Press Releases

New centre for sexual assault victims underway

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014


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

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

On site last 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.”

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

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 that there is support for women and children,” Mr Northe said.

“This centre will go a long way in supporting this goal.

“Having met with all of the service providers that will be located in the MDC, I am exceptionally pleased that the Coalition 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 said in 2014, the Coalition Government had invested more than $200 million to address family violence through a range of measures which included 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

Record investment by Napthine Government to prevent family violence

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invests an additional $150 million to prevent violence against women and children
  • Wide-ranging new measures to address prevention, safety and accountability
  • Napthine Government building a safer Victoria

A comprehensive $150 million action package that will reduce the incidence of family violence across Victoria was unveiled on Saturday by the Victorian Coalition Government.

Premier Denis Napthine, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, Attorney-General Robert Clark and Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge launched the package in Melbourne this morning.

Dr Napthine said the new investment doubled family violence funding since the Coalition came to office and would make a real difference in preventing violence and keeping women and children safe, in addition to holding perpetrators to account.

“Violence against women and children is unacceptable at any time, at any place and under any circumstances,” Dr Napthine said.

“Victorians, particularly women and children will be safer as a result of this comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy that tackles this insidious crime at all levels.

“These new initiatives address the causes of family violence, they educate the community, they provide support services for victims and they hold perpetrators to account,” Dr Napthine said.

Highlights of the $150 million package include:

  • $41 million to deliver Victoria's largest ever prevention campaign in partnership with Our Watch, including a social marketing and behaviour change campaign and local community action;
  • Expanded crisis accommodation support for women and children;
  • A new Multi-Disciplinary Centre for women and children who experience sexual assault, complete with police, sexual assault and family violence experts and child protection staff;
  • Outreach teachers to work with children fleeing family violence;
  • Atrial of GPS monitoring of high risk perpetrators;
  • Additional legal and advocacy support for women;
  • Behaviour change programs for men in prison as a result of family violence;
  • Specialist staff in courts to assist victims and perpetrators of violence through the court processes; and
  • Improved and expanded post-crisis support for women and children.

Mr Ryan said the new $150 million package builds significantly on the Coalition Government’s existing efforts in tackling family violence.

“In contrast, the Labor Party have offered $1.5 million in recycled announcements and an expensive Royal Commission that will cost millions of dollars and delay action for years,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition is getting on with the job. We have a plan, and we are investing in what we know works based on the best advice of victims of family violence, frontline family violence workers, Victoria Police and the courts. The Government is not willing to put more families at risk by procrastinating and delaying rather than implementing a real plan to make families safer.

“Preventing family violence is part of the Coalition’s vision for a better Victoria. We want to change community attitudes, we want women and children to be safe in their homes and communities, and to get the support they need, and we want to hold perpetrators to account and stop them from re-offending,” Mr Ryan said.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the Napthine Government would provide additional workers in Victoria’s courts to help those affected by family violence and trial GPS tracking technology to protect those at risk.

“These extra staff will provide support for victims throughout the court process and help ensure their safety, while also increasing perpetrator accountability and compliance with court orders,” Mr Clark said.

“New GPS technology has the potential to improve safety and confidence for victims of family violence while also making perpetrators realise their movements are being monitored and recorded. This new technology to protect against family violence will now be the subject of a comprehensive trial,” Mr Clark said.

Dr Napthine also announced a new Ministerial Council for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children, led by the Premier and Deputy Premier.

“We have strong and effective Ministers leading the charge on preventing family violence. We will work with all relevant Ministers to ensure that we have an integrated and effective whole-of-government approach to tackling all aspects of family violence,” Dr Napthine said.

Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge highlighted the Coalition Government’s strong investment in preventing violence against women and children.

“This is Victoria's largest single investment in family violence prevention. There will be a statewide campaign and every area across the state will be provided with funding for local action to prevent violence against women and children,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“Through this significant investment, the Napthine Government continues its commitment to preventing violence, as well as improving responses to violence against women and children when it occurs,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Dr Napthine said the Coalition Government had already ensured more police were in place to tackle family violence.

