The Victorian Liberal Nationals are calling for the State Parliament to hold sittings in bushfire-affected communities this year.
Victorian Liberal Leader Michael O’Brien and Nationals Leader Peter Walsh have written to the Premier, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and President of the Legislative Council to call for at least one sitting week in 2020 to be held in East Gippsland (Legislative Assembly) and north-east Victoria (Legislative Council).
Previous Parliaments held regional sittings between 2001 and 2012, however the Andrews Labor Government scrapped them.
The Victorian Liberal Nationals are calling for the reinstatement of regional sittings.
Given the bushfires have caused major damage in parts of Victoria, it is only right that Parliament should visit these communities, provide locals with the opportunity to speak directly with political leaders and show practical support for local economies.
“State MPs should get out of the Spring Street bubble and into bushfire-affected regions. We need to hear from those who have been hit by these fires and show practical support for them”, said O’Brien.
“Bringing Parliament to East Gippsland and north-east Victoria will give these communities the chance to tell MPs face-to-face what they need to help them recover. With calls to visit affected areas and spend money, MPs should be leading by example. Taking Parliament to bushfire communities will mean more support for local jobs and small business,” he said.
“I am asking Daniel Andrews to put politics aside, take Parliament back on the road and join me in supporting our bushfire affected communities.”
Mr Walsh said communities have remained resilient through this bushfire catastrophe but they will need support in the long term to get back on their feet. “The Victorian Parliament has a genuine opportunity to be part of that recovery effort by holding regional sittings in these communities so all parliamentarians—even those from inner-city Melbourne—can hear local solutions direct from local people.”
Mr Walsh said that every community will have unique needs and challenges in coming months. The devastation I’ve seen in bushfire affected communities can’t be understood from behind a desk on Spring Street, said Mr Walsh.
“Reinstating regional Parliamentary sittings is also a practical way that MPs can support families, farmers and communities to recover by staying and spending in town,” he said.