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Return of cattle to High Country approved

Friday, June 06, 2014

• Liberal National Coalition pleased to see grazing trial reinstated
• Cattle to return to High Country within weeks
• Trial provides a common sense approach to dealing with Alpine bushfire risk

Planning that will see the return of cattle in the Alpine National Park to evaluate the benefits of grazing to bushfire management is now underway after the Commonwealth Government approved a strategic trial this week.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the grazing trial, that must follow strict conditions set by the federal government, would begin as soon as possible.

“The community only has to look at this bushfire season to be reminded why the Victorian Liberal National Coalition continued to push for a grazing trial that will thoroughly evaluate this practice and its suitability as a bushfire management tool,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is necessary that this trial take place to determine whether grazing reduces the risk of bushfires by removing fuel loads.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was pleased to see the federal government take a common sense approach to tackling fire risk in Alpine areas.

“A high proportion of regional Victorians support cattle grazing in National Parks to reduce the fuel load, so it’s fantastic to see that cattle will now return to the High Country,” Mr Ryan said.

“The first phase of the trial will see 60 cattle released into the Wonnangatta Valley with up to 300 released in the two subsequent grazing seasons,” Mr Ryan said.

“The trial will take place on 262 hectares of land within the boundaries of the former Wonnangatta Station, which was grazed for more than 100 years, before it was acquired as part of the Alpine National Park.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government last year exceeded the planned burning target of 250,000 hectares and was proud of the bushfire mitigation efforts it had so far undertaken.

“That figure is five times greater than when Labor was in government, which got down as low as 50,000 hectares more than once,” Mr Ryan said.

For further information, visit

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Statement regarding SPC Ardmona

Friday, June 06, 2014


The Commonwealth’s decision to reject a structural adjustment payment for SPC Ardmona is a significant setback for Goulburn Valley communities and Victoria.

The Victorian Coalition Government firmly believes that food production and food processing has a very strong future in the Goulburn Valley and that SPC Ardmona should be a part of this future.

We are very concerned about the potential impact on local growers and SPC Ardmona workers and urge Coca Cola Amatil to continue to work with growers, employees and government to secure the company's future in the Goulburn Valley.

The Goulburn Valley is the food bowl of Australia and food production and manufacturing in the region has a very positive outlook with potential to grow exports and create new jobs.

The Victorian Coalition is actively working with growers, processors and the local community to position the region to capitalise on new export opportunities, emerging industry sectors and product innovation.

We are eager to continue discussions with SPC Ardmona on the next steps to work on a sustainable plan to secure the company’s operations in the region.

The Victorian Coalition will continue to provide practical financial support to the Goulburn Valley.

We have already established the Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund with an initial investment of $5 million to implement the recommendations of the Goulburn Valley Taskforce’s long term Industry and Employment Plan and will consider additional funding to achieve identified outcomes to secure the future of Goulburn Valley families and businesses.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731  

Marysville continues Black Saturday recovery with new golf and bowls clubhouse

Friday, June 06, 2014


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined Seymour MP Cindy McLeish in turning the first sod on a $2 million redevelopment of the Marysville Community Golf & Bowls Club as the town continues the recovery process after Black Saturday.

In Marysville, Mr Ryan said the redevelopment would give tourists another reason to return to the region, as well as bringing 50 construction jobs and their flow-on benefits to the area.

“The clubhouse was one of the few buildings in the town to survive Black Saturday. However, the clubhouse building needed to be refreshed and reinvigorated, so the Victorian Coalition Government will invest $1.45 million into this community rebuilding project,” Mr Ryan said.

“The project involves the demolition of the western end of the clubhouse and construction of a new function room that will accommodate more than 200 people standing and 100 people seated.

“New clubhouse areas will include a members’ lounge, meeting room, bar, kitchen, pro shop and outdoor timber deck allowing the club to serve more meals and attract more patrons.

