I rise to honour the life and community service of John Allan Clarke Forbes. John Forbes was a founding members of the organisation known since 1998 as the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation.


This is about providing better mental health support services for our emergency services workers and volunteers, including those who have retired.


I rise to express my gratitude to the many workers in multiple fields who have made and continue to make extraordinary contributions to Victoria’s ongoing pandemic response.


It is my privilege to honour the life of Nicolas Abouzeid, a very special person in my electorate of Essendon, who passed away in November 2020. Nicolas was born in Machghara in Lebanon in 1930, and migrated to Australia with his wife and children in 1981.


I rise to update the house on the commitment of the Andrews Labor government to the entire creative industries sector. We are supporting these industries and their practitioners to recover, and we are cementing Victoria as a creative state, the Australian capital of culture and a place with an ethos where creativity is at the heart of our future. In a creative Victoria we can see an economic future built on that very creativity


I am delighted to rise and update the house on a stunning summer checklist of creative and arts opportunities for all Victorians. Victorians are to be congratulated for reaching 40 days today of zero new cases. Every single Victorian has contributed to this achievement. The community’s hard work means that a feast of summer entertainment supported by the Victorian government and delivered right across the state is on offer to all.


Last month I was delighted to attend the launch of East African Sisters products at Macca Halal Meats in Flemington and purchase the very first jars of the red and green chilli sauces Somalians add to almost every dish. The launch received some media coverage, including an article this week on SBS Food. The joy on the faces of these two women as they launched their business and sent their jars of commercially produced sauce out into the culinary market was an absolute sight to behold. This kind of outcome from a very small investment shows just why we must as a government, as a community, keep providing opportunities for our diverse communities to thrive and thrive. Congratulations, East African Sisters.


I am delighted to update the house on the biggest cultural infrastructure project in Australia happening right here in Victoria. I have said it before that creativity and the arts is in our Victorian DNA.


There are reports emerging of bombings, beatings, machete massacres, even ethnic cleansing. Ethiopia is on the brink, and experts point to the country being in a pregenocide phase. To my Ethiopian constituents, many of whom have arrived in Victoria as refugees, I send my sincere support and wish for peace.


I rise to update the house on how our government is backing Victoria’s screen industry. Screen culture is firmly embedded in our lives, and the pandemic has only seen this demand grow. Global demand for screen content is insatiable, from traditional film and television to streaming to digital gaming. We are supporting Victorian creative industries to get on with production of screen content, and we are making Victoria more competitive to attract investment and increase exports from the industry.


I rise to acknowledge the great contribution and public service of Jim Cusack. Jim has recently concluded a 15-year stint representing the community he loves as a councillor for Myrnong ward in the City of Moonee Valley. Jim has represented his Moonee Valley constituency over this time with integrity, decency and an unwavering focus on fairness. He genuinely believes in consultation as a means to achieve meaningful local outcomes, and in his councillor role he always sought to ensure that the community was heard.


We will be cautious, safe and cognisant of the health advice of our experts. We will hold on tightly to this COVID normal we are building, and we will honour, remember and rebuild what has been lost.


I want to take this time to send my warmest support to all of the year 12s in the state district of Essendon but also my niece Taylah Marshall-Sanderson, who is preparing for her final year 12 exams.


There are so many great schools in my electorate, filled with the most excellent students, teachers, principals and support staff, and throughout the pandemic they have all shown courage, ingenuity and resilience in forging ahead with learning online, supporting each other and keeping community spirit alive.


In just the last week I have had the privilege of delivering almost $3.4 million of funding for the students, schools and communities of Flemington and Ascot Vale. The Minister for Education joined me on 7 October to announce $2.1 million for the Flemington education plan and to speak with some of the very excited student leaders and principals.


On behalf of our party, Barry, I just want to thank you so much for everything you have done. Our party and Ballarat are both better off as a consequence of your endeavours and spirit. Happy 80th birthday. I look forward to seeing you soon to celebrate.


rise to update the house on our government’s support for our creative industries to recover from the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. Creativity is part of our identity. It is proudly in our Victorian DNA and central to our way of life, reputation, livability and economy. This sector in ordinary times contributes $34 billion a year to the state economy and employs more than 290 000 Victorians. During lockdown, music, film, literature and comedy have given comfort to many.


Speaker, as I have remarked previously in this place, times of great challenge and hardship bring people together and inspire them to act in solidarity with their family, friends and communities. We are always at our best when we work together. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought public health emergency and economic challenge to our state, our country and our world, the likes of which we have not seen for decades.