Alpine Observer

Government support for students’ mental health


SECONDARY students at Myrtleford P-12 College, Bright P-12 College and Mt Beauty Secondary College will have better access to the schoolbase­d mental health support, under the rollout of the State Government’s $512 million Mental Health Practition­ers initiative.

The initiative will see qualified mental health profession­als in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologi­sts, social workers, occupation­al therapists and mental health nurses.

Recruitmen­t for mental health practition­ers at schools is now underway, with on-site roles to begin in term two.

Myrtleford P-12 College principal Zlatko Pear welcomed the additional support.

“It’s a great little initiative; we’ve just got to decide what type of medical practition­er we would like to work in our school,” he said.

“It’s just that little bit extra that we are definitely excited about.”

Mount Beauty Secondary College principal Simone Roy also looks forward to the support for her students and families.

“Any extra help is gratefully received, because mental health is a huge concern in young people these days, having the department pay to have an extra person be able to come into the school one day a week will add to our existing wellbeing services that we currently have at the school,” she said.

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 is investing $28.5 million for student mental health support as a boost to services in response to COVID-19.

This is in addition to the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiative­s in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services.

FOREST Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is continuing its planned burning program across various locations near Alpine, Wangaratta and Beechworth to reduce the risk of bushfires.

Burns will be ignited on public land including near Porepunkah, Germantown, Mudgegonga, Wandiligon­g, Cheshunt, Myrrhee, Tallangatt­a, Mitta Mitta, Granya, Dartmouth, Jamieson, Sawmill Settlement, Tatong, Shepparton, Marysville, Buxton, Narbethong, Granton, Kinglake, Alexandra, Flowerdale and the Mount Disappoint­ment and Tallarook state forests.

Burns began last week in the Alpine Shire with a 1218 hectare controlled burn in bushland seven kilometres west of Tawonga.

Above average rainfall and mild temperatur­es have provided favourable forest conditions for planned burning to ramp up in autumn.

Hume deputy chief fire officer, Aaron Kennedy, said planned burning is a vital part of work the organisati­on does to reduce the impact of bushfires.

“Reducing forest fuels means fires are less intense, increasing the likelihood of firefighte­rs containing bushfires before they spread and impact people, property and the environmen­t,” Mr Kennedy said.

“FFMVic conducts planned burns based on the conditions rather than the seasons, which can see us burning at any time throughout the year.

“Above average rainfall and cooler temperatur­es during summer has resulted in areas of public land being suitable for planned burning.”

If forest and weather conditions are suitable, FFMVic plans to ignite approximat­ely 94 burns

totalling more than 70,000 hectares across the North East this year.

“We understand that smoke from these burns may cause concern, but we are taking every opportunit­y to burn while conditions allow and it is safe to do so,” Mr Kennedy said.

“We have also been undertakin­g other fuel management activities including slashing and mulching works, and creating

and maintainin­g fuel breaks.”

FFMVic works closely with the Bureau of Meteorolog­y to assess weather conditions - such as humidity, temperatur­e and wind speed - and will only carry out burns when weather and forest conditions are suitable.

For the latest informatio­n about when and where planned burns are happening visit www.­ns or call 1800 226 226.

VICTORIAN farms will be made safer for workers, families and visitors through a new scheme backed by the State Government.

Minister for Agricultur­e Mary-Anne Thomas launched the new $3 million Farm Safety Rebate Scheme on Thursday, which will provide a rebate of up to $5000 per farm for infrastruc­ture and equipment to address health and safety risks on farms.

The agricultur­e sector is overly represente­d in workplace fatality statistics, making up less than two per cent of Victoria’s workforce, but accounting for 14 per cent of workplace deaths.

The scheme recognises that those at risk of injury or death on Victorian farms are not just farmers, but also families, employees, suppliers and contractor­s.

“Farms are workplaces but they’re also homes - we want to make sure that everyone that steps onto a farm gets to return home safely,” Ms Thomas said.

“Too many people are killed or injured on farms each year.

“This new program is an easy way to make simple adjustment­s to farms so they’re safer, and workers can carry on with peace of mind.”

Some examples of equipment and infrastruc­ture that are eligible for the rebate include child safety fencing, animal handling equipment, dedicated chemical storage sheds and wash stations, emergency shut off switches and reversing cameras for tractors and vehicles.

The government said it was supporting farm businesses to take the lead in making practical changes to their workplaces and improving the sector’s focus on safety; a safe and healthy sector means more resilient communitie­s in rural and regional Victoria and an even better place to work.

The Farm Safety Rebate Scheme will close on December 31, 2021 or when all funds are allocated.

For more details visit the Rural Finance website or call 1800 260 425.


(March 21 to April 19) Whatever decisions you’re faced with this week, rely on your strong Aries instincts, and base them on your honest feelings, not necessaril­y on what others might expect you to do.


(April 30 to May 20) Your sensitive Taurean spirit is pained by what you feel is an unwarrante­d attack by a miffed colleague. But your sensible self should see it as proof that you must be doing something right.


(May 21 to June 20) More finetuning might be in order before you can be absolutely certain that you’re on the right track. Someone close to you might offer to help. The weekend favours family get-togethers.


(June 21 to July 22) The week continues to be a balancing act ‘twixt dreaming and doing. But by week’s end, you should have a much better idea of what you actually plan to do and how you plan to do it.


(July 23 to August 22) Changing your plans can be risky, but it can also be a necessary move. Recheck your facts before you act. Tense encounters should ease by midweek, and all should be well by the weekend.


(August 23 to September 22) You might still be trying to adjust to recent changes. But things should improve considerab­ly as you get to see some positive results. An uneasy personal matter calls for more patience.


(September 23 to October

22) Congratula­tions. Your good intentions are finally recognized, and long-overdue appreciati­on should follow. Keep working toward improvemen­ts wherever you think they’re necessary.


(October 23 to November 2) Try to look at your options without prejudging any of them. Learn the facts, and then make your assessment­s. Spend the weekend enjoying films, plays and musical events.


(November 22 to December 21) Someone might want to take advantage of the Sagittaria­n’s sense of fair play. But before you ride off to right what you’ve been told is a wrong, be sure of your facts.


(December 22 to January 19) You might be surprised to learn that not everyone agrees with your ideas. But this can prove to be a good thing. Go over them and see where improvemen­ts can be made.


(January 20 to February 18) After taking advice on a number of matters in recent months, expect to be called on to return the gesture. And, by the way, you might be surprised at who makes the request.


(February 19 to March 20) Reassure everyone concerned that a change of mind isn’t necessaril­y a change of heart. You might still want to pursue a specific goal, but feel a need to change the way you’ll get there.

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 ??  ?? REDUCING FIRE RISK: Planned burns are expected to take place across the North East throughout autumn.
REDUCING FIRE RISK: Planned burns are expected to take place across the North East throughout autumn.

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