Press Releases

A new place to cool off in Mildura

* * - Wednesday, July 16, 2014


  • Next stage of the Mildura Riverfront project gets underway
  • Project delivers pop-up jets, streams, BBQ, boardwalks and terraced skate park
  • Precinct will attract visitors and confirms Mildura’s status as the ‘Gateway to the Outback’

Children, families and visitors will have a new place to cool off in Mildura during hot summer days with water jets, splash pools and interactive water play equipment to be developed as part of the $18.3 million Mildura Riverfront project.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp at Mildura today to turn the first sod for the new $2.1 million Mildura Riverfront Waterplay and Ornamental Lakes Precinct.

Mr Ryan said development of the Waterplay and Ornamental Lakes Precinct was the latest stage of the $18.3 million Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment Project, and would include:

  • Extensions to the lake to include water play equipment, pop-up jets and shallows;
  • A shallow stream running throughout the precinct, incorporating water play equipment;
  • Shaded areas, timber boardwalks, sand pits, decking, seats, lighting and barbeques;
  • Indigenous plants, landscaping and cultural heritage information; and
  • A new terraced skate area extending from the existing skate park.

“This is a fantastic development that will benefit the entire Mildura community,” Mr Ryan said.

“The water play equipment will be something truly unique to Mildura, providing another drawcard for visitors and holiday makers looking to spend time in this part of our great state.

“The community can relax and cool off over the pop-up jets and in the shallows or simply relax in the shaded areas.

“It will become a great place to walk the pet dog and a perfect location to spend time with family and friends enjoying a barbecue.

“Skaters have not been left out, with the large terraced skate space set to add to what is already a terrific and well used skate park.”

Mr Crisp welcomed the Deputy Premier to Mildura and said The Nationals, as part of a strong Coalition Government team, were continuing to deliver for Mildura.

Mr Crisp said the Mildura-based King Construction Group had been awarded the contract for this component of the development. In addition, the project included the redevelopment of the East/West promenade, the Rowing Club and Langtree Avenue pedestrian connection.

“I am proud to be here today alongside the Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan to mark the beginning of another important step in delivering the transformative Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment,” Mr Crisp said.

“This $18.3 million project, $12 million of which is funded through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, is stimulating the local economy, is set to boost tourism and confirms Mildura’s status as the ‘Gateway to the Outback’.

“I will continue to advocate strongly for Mildura to ensure we continue receiving strong Coalition Government support and investment.”

Mr Crisp said construction on the Waterplay and Ornamental Lakes precinct would begin shortly, with the Waterplay area to be completed by April 2015 and the remaining works completed by the second half of 2015.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

South Gippsland towns gain new sewerage scheme

* * - Monday, July 14, 2014
  • New sewerage system approved for Poowong, Loch and Nyora
  • The three towns will also pilot Right Water cash back incentives
  • Coalition Government building a better Victoria with affordable infrastructure

    The Victorian Coalition Government will deliver a new state-of-the-art pressure sewerage system for residents of Poowong, Loch and Nyora 18 months earlier than expected, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced on Friday.

    Local residents will also be offered cash incentives to install or upgrade rainwater tanks and other water saving devices.

    Joining residents in Nyora, Mr Ryan said he was delighted to deliver for local communities ahead of schedule.

    “Construction on the advanced pressure sewerage system for Poowong, Loch and Nyora will begin in the coming weeks,” Mr Ryan said.

    “South Gippsland Water, in conjunction with South East Water, have planning well underway.

    “Under the new system, wastewater generated by the three towns will be treated at South East Water’s Lang Lang water recycling plant.

    “All properties are expected to be connected by 30 June 2016 – 18 months ahead of previous estimates.

    “The new system will help improve Poowong, Loch and Nyora by minimising the risk of household sewerage polluting the environment through ageing, failing and poorly maintained septic tanks.”

    The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Danny O’Brien said residents of Poowong, Loch and Nyora would be encouraged to adopt the Right Water principles, ensuring they were using the right water for the job at home.

    “The Coalition Government’s Right Water campaign shows how easy it is to use the right water for the job around the home. For example, rainwater from the roof is a great way to keep gardens green, to wash the car and even to flush the toilets inside,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “Poowong, Loch and Nyora residents will be offered cash back incentives for upgrading or installing rainwater tanks and water-efficient products that minimise use of precious drinking water for showering, washing clothes, flushing toilets and watering gardens.