“In addition, we have increased penalties for breaching intervention orders, we are providing expanded services and support to victims of family violence and we are investing in prevention and behaviour change programs,” Dr Napthine said.

“With this new package, the Coalition Government has increased total spending to prevent violence and support the women and children who are victims of family violence to more than $140 million next year. This represents a doubling in funding since 2010.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Deputy Premier launches Hume Region RAJAC Plan

* * - Thursday, September 25, 2014


Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals, Peter Ryan officially launched the Hume Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee’s (RAJACs) Plan for 2013-18

Mr Ryan was joined by The Nationals Member for Shepparton, Jeanette Powell and The Nationals Candidate for Shepparton, Greg Barr at the Shepparton Office of the Department of Justice today.

Mr Ryan said since the first Aboriginal Justice Agreement in 2000 - 2006, and the respective RAJAC Plans, we have seen innovative programs in the areas of crime prevention, family violence and justice-related issues, education and treatment services.

“The RAJACs whole-of-community approach enables it to be responsive to the needs of Aborigines who find themselves in the criminal justice system,” Mr Ryan said.

“I particularly commend the Koori Justice Unit for its efforts to lead and enhance interventions and support services throughout the state, and the local RAJAC for developing a plan that meets the needs of the community.”

Mrs Powell said the Victorian government continues to be a leader in addressing the over representation of Aboriginal people in our justice system.

“In developing this plan, staff from both the Department of Justice and Department of Human Services consulted with the local community in Shepparton, Mooroopna, Wangaratta, Seymour and Wodonga,” Mrs Powell said.

“Coming from this consultation it was clear that the priorities for the Hume Region would involve strengthening communities, Drug & Alcohol, Mental Health, Diversion Support, Post-Prison Support and Partnerships.”

Mr Barr said it was great to see new initiatives coming from this plan especially as the community focused approach to delivering justice services will help ensure the most appropriate support is provided to people in the judicial system.

Mr Ryan particularly thanked Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative and Mungabareena Aboriginal Cooperative who already deliver important justice services to Aboriginal communities in the Hume Region.

“Providing integrated services which are culturally appropriate and relevant is the key to helping people who find themselves in the justice system,” Mr Ryan said.

“I also thank all community members in the Hume region who contributed in many ways to deliver positive outcomes for their communities and the people within them.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victorian Coalition Government delivers PSOs to Traralgon

* * - Monday, August 25, 2014

  • PSOs set to patrol Traralgon Railway Station from tomorrow night
  • Travellers to and from Traralgon will now feel safer at night
  • Victorian Coalition Government delivering its commitment to put PSOs at key regional train stations

Travellers at Traralgon’s V/Line station will feel safer from tomorrow night, with the Victorian Coalition Government delivering on its promise to have the station patrolled by Protective Services Officers.

Speaking at the Traralgon Railway Station, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said PSOs would patrol the rail platform, car parks and immediate surrounds from 6pm until the last train each night.

“PSOs help to prevent anti-social behaviour, property damage, violence and alcohol and transport-related crime at our train stations,” Mr Ryan said.

“We said we’d deliver PSOs to Traralgon, and we’ve done it.”

Tomorrow’s deployment to Traralgon means that there will now be PSOs at four major regional stations - Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon. Victoria will have 864 PSOs patrolling 142 stations.

“A survey by the Department of Justice in October 2013 reported that the presence of PSOs made passengers feel safer at rail stations,” Mr Ryan said.

“Travellers feel railway stations are safer places at night thanks to PSOs.”

Some 94 per cent of night time travellers agreed that PSOs were a good idea and 93 per cent stated they would seek help from a PSO if they felt unsafe.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien welcomed the announcement.

“PSOs complete a 12-week course that includes the same operational tactics and safety training undertaken by Victoria Police officers,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Newly-graduated PSOs are mentored by experienced PSOs at city railway stations for three months.

