Press Releases

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

Empowering Korumburra self-help group

* * - Thursday, July 11, 2013
Korumburra’s People with MS Support Group has received a $980 boost from the Victorian Coalition Government to assist those and their families suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government’s Disability Self Help Grants program provides one-off payments of up to $5000 to help disability self-help groups.

A disability self-help group is a self-managed group of people, who meet regularly to help each other to better understand and manage their disability.

“Grant funding is provided for a variety of practical purposes including general expenses, running costs, and minor works or equipment,” Mr Ryan said.

“These grants are especially important, as they empower local disability self-help group members.

“They value coming together to share very personal experiences and helping each other to navigate what is often a complex set of issues related to disability.”

Mr Ryan said there were several criteria for funding, and goals could include:

• Increasing the capacity of people with a disability to live independently in their own community, and/or

• Increasing opportunities for self-help groups to provide information and education on the experiences of people with a disability.

“Importantly, as the groups are generally very local or very focused, the benefits of the funding flow directly to supporting those involved and their local community,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870  

Coalition funds land purchase for new Sale Specialist School

* * - Thursday, May 09, 2013
Funding to purchase land and begin planning for the new Sale Specialist School has been secured as part of the 2013-14 Victorian Budget, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said recently.

Mr Ryan said funding was the critical first step in delivering a new Sale Specialist School as the Victorian Coalition Government continued building for growth.

“I know how passionate and committed the Sale Specialist School community has been in pushing for a new school on a single site, so I am absolutely delighted to be announcing this funding commitment,” Mr Ryan said.

“The funding will enable land to be identified and purchased, and the planning and design of the school to be in place ready for construction when the remaining funding is secured.

“An Expression of Interest process will soon be launched to identify a well located, fully serviced site for the new Sale Specialist School.”

Mr Ryan said good financial management by the Coalition Government meant a new site could be purchased for the Sale Specialist School, which is at capacity.

“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 this announcement will mean the students Sale Specialist School can look forward to a school which is designed to maximise their educational opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government has been a champion of special education.

“The Coalition has provided record funding for the Program for Students with Disabilities and Students with Disabilities Transport Program, and the single largest capital investment in specialist and autism schools across metropolitan and regional Victoria for over a decade.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Budget built on the Victorian Coalition Government's $611 million capital investment in schools since 2011.

“The Coalition Government has set a bold objective –to lift the Victorian school system into the global top tier over the next decade,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Ryan welcomes NDIS decision

* * - Monday, May 06, 2013

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan welcomed the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to support people with a disability by entering into an agreement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

On Saturday, Premier Denis Napthine and Minister for Disability Services Mary Wooldridge announced the signing of an agreement between the Victorian Coalition Government and the Commonwealth for a full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme – now known as DisabilityCare Australia in Victoria from 2019-20.

“Many individuals and families throughout Gippsland will benefit greatly from this decision,” Mr Ryan said.

“Once it comes into effect the scheme will provide certainty of care for those in Gippsland living with a disability and the many dedicated carers who support them.”

Mr Ryan said tomorrow’s 2013-2014 Victorian Budget would also include a significant funding increase of $224 million for disability services, taking the total annual disability funding provided by the Coalition Government to $1.6 billion.

“This Budget announcement will provide more immediate support, with a significant boost in the number of Individual Support Packages (ISPs) and funding for people with complex needs in supported accommodation,” Mr Ryan said.

“The disability package in the upcoming budget will support the continuing reform that is helping build better lives for people with disability in the lead-up to full implementation of the NDIS across Victoria from July 2019.”

The Budget package for disability:

• delivers $107 million for 720 new ISPs for people with high support needs, and continues the specialised vocational supports for young people with disability pursuing employment goals;
• provides over $62 million to help meet the increasingly complex needs of people with disability living in Government-run supported accommodation;
• commits $7.9 million for capital investment in new accommodation to enable the closure of Sandhurst Residential Services, giving residents the opportunity to live within the community;
• provides $4 million for the aids and equipment program for people with disability;
• allocates over $26 million for a wage rise in 2013-14 for about 13,000 disability workers as a result of a Fair Work Australia decision known as the SACS case; and

• contributes $17 million in additional funding to support the Victorian launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Barwon region on 1 July 2013 taking the Victorian Coalition Government’s total 3-year investment in the launch site to over $300 million.

"These two announcements over the weekend have been widely supported and I am delighted the Coalition Government is significantly increasing resources into the disability sector," Mr Ryan said.

“This package offers people with disability, their family and carers more control and choice over the support they receive to ensure it best meets their specific needs.”

Mr Ryan said funding had also been secured to purchase land and begin planning for the new Sale Specialist School as part of the 2013-14 Victorian Budget.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Nominations open for Victorian Disability Sector Awards

* * - Friday, February 15, 2013

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan has called on the local community to nominate individuals, teams and businesses that have made a difference to the lives of people with disability for the 2013 Victorian Disability Sector Awards.

Mr Ryan said there were many examples throughout Gippsland where people had shown passion and a real commitment to improving the lives of some of the most disadvantaged members of the community.

“For example, the George Gray Centre provides an Adult Training Support Service in Maffra as well as day programs in Sale for approximately 70 adults with a disability living within the Wellington Shire,” Mr Ryan said.

“The George Gray Centre has been providing programs based on individual needs, with focus on enhancing personal development, increasing independence and promoting community inclusion.”

Mr Ryan said nominations for the 2013 Victorian Disability Sector Awards can be made across nine different award categories that recognise excellence in service, advocacy and personal and community support for people with disability.

Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said that the awards provided a chance to recognise the wide range of ways individuals and businesses support people with disability.

“These awards are an important opportunity to publicly acknowledge the innovation and commitment of individuals and organisations that provide services and support to people with disability,” Ms Wooldridge said.

The Victorian Disability Sector Awards are a partnership between National Disability Services (NDS), Disability Professionals Victoria (DPV) and the Victorian Coalition Government.

Nominations for the awards close on 13 March and winners will be announced at the Victorian Disability Sector Awards ceremony on 19 June 2013.

For more information about the Victorian Disability Sector Awards visit

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

Innovative respite for people with disability in Gippsland

* * - Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced that Interchange Central Gippsland would receive $139,542 in funding as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $21 million plan to improve disability respite and carer support services across the state.

“Interchange Central Gippsland provides respite and support to families with children with disabilities throughout Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.

“It offers recreation programs ranging from day activities to overnight camps for teenagers with autism spectrum disorders or an intellectual, physical or sensory disability.

“The $139,542 in funding provided to Interchange Central Gippsland by the Victorian Coalition Government will be used to provide a number of activities within the local community including camps for Aboriginal families”.

Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said that more than 30 service providers had been selected to deliver innovative respite support and school holiday respite support as part of the funding program.

“By making it easier to access a broader range of respite support services, the government is providing people with a disability, their families, and carers more choice,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to improving respite support services will ultimately lead to improved quality of life for Victorians with a disability.”

Ms Wooldridge said innovative respite and school holiday respite support delivers on an election commitment made at the 2010 Victorian State Election.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

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