Press Releases

Coalition Government delivers a further $1.3 million for South Gippsland Highway

* * - Thursday, October 23, 2014

  • 14 sections of the South Gippsland Highway to be resealed
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $1.3 million to complete works
  • Community feedback helped identify areas in need of resealing

The Victorian Coalition Government continues to repair key roads in South Gippsland, with a further $1.3 million being injected into resealing works on damaged sections of the South Gippsland Highway.

The $1.3 million investment will reseal a total of 14 sections of the South Gippsland Highway from Lang Lang to Stradbroke, providing significant relief for local motorists.

The investment will be provided through the Coalition Government’s record $500 million roads maintenance investment.

The first of the 14 sections of the South Gippsland Highway to be resealed was announced recently, with $34,000 allocated for works near Meeniyan.

Today’s announcement confirms the remaining 13 sections of the South Gippsland Highway to be resealed, including sections at Lang Lang, Korumburra, Leongatha, Meeniyan, Welshpool, Yarram and Stradbroke.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan welcomed the investment and said the resealing works would begin shortly.

“Over the winter months VicRoads carried out significant patching works along the South Gippsland Highway, providing a short term fix,” Mr Ryan said.

“This work was only designed to be a temporary fix, with important resealing works held off until the warmer months, which are now upon us.

“The resealing works will improve the road surface, creating a smoother ride for motorists, while making the road surface waterproof and more resistant to future damage.

“I want to reassure local motorists that we are listening to their concerns about road conditions and will continue to invest to fix our roads.”

Mr Ryan said VicRoads would continue to monitor the condition of the local road network and he encouraged locals to continue reporting damaged sections of road to VicRoads so it could be patched and resealed as quickly as possible.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien echoed Mr Ryan’s comments and said VicRoads had taken into account community feedback when identifying the sections of the highway in need of significant repairs.

“I thank the South Gippsland community for its strong feedback, and I want to reassure locals that we are listening to their concerns,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Nationals, working in Coalition Government, will continue to invest in our road network to repair the significant damage which has occurred over recent years.

“The Nationals understand that fixing country roads, saves country lives.”

Mr O’Brien said the Coalition Government had invested well over $100 million to fix and upgrade local roads in South Gippsland over the past three and a half years, with more money flowing through to the region on an ongoing basis.

“We will continue to prioritise this region to ensure our local roads can be fixed or upgraded as quickly as possible,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We will also continue to invest in key safety upgrades, new passing lanes as well as supporting local councils to fix and improve local roads.” 

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Deputy Premier announce Benalla Botanical Gardens facelift

* * - Thursday, October 23, 2014


  • Deputy Premier announces $400,000 for Benalla Botanical Gardens facelift
  • Project to create a modern community precinct
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

The children’s precinct at the historic Benalla Botanical Gardens will receive a major facelift including new play equipment, a new formal entry, open space play areas, better seating, new garden beds and connecting pathways.

The facelift is part of a $610,000 investment designed to breathe new life into the popular local attraction, bringing it in-line with today’s expectations.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, Liberal candidate for Euroa Tony Schneider and Member for Benalla Bill Sykes in Benalla today to announce the facelift and provide the news that the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $400,000 of the $610,000 required to complete it.

Mr Ryan said $300,000 of the Coalition Government’s $400,000 investment would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with $100,000 coming through the Community Facility Funding Program, administered by the Minister for Sport Damian Drum.

Mr Ryan said the remaining $210,000 would be provided by a number of community contributors including Benalla Rural City Council ($167,000), Tomorrow Today Foundation ($13,000), Friends of the Gardens ($10,000), and Rotary Club of Benalla ($20,000 in-kind).

Mr Ryan said the $610,000 investment would fund:

  • demolition and site preparation;
  • upgrade of plumbing in existing facilities and amenities;
  • landscaping of new garden beds and refurbishment of pathways;
  • construction of play equipment, formal entry, community open space and seating; and
  • improvements to the public car park.

“Located in the heart of Benalla, the botanical gardens is a popular spot for family picnics, and a key visitor drawcard, particularly for those travelling up and down the Hume Highway,” Mr Ryan said.

“Over the past few years the gardens, particularly the area in which we are standing here today, has begun to show its age and is in desperate need of a facelift.

