Press Releases

Deputy Premier announces $5 million to build a new CFA station in Morwell

* * - Friday, September 12, 2014


  • New CFA station will support the work of Morwell’s 17 career firefighters and around 80 volunteers
  • This financial year CFA Budget is $457 million, $58 million more than it was when Labor left office
  • Victorian Coalition Government supporting those who protect their fellow Victorians

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today announced the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $5 million to build a new CFA station in Morwell.

“The Coalition Government is building a better and safer Victoria and enhancing emergency response capabilities for the people of Morwell and surrounding areas,” Mr Ryan said.

“The $5 million investment will fund land acquisition and the construction of a new station, ensuring our firefighters are equipped with the tools and resources they need to do their job.”

Mr Ryan was joined by Minister for Energy and Resources and Small Business, and Member for Morwell, Russell Northe who said the local community would welcome the announcement.

“This is fantastic news for Morwell, as it will significantly enhance emergency services in our area and ensure the Morwell CFA is equipped for current and future needs,” Mr Northe said.

“The Morwell CFA is an integrated station with 17 career firefighters and around 80 volunteer firefighters who work shoulder to shoulder responding to emergencies and protecting life and property in our area.

“Responding to around 750 turnouts each year and providing vital services to Victoria’s critical power and economic infrastructure and other business in the Latrobe Valley, the Morwell CFA will be able to offer even greater protection to the people of Morwell as a result of this $5 million investment.”

Mr Ryan said The Nationals, as part of a strong Coalition Government team, were working hard to ensure Morwell was better protected from the threat of fire and other emergencies.

“To support the recommendations from the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, we are establishing a new Latrobe City CFA District which will enhance the CFA’s ability to work with industry and the community to prevent and respond to fires in the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is also establishing a taskforce, led by the Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, to work with mine operators on planning and preparedness for the coming fire season and beyond.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government has a proven and strong commitment to supporting the CFA and its firefighters who play a critical role in Victoria’s emergency response.

“The Coalition Government remains on track to deliver 250 CFA station upgrades by November this year as part of a $125 million investment, with 230 upgrades now complete,” Mr Ryan said.

“Since coming to office we have also invested more than $108 million to purchase 275 CFA trucks.

“In addition to this, more than 180 additional career firefighters have been recruited to support the ongoing work of more than 55,000 CFA volunteers, with a further 50 extra recruits expected to graduate by the end of the year.

“The Coalition Government’s significant investments in Victoria’s fire services and the broad suite of emergency management reforms that have been introduced over the past four years have helped to ensure Victoria is now better protected.”

Mr Ryan said since coming to office in November 2010, the Coalition Government has provided the CFA with more than $2.29 billion in funding.

“This financial year the CFA Budget is $457 million, $58 million more than it was when Labor left office,” Mr Ryan said.

“This record investment highlights the Coalition Government's strong commitment to Victoria’s regional communities and the work our firefighters do keeping Victorians safe.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

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

Upgraded Bairnsdale Aerodrome provides vital transport link for East Gippsland

* * - Friday, August 22, 2014


  • Bairnsdale Aerodrome officially reopens after a $1.8 million upgrade
  • Project improves important transport link for East Gippsland
  • Regional Growth Fund delivers $1.6 million for the project

A $1.8 million upgrade to the Bairnsdale Aerodrome that has improved access and safety for businesses and emergency services has been opened by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan.

Mr Ryan was joined by the Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull to officially open the upgraded facility which received funding of $1.6 million from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Bairnsdale Aerodrome’s facilities support a number of commercial aviation enterprises including corporate charter and aircraft fleet maintenance,” Mr Ryan said.

“The aerodrome is an important asset to local companies such as Patties Foods, which flies staff to and from Melbourne when required.

“The facility is used daily for the transportation of bank documents and is also used for the transfer of paperwork to the courts.

“The aerodrome is a key transport link to the remotest corner of the region and as such is particularly important for emergency services.

“It is used by the fixed wing air-ambulance services and by volunteer patient transport service Angel Flight.

“The Bairnsdale Regional Health Service regularly flies allied health staff from the aerodrome to remote far East Gippsland to provide outreach services for patients.

“The Department of Primary Industries uses this facility to transport fire-fighting staff to and from their nearby airstrip,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Bull said that the Bairnsdale Aerodrome Upgrade project was overseen by the East Gippsland Shire.