“New, bigger bathroom facilities and well-designed landscaping will also add to the venue’s appeal, helping the club attract more visitors and cementing its financially viability.

Mrs McLeish said the project would create at least 50 jobs during construction and an estimated five full-time employees when the new facilities re-open.

“The new facilities were designed by Spowers Architects, will be built by Becon Constructions, and are expected to be completed by Easter 2014. This project complements the $28 million Vibe Hotel & Conference Centre, which will include a 100-room, minimum four-star hotel, and conference facilities for 300 people,” Mrs McLeish said.

The Marysville and Triangle Community Bushfire Relief Fund will contribute $523,213 with the Marysville Community Golf and Bowls Club providing the remaining funds required.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

New Marysville centre set to open next Spring

Friday, June 06, 2014


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today inspected construction of Marysville’s new $28 million Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre.

Mr Ryan joined with Seymour MP Cindy McLeish and project partners, Allan Vidor, the Managing Director of the Toga Group, and Andrew Norbury, Chief Executive of Metier3, to tour the site.

“The 100-room, four-star hotel, is well on track to be open for business next spring, and will likely bring visitors into the local economy late next year,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government’s invested more than $19 million in this hotel and conference centre, a vital step in bringing more tourists back to the town.

“Complemented by the redevelopment of the Marysville Community Golf and Bowls Club, this project will be a great boost to the economy of Marysville as the town continues to rebuild following the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009.”

Mrs McLeish said the Marysville community would have hotel and conference facilities for at least 300 people, two new dining venues, a new day spa and recreational facilities for guests.

“It will play a great part in attracting visitors back to Marysville to see other drawcards like the magnificent Steavenson Falls, Gallipoli Park and to engage in the summer and winter-time activities that are associated with Lake Mountain,” Mrs McLeish said.

“The project will increase tourism, boost local employment and stimulate the local economy.

“The project will create up to 85 new full-time jobs during construction and more than 60 full-time jobs in the community once the hotel is running. New jobs and more tourists to Marysville over the next 18 months are expected to bring $23 million a year to the region.

“This will boost the local economy by up to $9.5 million a year, which will help local business and the economic recovery of this resilient community.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Coalition delivers Neighbourhood Safer Place for Sandy Point

Friday, June 06, 2014


Sandy Point, which is recognised as a high fire-risk area, now has a place of last resort in event of a bushfire, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan was in Sandy Point to officially open the new Neighbourhood Safer Place (NSP) at the Sandy Point Community Hall, a collaboration between the Victorian Coalition Government, emergency services agencies, South Gippsland Shire Council and the community.

"Sandy Point is recognised as a high fire-risk area and we have worked tirelessly to ensure the community now has a place which will provide some protection in the event of a bushfire,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the area around Sandy Point Community Hall was determined the most appropriate place for an NSP by the CFA.

“Sandy Point’s population, which is currently around 200, can increase tenfold during the busy summer season with the influx of tourists keen to enjoy the magnificence of the region,” Mr Ryan said.

"The NSP provides a place of last resort for residents who are unable to leave the area early in the event of a fire, as well as tourists who may be unfamiliar with the area and unaware of local fire-risk conditions.”

Mr Ryan said even with the NSP in place, it was important for the community to remember that successful bushfire survival planning involved consideration of several different options.

"Flexibility is the key to good bushfire survival planning and NSPs are just one of many options available,” Mr Ryan said.

"The safest option is always to leave a high-risk bushfire area well before a bushfire or a fire front approaches.

“It is also vitally important to stay informed and use more than one source of information for fire warnings.

“Those living in or visiting high fire-risk areas should familiarise themselves with the CFA website, download the FireReady App, regularly check CFA's Facebook page and Twitter, listen to local radio or ring the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 to obtain all the latest information.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had provided $550,000 towards establishing the Sandy Point NSP.

