Press Releases

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

Coalition Government helps food manufacturing jobs survive and thrive

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government secures or creates 105 skilled manufacturing jobs
  • Golden Circle site to be taken over by LangTech International
  • LangTech will export $45 million worth of product a year from the site and also replace $13 million of imports on the domestic market

More than 100 skilled food manufacturing jobs will be secured or created at the former Golden Circle site in Mill Park, following negotiations and significant assistance from the Victorian Coalition Government.

Innovative food and ingredients manufacturer LangTech International will convert much of the site from a conventional juice facility to produce specialty juices, bioactives and concentrated nutrient drinks for export.

Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Peter Ryan said that as well as reemploying 35 former Golden Circle workers, the Coalition Government had helped expand the site into a modern facility exporting to the world and creating significantly more jobs.

“As well as continuing to produce conventional juices and now also producing more modern, innovative products, we’ve negotiated for LangTech to relocate its headquarters from NSW and various operations from around Australia to Mill Park,” Mr Ryan said.

“LangTech will continue to produce conventional juice at Mill Park. However it will also make specialty juices, bioactives and fibre for the food, beverage and Nutraceutical industries.

“Once complete, the project is expected to generate $45 million worth of exports a year, replace $13 million worth of imports per year on the domestic market, and invest up to $5 million in R&D a year.

“Langtech has agreed to employ 105 workers including those retrenched from Golden Circle; relocate management, research and development and processing from other Australian sites to Mill Park; relocate its research and development and most fruit processing facilities from its New Zealand site; purchase fruit from Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley; and develop new technology for processing fruit and vegetables.

“The Coalition Government’s negotiations and assistance has turned a certain loss into a great win for jobs in Victoria. The loss of manufacturing jobs is avoided, more skilled manufacturing jobs have been created in a sustainable, forward looking industry and Victoria will export innovative juice and food products to the world.

“Highly skilled research jobs will also be created as the company continues to focus on R&D.

“And Goulburn Valley fruit growers will continue to supply fruit to the company,” Mr Ryan said.

LangTech International CEO Bill Nikolovski thanked the Coalition Government.

“LTI believes in the use of advanced manufacturing technologies and continued R&D to generate a range of functional food ingredients. LangTech is positioned to become a significant exporter of functional ingredients extracted from fruits to Asia. This will help further entrench Victoria’s global reputation as an exporter of premium food and beverage products,” Mr Nikolovski said.

“LangTech International is delighted to receive this funding assistance, which will be used to fund our capex program and support existing jobs at Mill Park, as well as to grow new highly skilled manufacturing jobs in Victoria.

“We are excited to have moved our operations to the Mill Park site. It provides a great base for us to manufacture our core natural ingredients and continue our R&D. At this site we have access to skilled staff, raw materials and great universities nearby to help us succeed.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Spring has sprung! Time to collect your firewood for next winter

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014


  • Spring firewood collection areas are open across Victoria
  • Permits for firewood collection have been abolished
  • Now is the time to stock up for next winter

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan has encouraged locals who use firewood as a source of heating to take advantage of the spring firewood collection season.

Mr Ryan said after being closed for winter the designated firewood collection areas are open and will remain open for collection for domestic use until 30 November 2014.

“Firewood can be collected without the need for a permit from any of the designated firewood collection areas,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government made it easier for firewood collection on public land when it abolished the useless permit system in 2011.

“The new system makes it easier for households to collect firewood from areas of public land close to their homes without the burden of unnecessary red tape and regulation.”

Mr Ryan said firewood collection areas within the Gippsland South were located in Alberton West, Carrajung South, Darriman, Giffard West, Gormandale, Stony Creek, Willung South, Won Wron and Woodside.

“Firewood collection is only permitted during designated times of the year and from designated firewood collection areas,” Mr Ryan said.

“Firewood collected at these sites is for personal use only and cannot be sold. Official signs will display the rules and collection limits.”