“I am advised by the council that the project involved the development of the commercial and private hangar precinct, that rehabilitation works were carried out on the north and east taxiway, and that lighting has been upgraded,” Mr Bull said.

“A new 10,000 litre fuelling facility made up of 5,000 litres of AVGAS and 5000 litres of jet fuel has been installed during the upgrade.”

Mr Bull said upgrading the aerodrome has helped address the current and future needs of stakeholders and will attract more commercial and private companies to the site.

Mr Bull said funding for the Bairnsdale Aerodrome upgrade had been managed under the Regional Growth Fund since 2011.

“This project is an example of the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to invest in community-led initiatives, while strategically driving jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Bull said.

“The Regional Growth Fund has delivered almost $430 million, generating over $1.7 billion in total investment across 1,500 projects.”

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Deputy Premier flies the flag for Seaspray Surf Life Saving

* * - Friday, August 01, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government pledges $500,000 to the $2.6 million Seaspray Surf Life Saving Clubhouse
  • Victorian Government invests a total of $1.5 million for the project
  • Community appeal launched to raise the remaining funds

A new $2.6 million clubhouse for the Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club (SSLSC) will be built behind the sand dunes to replace the current storm damaged facility.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan on Wednesday announced that the Victorian Coalition Government would invest a further $500,000 towards the construction of the new clubhouse.

Mr Ryan said the $500,000 investment, provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, was on top of the $1 million the Victorian Government had already committed towards the development, bringing its total investment to $1.5 million.

Speaking at Sporting Legends in Sale, Mr Ryan also launched a community appeal on behalf of the SSLSC to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the project.

“The community has already done a tremendous job raising $250,000 towards the project with support from the Rotary Club of Sale Central, the Maffra Lions Club and Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club members,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club is looking for further support from the communities of Sale, Maffra and Heyfield, particularly those who rely on the Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club’s volunteers to keep them safe at the beach, to help reach its target.”

Mr Ryan said the club was also seeking corporate sponsors and support from local businesses, including financial contributions or in-kind donations of goods and services.

Mr Ryan said the plans for the new clubhouse have it positioned at the rear of the dunes for protection from the elements.

“An observation tower will be built on the beach which will have radio contact with the main clubhouse,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new facility will enable the Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club to deliver its core emergency services, as well as offering additional opportunities for community groups.

“The dining and conference facilities will overlook the iconic 90 mile beach and will be available for hire.

“Importantly, the project will also create new jobs during construction and on completion of the re-development which is good news for the Seaspray community.”

Mr Ryan said the Seaspray beach was rated as one of the seven most dangerous in the state by Life Saving Victoria, meaning it was vitally important that the town had a strong Surf Life Saving Club with a modern and well-equipped clubhouse.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien welcomed the investment and commended local volunteers for their vital work in protecting our beaches.

“The Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club has 312 dedicated members who volunteer their time to protect those on the beach during the summer months,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The club runs a popular Nippers program as well as other youth development training programs, providing vital training to our up and coming life savers.

“I encourage the Gippsland community, particularly regular visitors to Seaspray to support the Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club in raising the remaining funding needed to complete this vitally important project.”

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Regional Growth Fund progresses Mildura Motorsports precinct plan

* * - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Development of Mildura Motorsports precinct is a step closer
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $103,000 to complete business case
  • Coalition Government invests record funding to support local communities

    Development of the much-anticipated Mildura Motorsports precinct is a step closer, with the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government announcing today that it would invest more than $100,000 to complete a detailed business case.

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp in Mildura to announce the $103,000 investment from the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

    Mr Ryan said the $195,000 Mildura Motorsports Precinct Business Case would build on the recommendations of the 2011 North West Victorian Motorsports Feasibility Study, which looked at further developing motorsports in Mildura.

    “Motorsports are incredibly popular in and around Mildura with participation rates four times the national average, which contributes more than $21 million a year to the local economy,” Mr Ryan said.

    “The development of a motorsports precinct, including the co-location of up to nine local motorsports clubs to the one site could grow this economic benefit to well over $60 million per year.

    “The Coalition Government recognise this potential for growth and we are keen to work with the community to grow the motorsports industry locally.”

    Mr Crisp welcomed the investment to develop a business case, saying it would lay-out a detailed and staged development plan for a motorsports precinct at Block H in Koorlong, 11 kilometres south of Mildura.

    “This investment is an important next step towards securing a first- rate motorsports precinct here in Mildura,” Mr Crisp said.