    “The Coalition has not only delivered this win for Loch, Nyora and Poowong residents, it has delivered it ahead of time.

    “Contrast our sensible and affordable water policies and projects to a multi-billion dollar, unused, over time and over budget desalination plant and the plugged north-south pipeline.”

    Residents wanting more information on the new sewerage scheme and the Right Water cash back incentives can call 1300 851 636.

    Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404 

Deputy Premier speaks at Avoca Natural Gas Forum

* * - Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • Deputy Premier addresses Natural Gas Forum in Avoca 
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests almost $8.4 million to connect Avoca 
  • Gas roll-out expected to be completed by the middle of 2016

More than 700 homes and businesses in Avoca will be connected to natural gas thanks to the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan along with The Nationals Candidate for Ripon Scott Turner were in Avoca today to host a Natural Gas Forum.

The forum followed the Coalition Government’s historic agreement with SP AusNet to connect the town to natural gas, reached in April 2013.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had invested almost $8.4 million to deliver gas to Avoca, something Labor said it wouldn’t do and falsely claimed the Coalition Government couldn’t achieve.

"Connecting Avoca to the natural gas network will provide the town with new opportunities for growth and help attract new businesses," Mr Ryan said.

“Before the Coalition Government intervened, communities such as Avoca were in the unenviable position of not being able to attract new businesses because they didn’t have a natural gas connection but couldn’t get a gas connection because they didn’t have enough homes and businesses to warrant it.

“The Coalition Government, through its $100 million Energy for the Regions Program, a component of the Regional Growth Fund, is delivering this much sought after gas connection.

“This initial investment will pay long-term dividends for Avoca, and is part of our commitment to growing regional communities and supporting local jobs.”

Mr Turner said the roll-out of natural gas would provide cheaper and cleaner energy to residents and businesses in Avoca and was yet another example of what The Nationals could deliver as part of a Coalition Government.

“Supplying gas to households and businesses via reticulation is significantly cheaper than bottled natural gas or energy sourced via the electricity grid,” Mr Turner said.

“Delivering natural gas to Avoca is another example of the Coalition Government’s hard work to lower household bills and follows the government’s recent announcement that it is cutting water bills.

“I will continue to work with Peter Ryan, The Nationals and the Coalition Government to reduce the cost of living for communities throughout the region.”

Mr Ryan said subject to planning and regulatory approvals, construction of the Avoca gas connection would commence this year and the project would be completed by winter 2016.

Mr Ryan said SP AusNet would hold a further community information session on Wednesday, 16 July to answer the community’s questions, including project timing and the process for connecting to the reticulation network.

Mr Ryan encouraged homeowners and businesses to attend next week’s information session.

“SP AusNet has said there is sufficient flexibility in the network to ‘in-fill’ areas not initially covered in the roll-out, and enough capacity to satisfy future growth,” Mr Ryan said.

“Those not included within the initial project footprint can collectively submit an expression of interest to SP AusNet in order to be included in the network.

“By taking a coordinated approach, homes and businesses will increase the likelihood of a connection and minimise connection costs.”

Mr Ryan also called on the Labor Opposition’s regional spokesperson Jacinta Allan to publicly apologise to the Avoca community for her continual scaremongering on the roll-out of gas.

“Ms Allan famously said the Coalition Government couldn’t sensibly connect any more regional communities to natural gas,” Mr Ryan said.

“Ms Allan described our Energy for the Regions Program as a hoax.

“I am proud to say this is not a hoax and the Avoca community will soon be cooking with piped natural gas.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 

Regional Growth Fund breathes new life into Avoca Town Hall

* * - Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • Deputy Premier announces funding of $210,000 to revitalise Avoca Town Hall 
  • Project to expand a much-loved community facility 
  • Town Hall will now be able to host new community events

A $280,000 redevelopment will breathe new life into the Avoca Town Hall enabling the community to host karate, cooking and gardening classes, movie nights, children’s dances as well as social events such as weddings and birthdays.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was in Avoca today to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $210,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support the ‘New Life for the Avoca Town Hall’ project.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, said the redevelopment would modernise the aging facility, allowing local community groups to make better use of the hall.

“The Avoca Town Hall is popular among locals and is the only local facility with a stage, large wooden dance floor and projector room,” Mr Ryan said.

