Youth People Fight for More Accessible Public Transport
The City of Whittlesea team’s Bill aims to improve the accessibility of Victoria’s public transport system, focusing on trains. The Bill proposes a number of changes be made to the current system, including but not limited to: mandatory access ramps on stations, gender inclusive bathrooms, more accessible signage, increased staff presence and training, and changes to the PTV app to make it more accessible. Plans for station maintenance and improved replacement services are also described.
The team from the City of Whittlesea sponsored the Bill and the Korin Gamadji Institute team refuted it. The Hon. Member Sheena Watt MP chaired the debate.
The points raised in favour of the Bill:
- Current train services and infrastructure are not meeting the needs of disabled people.
- The proposals made in the bill would increase accessibility, thus decreasing the stress of and time and energy required by disabled people when travelling.
- The measures proposed would also increase accessibility and ease of travel for other groups, including parents, tourists, elderly people and high heel wearers.
- Improvements to services such as frequency of replacement services and the PTV app would make the transport system more efficient.
- The accessibility measures proposed would increase levels of safety.
- The increased staffing of platforms called for by the Bill would create jobs.
The points raised against the Bill:
- The Bill has a limited scope because it only addresses the train system, while other transport services like trams are equally, if not more, inaccessible.
- The proposals are unnecessary as many train stations already meet some accessibility requirements.
- The changes described by the Bill would be expensive.
- The Bill does not pay enough attention to rural services.
- The large number and training of staff described in the Bill is unrealistic.
- Questions were raised as to whether the Bill proposes the correct type, number of, and/or variety of accessibility services.
The Bill passed unanimously through the Legislative Council!
By Charlie Goldberg
Day 3: Tarneit Senior College V Oonah Yarra Ranges Council Youth: Lowering the Age of Mental Health Confidentiality
CW: This Bill discusses mental health and the failures of the current healthcare system in addressing internal issues.
Sponsored by Boroondara City Council, a Bill for an Act to establish an online mental health hub that is accessible for free to all Victorians. While this Bill will not aim to address all of the pressing issues facing Victoria’s current Mental Health System, the Bill aims to correct some of the critical gaps. This Bill was refuted by Castlemaine Secondary College.
Key Components of the Bill
📌 The establishment of an online hub called the Support, Assessment, Referral, Information and Advice Mental Hub (SARIA Mental Health Hub), a body that will assist in referrals and the provision of mental health assessments, as well as provide links to other mental health resources.
📌 SARIA is complementary to existing mental health services such as Headspace, but is not aiming to replace or displace these services.
📌 Victorian’s are not receiving the mental health care that they need and currently, to receive mental health care, patients require a mental health care plan from a general practitioner. This process forces yearly re-traumatisation of the patient in order to receive medicare rebates for mental health care sessions. SARIA aims to address these issues.
📌 A monumental privacy threat is posed by the
📌 The Bill does not clearly state that it is not trying to replace the system in place, and arguably demonstrates a diversion of resources to fix a broken system into a new system which will not necessarily alleviate issues currently faced.
📌 This Bill would still require patients to face traumatising questions, this would take place online and deprive the patient of face to face contact which may be required.
📌The requirement of an Australian passport or birth certificate bars those of a lower socioeconomic status from accessing the SARIA mental health hub, a step backward in accessibility for the most vulnerable Victorians.
The Bill passed the Legislative Council 18 to 11.
Words by Emily Dobson
Boroondara City Council looks to the future of mental health in a bill for an online mental health hub
The Bill, which is titled Online Mental Health Hub Bill 2021 and debated in the Legislative Council, aims to have a free mental health hub for all Victorians. Specifically, the bills want to establish the the Support, Assessment, Referral, Information, and Advice (SARIA) Mental Health Hub, which will provide services such as a system for patient information storage and sharing, mental health and wellbeing advice and referral services.
Here’s what Boroondara City Council argued:
- SARIA provides a service for those who don’t know where to go and shows people where they need to go to access mental health services.
- SARIA also helps people understand what type of mental health support they need.
- The Hub will allow for patients to not have to retell and relive their traumas and struggles, which occurs in the current mental health system.
- The flexibility of the system gives patients more autonomy.
- SARIA gives those in regional and rural areas better access to mental health services, thus increasing positive mental health outcomes.
- SARIA is more accessible for children, those over 50 and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- The confidentiality that is provided with SARIA gets rid of mental health stigma.
Here’s what the opposition, Castlemaine Secondary College refuted:
- There are “monumental” privacy risks when setting up a new system for patient information.
- It may not be possible for vulnerable people to get access to a computer.
- The bill did not consider deaf and disabled people and how they would interact with SARIA.
- The service will put a strain on the already low numbers of mental health workers.
- The requirement of needing a passport or birth certificate to be eligible for the service creates barriers, especially for poorer Australians.
- There is nothing in place to promote the establishment of SARIA.
- The establishment of SARIA would create a confusing overlap between existing services, such as MyGov, My Health Record, and translation services.
The Bill passed by 18-11.
By Simone Kealy.
Youth attempt to better Victorian road safety
This Bill addresses the danger of reckless driving and forms guidelines on how to avert preventable misfortunes. The aim of this Bill is to not only reduce reckless driving on public roads, but also reduce innocent casualties who are victims of reckless driving.
🚘 Establishment of the Victorian Recreational Stunt and Hooning Driving Organisation
The Victorian Recreational Stunt and Hooning Driving Organisation (VRSHDO) shall be established.
An advisory board shall be established and contain members from each of the following —
(a) the Department of Transport.
(b) the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
(c) a representative for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.
(d) a representative for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure.
(e) Victorian Police Commissioner or delegated representative.
(f) Premier of Victoria or related staffer.
- The Board shall evaluate VRSHDO driving facilities as well as VRSHDO registered drivers as they deem necessary for any related safety concerns.
- The Board shall create VRSHDO driving facilities which shall be controlled areas situated 25km away from residential areas.
🚘 Driver Requirements and Accountabilities
- Drivers shall register with VRSHDO prior to accessing or participating at any VRSHDO facilities.
- Participating drivers must at a minimum hold a Victorian Probationary Driver’s License for at least 15 months prior to their registration.
🚘 Vehicle Requirements
- Vehicles shall pass requirements which consist of the following—
(a) current registration with VicRoads.
(b) on arrival to the facility must be roadworthy.
(c) VRSHDO approved Seat belts or race harnesses.
(d) driver shall wear a VRSHDO approved helmet.
(e) an operational 1.5kg ABE chemical powder fire extinguisher.
🚘 Training Requirements
- Drivers shall undertake mandatory training that consists of both theoretical and practical content.
- The theoretical content shall consist of—
(a) a defensive driving course approved by VRSHDO.
(b) how to safely carry out stunt driving.
(c) procedures on how to control emergencies safely and quickly.
- The practical content shall consist of -—
(a) performance of a safely executed stunt.
(b) operation of a fire extinguisher on a controlled fire.
(c) acting out a mock emergency and demonstrate ability to resolve an emergency.
- Drivers must pass all elements of the practical content before being awarded registration by VRSHDO.
- Any persons who does not adhere to the rules and regulations set by VRSHDO shall incur a fine of 5 penalty units in line with the Sentencing Act 1991.
- Any persons who reoffend shall be permanently banned from VRSHDO and shall incur a fine of 10 penalty units in line with the Sentencing Act 1991.
The Bill did not pass with a majority of MP’s voting against the bill.
By Ruby Sait