Press Releases

Regional Growth Fund upgrades Ballarat’s Victoria Park

* * - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Deputy Premier announces funding of $500,000 to upgrade Ballarat’s Victoria Park 
  • $1 million project will deliver new barbecue facilities, toilet upgrades, seating, shelters, unstructured play space, paths and car parking 
  • Victorian Coalition Government investing in community infrastructure in Ballarat

A $1 million upgrade of Ballarat’s Victoria Park will make the park more accessible for the local community, families, schools and people with a disability, including students from the nearby Ballarat Specialist School.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was in Ballarat today to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $500,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support the Victoria Park Infrastructure Upgrade project.

Mr Ryan was joined at today’s event by Member for Western Victoria Region Simon Ramsay, The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, Liberal candidate for Buninyong Ben Taylor and Liberal candidate Wendouree Craig Coltman.

Mr Ryan said the improvements would be carried out at the northern end of Victoria Park, close to Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree, and would include new barbecue facilities, toilet upgrades, seating, shelters, an early childhood and all-abilities play area, new paths and car parking.

“Ballarat’s Victoria Park and the nearby Lake Wendouree are equivalent in size to New York’s Central Park, and being located where they are, so close to the centre of town, is something truly unique in a city the size of Ballarat,” Mr Ryan said.

“While Victoria Park is well-used by local sporting clubs, it has lacked the basic infrastructure needed to attract families, picnickers, walkers or those seeking a day out.

“This investment will fill the gaps in Victoria Park’s infrastructure to ensure it once again becomes a popular local visitor destination.”

Mr Ryan said that by attracting more visitors to Victoria Park, particularly on weekends, pop-up businesses such as coffee and food vans would be attracted to the park, further enhancing its appeal, while nearby retail businesses would also benefit from the influx of visitors.

“This investment will also ensure Victoria Park continues to support the growing suburbs of Alfredton, Lucas, and Delacombe, as well as nearby schools including Loreto College, St Patricks College and Urquhart Park Primary School,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said a key feature of the new park was the unstructured play area, which is being designed for people with a disability as well as young children.

“The new all abilities and unstructured play areas will provide an ideal setting for students from the nearby Ballarat Specialist School to enjoy time outside the classroom,” Mr Ryan said.

“Designs for the new play area will be further developed by council over the coming months, but are likely to include areas where children’s imaginations can run free, including sand areas, open grassland, rocks and boulders, treehouses, sculptures, as well as traditional play equipment such as swings, including wheelchair accessible swings, flying foxes and climbing walls.”

Mr Ryan thanked the City of Ballarat for driving the upgrades to Victoria Park and contributing $400,000 to the total project cost. He also thanked philanthropic group, Touched by Olivia Foundation, which contributed the remaining $100,000 to help make the project a reality.

“This investment is another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund enabling local government and community groups to develop much-needed local infrastructure projects,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project is one of almost 1,500 projects across regional and rural Victoria to benefit from the Regional Growth Fund, which has now invested more than $400 million directly into local communities, leveraging well over $1.6 billion in total investment.”

Mr Ryan said the Victoria Park Infrastructure Upgrade project would be completed by March next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

New Sale Specialist School now one step closer

* * - Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government committed to building a new Sale Specialist School
  • $4m provided in State Budget for planning and Stage 1 construction
  • Member for Gippsland South announces settlement of land for new school

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today visited Sale Specialist School to announce that the land purchased for the new school had now settled.

Mr Ryan said the land settlement of the four-hectare Princes Highway site in Sale’s north was an exciting day for the school community with the realisation of the new school now one step closer.

“Today’s announcement progresses the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s commitment to providing a new school for students and teachers of Sale Specialist School,” Mr Ryan said.

“In last month’s Victorian Budget, the Coalition Government provided an initial $4 million for planning and design, and to deliver stage one works.

“The total cost of the project is anticipated to be in the order of $15 million.”

Mr Ryan said the finalised land purchase and $4 million commitment from the Coalition Government meant that planning for a new school would begin shortly.

“Due to rising enrolments, the Sale Specialist School has had to expand beyond its Raymond Street campus to include a senior campus within the grounds of Sale College,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having two campuses is a less than ideal situation, however these Coalition Government commitments mean that the Sale Specialist School community can look forward to a new school in the very near future.”