“Both Bill Sykes and Steph Ryan have been lobbying hard alongside the Benalla Rural City Council to secure this investment, and I am proud to be here today with them to announce this important funding has been secured.”

Mr Ryan said the works would rejuvenate the parklands and create an attractive and functional open-air space for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

The improvements will complement the surrounding attractions including the Benalla Art Gallery and the Lake Benalla Boardwalk.

“When complete, this project will have created a community hub with the capacity to increase tourism and boost the local economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will also make this great location an even more popular place for locals to spend time, particularly on weekends and warm summer evenings, and I look forward to returning here to see these wonderful additions and improvements once complete.”

Mr Ryan said works would begin shortly and would be finished by this time next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Regional Living still a Good Move under Coalition

* * - Thursday, October 23, 2014


  • Regional Living Expo and Good Move campaign to continue under a re-elected Coalition Government
  • Coalition Government delivers integrated campaign to drive regional growth
  • Strong, diverse and prosperous regions vital in building a better Victoria

The successful Regional Victoria Living Expo and associated Good Move campaign will continue under a re-elected Coalition Government, Premier and Minister for Regional Cities Denis Napthine announced today.

Speaking at a Regional Cities Victoria Forum, Dr Napthine said a re-elected Coalition Government would continue the highly successful expo and the marketing campaign over the next four years, both of which are designed to drive population growth in regional and rural Victoria.

“The Regional Victoria Living Expo, which was first run in 2011, is a free annual event which brings together all the key information about moving to regional and rural Victoria under one roof,” Dr Napthine said.

“In 2014, the Expo, at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, attracted a record crowd of more than 9,600 visitors – city-dwellers looking to move to our regional and rural communities and make the most of what a regional lifestyle has to offer.

“Every family that moves to a regional community helps to make our regional communities the wonderful places they are, while also contributing to and developing the local economy,” Dr Napthine said.

“Councils have provided us with strong feedback about the success of the Expo, and it has become a key event in their marketing calendars.

“We have seen many examples of Victorian families making the move to our regional communities after exposure to the Regional Victoria Living Expo,” Dr Napthine said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said a re-elected Coalition Government would also continue its successful Good Move campaign, which capitalises on the Expo through a marketing campaign aimed at addressing the perceived barriers to moving.

“This is part of our integrated approach to accelerating growth in regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Good Move campaign works hand-in-hand with the Regional Living Expo to showcase real-life examples of Victorian families who have discovered how making the move to regional Victoria has improved their quality of life,” Mr Ryan said.

“The campaign has been informed by research which shows that nine per cent of Melburnians would consider a move to regional Victoria in the next three years.

“The Coalition Government understands that the key to achieving balanced population growth is to encourage more people to live and work in regional Victoria.

“With our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, the Regional Living Expo and the Good Move Campaign, the Coalition Government is the only party with a plan to grow and develop regional areas and build a better Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Coalition Government gives voice to rural councils

* * - Thursday, October 23, 2014


  • Deputy Premier commits $3 million to continue Networked Rural Councils
  • Coalition Government’s investment supports Victoria’s 38 rural councils
  • Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

Networked Rural Councils, which provides a collective voice for Victoria’s 38 rural councils, will be funded for a further four years under a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government.

Speaking to Mayors and CEOs of Victoria’s 38 rural councils in Melbourne yesterday, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced that a re-elected Coalition Government would continue to support Rural Councils Victoria to deliver the Networked Rural Councils program with $3 million over four years.

The $3 million investment if the Coalition Government is re-elected will be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government recognised the importance of helping Rural Councils Victoria provide a collective voice for the state’s 38 rural councils.

“Rural councils have local on-the-ground knowledge to deliver initiatives that benefit our rural communities, and by sharing this knowledge and information we can make a real difference across the state,” Mr Ryan said.

“Each of our rural councils have individual and unique needs, however, there are many situations where they can benefit from networking and a shared voice.

“Whether it is the Wellington Shire, East Gippsland, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Benalla, Mitchell or Campaspe, our rural shires need a forum to be able to come together and speak as one – Networked Rural Councils provides this forum.

