To mark National Volunteer Week I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the important work of volunteers across the communities within the Ballarat region. It is a highlight of my role to interact on an almost daily basis with volunteers contributing in so many ways to the wellbeing of others.
What the bill aims to do is make some sensible changes, as we have heard, recommended by the Electoral Matters Committee in regard to the extension of early voting procedures. We have certainly seen in recent elections that early voting has extended in terms of the number of people who wish to take advantage of early voting, and it seems to have been a very sensible process to provide that opportunity for people who cannot be present on election days. What we have done on this occasion is recognise that a lot of people have been coming to pre-polling to vote ahead of the election day.
In starting I would like to note that here we have a so-called matter of public importance raised by the shadow Minister for Education. You would have thought that when the shadow Minister for Education had the opportunity to raise a matter of public importance it might have related to an issue that is important to the people of Victoria — that being education, the area that he has a shadow ministerial responsibility for. But no. We know why he did not choose to raise educational issues, because he knows there is a very stark contrast between this side, the Labor government, and his side of politics, which has no real interest in supporting state education — it never has.
On the point of order, Acting Speaker, the member would be aware that the Speaker also recognised that there was an opportunity within this debate to contrast, given that clearly the MPI brought forward is on a very political issue, trying to put a point of view from the Liberal Party. In contrasting it, I am simply trying to put a point from myself and representing the Labor government.
I am very pleased to be able to speak on this year's Andrews Labor government budget, a budget that invests in our community, with funding for our schools, hospitals and regional roads and support for local jobs.
One of the general themes was that we need to recognise that when people take drugs and use drugs through personal possession, it needs to be treated as a health issue and that we need to find ways of supporting those people to get onto a healthier path off drugs.
Built in the 1970s Mount Clear College featured a very modern design for its time. However, having operated for over 40 years now, some of the facilities clearly need upgrading and renewing. The modernisation will follow on from earlier works to rebuild science classrooms and other learning spaces and add to the earth science centre and language centre provided by previous Labor governments.
As a commitment before the last election we said that we thought engineers, in line with nearly every other profession across this state, should be registered with an appropriate body so that people could always be confident of their credentials and their experience and so that there was a system in place whereby if people did the wrong thing in their profession, there was a way that they could be either deregistered or disciplined. It would ensure that we always have the best quality of work.
I would like to congratulate the City of Ballarat for organising a fantastic program of events to celebrate Harmony Fest last week. The theme for this year's event was 'All of Us', which recognises that everyone, irrespective of their culture or religion, has a role in shaping our community.
As members may note, this is a very extensive report of over 580 pages, containing quality research material as well as detailing the advice shared with us by many people from Victoria, from interstate and from overseas jurisdictions that we visited during the inquiry. The inquiry became very wideranging in an attempt to gain an overview of the experiences involving illicit and prescription drugs. We compared the approach taken here in Victoria with other jurisdictions.