For more information and specific locations visit or call 136 186.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Leading Global Payments firm expands to Melbourne

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014


  • Canadian company to establish new Melbourne office, creating 50 jobs
  • Move strengthens Melbourne’s position as Australia’s financial services hub
  • More than 110,000 people employed in Victoria’s financial services sector

Cambridge Mercantile Group, a corporate global payments and risk management solution provider, has established a new office in Melbourne, creating 50 new jobs within three years.

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Cambridge is among the largest bank-independent providers of cross-border payments and risk management solutions in the world, facilitating the secure movement of over USD 23 billion dollars annually.

Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan welcomed Cambridge to Melbourne.

“I am delighted that Cambridge has decided to set up in Melbourne, one of the key financial centres in Asia/Pacific with extensive commercial and international networks," Mr Ryan said.

“With an international reputation for excellence in funds and pension fund management, and one of the most highly skilled financial service workforce's in the Asia/Pacific region, Victoria’s financial services sector directly employs 110,000 people across the state, and generates a further 140,000 indirect jobs.”

Bernard Heitner, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge, said the decision to invest in Melbourne reflected "strong commercial opportunities in the city, a dynamic business environment and a strong talent pool".

“With many major superannuation/pension and other wealth funds based in Melbourne, in addition to a large number of leading financial institutions, we considered Melbourne an attractive proposition for our business,” Mr Heitner said.

“I am proud to extend our internationally renowned products and services to this fast growing market.

“The remarkable growth experienced in Australia and the entire APAC region is expected to continue with the addition of our new Melbourne operation.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Regional Growth Fund delivers jobs for Toora

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014


  • Ryan and O’Brien announce $1.5 million investment for ViPlus dairy at Toora
  • Victorian Coalition Government’s investment supports $50.4 million expansion
  • Expansion will create 45 new full-time jobs and boost exports of powdered milk

Forty-five new jobs will be created in Toora with ViPlus dairy announcing on Friday it will embark on a $50.4 million expansion that will boost production of high quality locally produced dairy products for the export market.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien in Toora on Friday to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $1.5 million to support the expansion.

The Coalition Government’s $1.5 million investment will be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, and is the 38th project to be supported by the Regional Growth Fund in South Gippsland.

Mr Ryan said the ViPlus factory at Toora manufactured milk products, including infant formula and milk powders, and was one of only four Australian companies accredited to export infant formula to China.

The $50.4 million expansion will enable ViPlus Dairy to manufacture new product lines locally, including UHT milk and ice cream, and produce infant formula from raw milk.

Mr Ryan said the expansion would include the installation of a spray dryer and pre-treatment infrastructure, a milk powder canning facility and UHT plant.

“Thanks to this investment , ViPlus Dairy will boost production at the plant from 10,000 tonnes of milk products produced per annum to 30,000 tonnes of milk products produced per annum,” Mr Ryan said.

“This will create 45 new full-time jobs here in Toora, which for a town of this size will deliver major economic benefits to the community.

“A further 70 jobs will be created during the project’s construction phase, another win for Toora and South Gippsland more broadly.

“It will also provide strong support to local dairy farmers who supply the factory, and create even more new jobs on-farm and in supply chain businesses across the region.”

Mr Ryan said he was thrilled to see the scale of investment here at Toora.

“It was little over a decade ago that we were dealing with the closure of this factory and the subsequent jobs losses, and for many that was the end of dairy processing here in Toora.

“To think then that we would be standing here today just 12 or so years later announcing a more than $50 million expansion is truly quite remarkable.

“This investment reinforces why we as The Nationals, in Coalition Government, fought so hard to secure the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“We are leveraging the money set-aside in the Regional Growth Fund to secure investments such as this here at Toora. Through the Regional Growth Fund, we are working with companies like ViPlus Dairy to encourage them to invest and create new jobs in regional and rural Victoria.

“I am so very proud to be here today in my own electorate alongside Danny O’Brien, the South Gippsland Shire Council and ViPlus Dairy to announce this exciting project.”

