Newsletter - March
We’re into our third week of parliament for 2022, so it’s time I updated you on what’s happening both in the Brunswick district and in parliament. There has been plenty happening!
Bill to Ban Gas Drilling
First, in big news, the NSW Government has just banned all new oil and gas drilling along their coast.
But here in Victoria, our Labor Government is actually expanding oil and gas drilling, including allowing gas drilling near the 12 Apostles.
After the latest IPCC report has warned that some climate change impacts are irreversible, and after the floods in NSW and Queensland, we absolutely must stop all new gas drilling.
That’s why my Greens MP colleagues and I have introduced a Bill to ban all new offshore drilling for oil and gas in Victorian waters.
You can join us in calling on the Victorian Labor Government to support our Bill and follow NSW in banning offshore drilling for oil and gas. Sign the petition (and share it with your friends!) calling on Victoria’s government to go further and faster on climate action.
The pandemic has revealed clear weaknesses in Victoria’s health system, so I’ve launched a survey to ask Brunswick people about the improvements we could make to Victoria’s healthcare.
By completing the survey you will help to shape the health initiatives and policies I will advocate for in the Victorian Parliament.
How our health system struggled with OmicronWe’ve been reading reports of ambulance delays and staff shortages over the past few months as our ambulance and hospital system was overwhelmed by COVID cases.
I’ve been reflecting on some of the problems we’ve seen in our health system and you can read more on my blog here.
Is it time for an inquiry or even a Royal Commission into Victoria’s health system?
Moreland Rd crossing and Albion-Nicholson St bends
Recently we’ve seen some great progress on two community-led pedestrian safety campaigns, which I’ve been supporting.
The dangerous bends at the top of Nicholson St are being upgraded with speed bumps and extra signs, after a series of crashes there. I have been pushing the Roads minister on this for months, so it’s great to see this progress.
But there’s been a string of accidents further up Nicholson St in Coburg recently and local residents have been calling for years for a lower speed limit. I agree with them and will keep pushing for this.
And on the other side of Brunswick, Moreland Rd will receive a new pedestrian crossing between Walhalla Road and Everett Street, to make it safer for people to cross this busy stretch.
The community here has been campaigning for this crossing for years, and I've been supporting their work, along with Moreland Council. This shows that together, we can get things done!
Upfield Bike Path
Anyone who rides a bike in Brunswick will know how narrow and congested the Upfield bike path can be. I’ve been calling on the government to make Brunswick safer for cyclists by fixing Sydney Road and the Upfield path.
Recently I asked the minister to join me for a bike ride on the Upfield. He hasn’t responded yet, but he does ride a bike and hopefully I can show him how dangerous it is for those of us who get around on two legs or two wheels!
Cycle lane survey
Speaking of bikes, if you’ve had a pedal on one of the new trial bike lanes on Dawson street, Albion Street, or Northumberland Avenue, the Moreland City Council is looking for feedback about these lanes.
Your feedback and ideas will help the council to monitor these trials and adjust plans before permanent decisions are made.
Photo credit: Julian Meehan
Last week my Greens colleagues and I visited the Freedom Cage at the Park Hotel on Swanston Street to protest against the ongoing detention of refugees in hotels.
Detaining people who have fled war and oppression with no end date is cruel and inhumane. If ever there was a time to reconsider how Australia treats refugees, it is now, when hundreds of thousands are fleeing the Russian Army in Ukraine.
Notification to police of harmful substances
I’m asking Victorian MPs to support a small change to public health laws to protect people using recreational drugs.
Sometimes party drugs like ecstasy can contain unexpected, deadly substances like opioids, which can put users in hospital or worse.
Given the lack of quality control and regulation of currently illegal drugs, dangerous batches of drugs like this can stay in circulation for weeks, putting users at higher levels of risk.
Sometimes when police find evidence of a toxic batch of recreational drugs, they inform the Department of Health, who can issue a public health alert telling people to avoid anything resembling the bad batch. Health alerts like this can save lives.
However, the police don’t always take this step. So I am asking MPs to support an amendment to a health bill that will require police to inform the health department every time a dangerous substance is detected. My colleague Samantha Ratnam will be putting it to the upper house soon.
This change would reduce the number of people who end up in hospital, or who die, from recreational drug use.
Cooling and Insulation for Renters
Over summer I heard from dozens of Brunswick renters about how the heat was unbearable in their homes.
All homes should be safe and should be able to stay cool.
That’s why we’ve called for mandatory minimum requirements for efficient cooling and effective insulation for people renting in Victoria.
Merri Creek VisioningMoreland City Council are inviting Moreland residents to take part in a conversation about improving and managing the Merri Creek.
They’ll be hosting a community conversation about the creek on Thursday 24 March.
To learn more, and share your thoughts and ideas, head to their website.
Victorian Labor have approved another brutal duck shooting season in Victoria. The 90-day shooting season will be the longest since 2018.
Our wildlife are still recovering from the impact of drought and worsening weather events as a result of climate change, with native duck numbers on the decline.
The Greens have been campaigning for decades to stop the cruel practice of duck shooting. We’ll keep up the pressure to save our waterbirds and to put an end to the slaughter of ducks in Victoria.
Photo credit: Janus Molinski
Inquiry into the far right
Last year, The Victorian Greens introduced a motion in parliament calling for an inquiry into the rise of the far-right in Victoria. And I’m pleased to say that the inquiry has been secured!
The rise of far-right extremism threatens democracy and our multicultural communities. No one should be made to feel unsafe in their community and we should do all we can to understand and prevent such dangerous threats.
This parliamentary inquiry will allow us to further investigate the growing presence and influence of right-wing extremists, as well as examine links to misinformation spreading within anti-vaccine conspiracy groups.
I’m glad to see this inquiry go ahead. This is a step in the right direction to ensure the safety of all Victorians.
International Women's DayYesterday, Greens leader Samantha Ratnam and deputy leader Ellen Sandell called on the state government to provide culturally specific women’s refuges in Victoria.
We know a lot of family violence goes unreported, especially within culturally diverse communities.
That’s why other states have culturally specific women’s refuges. Women who know someone will believe them and understand their circumstances are more likely to seek support.
It was great to see the women leading our party make this call on International Women’s Day.
That’s it from me for now!
And always feel free to get in touch with me over email at [email protected],
Dr Tim Read
Greens State MP for Brunswick