“This is part of a $13 million commitment to assist local governments to establish shelter options, including NSPs, in some of the more difficult sites,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government has so far established more than 260 Neighbourhood Safer Places across Victoria.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Coalition delivers new fire station for Kongwak CFA

Friday, June 06, 2014


A new $462,000 fire station at Kongwak will support a dedicated local CFA brigade with a long history of providing protection to Kongwak community.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Kongwak today to officially open the new Kongwak Fire Station and present service medals to 11 of the brigade’s 41 members.

Mr Ryan said the new Kongwak Fire Station featured modern facilities including a meeting room, kitchen, office, two engine bays and safer parking for members’ vehicles.

"The Coalition Government has invested $462,000 in building this new station, which includes improved meeting and training facilities to help the brigade build stronger links with the community and attract new volunteers.

“The new station replaces the outdated shed with a facility that better suits the needs of the brigade.

“It also provides brigade members with a more comfortable and modern base that will allow them to respond to any incidents in the South Gippsland area more effectively.”

While in Kongwak, Mr Ryan also presented service medals to Robert Grabham (60 years), Reginald Grabham (55 years), Arthur Grabham (35 years), Ray Holloway (30 years), Anthony Reade and Deidre Grabham (25 years), Nigel Braithwaite, Ross Olden, Ross Crawford and Burke Brandon (15 years), and Nicholas Stevens (10 years).

“The Kongwak Fire Brigade was formed in 1945 and its dedicated members have fought many of the state’s major fires including Black Saturday, Ash Wednesday, Coopers Creek and Wilsons Promontory fires,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is an honour to present medals to these dedicated members and a special mention must be given to Robert and Reginald Grabham who have served the CFA as volunteers for the past 60 and 55 years respectively.”

Mr Ryan said funding the new Kongwak Fire Station was part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to upgrading firefighting facilities and infrastructure across the state, including a $61 million committed in the 2013-14 Victorian Budget to replace dilapidated and ageing rural fire stations.

“The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to upgrade 250 CFA stations over our first term in government and we will continue to strengthen Victoria’s emergency services,” Mr Ryan said.

“We are proud of the vital work performed by CFA, one of the world’s largest volunteer organisations with more than 60,000 members – 98 per cent of them volunteers.

"CFA draws its strength from the dedication, professionalism and bravery of its volunteers.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870  

Investment in welding company no fabrication

Friday, June 06, 2014
Eight new jobs will be created and a local company will be better placed to service the oil and gas industry thanks to a $160,000 grant from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan visited Wurruk-based welding company Rotafab today to announce the $160,000 grant, which the company will use to modernise its facilities.

Mr Ryan said Rotafab would match the Coalition Government’s contribution, providing a further $160,000 towards the $320,000 project.

“This investment will enable Rotafab to take advantage of opportunities associated with Exxon Mobil’s new gas conditioning project at Longford as well as compete for other oil and gas tenders around Australia,” Mr Ryan said.

“By modernising its operation, Rotafab is positioning itself to meet the needs of the oil, gas and mining industries and attract a broader range of customers, which will have significant benefits for the local economy.”

Mr Ryan said the funds would be used to replace four outdated welding hand-pieces with robotic equipment capable of high-quality and continuous long welds.

“An overhead gantry crane will also be upgraded to support complex projects, including offshore helicopter platforms and high volumes of pipe spooling,” Mr Ryan said.

“The new equipment will significantly increase the company’s capacity to take on new work, while increasing productivity and safety.”

Mr Ryan said the improvements would enable Rotafab to retain 10 full-time jobs while creating a further eight new full-time jobs, with potential for this number to grow in the future.

Mr Ryan said the project was funded through the Coalition Government’s Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, a component of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, funding which has been set-aside solely for projects in regional and rural Victoria.

“The Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund was created to help local companies create and retain jobs, which is essential in ensuring the area prospers well into the future,” Mr Ryan said.

For more information on the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund visit:

Marysville has taken another big step on the road to bushfire recovery

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan has turned the sod for Marysville’s new $28 million Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre, paying special tribute to the phenomenal fortitude and resilience of the Marysville community and its progress towards rebuilding, after the devastating Black Saturday 2009 bushfires.