“While it has served the needs of the community for many years, its limited size means it is no longer being used to its full potential.”

Mr Turner said the Coalition Government’s investment would fund an expansion of the hall and upgrades to electrical, plumbing and sanitation services, new air conditioning, joinery and floor repairs, new fittings and fixtures, painting as well as the installation of new furnishings.

“This investment will modernise the Avoca Hall to ensure existing user groups can continue to be accommodated on site,” Mr Turner said.

“It will also ensure activities such karate, cooking and gardening classes, movie nights, children’s dances as well as social events such as weddings and birthdays can now be held at the town hall for the first time.”

Liberal candidate for Ripon Louise Staley welcomed the Coalition Government’s $210,000 investment which provides Avoca with a functional multi-purpose town hall that will meet the needs of the community long into the future.

“The redevelopment will begin shortly and is expected to be completed by May next year,” Ms Staley said.

“It will create 11 full-time construction jobs over the next nine months, supporting local tradespeople and local construction businesses.”

Mr Turner thanked the Coalition Government for its support as well as the Pyrenees Shire Council, which contributed $70,000 to the project.

“This investment is one of almost 30 projects in the Pyrenees Shire to have benefited from the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Turner said.

“It is another example of what The Nationals can achieve for local communities when working as part of a strong Coalition Government team.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Coalition Government creates double the regional jobs Labor did

* * - Wednesday, July 09, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government creates 21,200 regional jobs in 3.5 years
  • Labor created just 8,800 regional jobs in its last 3.5 years in office
  • Coalition Government building a better regional Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government is building stronger regional and rural communities, having created 21,200 regional jobs in its first three and a half years in office.

Speaking at the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia regional development lunch today, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said Victoria’s regional employment rate was second only to mining boom state Western Australia.

“Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the Coalition Government has created 21,200 regional Victorian jobs in its first three and a half years in office,” Mr Ryan said.

“In the 12 months to May, Victorian regional employment grew by 11,300, and our regional unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent is below the all-states regional average of 6.5 per cent.

“In comparison, the Labor Party created just 8,800 jobs in its last three and a half years in office, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“We’re not surprised to have created more than twice as many jobs as the Labor Party did for regional Victoria – we’ve invested far more in regional Victoria than Labor did. Upon winning office, we immediately got to work investing in rural and regional Victoria.

“The Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund has invested around $130 million a year into rural and regional Victoria – more than $400 million into 1,440 projects with a total value of $1.6 billion in just three and a half years.

“Labor’s own glossy brochures tell us its Regional Infrastructure Development Fund spent just $61 million a year – $611 million over an entire decade, on just 393 projects, taking three times as long to leverage the same total project value of $1.6 billion,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor’s record shows how little it cares about the country.”

Media contact:
Les White 0409 805 122 

Kids encouraged to wet a line these holidays

* * - Monday, July 07, 2014

  • 750 rainbow trout released into Lake Guthridge for school holiday fishing
  • Victorian Coalition Government improving fish stocks 
  • Fishing license revenue used to implement children fishing initiative

Children trying their hand at fishing these school holidays have a greater chance of landing their first catch, thanks to a Victorian Coalition Government initiative.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said 750 catchable size rainbow trout have been released into Sale’s Lake Guthridge.

“The fish released into Lake Guthridge are just some of the 30,000 rainbow trout to be released into Victorian inland waters these school holidays,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government has undertaken this program to increase the chances of children catching a fish these school holidays.

“Rainbow trout are a good option for those new to fishing because they are relatively easy to catch and take a variety of baits and lures.”

Mr Ryan said the stocking of rainbow trout was made possible with proceeds from fishing licence fees and the Victorian Coalition Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.

“This program is improving fishing opportunities for Victorians and includes better access and facilities, the installation of fish cleaning tables, upgrades to boating facilities and research and education,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government recognises the social and economic contribution recreational fishing makes to our State and we want to encourage more families and children to get involved in this healthy outdoor pastime.

“Recreational fishing makes a significant contribution to local communities and their economies by supporting hotels, petrol stations, supermarkets, and bait and tackle stores.”

Mr Ryan reminded anglers that a daily bag limit of five trout applies when fishing in lakes and only two trout can exceed 35 centimetres.