“Lobbying as one enables our rural shires to secure additional state and federal funding for local services and infrastructure, it ensures innovative service delivery solutions can be shared, and helps our rural councils attract new business, jobs and investment – particularly at a regional level.

“Today’s announcement that a re-elected Coalition Government will continue the successful $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program for another four years is a perfect example of the benefits of a single voice.

“Thanks to strong lobbying from Bill MacArthur and others here today, our rural councils will each receive $4 million over four years to build and repair shire managed roads and bridges.

“Without our 38 councils lobbying for this initiative as one, and a Coalition Government which recognises the importance of our rural areas, this funding would simply not have been made available.

“And it certainly would not be delivered under a Daniel Andrews-led Labor government which refuses to commit to funding the Country Roads and Bridges Program, nor further funding Networked Rural Councils.

“Labor’s focus is squarely on union-led, city-based projects, that do nothing for communities outside of Melbourne.”

Minister for Local Government Tim Bull joined Mr Ryan in Melbourne yesterday to meet with the 38 Mayors and CEOs and said he strongly welcomed the four-year, $3 million commitment if re-elected, to continue the Networked Rural Councils program.

“This great program is empowering our rural councils to meet current and future challenges,” Mr Bull said.

“It is enabling them to collaborate on projects that stimulate growth and economic development.

“By working collaboratively, local councils are identifying and addressing issues they have in common and they are participating in decision making that impacts on their broader region – which makes this program so valuable.

“Only a Liberal Nationals Coalition Government is committed to supporting our rural councils.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Regional Growth Fund delivers for Katandra West

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $999,000 towards $1.3 million Katandra West Community Centre
  • Project will support Katandra Kats and a wide-range of user groups
  • Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest almost $1 million to build a new community centre in Katandra West, delivering a one-stop-shop for local sports clubs, community events, meetings and celebrations.

The new Katandra West Community Centre will be located at the Katandra West Recreation Reserve, replacing the century-old Katandra West Hall as a centre-point for life in the small Goulburn Valley community.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Katandra West today to announce the Coalition Government will invest $999,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in the construction of the $1.3 million community centre.

The Katandra West Community Facilities Committee of Management will provide $150,000 towards construction of the new community centre, with the Greater Shepparton City Council providing a further $151,000.

Mr Ryan said the $1.3 million investment will deliver a 685-square metre multipurpose facility, featuring:

  • a large multi-purpose area and meeting room;
  • male, female and disabled toilets;
  • female and umpire change rooms; and
  • commercial kitchen, cool room, storage space, bar and serving area.

Mr Ryan said the new community centre will benefit a number of local user groups including the Katandra Kats Football and Netball Club, local cricket and tennis clubs, Country Women’s Association, CFA, Girl Guides, Ukiah Club and Katandra West Primary School.

Mr Ryan said the new community centre will be the ideal location to host community celebrations such as birthday parties, weddings and engagement parties, community meetings, conferences and other community events.

“Every small town needs a modern, accessible and useable community space to host local events and celebrations,” Mr Ryan said.

“While the existing community hall has served Katandra West for more than a century, it is beginning to show its age and no longer meets the needs and expectations of the community.

“The Coalition Government’s almost $1 million investment will deliver a modern and flexible community centre that will be a focal point for the Katandra West community for the next 100 years, and is sure to be the scene of many great nights for locals.

“This investment will deliver modern facilities for local sports clubs such as the mighty Katandra Kats, with the new umpire and female change rooms to be a welcome addition, particularly for the netballers.

“This project is another terrific example of why The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, fought to secure the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Through the Regional Growth Fund, we have been able to invest in countless projects similar to this right across regional and rural Victoria, projects that would otherwise have struggled to attract funding support from government.”

Mr Barr, a passionate Katandra West local, welcomed this investment, describing it as long overdue.

“As a local, I know how important the community hall is to our community,” Mr Barr said.

“Whether it’s hosting Girl Guides, school concerts, the football/netball club ball, 21st birthday parties, weddings and funerals, the community hall has seen it all.

“To now have a facility of this calibre at our disposal for local meetings and other community events is a real shot-in-the-arm for Katandra West.

“I am proud to be part of a strong National Party team which continues to deliver for the Goulburn Valley and its many communities including Katandra West.”