“We have increased our initial commitment to deliver 940 PSOs on our rail stations by adding a further 96 to the program.

“This $863.1 million investment in police and PSOs is the single largest law and order recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

$25,000 grants to tackle local graffiti issues

* * - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Regional shires encouraged to apply to tackle graffiti 
  • Part of Coalition’s $35 million Community Crime Prevention Program
  • Up to $25,000 available until 20 June

Councils can now access grants of up to $25,000 to combat graffiti in local neighbourhoods as part of the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s graffiti grants program.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today encouraged local councils to think about graffiti solutions that would improve the visual amenity of neighbourhoods and increase community confidence in the safety of public places.

“The Coalition Government is serious about responding to concerns about graffiti vandalism, which is why we have committed more than $10 million over 4 years to reduce graffiti through a range of strategies under our anti-graffiti plan,” Mr Ryan said.

“The grants are open to councils to partner with local organisations such as schools, community and residents groups, local police, retailers and trader associations, to come up with local solutions to tackle graffiti.

“These might include design features such as murals, education and information programs, and graffiti removal projects.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to stamping out graffiti at a local level.

“Over the past three years, the government has provided more than $918,000 to fund 57 projects across the state through the grants.

Crime Prevention Minister Edward O’Donohue said that the Labor Party had shown its lack of commitment to such programs by abolishing the crime prevention portfolio from the shadow ministry.

“When Daniel Andrews reshuffled his front bench in December, the crime prevention portfolio disappeared,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“The Coalition Government is delivering programs to help communities find local solutions to local problems, while Labor is offering nothing.”

“These grants make a real difference and I strongly encourage councils across the state to apply for grants of up to $25,000.”

The Graffiti Prevention and Removal Grants are part of the Coalition Government’s $35 million Community Crime Prevention Program, which helps promote community safety and prevent crime in communities across Victoria.

Applications close on Friday 20 June and to apply or for further information, visit

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

$10,000 grants for crime prevention initiatives

* * - Friday, May 02, 2014

  • Grants of up to $10,000 now open to local groups, schools and councils
  • Funding can be used for security lighting, fences and alarms
  • More than $200,000 in grants funding already delivered

Community groups, schools and councils in Gippsland are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for crime prevention initiatives as part of the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s Community Safety Fund.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said groups with innovative and practical community safety projects should apply.

“In the two previous rounds of these grants, groups in Wellington and South Gippsland shared in more than $200,000 to deliver projects in and around their clubrooms that improve safety and security,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government recognises that locals are best placed to identify and prioritise safety and security issues in their communities, and we will support them to do so.”

Mr Ryan said councils, community and sporting groups, and local schools are able to access these grants that can be used to install a range of security measures.

“This includes installing security lighting, padlocks, security screens, fencing, or undertaking awareness activities to deter crime and increase community safety,” he said.

Mr Ryan said previous local grant recipients included Nyora Recreation Reserve Committee, which received $10,000 to install security lighting, and Sale Scout Group, which was granted more than $9,000 to install security lighting and fencing.

Crime Prevention Minister Edward O’Donohue said the grants support local community groups to help provide safer and more secure facilities for local people.

“Over the past three years, the Coalition Government has provided more than $2.8 million to fund 422 projects across the state through the grants,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“The grants are part of the Coalition Government’s $35 million Community Crime Prevention Program, which helps promote community safety and prevent crime in communities across Victoria.”

Applications close on Monday 12 May and to apply, visit:

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

New court complex for Shepparton

* * - Thursday, May 01, 2014

The 2014-15 Victorian State Budget will deliver a modern new court complex and facilities for Shepparton and the Hume region.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Attorney-General Robert Clark joined Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell in Shepparton today to make the announcement.

Mr Clark said the $73 million investment would provide a new court complex, additional court staff and an extra Magistrate in Shepparton.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is providing this funding for a new court building in Shepparton and increased staffing to meet the Hume region’s growing demand,” Mr Clark said.

