Press Releases

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

New centre for sexual assault victims underway

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014


  • Construction begins on the new Morwell Multidisciplinary Centre (MDC)
  • MDC brings together Victoria Police, child protection and sexual assault counselling services
  • Coalition Government invests $4.8 million to develop Morwell MDC

Construction is set to begin on a new facility in Morwell that will ensure victims of sexual assault and violence receive the necessary emotional, medical and legal support at one location.

On site on Friday to turn the first sod for the Morwell Multidisciplinary Centre (MDC), Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said the facility would provide an invaluable resource to victims of sexual assault and those caring for them.

Mr Ryan said the $4.8 million centre, funded by the Victorian Coalition Government, would provide counselling, crisis support, child protection services and also house Victoria Police’s Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team for adults and children who had experienced sexual assault and abuse.

“By co-locating police, child protection and specialised counselling and nursing services together at the one site, staff can work hand-in-hand to provide integrated support to adults and children,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having all of these services at the Morwell MDC will prevent the need for victims to repeatedly recount the details of their often horrific experience as they seek help and support.”

The Nationals Member for Morwell Russell Northe, who joined Mr Ryan on Friday, said the centre, to be completed by April 2015, would provide valuable, much needed services to vulnerable women and children in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland.

Mr Northe said the MDC would also ensure that perpetrators of sexual assault were held accountable for their crimes.

“The Coalition Government is committed to preventing violence from happening, holding perpetrators to account and making sure there is support for women and children,” Mr Northe said.

“Having met with all of the service providers that will be located in the MDC, I am pleased that our government has committed $4.8 million to not only assist those affected by sexual assault, but also to work towards its prevention.”

Mr Northe said the centre was being delivered as part of a $20 million package through Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence against Women and Children 2012-15, which included building three additional MDCs across Victoria.

Mr Northe the Coalition Government had invested more than $200 million this year to address family violence through a range of measures, including the Morwell MDC.

“Once the centre is complete, it will be one of six operational MDCs across the state offering vital services to victims of sexual crimes,” Mr Northe said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

New emergency services training centre opened at West Sale

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014


  • Firefighters have improved access to breathing apparatus training at a new facility at West Sale
  • $793,000 invested to upgrade the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC)
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better and safer Victoria

Firefighters in Gippsland have improved access to breathing apparatus training with the official opening of an upgrade at the West Sale campus of the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC).

In West Sale, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Liberal National Coalition Government had invested $793,000 in the upgrade that would benefit the region’s firefighters.

“The new building and facilities at the West Sale campus will support CFA members and is a fantastic resource for all emergency service personnel in Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.

“The type of training offered gives our volunteers the skills and practical experience that is essential for their role in protecting the community,” he said.

“All of the VEMTC campuses are purpose built to allow volunteers to take part in training scenarios that are as close as possible to reality.

“Facilities provide for both ‘live fire’ simulations and other scenarios that reflect the variety and complexity of incidents that emergency services volunteers face.
“This investment at West Sale has promoted growth and created jobs, and importantly ensures Victoria’s emergency service workers have the best training facilities.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was proud of the vital work performed by CFA and its 55,000 members who protected 3.3 million Victorians and more than one million homes and properties across the state.

“We will continue to support CFA members by providing the facilities and equipment they need to save lives and property,” Mr Ryan said.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien said since coming to office in November 2010, the Coalition Government has provided the CFA with $2.3 billion in funding.

“This financial year the CFA budget is $457 million; that is $58 million more than it was when Labor left office,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“The Coalition Government has invested in firefighter safety with $20.5 million to replace respiratory protection equipment for CFA and MFB firefighters.

“This investment, along with the opening of the new facility at West Sale demonstrates the Coalition Government’s strong commitment to supporting the CFA and its volunteers who play a critical role in Victoria’s emergency response.” 

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Coalition Government grant makes Leongatha men’s shed more accessible to more people

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government funding will allow people with mobility aids to access shed more easily
  • Funding delivered under $4 million Strengthening Men’s Sheds program
  • Coalition Government is committed to building and improving men’s sheds

Leongatha Men’s Shed will now be accessible to more people thanks to an injection of more than $12,000 from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government.

Visiting the shed on Friday, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the project, totalling $18,495, would enable a new concrete driveway, paths and a parking area to be built to make the shed easy to access for those with mobility aids.

“About 20 men attend the Men’s Shed gatherings on Wednesdays, however a few of those use walking frames and have trouble navigating the current path and across the grass into the shed,” Mr Ryan said.

“This funding will allow a wider driveway, paths and a concrete parking area close to the shed to be built, meaning those with mobility issues will be able to park nearby and access the shed more easily.

“The shed is a great contributor to the Leongatha community, so it makes sense to make this fantastic facility accessible to more people.”

Mr Ryan said the shed had benefited the community in a number of ways, including the contribution of wooden garden beds for the community garden, attending Woorayl Lodge Aged Care to make and paint bird boxes with residents and offering mentoring to clients from Yooralla disability organisation.

“Once a fortnight, a group of eight young men from Yooralla come here to learn hands-on skills from the shed’s members, so these new paths will make it easy for those guys to access the shed too,” Mr Ryan said.

"The Coalition Government recognises the significant role men's sheds play in local communities through engaging a range of men, including those with a disability, farmers, war veterans, retirees and the unemployed.”

Mr Ryan said the grant was delivered through the latest round of the $4 million Strengthening Men’s Sheds Program.

“This funding commitment shows that we are serious about supporting men’s sheds to continue to grow and thrive and provide stronger and more integrated communities,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was pleased to deliver $12,330 towards the $18,495 project, with the shed, Community College Gippsland and Yooralla to contribute the balance of funds.

Mr Ryan encouraged any men interested in finding out more to visit the shed, located in Howard Street, on Wednesdays from 1pm.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

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