Mr Barr said construction would begin shortly with the project to be completed by the end of next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victoria Coalition Government invests to create 12 new jobs in Shepparton

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014


  • 12 new Shepparton jobs created as Peter Stoitse Transport expands
  • $750,000 investment to deliver transport depot and truck maintenance facility
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better Shepparton

Twelve new jobs will be created in Shepparton as Gippsland-based company Peter Stoitse Transport expands its Goulburn Valley operations.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Shepparton to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $75,000 to support Stoitse’s $750,000 relocation and expansion.

Mr Ryan said the $750,000 project would enable Stoitse to relocate from Tatura to Benalla Road in Shepparton, and build a new milk transport depot and truck maintenance facility.

Peter Stoitse Transport has 130 full-time staff and operates 80 trucks from depots in Allansford, Hallam, Yarram, Maffra, Leongatha, Tatura, Wallace and Longwarry.

Its Tatura depot is currently located at Tatura Milk Industries, its biggest local customer, but the company has been unable to expand its depot due to size constraints.

This investment will allow Stoitse to relocated to larger premises in Shepparton, enabling it to significantly grow its Goulburn Valley presence.

Mr Ryan said the $750,000 relocation project would include: Development of a new hardstand, truck parking and fuelling facilities; Installation of new tanker sterilisation and cleaning facilities; Construction of a new complex and driver buildings; and Development of a new maintenance workshop.

“As a proud Gippslander, it gives me great pleasure to be here today alongside Greg Barr to announce the Coalition Government’s support for this great Gippsland company as it expands its Goulburn Valley operations and creates a dozen new local jobs,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project will provide a significant boost for Stoitse in the Goulburn Valley, enabling the company to better service local milk processors and producers.

“More importantly, this investment will create 12 new full-time jobs in Shepparton, including depot operators, mechanics, maintenance employees and truck drivers.”

Mr Ryan said the company recently signed a five year contact to provide transportation for

Tatura Milk Industries, ensuring the expansion would be viable.

The project will be completed within a year.

Mr Barr welcomed the investment and said the project would deliver a number of wins for the region.

“Part of the investment includes independent tanker sterilisation and washing facilities, which enables Stoitse to service other local dairy businesses including Pactum Dairy Group,” Mr Barr said.

“Moving to a larger site will also help Stoitse to diversify its Goulburn Valley business, with the potential for future growth and more new local jobs.”

Mr Barr said the relocation would also deliver a number of benefits for Tatura Milk Industries, including a reduction of trade waste from truck washing. It will also enable Tatura Milk Industries to redevelop the former Stoitse site, accommodating future growth.

“Investing in projects that deliver a win-win for regional and rural communities is a priority for the Victorian Coalition Government, and was a key reason why I was drawn to The Nationals,” Mr Barr said.

“This investment continues the Coalition Government’s strong and ongoing commitment to Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley.

“As The Nationals candidate for Shepparton I will continue to work within a Coalition Government to secure investments for our region.

“I am not afraid of hard work and I will continue to promote the best interests of Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley region more broadly.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Pactum Dairy Group expansion creates 14 new jobs

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014


  • Coalition Government invests $1 million in Pactum Dairy Group expansion
  • $18 million project will boost exports and create 14 new jobs in Shepparton
  • Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund is building a better Shepparton

Fourteen new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group, as the benefits of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund continue to flow through to the local economy.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Shepparton today to announce the Coalition Government would invest $1 million to support an $18 million expansion at Pactum Dairy Group.

The expansion will create 14 new full-time jobs, many more in the supply chain, and boost UHT milk exports to Asia.

The $18 million investment, which includes the installation of new filling lines, processing lines and associated infrastructure, will enable the company to process an additional 50 million litres of UHT milk per year, for a total of 200 million litres of UHT per year.

The Coalition Government’s $1 million investment will be provided through the Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, and follows an earlier $950,000 investment to support a $60 million expansion at the Shepparton site which created 52 full-time jobs.

Mr Ryan said the additional processing capacity from this latest investment would enable Pactum to meet the ever increasing demand from Asia for Australian milk products.

“Asian countries, particularly China, have an insatiable thirst for Australian dairy products,” Mr Ryan said.