“At this time of year trout cannot be taken from rivers,” he said.

For more information about catch limits refer to the Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide, available free from most tackle shops, online or by downloading the free ‘Vic Fishing’ smartphone app.

For a full list of waters stocked with rainbow trout these school holidays, visit

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Victorian Coalition Government helps Tatura Milk Industries grow

* * - Thursday, July 03, 2014

  • TMI has the room to grow thanks to Victorian Coalition Government support 
  • 2.6 hectares of surplus land made available for TMI expansion 
  • Coalition Government supports the manufacturing industry in regional Victoria

Tatura Milk Industries (TMI) now has the room to grow, with the Victorian Coalition Government helping the company secure surplus land in Tatura to ensure it continues producing high quality dairy products locally.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr and Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell, visited TMI’s Hogan Street factory today.

Mr Ryan said TMI, which produces 80,000 tonnes of dairy products annually, had outgrown its existing facility, with little room left onsite to expand.

Mr Ryan said to secure the future of the company in Tatura, the Coalition Government worked with TMI to develop a Masterplan to cater for future growth.

“TMI’s current factory was operating at maximum capacity and any plans to develop the facility could only proceed once nearby land was secured,” Mr Ryan said.

“To ensure it could continue to grow, the Coalition Government sold 2.6 hectares of neighbouring surplus railway land to TMI.

“This additional land provides TMI with the space it needs to grow, while ensuring any future rail projects in Tatura would not be impeded.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had also worked with the Greater Shepparton City Council to rezone the surplus railway land, as well as other nearby land purchased by TMI, to a Special Use Zone dedicated to milk processing, ensuring future development could proceed without delay.

Mr Barr said The Nationals, as part of a strong Coalition Government, were committed to supporting local manufacturing businesses as well as the region’s farmers.

“TMI are vital to the local economy, employing 435 full-time employees and contributing $163 million per year to local farmers through milk payments,” Mr Barr said.

“TMI is the largest private label cream cheese and infant formula manufacturer in Australia and produces a variety of products including milk powders, cheese, cream cheese, infant formula and milk protein concentrate.

“Approximately 50 per cent of TMI’s products are exported, mostly to Asia and Europe, with export sales anticipated to be $229 million in 2014.

“The Coalition Government is working alongside local manufacturers such as TMI to ensure they continue to operate in regional and rural Victoria and continue to support local jobs and local farmers.”

Mrs Powell said the Coalition Government’s hard work and support meant TMI had a bright future in Tatura.

“Tatura Milk Industries, which started out as the Tatura Butter Factory and Farmers Produce Company, has been operating out of its Hogan Street facility since 1907,” Mrs Powell said.

“The Coalition Government’s support ensures TMI will continue to operate in Tatura long into the future.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Better passenger services a step closer

* * - Thursday, July 03, 2014

  • Deputy Premier announces Shepparton Passenger Services 
  • Working Group Working Group to present views directly to Minister for Public Transport 
  • Victorian Coalition Government committed to delivering better public transport for regional communities

The Victorian Coalition Government is set to establish a Shepparton Passenger Services Working Group.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell, The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr and the Member for Northern Victoria Region Wendy Lovell to announce the creation of the working group.

Mr Ryan said Jeanette Powell would chair the working group and the Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder would provide specialists from Public Transport Victoria, V/Line and the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure to assist her in that role.

Mr Ryan said the working group would also include representatives from the Greater Shepparton City Council, the Committee for Shepparton, as well as community representatives, particularly those who are regular V/Line passengers.

“This is a major step forward for Shepparton and an opportunity for the community to work together as one and present a united view to government about what public transport services they want,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Barr said the establishment of the working group was an important first step and he encouraged the entire community to get involved.

“I‘ve had many people in the Shepparton community express to me their desire to see more public transport options available to them,” Mr Barr said.

“As a community we need a strong public transport network to ensure that those who cannot or do not wish to drive are provided with appropriate options so they too can access Melbourne for work, study, appointments, shopping or to watch the footy.

“I will continue to advocate for our community to ensure Shepparton’s voice is heard.”

Mrs Powell said she was honoured to chair the working group, which would undertake the following tasks: consult with the community and special interests groups about service levels, timetabling and the public transport needs of the Shepparton community; gain a broader understanding of the transport network and demand levels; and consider all potential options, including additional train and bus services.