While at the school, Mr Ryan presented awards to students of the leadership team, including the school and campus captains and members of the student representative council.

“It’s great to be here today to present these leadership awards and recognise the magnificent effort made by these student leaders to assist fellow students,” Mr Ryan said.

“Students who demonstrate leadership qualities while at school often go on to be strong leaders within the community, so I’m pleased that these students are being rewarded by their peers and school community.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Regional Growth Fund makes McIndoe Park safer

* * - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • McIndoe Park is now safer and more accessible for families and children
  • $120,000 upgrade includes new rotunda, free BBQs, perimeter fencing and improved disabled access
  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $88,000 to make the project a reality

Leongatha’s much-loved McIndoe Park is now safer and more accessible for families and children of all ages and abilities thanks to an $88,000 investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Leongatha on Friday to officially open the $120,000 McIndoe Park Development Project.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien at Friday's event, said the project included new perimeter fencing and child proof gates, new pathways to improve disabled access, as well as a new rotunda with free barbecues, tables and chairs.

“McIndoe Park is one of the most used and loved community spaces in Leongatha, regularly hosting large community events such as concerts and Australia Day celebrations,” Mr Ryan said.

“Its accessible playground and open space make it a popular place to play for children of all ages and abilities, while its beautiful surrounds and picnic facilities mean it’s a perfect location to host gatherings with family and friends or simply for an afternoon out.”

Mr Ryan said that while the park was a popular destination for locals and visitors to Leongatha, it wasn’t always safe.

“There are two busy roads bordering the park and an accessible water drain nearby which has caused significant concern for parents of young children,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having secure fencing around the perimeter of the park will mean children are protected from the road and water drain, providing much relief for parents.”

Mr O’Brien said the installation of new pathways linking the rotundas to the playground had greatly improved accessibility at McIndoe Park, particularly for students from the South Gippsland Specialist School.

“The South Gippsland Specialist School spends a lot of time at McIndoe Park thanks to its impressive range of accessible playground equipment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The development of these new pathways will make it easier and safer for students to access the accessible play equipment, enabling them to get the most out of this wonderful facility.”

Mr Ryan thanked the South Gippsland Shire Council, which contributed $22,000 towards the project, and the Lions Club of Leongatha, which contributed $10,000.

He said this project was another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund putting locals first.

“Without a specific fund designed to support initiatives such as the McIndoe Park development, this important upgrade may have never been completed,” Mr Ryan said.

“The community asked for this development, local parents and the council drove it and the Coalition Government is proud to provide the funding to make it a reality.”

Mr Ryan said this project was one of more than 30 across South Gippsland to receive Regional Growth Fund support, delivering almost $60 million of leveraged investment to the region.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer  0437 547 731 

Coalition Government building a better Gippsland

* * - Friday, May 09, 2014

This week’s Victorian Coalition Government 2014-15 State Budget delivers in the key areas of education, roads, tourism, business, emergency services and health, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition’s State Budget delivers improved infrastructure and services for residents and businesses throughout Gippsland to build a better, more connected Victoria.

“This Budget is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Gippsland and other regional cities and rural communities,” Mr Ryan said.

The Liberal Nationals Coalition Government outlined significant expenditure in the 2014-15 Budget that benefits residents in the Gippsland South electorate. Highlights include:

  • $5.6 million to upgrade Korumburra Secondary College;
  • $4 million for planning and stage One works at the Sale Specialist School; 
  • $5.12 million for the Leongatha heavy vehicle alternate route;
  • $14 million for regional tourism marketing to increase visitors to regional Victoria;
  • $14 million to provide small business owners with practical financial management, marketing and human resources strategies;
  • $4.7 million to upgrade the online energy price comparison tool, My Power Planner;
  • $65 million to fund bushfire management measures;
  • $29 million for the CFA to acquire 78 additional vehicles
  • $20.5 million to replace Respiratory Protection Equipment for CFA and MFB firefighters;
  • 5.5 million for practical on-ground partnership with Landcare groups;
  • An additional $3 million a year for the Boating Safety and Facilities Program, bringing total funding to $8 million annually; and
  • $1.2 billion commitment per year to Vocational Education and Training.

