 2018. This has a number of elements. This bill seeks primarily to implement 16 of the recommendations made in the 2015 Access to Justice Review. It also importantly ends the requirement of what is called forced divorce for transgender people wanting to change the sex marker on their birth certificate. I will address just two of the issues in the access to justice part of this bill.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Public Transport, and as this is the last sitting week before this year's budget is handed down in May, the action I am seeking from the minister is to finally fund an upgrade to South Yarra station in this year's budget. After over a decade of rapid population growth in the area and inaction from successive governments, with barely a cent being spent on the station — under the previous government there was a proposal to expand the front foyer that was rejected, and the previous government cut South Yarra station from the Metro rail project, which again has been continued by this government — we are making some progress. I have over 1300 signatures on my petition to upgrade South Yarra station and almost 1000 submissions to a commuter survey which show that commuter priorities are an interchange with Melbourne Metro, a second entrance with a platform overpass, an expanded front entrance, that the heritage character be maintained and a safer pedestrian crossing at Yarra Street.
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My question is to the Premier. Premier, Victorians are rightly fed up with the seemingly endless series of scandals involving Labor and Liberal politicians.
Honourable members interjecting.
The SPEAKER — Order! The house will come to order. The member for Prahran, in silence.
Mr HIBBINS — In just this term of Parliament we have seen MPs betray the trust of Victorians with the rorting of the second home allowance, the misuse of ministerial drivers, dinners with mobsters, secret deals with Crown Casino, Transurban and Apple, and now the misuse of public money to fund your election campaign. Victorians want politicians to do better, and we deserve better. Premier, will you now create an independent parliamentary standards commissioner to hold dodgy politicians to account?