“Our reputation for producing high quality, clean, green dairy products, including UHT milk, make our products a must for the growing Asian middle-class.

“Pactum Dairy Group has been able to capitalise on our great reputation, with 75 per cent of its existing sales occurring overseas.

“Since beginning production earlier this year, Pactum has received strong interest from Asian countries to ship more of its product more often, which has meant this $18 million investment had to be fast-tracked to keep up with demand.

“The Coalition Government is a proud supporter of Pactum as it continues to grow and we are pleased to invest $1 million to support this $18 million expansion.

“A strong Pactum Dairy Group benefits local farmers and creates more jobs for locals and we look forward to continuing our strong association with the company over the coming years.”

Mr Barr welcomed the investment and said the pace of growth at Pactum was astonishing.

“Pactum’s rise has been truly remarkable, growing from nothing to be in a position to employ more than 65 locals and supporting many more workers in the supply chain and on-farm,” Mr Barr said.

“This investment is proof that food processing and manufacturing has a bright future here in Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley, and I applaud the Coalition Government for not only recognising that, but investing significantly to assist it.

“To have a strong and sustainable local economy, we need companies like Pactum to continue to invest locally.

“I am confident that it will not be too long before Pactum is considered right up there alongside other major Goulburn Valley companies such as SPC and Campbells as a major regional employer.”

Mr Barr said today’s announcement was the second project to be funded through the $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund.

It follows last month’s $1.37 million investment to enable Ryan Meat Company in Nathalia to undertake a $5.5 million expansion that will create 70 new full-time jobs and boost exports of lamb from the region.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Business West 21 to support growth of Melbourne’s west

* * - Tuesday, October 21, 2014


  • New organisation to promote investment and jobs growth in Melbourne’s west
  • Business West 21 to provide a clear voice for businesses in western suburbs
  • Victorian Coalition Government implementing ambitious Jobs Plan

A new group which aims to create jobs and grow the economy in Melbourne’s west has been launched by Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Peter Ryan at Whitten Oval in Footscray.

Business West 21 has been established to attract jobs, investment and infrastructure to Melbourne’s West, to support the area’s rapidly growing population.

The group will cover the municipalities of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham.

The formation of Business West 21 has been facilitated and assisted by the Western Melbourne Regional Development Australia committee and LeadWest.

“Business West 21 has been developed by a number of leading local business stakeholders who share a vision for a new local body committed to achieving improvements across all major industry sectors in Melbourne’s west,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will provide a clear and effective voice for businesses based in this part of Melbourne, particularly when it comes to communicating with all levels of government.”

Mr Ryan said Melbourne’s west was Australia’s fastest growing region, with a current population of around 800,000 people, which is expected to grow to more than 1.1 million in the near future.

“With an extra 300,000 people expected to live and work in Melbourne’s west it is important that we have groups such as Business West 21 working alongside all levels of government to support this rapid growth,” Mr Ryan said.

“I am confident the organisation will grow from strength to strength and provide great support to these growing communities.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government looked forward to working closely with Business West 21 as the government implements its own ambitious Jobs Plan.

“With the calibre of people backing it, I’m confident Business West 21 will play a key role securing a diverse and sustainable economy for this important region,” Mr Ryan said.

“We anticipate that this new organisation will also be well placed to assist with the implementation of Plan Melbourne by attracting business, investment and jobs to the National

Employment Clusters of Sunshine and Werribee and to the other major local activity centres.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Estate agent licensing reforms for large commercial property

* * - Tuesday, October 21, 2014


  • Implementing a key red tape initiative of the Victorian Coalition Government
  • Saving businesses approximately $2.6 million every year
  • Napthine Government building a better Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government has confirmed that it is proceeding with its policy to remove the requirement for those involved in large commercial property transactions to hold a licence under the Estate Agents Act 1980 (Act), while maintaining appropriate consumer protections for buyers and sellers of property in Victoria.

The Government is also proposing to expand the current licensing exemption for commercial property transactions between related companies.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said the reforms will benefit many sectors of the Victorian economy as the Napthine Government continues to make Victoria an attractive place to do business.

