Tougher laws needed for sex offenders

By James Bennett

It was a busy week for politicians representing Shepparton and the surrounding region in State Parliament.

Member for Northern Victoria Tania Maxwell wants to make it compulsory for violent and sexual recidivist offenders to live close to police stations.

The Derryn Hinch's Justice Party MP moved a motion this week to the Legislative Council proposing that offenders live within 10km of a Victorian police station.

Upper house MP Tania Maxwell wants tougher laws for sex offenders.

"Our parole system should operate in a manner that minimises the prospect of reoffending," Ms Maxwell said.

"In cases of violent and sexual offenders, closer supervision and monitoring is essential to keeping our community safe." 

Ms Maxwell was vocal during her 2018 election campaign in calling for tougher parole conditions and bail reforms.

Drought assistance plea

Liberal upper house member Wendy Lovell believes the Victorian Government must provide more assistance to drought-affected farmers across the state.

Ms Lovell told parliament and Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes to provide municipal rate relief.

The Member for Northern Victoria said Ms Symes had not ruled out providing rate subsidies for Victoria's farmers.

She said it was "the perfect time" for funding to provide municipal rate relief.

“The potential loss of a generation of young farmers will be devastating for the fabric of Victoria’s agricultural sector and the support previously offered of a one-off cash payment of up to $3500 is far from adequate, with most farmers facing an annual rates bill in excess of $20 000." Ms Lovell said.

"The minister has previously indicated that rate subsidies for Victorian farmers may be considered in the future and I call on her to put her money where her mouth is and give our wonderful farmers the support they need."

Bypass business case

In the lower house, Suzanna Sheed told the government to release the business case for the Shepparton bypass.

The Independent Member for Shepparton said with the Federal Government's $208 million funding commitment it was time for the State Government to stop further delaying the project.

"The budget (2019/20) was unable to address the long-awaited Shepparton bypass because we are yet to see the business case, which has been in development now for two years,” Ms Sheed said.

"The Federal Government committed $208 million to this project prior to the federal election in May, and last week the Federal Member for Nicholls (Damian Drum) recommitted these funds."

Independent MP Suzanna Sheed spoke on various issues in parliament this week.

Ms Sheed spent time discussing the state budget, highlighting the millions spent in the Shepparton region during Labor's first term and what it intends to spend this year.

She said the government must fund the remaining $100 million needed to develop the Shepparton High School site to fully deliver the Shepparton Education Plan.

"Without this money on the table, some members of the community are expressing concerns over a lack of certainty that the Shepparton Education Plan will be fully funded."

Ms Sheed also took the time to speak with current and former independent federal counterparts, Helen Haines and Cathy McGowan respectively, from the seat of Indi.