    “The business case will look at the design, cost and placement of a bitumen raceway for cars and motorbikes, a skid pan, required utilities and infrastructure and the co-location of up to nine motorsports clubs at the facility.

    “It will also investigate opportunities to partner with local police to deliver rehabilitation programs for repeat traffic offenders, youth programs and the potential to host motorsports courses through SUNITAFE.

    “Developing a motorsports precinct has the potential to provide long-term benefits to the region and I will to continue to advocate strongly for the community to ensure it is progressed.”

    Mr Ryan thanked the various funding partners including the Mildura Rural City Council, which is contributing $37,500 towards the business case, CAMS, which is providing $40,000 of in-kind support, and HM Leisure Planning, which is providing $14,500 of in-kind support.

    Mr Ryan said the Mildura Motorsports Business Case would be finalised by June 2015.

    Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victorian Coalition Government investing to make Gippsland roads safer

* * - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

More than $9 million for road safety measures in South Gippsland
Road death toll at record low; Coalition aims to keep it there
Coalition Government continues to invest in regional road network

The Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government is investing a further $9 million to save lives on South Gippsland roads.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien on Friday welcomed the news that five local projects, totalling $9.43 million, were part of the latest round of the Coalition Government’s $17.7 million state-wide Safer Road Infrastructure Program (SRIP).

“SRIP reduces the risk and severity of crashes, by fixing crash hotspots and implementing safety improvements,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien said the five local projects included:

  • $4.5 million for the South Gippsland Highway between Stony Creek and Foster for safety barriers and rumble strips;
  • $3.8 million for the Strzelecki Highway between Leongatha and Koorooman for safety barriers, rumble strips and tree removal;
  • $416,000 for the Inverloch-Venus Bay/Tarwin Lower Road intersection for resurfacing, safety barriers, improve signage, line marking and vegetation removal; 
  • $360,000 for the Strzelecki Highway at Leongatha to create a protected right turn lane, resurfacing, line marking, drainage and signage; and
  • $360,000 for the Princes Highway/Rosedale-Heyfield Road intersection for new lighting, extend the splitter island, warning signs and tree removal.

“People have lost their lives or been seriously injured at these locations, which is why we are investing in these important safety upgrades,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The number of deaths on Victorian roads is at a 90 year low and we aim to keep it that way.”

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government was investing $1 billion over 10 years for the Safer Road Infrastructure Program, which was on top of the more than $500 million it was investing this year for vital roads maintenance works.

“An evaluation by Monash University has identified that the Coalition Government’s SRIP program has already reduced serious crashes by 30 per cent,” Mr Ryan said.

“We are reducing the number of serious crashes because crash statistics determine what kind of projects SRIP will fund.

“SRIP projects might include installing wire barriers to prevent cars running off roads where that occurs regularly, or removing trees where there have been a high number of motorists crashing into trees.

“A good local example is the South Gippsland Highway between Stony Creek and Foster where crash statistics show that since 2009 most of the 13 casualty crashes occurred when vehicles ran off the road. To remedy this we are investing $4.5 million for safety barriers and rumble strips on that section of road.”

Mr Ryan said the latest round of SRIP funding was on top of the $5.4 million the Coalition Government had already invested for safety improvement on the South Gippsland Highway between Lang Lang and Loch, and the $300,000 invested for left turn lane, kerbs, line marking, signs and vegetation removal on the South Gippsland Highway at Foster.

SRIP is a key initiative of Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan and is funded through the Transport Action Commission and delivered by VicRoads.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Coalition Government reduces fire levy rates

* * - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government cutting fire levy rates from 1 July 2014
  • More funding for CFA and MFB in the 2014-15 State Budget
  • Fire services better resourced under the Coalition Government than Labor
The Victorian Coalition Government will reduce the Fire Services Property Levy rates in 2014-15 for all property owners, Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced today.

"The Coalition Government’s successful implementation of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission property-based levy has proven to be a fairer way to fund our fire services,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We are reducing the levy rates from 1 July 2014 while also increasing funding to our fire services. The Coalition Government is delivering better funding for our fire services with lower average costs for households and businesses.”

The variable levy rate will be lower across all property categories than the 2013-14 rates. A fixed charge of $102 for residential properties and $205 for all other properties will apply.

From 1 July, the average household’s contribution to fire services funding in a CFA area is expected to remain at $142, with average MFB area household contributions remaining at an average of $143. This represents a reduction in real terms for the average household.

A $50 concession for eligible pensioners and veterans will continue to apply, benefitting over 400,000 households across the state, easing cost of living pressures.