Mr Ryan said these investments build upon the Coalition Government’s recently announced budget initiatives. Highlights in the Gippsland South region include: 

  • An extra $130 million pumped into road maintenance, meaning that more than $500 million will be delivered in the coming year for maintaining roads - up from $384 million under Labor;
  • $73 million for a major redevelopment of Latrobe Regional Hospital, including a new emergency department with double the capacity of the current facility, a new 30-bed ward and a cardiac catheterisation laboratory;
  • $13.5 million for the rollout of new tasers to all 24 hour police stations across regional Victoria, including Sale; 
  • $34 million to expand drug and alcohol treatment services and tackle the use of illicit drugs including ice throughout the state, including Gippsland;
  • $2 million to improve wild dog control; and
  • $3 million to provide support for regional councils to assess infrastructure demand, develop business cases and manage projects.

“By rebuilding Victoria’s finances and keeping the economy strong, the Coalition Government has been able to advance key projects, including those under the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Nationals are exceptionally proud of the Regional Growth Fund, which has contributed to more than 70 projects in the Wellington and South Gippsland shires, leveraging almost $60 million in total investment.”

Mr Ryan said the local projects announced in the 2014-15 State Budget built on the Coalition Government’s significant investment in Gippsland over past Budgets.

Mr Ryan said the Liberal Nationals Coalition Government is building a better Victoria by delivering a strong budget with a record $27 billion investment in roads, rail, health and education, ensuring growth, jobs and opportunities across the state.

“This is in stark contrast to the risk that Daniel Andrews and Labor pose to Victoria’s economy and prosperity. Victorians cannot afford a return to Labor, which is more interested in kowtowing to its union mates than addressing the needs of regional Victorians,” he said.

“Only a Liberal Nationals Coalition Government can be trusted to deliver these important projects on time and within budget.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Deputy Premier announces new home for Sale Specialist School

* * - Thursday, May 01, 2014

• Land purchased for new Sale Specialist School
• Victorian Budget to deliver $4 million for planning and stage one works
• Victorian Coalition Government supports students with special needs

The future of the new Sale Specialist School is assured, with Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announcing on Tuesday that land had been secured for the new school.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by Member for Gippsland East and Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs Tim Bull and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien, said a four hectare site on the Princes Highway, in Sale’s north, had been acquired.

Mr Ryan also announced today that the Victorian Coalition Government would provide an initial $4 million in the 2014-15 Victorian Budget for planning and design, and to deliver stage one works.

The total cost of the project is anticipated to be in the order of $15 million.

“This is a great day for students, parents and teachers at the Sale Specialist School,” Mr Ryan said.

“Securing the land and providing an initial $4 million to begin stage one works confirms what we have all been hoping for, and that is a new Specialist School will be built in Sale to cater for the growing number of students.”

Mr Ryan said the site chosen was one of the largest of the 13 sites originally offered up by local landowners, enabling construction of a school that will cater for a growing demand for years to come.

Mr Ryan said planning and design works for the new school would now begin.

“It was not possible to begin designing the new school until the land had been secured, but with the land now purchased we can start the process with certainty,” Mr Ryan said.

“I strongly encourage parents and families to share their vision and ideas with the school board about how they would like the school designed and built.”

Mr Ryan said once planning and design was complete, initial works would begin at the site.

“The intention of this first $4 million is to enable stage one works to begin. The balance of funds to complete this project will follow.”

Mr Bull said today's announcement would make an enormous difference to the lives of so many children with special needs and their families.

"The families of students both present and future that access this school from towns in my electorate like Maffra, Heyfield, Stratford and surrounding districts will be delighted," Mr Bull said.

“To all those who have lobbied for this outcome, my congratulations, and like them, I am already looking forward to this new facility opening its doors.”

Minister for Education Martin Dixon passed on his support for the project and said today’s announcement marked an exciting next step in the realisation of a vision to develop a truly world class specialist school in Sale.

“To cope with growing student numbers, Sale Specialist School currently operates at its main Raymond Street campus as well as on part of Sale College’s Guthridge Campus,” Mr Dixon said.

“By creating a one-campus school on a larger site, students and teachers will have the space to learn and grow in a modern learning environment.