Mr O’Brien echoed Mr Ryan’s comments and said another exciting part of the investment was the significant water saving initiatives to be implemented, including the construction of a wastewater recycling plant.

“The wastewater treatment will allow up to 70 per cent of the water used here to be recycled for use within the plant, and for 100 per cent of the site’s wastewater to be treated so that it is suitable for irrigation,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The plant will also be powered by a gas fuelled co-generation system that will produce 1 megawatt of electricity and thermal energy, reducing the boiler steam load and pressure on the grid.”

Mr O’Brien said the investment continued the Victorian Coalition Government’s ongoing support for local dairy processors through the Regional Growth Fund, which included a $1.5 million investment to support a $22 million expansion at Burra Foods in Korumburra, and a $1.5 million investment to support a $22 million expansion at Murray Goulburn in Leongatha.

The $50.4 million expansion will be completed by 2016.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0429 921 404

Deputy Premier announces major expansion for Mortlock Hydroponics

* * - Thursday, October 09, 2014


  • Mortlock Hydroponics at Carisbrook set to expand again
  • $2.2 million investment to double glasshouse size and create a further 25 jobs
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $175,000 to support the expansion

Mortlock Hydroponics will complete a $2.2 million expansion of its hydroponic cherry tomato facility at Carisbrook with the support of the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government.

The expansion will double Mortlock’s glasshouse capacity and create 25 new local jobs, injecting around $1 million of additional wages and salaries into the local economy.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner at Carisbrook today to announce the Coalition Government’s $175,000 investment to support the expansion.

Mr Ryan said the project would increase the current greenhouse’s size from 15,000 square metres to 30,000 square metres, and would include the installation of heating, irrigation, shade screens and fogging systems, as well as a new tomato packaging and storage area.

“This investment is great show of strength for Mortlock Hydroponics which has been growing hydroponic tomatoes in the region since 1999,” Mr Ryan said.

“Doubling the size of the greenhouse will double production of high quality local tomatoes, ensuring more of this great Carisbrook product is on kitchen tables right across Australia and eventually the world.

“Mortlock Hydroponics Director Shane Mortlock and his team should be proud of the work they have done so far, and I am proud to be here today alongside Shane and the team to announce this exciting expansion.

“Companies like Mortlock are the drivers of growth in our regional communities, with the work to be undertaken coming as a real shot-in-the-arm for this region.”

Mr Turner welcomed the investment and said the expansion of the packing shed would enable Mortlock to grow its export potential and produce new varieties of tomatoes for Australia’s shops and supermarkets.

“One of the new varieties which could be grown is similar to the Tasty Tom, which is individually packed and marketed as a healthy snack for school lunches in the Netherlands,” Mr Turner said.

“There is great potential for this style of tomato to be grown here locally and sold right across the country.

“With the right promotion there is even the chance that these varieties may find their way into our kids’ school lunch boxes as a healthy and tasty alternative to prepackaged snack foods.

“I congratulate Shane and the team for their great work here at Carisbrook – they are truly a great local success story.”

Ms Staley passed on her support and said it was the second such investment from the Coalition Government to support the growth of this great local food producer.

“In 2013, the Coalition Government invested $250,000 to enable Mortlock Hydroponics to build the $4.1 million, 15,000 square metre facility, which created 20 new jobs,” Ms Staley said.

“The company has done well to expand on this initial investment and continue its rapid and strong growth.

“Investment such as that which is being undertaken by Mortlock delivers greater economies of scale and improved productivity which means cheaper and more accessible fresh food products for consumers.”

The Mortlock Hydroponics expansion will be completed by the middle of next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Deputy Premier visits True Foods

* * - Thursday, October 09, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $500,000 in True Foods’ $5.5 million relocation project
  • New facility has created 250 jobs in Maryborough
  • Project is helping drive local investment and boost the regional economy

True Foods‟ relocation from Melbourne to Maryborough has created 250 new local jobs, with the company quickly becoming one of the region‟s largest employers.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan visited True Foods today to meet with the company and its workers to discuss the move ahead of the final payment from the Victorian Coalition Government‟s $500,000 investment which supported the relocation.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, said the Coalition Government was a proud supporter of the relocation, which is bringing more people to regional Victoria.