The fire services property levy funds services provided by the CFA and the MFB twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week including personnel, training, infrastructure and equipment.

“This tax reform provides greater funding for our fire services while also reducing the rates on households, businesses and farmers right across Victoria,” Mr O’Brien said.

The new rates also reflect the recategorisation from 1 July 2014 of residential-investment flats from the commercial to the residential rate, delivering further savings for tenants and property owners across Victoria.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said that the Coalition Government had promised to overhaul the fire services levy and had delivered.

“Last year we brought in the lowest levy rates for regional areas we could afford. This year, we’ve lowered them again,” Mr Ryan said.

“The average business in the CFA area will now pay $823 instead of $923 a year.

“The average business in a CFA area on an industrial block will see its bill drop from $1,689 to $1,389, saving $300.

“Farmers are big winners, with their average Fire Services Property Levy dropping from $449 to $402. This is a massive drop from the average of $725 each farmer was paying back in 2011-12.”

Mr O’Brien said that for more than a decade Labor refused to reform the insurance-based fire services levy. This refusal continued despite recommendations from the Bushfires Royal Commission that it should be abolished.

“It costs over $780 million a year to fund our vital fire services. Record funding of $326 million for the MFB in this year’s budget will include the replacement of all respiratory protection equipment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The 2014-15 Budget also provides an investment of $29 million for the CFA to support an accelerated fleet replacement program.”

The Coalition Government continues to directly fund 12.5 per cent of MFB and 22.5 per cent of CFA operating budgets.

“Since coming to office in 2010, the Coalition Government has provided the CFA with more than $2.29 billion and the MFB more than $1.45 billion,” Mr O’Brien said.

The 2014-15 Budget for the CFA is $457 million, $58 million more than under the last Labor Budget. The 2014-15 Budget for MFB is $326 million, $39 million more than under the last Labor Budget.

For more information about the property-based levy visit

Media Contact: Les White 0409 805 122 

Coalition Government thanks emergency workers and volunteers

* * - Monday, May 19, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government thanks volunteers and emergency services personnel for their contribution to protecting Victorian communities
  • More than 7,000 fire fighters fought the Hazelwood fire in Morwell
  • Thank you held during 2014 National Volunteer Week

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells on Sunday recognised and thanked Victoria’s emergency services personnel and volunteers at a barbecue at Kernot Hall in Morwell.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is proud to support the vital work of emergency workers and volunteers who protect our state,” Mr Ryan said.

The barbecue was one of several events being held across Victoria to recognise the emergency workers and firefighting volunteers for their contribution to the community.

Mr Ryan, representing Premier Denis Napthine, said the 2013-14 bushfire season posed a serious challenge to regional Victoria, with fire conditions at their worst since Black Saturday.

A total of 4,600 bush and grass fires burned more than 463,000 hectares of land across Victoria this bushfire season. One person died and eighty houses were destroyed by fire across the state.

Morwell experienced the largest mine fire ever to occur in Australia during February and March this year. More than 7,000 firefighters engaged in the firefighting and more than 500 people worked directly and indirectly on the fire and its effects.

“The Coalition Government remains committed to helping the Morwell community get back on its feet following the Hazelwood Mine Fire,” Mr Ryan said.

Joining Mr Ryan in Morwell, Mr Wells said the event was an important opportunity to thank volunteers for their efforts during the 2013-14 fire season.

“Victoria has more than 90,000 operational and non-operational emergency services volunteers,” Mr Wells said.

“Our volunteers have a proud history assisting Victorians during times of need, and we are grateful for their outstanding support again this fire season.”

Member for Morwell Russell Northe thanked emergency services workers and volunteers for their tireless efforts during the Hazelwood Mine fire.

“This has undoubtedly been a trying time for local residents, and I join them in acknowledging, praising and being truly thankful for the relentless efforts of emergency services and volunteers who worked day and night to put out the Hazelwood fire and respond to the needs of the township.”

The barbecue was held during National Volunteer Week, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

More than six million people in Australia participate in voluntary work, representing 36 per cent of the population according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2010.

New Rosedale CFA Station open for business

* * - Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Deputy Premier opens new Rosedale CFA station
  • Local firefighters can better protect lives and save property from the threat of fire
  • Coalition Government is delivering record investments in regional and rural infrastructure

The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government has invested more than $450,000 to build a new CFA station at Rosedale, increasing the capacity of local firefighters to protect lives and save property from the threat of fire.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Rosedale on Saturday to open the new $473,000 Rosedale CFA station.