“The Coalition Government has committed more than $79 million towards building and upgrading special schools in the past three budgets.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Disability accommodation first for Yarram

* * - Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • New Mirridong facility provides state-of-the-art disability accommodation
  • Independent units now available in Yarram
  • All local tradespeople used to construct and fit out the facility

In a first for Yarram, Mirridong Services can now offer mostly self-sufficient living to its clients with the official opening of two independent living units today.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the magnificent new facility that included a supported accommodation house in addition to the units would provide a state-of-the-art home for nine Yarram residents living with a disability.

“The independent living units, containing two bedrooms each, will allow four Mirridong clients to enhance their day-to-day skills by living in a supported environment while still having access to all of the necessary services they need,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is the first time this type of accommodation has been available in Yarram. Now those wanting to live in an independent living unit no longer have to relocate to Traralgon and leave their family behind.

“This weekend will mark an exciting time for the Mirridong community when the four occupants of the new independent living units shift into their new homes.”

Mr Ryan said he was pleased that Mirridong Services had engaged local tradespeople and businesses to construct and fit out the new units and supported accommodation house.

“Mirridong has a proud history in Yarram, which has been made possible by many members of the community, so it is fantastic to see that those who have supported the project in the past have been employed to produce this new facility,” Mr Ryan said.

Mirridong CEO Guy Webb said the organisation chose to use local people to construct the facility due to the community support it had received in the past.

“In addition, for each service we required the organisation to obtain a number of quotes and every time it was more viable to use the local tradespeople and suppliers over those who had to travel,” he said.

Mr Webb said the new supported accommodation house would provide parents with assurance that their adult child would have a secure place to live and access to the necessary services once they were no longer able to care for them in the family home.

“Mirridong has five long-term clients that will take advantage of the new supported accommodation house,” Mr Webb said.

“The facility has been built specifically for the use of people with disabilities and the supported accommodation house is fully accessible for wheelchairs with wider doorways and passages.

“The facility also features a solar hot water system, double glazing, extensive insulation, LED lighting and four 30,000 litre rainwaters tanks to reduce energy consumption.

“Mirridong Services is proud that it has been able to finance all of the new facilities from the savings it has built up from years of financial astuteness.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

$76,000 boost for community mental health

* * - Friday, March 07, 2014

• More than $76,000 to improve mental health outcomes for children
• Gippsland families to benefit from Coalition Government funding
• Victoria’s finances are back on track, allowing for increased investment in health

A new consulting and observation area that will assist practitioners to better treat young mental health patients can now be developed in Sale thanks to $76,324 from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the funding would allow Latrobe Regional Hospital to create a specific children’s area with a play room and viewing area for training and therapy observation at the Child and Youth Mental Health Service in Sale.

“This funding, provided through the Coalition Government’s Mental Health Community Support Services program, will provide a space that will be more inviting and practical for children, youth and families accessing these services,” Mr Ryan said.

“There is no doubt that the physical environment plays an important part in the service experience for consumers and I am delighted that the Liberal National Coalition Government can deliver imperative health outcomes like this for regional Victorians regardless of their age.”

Mr Ryan said Latrobe Regional Hospital’s Sale service was one of 12 organisations to be awarded a grant as part of the $2.5 million of funding to enhance clinical community mental health services.

Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said grants such as this enabled health providers to redevelop existing buildings and amenities, establish new facilities, improve security, expand services and, overall, provide a better environment for staff and clients.

Ms Wooldridge said the Coalition Government was investing more than $100 million each year in community-based mental healthcare, which assisted more than 12,500 people to access services in the community rather than in hospital settings.

“Victoria’s Priorities for Mental Health Reform 2013-15, outlines a reform agenda, which will ensure that Victoria continues to lead the way with quality and responsive care,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“Our reforms are putting individuals and families at the heart of mental health services and investing in services to improve the lives of people with a mental illness.

“The investment in these facilities will deliver improved services and better cater for the needs of people with a mental illness and their families.”

Further funding under this program will be available in 2014 following completion of the recommissioning of the MHCSS sector.

For more information on Victoria’s Priorities for Mental Health Reform 2013-15 visit

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Disability sector awards now open to Gippslanders

* * - Thursday, January 23, 2014


Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today called for nominations for the 2014 Victorian Disability Sector Awards.