“Once completed, there will be three Magistrates’ courtrooms and two further courtrooms for the Supreme and County Courts, with capacity for expansion to six courts in the future.

“The new facility will be built on existing land and an adjoining site, with court sittings able to continue during construction.

“The funding will enable the existing building to be replaced with a new, purpose-built multi-jurisdictional court complex, together with an additional Magistrate and court staff.”

Mr Ryan said the investment was essential to meet future the needs of the Hume region.

“This will be a fantastic, modern development for the city of Shepparton, creating more than 158 jobs during construction and 14 ongoing jobs when the new centre is built,” Mr Ryan said.

“The construction will aim to preference local contractors to ensure the economic benefit of the project delivers maximum returns for the Hume region.

“This is a fantastic design, which will be built for and built by the Shepparton and Hume communities, serving the public for decades to come.

“The Coalition Government is delivering for the Shepparton region. This new court complex follows the $22 million investment in SPC, the $16 million concessional loans package and business planning program, the $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund and our $2 million Fruit Industry Employment Program.”

Mrs Powell said she was proud to deliver the new court complex for her region.

“Labor failed to deliver this court complex for 11 years and we’ve been able to announce it within our first term of government,” Mrs Powell said.

“The much-needed Shepparton redevelopment, scheduled for completion in 2018, will provide secure and modern facilities for court users and staff.” 

Mr Clark said the design of the planned building followed an extensive design process led by the Department of Justice and consultants GHD.

Sale Police Station construction on-track

* * - Thursday, April 24, 2014
  • Deputy Premier inspects works at site of new Sale Police Station
  • New station on track to be complete by March next year
  • Coalition Government to roll-out Tasers to six Gippsland police stations

Construction of the new Sale Police Station is on-track to be completed by March next year, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan joined Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien today to inspect the site of the new Sale Police Station, which is being built thanks to an  $18.2 million Victorian Coalition Government investment.

“Development at the site has moved ahead over the past month, with significant works having now been completed,” Mr Ryan said.

“The concrete slab has been poured, prefabricated steel police cells have been installed and cranes are currently on-site to position the structural steel.

“Works have so far proceeded without delay or incident, meaning we are on-track to deliver this project by March next year.”

Mr Ryan said the new station would provide accommodation for a uniform branch, criminal investigation unit, highway patrol, police prosecutors, sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, and the Police Service Area Commander.

During today’s inspection, Mr Ryan also welcomed the announcement that six Gippsland police stations, including Sale, would be included as part of the Coalition Government’s $13.5 million roll-out of Tasers to all 24 hour police stations across regional Victoria.

“The Coalition Government is providing funding to roll-out 580 new Tasers to 29 regional areas including police stations at Sale, Moe, Morwell, Traralgon, Bairnsdale and Warragul,” Mr Ryan said.

 “Tasers will be provided to officers on two-person general duties, highway patrol, special operations groups and critical incident response teams.

“The roll-out follows successful trials which have been carried-out in six major regional centres, including Bendigo, Morwell, Traralgon, Moe, Geelong and Ballarat.”

Mr O’Brien also welcomed the Coalition Government’s Taser announcement and said the roll-out was a major investment in community safety right across Gippsland.

“Gippsland police are required to respond to violent and dangerous situations involving people who are affected by drugs or alcohol, or who are at risk of causing harm to police, the local community or themselves,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This $13.5 million investment will provide Gippsland police officers with an alternative to firearms, helping them to manage complex situations and minimise the risk of serious injury or death.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said the Coalition Government was investing record levels of funding in Victoria Police, enabling them to keep communities safer.

“The Coalition Government is on track to fulfilling its commitment to deliver 1700 additional frontline police by November this year at a cost of $602 million, the single largest law enforcement recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history," Mr Wells said.