“The Coalition Government is proud to support CFA members by providing them with the facilities and equipment they need to save lives and property,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new, modern three-bay fire station has improved meeting and training facilities and replaces the 48 year old building that brigade had been operating out of.

“It also provides additional equipment storage space and an office that will make it easier for members to undertake administrative tasks.

“The new Rosedale CFA station will ensure the Rosedale Fire Brigade is well equipped to perform its critical work now and into the future.”

Mr Ryan said the new CFA station would help attract and boost membership at the unit, which has 21 members who attend about 50 calls each year.

“The Rosedale Fire Brigade has provided an invaluable service to the communities of Rosedale, Flynn, Willung and Kilmany,” Mr Ryan said.

“Volunteers have played a vital role in protecting these communities, initially as two separate entities in the early 1940s as Rosedale Urban and Rosedale Rural brigades, and then as the Rosedale Fire Brigade after an amalgamation in 2000.”

Mr Ryan said the new CFA station had been funded through the Rural Fire Station project, with the brigade also contributing $20,000 towards the $473,000 facility.

“The local contribution is a fantastic effort and shows the commitment that CFA members have for the work they do on behalf of the community,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is proud of the vital work performed by the CFA and we will continue to support them.”

Mr Ryan said since coming to office, the Coalition Government has provided the CFA with more than $2.29 billion.

“This financial year the CFA Budget is $457 million, $58 million more than what was provided by the former Labor Government during its last year in office,” Mr Ryan said.

“We have also invested more than $125 million over the past three years to build 250 new or upgraded CFA stations across the state, a record infrastructure investment for the CFA.”

Mr Ryan said CFA members would also benefit from the $64.5 million emergency services investment in the Coalition Government’s 2014-15 State Budget, which included:

  • $20.5 million to replace Respiratory Protection Equipment for CFA and MFB firefighters; 
  • $29 million for the CFA to acquire 78 additional vehicles; and 
  • $15 million to upgrade critical systems to support emergency call-taking and dispatch services at the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA). 

“The Liberal Nationals Coalition Government’s record investment is strengthening Victoria’s emergency services,” Mr Ryan said

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Victorian Coalition Government is building a better regional Victoria

* * - Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government's 2014-15 Victorian State Budget delivers record funding to build a better Victoria by investing in the future infrastructure and services to unlock the potential and drive growth across regional and rural communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government was investing in new job-creating infrastructure projects that would deliver more efficient roads and rail, better hospitals and schools and safer communities.

"The Coalition Government is building a better regional and rural Victoria by delivering infrastructure and services that unlock the growth potential of the regions," Mr Ryan said.

"Responsible financial management means we have delivered a healthy $1.3 billion surplus and maintain our AAA credit rating, enabling us to invest more in rural and regional Victoria."

Rail Infrastructure

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government's investment in regional and rural Victoria was spearheaded by a commitment of up to $220 million to build the Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.

"The Coalition Government's Murray Basin Rail Project will transform the movement of freight across the state and unlock economic potential by delivering key country freight rail line upgrades and building the Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link," Mr Ryan said.

"An additional $209.5 million is also delivered for the maintenance of new stations, bridge, other infrastructure and the delivery of new train and bus services along the $4.1 billion new Regional Rail Link, which will transform regional passenger rail services.

"Other rail investment includes $5.8 million to improve disability access at the Geelong Station and to upgrade the bus interchanges at Moorabool Street and North Shore in Geelong, $14.3 million for a new crossing loop at Rowsley to improve rail operations on the Ballarat line and $1.3 million for planning for the Avalon Airport Rail Link transport corridor," Mr Ryan said.

Road Infrastructure

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was strongly investing in building and upgrading roads across Victoria with an extra $130 million for roads maintenance and restoration, increasing our roads maintenance investment to more than $500 million for the coming year.

The State Budget delivers key regional and rural road projects in partnership with the Commonwealth including:

  • $362.2 million to duplicate the Princes Highway from Winchelsea to Colac;
  • $86 million for the Calder Highway interchange at Ravenswood;
  • $31.8 million for the Princes Highway East interchange at Sand Road;
  • $11 million for Princes Highway East overtaking lanes; and
  • $56.2 million for the Transport Solutions initiative which delivers targeted improvement projects to reduce bottlenecks and improve transport flows in key regional areas.