Anyone involved in the sale of commercial property in Victoria will no longer need an estate agent’s licence where:

  • The price in the contract of sale is at least $15 million; or
  • The property has a total floor space of at least 10,000 square metres; or
  • Each party to the sale owns other real estate with:

            - A total market value of at least $15 million; or

            - A total floor space of at least 10,000 square metres.

Also, anyone involved in the leasing of commercial property in Victoria will no longer need an estate agent’s licence where the company owns property with:

  • A total market value of at least $15 million; or
  • A total floor space of at least 10,000 square metres.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Heidi Victoria confirmed that a person selling or leasing residential property or rural land in Victoria will still require an estate agent’s licence.

“The exemptions are strictly limited to large commercial property transactions, including those between related companies. People should still strongly consider engaging an estate agent for these types of property transactions. The reforms merely give those businesses that regularly sell or lease large commercial property the option of using an estate agent or conducting the transaction between themselves,” Ms Victoria said.

The proposed reforms will commence on 1 July 2015 and Consumer Affairs Victoria will ensure sellers are aware of the benefits of engaging a licensed real estate agent for the sale of any type of real estate in Victoria through a public information campaign. A review of the proposed exemptions will occur 12 months after their commencement.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government made a commitment to significantly reduce red tape and has delivered on that commitment.

“These reforms will save Victorian businesses an estimated $2.6 million every year and contribute to the more than $715 million in red tape savings to Victorian businesses and the economy”, Mr Ryan said.

The proposed reforms will be considered by Executive Council on 29 October 2014.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Cutting edge horticultural facility to create 40 jobs

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government supports project that will deliver 40 jobs
  • Hydroponics facility to be first of its kind outside of Asia
  • Investment reinforces Victoria’s position as quality horticultural producer

A state-of-the art hydroponics facility, growing leafy vegetables such a spinach and rocket, will be built at Bunyip in Victoria’s east, creating 40 new local jobs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan today announced that horticultural company KAITEKI Fresh Australia would establish a multi-million dollar hydroponics facility, the first of its kind outside of Asia.

Mr Ryan made the announcement at the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Knoxfield facility in Melbourne’s east, where the company has been undertaking trials growing its product under Australian conditions.

Mr Ryan said KAITEKI Fresh Australia’s investment represented a vote of confidence in Victoria’s economic credentials and bolstered the state’s reputation as a global leader in food production.

“This investment is great news for Bunyip, Gippsland and Victoria more broadly,” Mr Ryan said.

“It confirms Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in the production of clean, safe and high quality horticultural products.

“To have a major agricultural company such as this willing to make a significant investment here in Victoria shows the potential for the agricultural sector to be a mainstay of the Victorian economy over the next century and beyond.”

Mr Ryan said the new greenhouse facility would produce leafy green vegetables such as spinach and rocket without the use of pesticides and using a fraction of the water and fertiliser used in traditional horticultural methods.

“This ground breaking new facility will be the first of its type outside of Asia, enabling 20 harvests of green leafy vegetables per year, in comparison with four using traditional soil methods,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is truly a remarkable achievement and one the company should be extremely proud of.”

Mr Ryan said KAITEKI Fresh Australia had been established in Australia by Mitsubishi Plastic Inc (MPI) in collaboration with The KAITEKI Institute, a global research institute focused on meeting 21st century challenges in energy, the environment and healthcare.

MPI and the Kaiteki Institute have collaborated for a number of years on the development of next generation hydroponic technologies that enable the rapid cultivation of green leafy vegetables.

Mr Ryan said MPI and the KAITEKI Institute, in collaboration with DEPI, had managed to produce leafy vegetables of the same quality of the product grown in Japan.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said Victoria had a strong record of producing safe, high quality produce, and scientists were confident this new method of growing leafy green vegetables offers an environmentally friendly way of boosting production.

“This could potentially revolutionise the way the horticulture industry cultivates vegetables and will contribute to the Victorian Coalition Government's goal of doubling food and fibre production by 2030,” Mr Walsh said.

KAITEKI Fresh Australia Chief Executive Officer Katsutoshi Ogihara said his company was proud of the investment.

“We will endeavour to start the delivery of the safe and trusted ‘Grown in Victoria’ leafy vegetables as soon as possible, grown without pesticide using our advanced production system,” Mr Ogihara said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

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