Established in 2011, Mr Ryan said the awards recognised and honoured individuals, businesses and organisations that were making a difference to the lives of Victorians living with disability.

“It’s important that we acknowledge the contribution of individuals and organisations that choose to work on improving the lives of people with disability, whether that be in a voluntary or professional capacity,” Mr Ryan said.

“Victoria continues to be a leader in disability, with individuals, businesses and the disability sector partnering with the Coalition Government to introduce key reforms, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).”

Mr Ryan said judges of the 2014 awards would look for entries across the nine categories that demonstrated innovative and creative thinking.

“I encourage nominations about people or organisations that are having a positive impact by thinking outside the box,” Mr Ryan said.

“Previous award winners include a volunteer who created a social media space for people with disability and a disability support worker who helped individuals to review their exercise programs and achieve their fitness goals.”

Mr Ryan said the 2014 Victorian Disability Sector Awards were a partnership between the Coalition Government and National Disability Services.

Nominations for the 2014 Victorian Disability Sector Awards close on Friday, 7 March 2014 and can be submitted at

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Search for Sale Specialist School site begins

* * - Thursday, July 25, 2013
The Victorian Coalition Government has begun the search for a new home for the Sale Specialist School to cater for the school’s growing student numbers.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Sale Specialist School had outgrown its existing home.

“The Coalition Government is committed to supporting students with special needs in Sale, and these students need a new, bigger school,” Mr Ryan said.

“As it stands the school is split across two campuses to cater for the increasing numbers of students.

“We have started the search for a new site in Sale that will bring the two campuses together, provide plenty of space for current Sale Specialist School students and have room to grow in the future.”

Acting Education Minister and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Peter Hall said the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development had invited local landowners to submit expressions of interest for the sale of land.

The site should be:

· Within four kilometres of the Sale CBD;
· Be easily accessible and close to local services and infrastructure; and
· Be approximately 2.5 hectares.

The Expression of Interest process closes on 2 August.

Mr Hall said once the site was purchased, planning could begin for the new school, and capital works funding would be considered in the state budget process.

“This is an exciting time for Sale, and reflects the Coalition Government’s commitment to improving education for students with special needs,” Mr Hall said.

“In the last three budgets, the Victorian Government has committed more than $79 million towards building new special schools and upgrading existing ones across the state.”

Enquiries on the Expression of Interest process, and to request a copy of the EOI documentation, can be accessed via the Education Department on 9637 3851.

Israel mission to explore health and medical services opportunities

* * - Monday, July 15, 2013

 Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan, will lead a trade mission to Israel from 15 to 18 July as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Victoria Israel Science Innovation and Technology Scheme (VISITS).

Mr Ryan said the theme of the mission, Innovation for Health and Medical Services, will focus on learning about Israel’s experiences with the translation of medical research to health outcomes and related service delivery models.

“Victorian delegates will meet with representatives of some of Israel’s leading hospitals, medical research organisations and universities,” Mr Ryan said.

“This trade mission will provide us with an exciting new pathway for more mutually beneficial partnerships between Victoria and Israel.”

Launched earlier this year, VISITS is a new program providing Victorian and Israeli companies with the opportunity to work collaboratively on projects of mutual benefit.

As part of VISITS, the Victorian Coalition Government, in partnership with the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce has committed to two trade missions to Israel in 2013 aimed at developing collaborative linkages between companies and research organisations in Australia and Israel.

Mr Ryan said the combination of VISITS and the trade mission to Israel demonstrates the commitment to building a more productive and internationally engaged economy that will deliver more jobs, exports and wealth to both Victoria and Israel.

“This program will further link Victoria and Israel’s complementary R&D expertise and capabilities to generate new technologies, processes and products that will lift productivity, jobs and exports,” Mr Ryan said.

“I acknowledge the work of contributing parties from Israel and Victoria, in making this mission happen.”

Expected outcomes include joint ventures, technology transfer agreements, academic collaborations, partnership agreements in third markets, co-operative agreements between Australian and Israeli business associations and an increase of trade.

The next trade mission will take place in October, and will focus on examining and exchanging ideas about water and the environment between Victoria and Israel.

For more information visit  

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

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