The Coalition Government will also invest $12.9 million to deliver the Pioneer Road duplication.

"In stark contrast, Labor's transport plan says it will set aside just $1 billion over eight years, or $125 million a year, for regional roads – slashing regional roads spending by two-thirds," Mr Ryan said.

"The money Labor cuts from country roads will be used to pay for Melbourne level crossing removals, where 32 of the 40 promised level crossing removals are in Labor held seats."

Hospitals and healthcare

Mr Ryan said that country hospitals would share in an extra $287 million to hospital bottom-line funding over the next year alone, to treat more patients and assist more people in emergency departments.

"The Coalition Government is investing in building better hospitals and delivering more efficient services so that regional Victorians can access the best healthcare," Mr Ryan said.

The State Budget's key regional and rural health investments include:

  • $73 million for Stage 2a of the Latrobe Regional Hospital redevelopment;
  • $28million to build the new Barwon Health-North facility;
  • $14 million for the Boort Hospital redevelopment; and
  • $8.6 million for two new Prevention & Recovery Care (PARC) mental health services, at Mildura and Warrnambool.

"This new spending builds on what we have already delivered including the biggest regional hospital in Australia's history – the $630 million Bendigo Hospital; the $46.4 million expansion of the Ballarat Hospital, the $65.6 million Echuca Hospital redevelopment and the $10 million Castlemaine Hospital upgrade, and hospital redevelopments at Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang, Charlton, Numurkah, Geelong and Kilmore," Mr Ryan said.

"The regions will also share in $34.1 million to expand drug and alcohol treatment services and tackle the use of illicit drugs including ice.

"This funding boost will provide support services for over 2,000 extra people a year in rural and metro areas to respond to the growth in the use of ice," Mr Ryan said.

Education and training

Mr Ryan said regional and rural schools would share in a massive $500 million school capital investment package in the 2014-15 State Budget.

"The Coalition Government is building new schools, including $10 million Horsham College for modernisation and regeneration, $8.5 million for Geelong High School as part of $20 million commitment for a modernisation, and $7.8 for the Ballarat High School modernisation," Mr Ryan said.

"Additional to general budget spending, we're also investing $5 million over four years from the Regional Growth Fund into Year 12 retention in the regions.

"The regions will also share in $272.8 million in funding for increased support for students with moderate to severe disabilities in mainstream and specialist government schools.

"For skilling Victorians, the Coalition Government is investing $1.2 billion per year in vocational education and training. The Victorian Coalition Government is also investing $30 million in training for automotive workers," Mr Ryan said.

Food and fibre production

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government will continue to build a stronger food and fibre sector with $41 million of new initiatives in the 2014-15 Budget.

"This year's budget includes $35.4 million over four years, plus a further $6 million thereafter, for the Government's Food into Asia Action Plan to increase the volume and value of food exports into Asia, as we aim to double Victorian agricultural production by 2030," Mr Ryan said.

"The 2014-15 Budget will assist farmers in the war against wild dogs with an additional $1.8 million allocated for aerial baiting and ground baiting in North East Victoria and Gippsland.

"There is also $2.3 million to help establish a poppy industry in Victoria, and $1.6 million to deliver the Goulburn Valley fruit growing industry concessional loans package.

"The Coalition Government will also invest a further $40 million in water management initiatives which will help protect more communities from floods, tackle salinity and support the Murray Darling Basin Authority," Mr Ryan said.

Public Safety

Mr Ryan said the State Budget continues to invest in the CFA and the three highest CFA budgets in Victoria's history have all been delivered by the current Victorian Coalition Government.

"The 2014-15 CFA Budget is $457 million, $58 million more than Labor provided in its last year of office. This record investment shows Labor's 'CFA budget cuts' mantra is an outright lie," Mr Ryan said.

"The CFA investment will now include a bonus $17.2 million to purchase 49 additional medium tankers for CFA brigades on top of the 29 vehicles already coming out of the CFA's usual budget, and $20.5 million to replace all existing respiratory protection equipment for Victoria's fire services.

"The State Budget delivers $13.5 million to roll out Tasers to all regional 24-hour police stations as well as $14.4 million for the new Echuca Police Station and $8.4 million to establish an emergency service precinct at Ballarat West," Mr Ryan said.

Funding announced in the 2014-15 State Budget was in addition to the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which has so far invested almost $400 million in more than 1,400 projects, generating more than $1.6 billion of total investment and expected to create thousands of jobs.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

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