Mr Wells said the use of Tasers was subject to stringent Victoria Police controls, which include the review of all incidents where a Taser has been used. Police officers will be required to undertake training to ensure weapons are used correctly.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870


When you post or share, It’s There For Life

* * - Thursday, March 27, 2014

• Grants of up to $30,000 available to help young people stay safe online
• Young Gippslanders urged to think twice about what they’re posting on social media
• Grant applications need to be submitted by 5pm on Friday 4 April

Gippsland community organisations with programs that educate and encourage young people to be responsible digital citizens are encouraged to take advantage of grants of up to $30,000 on offer from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government before they close on 4 April.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the grants are about working with young people to ensure that they are careful about what they say and do online.

“The successful recipients of these grants will build on the Coalition Government’s It’s There for Life campaign, which reminds young people to think twice before uploading photos or posting online,” Mr Ryan said.

“With more and more young people reporting that online posts and images posted on Facebook and Twitter have resulted in them missing out on jobs, being bullied or falling foul of the law, the Coalition Government is taking action to help young people safeguard their privacy and protect their reputations.”

An avid user of social media to promote the Coalition Government’s messages and announcements, Mr Ryan said the web has a long memory and once something was online, it could be there for life.

“Social media is a great tool, but it also has potentially damaging impacts. As young people go forward and start a career or enter into relationships their digital reputation can stay with them for life,” Mr Ryan said.

“While I am not saying don’t post comments and images on social media, I urge you to think twice before you do.”

To apply for It’s There For Life grants visit Applications close on Friday 4 April, with successful projects to be announced in June.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870  

Relocatable units at Dhurringile Prison help ease numbers in police cells

* * - Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Acting Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Corrections Edward O’Donohue today inspected the recently installed relocatable accommodation units at Dhurringile Prison.

They were joined by local members Jeanette Powell, Wendy Lovell, and Amanda Millar, as well as Bob Allan, CEO of Royal Wolf, the company supplying the accommodation units.

Mr Ryan said Corrections Victoria has installed 50 of the accommodation units at minimum security Dhurringile, with each unit capable of accommodating two prisoners.

“These relocatable units are providing an important immediate boost to capacity in Victoria’s corrections system,” Mr Ryan said.

“We were pleased to see 40 prisoners accommodated in these new units prior to Christmas, and another 20 just last week, with more to follow shortly.”

Mr O’Donohue said the installation of the units is just one of the measures that have contributed to a dramatic fall in the number of prisoners being held in police cells.

“From a high of 372 in mid-November, the number of prisoners in police cells is now down to well below 200,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“While we are constantly increasing prison capacity, this reduction is also a result of great co-operation between Corrections Victoria, Victoria Police and the courts.

“Weekend Magistrates Court sittings, the Melbourne Magistrates Court sitting in the County Court and increased videolink facilities have all contributed to this good result by increasing the efficiency of the flow of offenders through the system.”

Mr Ryan said that the Coalition Government is currently delivering the largest prison expansion in Victoria’s history to support the growing prisoner population.

“We are building new permanent beds and expanding existing prison facilities as quickly as possible.

“These new relocatable accommodation units add to the total of 791 beds that have been opened since the start of 2011, with around 2,500 further beds in the pipeline.”

The security and design of the new units, also known as dongas, is consistent with the standard security accommodation at Dhurringile and at other prison farms across the state.

A dedicated officers' post has been installed to monitor the new units and extra staff have been added to manage the additional prisoners.

The units will be locked at night and fitted with duress alarms and smoke detectors.

Mr O’Donohue said only the lowest security prisoners will be housed in the new units.

“Corrections Victoria worked closely with staff to finalise these security arrangements before prisoners moved in,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“We are also looking at whether similar accommodation can be used at other prisons, including Langi Kal Kal and Beechworth, and other walled prisons, where appropriate.”

Prisoners at the minimum security Dhurringile Prison are lower risk. Many of them are coming to the end of their sentence and preparing to transition back into the community. 

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