“True Foods‟ relocation from Braeside to Maryborough can only be described as a win-win for the region and Victoria-at-large,” Mr Ryan said.

“It has helped this great company grow, boosted sales and delivered 250 new jobs for Maryborough.

“It has also meant 34 families have packed their bags and left Melbourne for a better life in regional Victoria, growing Maryborough‟s population while at the same time relieving pressure on a growing Melbourne.

“The Coalition Government is committed to working with companies such as True Foods to ensure that if they are looking to relocate, they relocate to regional Victoria.

“That is why we have implemented initiatives such as our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is investing in our regions to grow business and jobs, and our successful Regional Victoria Living Expo and „Good Move‟ campaign, which is encouraging Melburnians to choose a life in regional Victoria.

“It is why we are rolling-out natural gas to 18 new regional communities, communities Labor said they would never connect.

“These investments are making regional Victoria a more attractive place to do business, which is benefiting all of us who live outside of Melbourne.”

Mr Turner said he was proud to be part of a Coalition Government team which was delivering wins for this region.

“We need jobs and investment in our region and projects such as this are strongly welcomed,” Mr Turner said.

“I also applaud both True Foods and the Central Goldfields Shire Council who provided considerable help in relocating these 34 families by finding jobs for partners, locating accommodation and accessing education.

“The economic and community benefits from such a large injection of new residents is significant for our region.”

Ms Staley passed on her support and said the company had demonstrated its commitment to becoming part of the local community.

“True Foods is supporting local schools through breakfast programs, fruit bowl programs and literacy programs,” Ms Staley said.

“True Foods also supports the local arts scene and the schools-based RACV Energy Breakthrough Challenge, and provides free products to the Salvation Army and Avoca Food Bank for distribution to local people in need.

“The great work being done by True Foods here in Maryborough is a wonderful return on the Coalition Government‟s investment.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victorian Coalition Government delivers for Kilmore

* * - Tuesday, October 07, 2014


  • Deputy Premier announces $140,000 for $190,000 Kilmore Town Centre Revitalisation Study
  • Study to deliver a strategic plan to revitalise commercial precinct
  • Visit coincides with the start of the $450,000 Mill Street Focal Space Project

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan visited Kilmore today to mark the start of the $450,000 redevelopment of Kilmore’s Mill Street, which will deliver a new pedestrian plaza and other key improvements.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, said the Mill Street Focal Space Project would create a modern retail and community hub in the heart of Kilmore, linking Sydney Street with Kilmore Creek.

Mr Ryan said Mill Street would be transformed into a vibrant pedestrian plaza, incorporating a viewing platform, seating, shade structures, landscaping and paving.

“This project is one of the key investments to be undertaken here in the CBD prior to the Kilmore Bypass,” Mr Ryan said.

“Kilmore residents and businesses have been calling for this important work to be completed for years and the Coalition Government is proud to have answered by investing $300,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support this $450,000 project.

“Creating a modern and accessible CBD supports local businesses and encourages locals and visitors to spend more time and money in Kilmore.

“The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, will continue to invest in our local communities to deliver improved local infrastructure such as the works which are being undertaken here in the heart of Kilmore.”

During his visit, Mr Ryan also announced that the Coalition Government would invest $140,000 from the Regional Growth Fund to support a $190,000 planning study to further revitalise Kilmore’s town centre ahead of the Kilmore Bypass.

Mr Ryan said the Kilmore Town Centre Revitalisation Study would outline plans to enhance the town’s commercial precinct, and supported the works being undertaken in Mill Street.

“Kilmore has been experiencing steady population growth due its proximity to Melbourne and excellent transport links to the city,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is important that we continue to support and invest in Kilmore as its population grows.

“The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, look forward to working alongside the Mitchell Shire Council to deliver these important planning and infrastructure projects here in Kilmore.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

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