“We understand that the Shepparton community wants more convenient and reliable public transport services, however there are differing views about how this can best be achieved,” Mrs Powell said.

“I am proud to be part of a Coalition Government team that is taking the lead on this issue.”

Ms Lovell said the full terms of reference for the working group, as well as its membership, would be finalised shortly.

“It is expected the working group will look at all options over the coming three months, before reporting back to the Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder,” Ms Lovell said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Surveying works begin for alternate route

* * - Wednesday, July 02, 2014

  • Surveying works begin on heavy vehicle alternate route
  • Drivers urged to take care where works are being conducted
  • Route will divert 600 trucks per day away from Bair Street

The Leongatha Alternate Heavy Vehicle Route is another step closer to completion with important pre-construction works set to begin this week.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said VicRoads surveyors would be on site in Leongatha from today.

“The $5.12 million Leongatha Alternate Heavy Vehicle Route, which was jointly funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, will see more than 600 trucks per day to be diverted around the Leongatha CBD,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project will provide significant benefits to shoppers and business owners in Bair Street, including increased pedestrian safety, better traffic flows and less damage to the road caused by heavy vehicles.”

Mr Ryan said before the project could move to the design and construction phase, important surveying work needed to be completed.

“This work will ensure existing features such as power and water services can be accommodated in the project design or moved if necessary,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said once the surveying was complete the final design works and pre-construction activities such as service relocation would be carried out.

He said construction works would then follow in 2015, with the project expected to be complete by 2016.

“VicRoads will be in regular contact with the community, including landowners and key stakeholders to discuss potential designs for the Leongatha Alternate Heavy Vehicle Route,” Mr Ryan said.

“There will also be community updates, briefing sessions and updates on South Gippsland Shire’s website, with finalised designs to be presented to the community later this year.”

Mr Ryan said while the surveying work was being completed temporary traffic changes would be put in place and he urged motorists to take care while travelling through the area.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government had prioritised roads funding in and around Leongatha.

“This year alone, the Coalition Government is investing more than $500 million to undertake vital road maintenance,” Mr Ryan said.

“This funding is in stark contrast to Labor's transport plan which sets aside just $1 billion over eight years, or $125 million a year, for regional roads.

“We are also investing $9.4 million to make South Gippsland safer through the Safer Roads Infrastructure Program.

“This includes $4.5 million on the South Gippsland Highway between Stony Creek and Foster for safety barriers and rumble strips and $3.8 million for the Strzelecki Highway between Leongatha and Koorooman for safety barriers, rumble strips and tree removal.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Cheaper bills for South Gippsland Water customers

* * - Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government delivering cheaper water bills
  • Average savings of $48 per year for the next four years
  • Coalition Government driving down cost of living pressures

Homeowners and small business operators in Yarram, Foster, Toora, Leongatha and Korumburra will save $48 on their water bills each year for the next four years thanks to the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government‟s Fairer Water Bills Initiative.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan welcomed the savings which have been achieved by South Gippsland Water cutting back on office waste and unnecessary red tape.

“Gippsland households and small businesses have frustratingly come to expect that their water bills will keep rising each and every year,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government has said „enough is enough‟ and asked water corporations to find savings.

“I am pleased to announce that for the next four years South Gippsland Water will provide rebates of an average of $48 a year to residential and small business customers paying water and wastewater service charges.

“This means that 90 per cent of South Gippsland Water‟s residential customers and many small business owners will receive a significant reduction to their water bills.”

Mr Ryan said the savings would be delivered through a once-off yearly rebate applied to all residential water customers‟ accounts (excluding cistern accounts) from 1 July 2014.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to driving down cost of living pressures and the Fairer Water Bills initiative was delivering real savings for household and small business budgets.

“The Coalition Government asked South Gippsland Water to identify ways it could help customers save on their water bills without compromising on service,” Mr Ryan said.

“South Gippsland Water highlighted a number of cost saving measures, which included partnering with other corporations to achieve larger savings, more efficient use of water treatments and lower vehicle management costs.”

South Gippsland Water Chairman Joan Liley said the corporation was pleased to deliver savings for customers over the next four years.

“Reductions in customers‟ water and wastewater bills will begin on Tuesday 1 July 2014, and these savings will help to ease pressures on household and small business budgets,” Ms Liley said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

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