“By the Spring of 2014, Marysville will have a brand new 100-room, four-star hotel, conference facilities for at least 300 people, two new dining venues, a new day spa and superb recreational facilities for guests,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has contributed $19 million to this important project.

“Joining other drawcards like the magnificent Steavenson Falls, Gallipolli Park and Lake Mountain, this exciting development will attract even more people to the local area, guaranteeing the economic recovery of this bushfire-affected community.”

Mr Ryan said the boost to local employment and the local economy were foremost among the project’s benefits, during both the construction and operational phases.

“Over the next year and a half, this major construction is expected to create around 85 new jobs and bring in $23 million a year across the region, boosting the local economy by around $9.5 million a year.

“When up and running, the Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre Marysville is expected to create around 60 new jobs, within the first five years.”

Mr Ryan said the important project between State and local government and the private sector, would stimulate tourism and business investment right across this region.

Melbourne Civic City Property and its partners Toga Pty Ltd and Metier3 Architects have been selected to deliver and operate the new Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre Marysville, with regional Victoria-based H. Troon Pty Ltd undertaking the project build.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Small retailers in South Gippsland supported

Friday, June 06, 2014
Councils and trader or business associations in the South Gippsland Shire are urged to apply for funding under Round Two of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Streetlife program that aims to revitalise shopfront trading activity.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the grants were designed to help small traders in community shopping precincts improve their business and retail management skills.

Projects under Streetlife will enable small retailers to develop better marketing strategies, grow their online presence and capability, and build more sustainable business practices.

Mr Ryan said by working in partnership with their local council or representative business or trader group, retailers could participate in projects designed to attract more customers to their area and generate increased sales and revenue.

“Up to 35 grants will be offered to councils on an 80:20 co-funding basis and up to ten grants will also be offered to trader and business associations to support smaller, more localised projects, and also to establish new trader groups,” Mr Ryan said.

“We have listened to the needs of small retailers in the region and created a new Streetlife category for prospective traders associations to apply for funding to assist with legal and strategic advice.

“By broadening the reach of Streetlife funding and supporting smaller projects, we are ensuring that an even greater number of retail businesses have the opportunity to gain valuable skills under the program.”

Streetlife, a $6 million initiative over four years, was launched by the Coalition Government in September 2012, with 24 Victorian councils and eight trader or business associations offered First Round funding in March this year.

Applications for Round Two funding close at 5pm on 23 July 2013. Further information on Streetlife, including the eligibility criteria and application process can be found at

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Record funding for emergency services

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan encouraged local emergency services groups to apply for grants of up to $100,000 under the Victorian Coalition Government’s multi-million dollar program for new operational equipment.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was investing a record $12.23 million to ensure emergency services volunteers have the tools they need to do their job protecting communities.

Under the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP), grants of up to $100,000 will go to emergency services groups for operational equipment such as vehicles, trucks, tankers, watercraft, trailers and to make minor facility improvements.

The Coalition Government contributes $2 for every $1 contributed by volunteers from organisations such as the CFA, VICSES, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, Life Saving Victoria, or any eligible volunteer emergency services groups.

Since 2011, the Coalition Government has paid $23.55 million towards new equipment for 457 emergency services groups under this program.

Mr Ryan said the VESEP was a partnership between the Coalition Government and communities to help emergency services volunteer groups purchase equipment that supports the ongoing protection and safety of all Victorians.

“Our emergency services volunteers are the backbone of Victoria’s emergency response so we want to ensure they have the latest equipment available to help them carry out their vital work,” Mr Ryan said.

“With this year’s record boost, it was anticipated even more equipment would be delivered to volunteer groups.

“We will continue to ensure our emergency services volunteers are better equipped to respond safely and effectively to emergencies, whether it be floods, storms or bushfires.”

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Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870