Press Releases

Deputy Premier announce Benalla Botanical Gardens facelift

* * - Thursday, October 23, 2014

 

  • Deputy Premier announces $400,000 for Benalla Botanical Gardens facelift
  • Project to create a modern community precinct
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

The children’s precinct at the historic Benalla Botanical Gardens will receive a major facelift including new play equipment, a new formal entry, open space play areas, better seating, new garden beds and connecting pathways.

The facelift is part of a $610,000 investment designed to breathe new life into the popular local attraction, bringing it in-line with today’s expectations.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, Liberal candidate for Euroa Tony Schneider and Member for Benalla Bill Sykes in Benalla today to announce the facelift and provide the news that the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $400,000 of the $610,000 required to complete it.

Mr Ryan said $300,000 of the Coalition Government’s $400,000 investment would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with $100,000 coming through the Community Facility Funding Program, administered by the Minister for Sport Damian Drum.

Mr Ryan said the remaining $210,000 would be provided by a number of community contributors including Benalla Rural City Council ($167,000), Tomorrow Today Foundation ($13,000), Friends of the Gardens ($10,000), and Rotary Club of Benalla ($20,000 in-kind).

Mr Ryan said the $610,000 investment would fund:

  • demolition and site preparation;
  • upgrade of plumbing in existing facilities and amenities;
  • landscaping of new garden beds and refurbishment of pathways;
  • construction of play equipment, formal entry, community open space and seating; and
  • improvements to the public car park.

“Located in the heart of Benalla, the botanical gardens is a popular spot for family picnics, and a key visitor drawcard, particularly for those travelling up and down the Hume Highway,” Mr Ryan said.

“Over the past few years the gardens, particularly the area in which we are standing here today, has begun to show its age and is in desperate need of a facelift.

“Both Bill Sykes and Steph Ryan have been lobbying hard alongside the Benalla Rural City Council to secure this investment, and I am proud to be here today with them to announce this important funding has been secured.”

Mr Ryan said the works would rejuvenate the parklands and create an attractive and functional open-air space for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

The improvements will complement the surrounding attractions including the Benalla Art Gallery and the Lake Benalla Boardwalk.

“When complete, this project will have created a community hub with the capacity to increase tourism and boost the local economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will also make this great location an even more popular place for locals to spend time, particularly on weekends and warm summer evenings, and I look forward to returning here to see these wonderful additions and improvements once complete.”

Mr Ryan said works would begin shortly and would be finished by this time next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Regional Growth Fund delivers for Katandra West

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $999,000 towards $1.3 million Katandra West Community Centre
  • Project will support Katandra Kats and a wide-range of user groups
  • Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest almost $1 million to build a new community centre in Katandra West, delivering a one-stop-shop for local sports clubs, community events, meetings and celebrations.

The new Katandra West Community Centre will be located at the Katandra West Recreation Reserve, replacing the century-old Katandra West Hall as a centre-point for life in the small Goulburn Valley community.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Katandra West today to announce the Coalition Government will invest $999,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in the construction of the $1.3 million community centre.

The Katandra West Community Facilities Committee of Management will provide $150,000 towards construction of the new community centre, with the Greater Shepparton City Council providing a further $151,000.

Mr Ryan said the $1.3 million investment will deliver a 685-square metre multipurpose facility, featuring:

  • a large multi-purpose area and meeting room;
  • male, female and disabled toilets;
  • female and umpire change rooms; and
  • commercial kitchen, cool room, storage space, bar and serving area.

Mr Ryan said the new community centre will benefit a number of local user groups including the Katandra Kats Football and Netball Club, local cricket and tennis clubs, Country Women’s Association, CFA, Girl Guides, Ukiah Club and Katandra West Primary School.

Mr Ryan said the new community centre will be the ideal location to host community celebrations such as birthday parties, weddings and engagement parties, community meetings, conferences and other community events.

“Every small town needs a modern, accessible and useable community space to host local events and celebrations,” Mr Ryan said.

“While the existing community hall has served Katandra West for more than a century, it is beginning to show its age and no longer meets the needs and expectations of the community.

“The Coalition Government’s almost $1 million investment will deliver a modern and flexible community centre that will be a focal point for the Katandra West community for the next 100 years, and is sure to be the scene of many great nights for locals.

“This investment will deliver modern facilities for local sports clubs such as the mighty Katandra Kats, with the new umpire and female change rooms to be a welcome addition, particularly for the netballers.

“This project is another terrific example of why The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, fought to secure the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Through the Regional Growth Fund, we have been able to invest in countless projects similar to this right across regional and rural Victoria, projects that would otherwise have struggled to attract funding support from government.”

Mr Barr, a passionate Katandra West local, welcomed this investment, describing it as long overdue.

“As a local, I know how important the community hall is to our community,” Mr Barr said.

“Whether it’s hosting Girl Guides, school concerts, the football/netball club ball, 21st birthday parties, weddings and funerals, the community hall has seen it all.

“To now have a facility of this calibre at our disposal for local meetings and other community events is a real shot-in-the-arm for Katandra West.

“I am proud to be part of a strong National Party team which continues to deliver for the Goulburn Valley and its many communities including Katandra West.”

Mr Barr said construction would begin shortly with the project to be completed by the end of next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Pactum Dairy Group expansion creates 14 new jobs

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

 

  • Coalition Government invests $1 million in Pactum Dairy Group expansion
  • $18 million project will boost exports and create 14 new jobs in Shepparton
  • Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund is building a better Shepparton

Fourteen new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group, as the benefits of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund continue to flow through to the local economy.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Shepparton today to announce the Coalition Government would invest $1 million to support an $18 million expansion at Pactum Dairy Group.

The expansion will create 14 new full-time jobs, many more in the supply chain, and boost UHT milk exports to Asia.

The $18 million investment, which includes the installation of new filling lines, processing lines and associated infrastructure, will enable the company to process an additional 50 million litres of UHT milk per year, for a total of 200 million litres of UHT per year.

The Coalition Government’s $1 million investment will be provided through the Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, and follows an earlier $950,000 investment to support a $60 million expansion at the Shepparton site which created 52 full-time jobs.

Mr Ryan said the additional processing capacity from this latest investment would enable Pactum to meet the ever increasing demand from Asia for Australian milk products.

“Asian countries, particularly China, have an insatiable thirst for Australian dairy products,” Mr Ryan said.

“Our reputation for producing high quality, clean, green dairy products, including UHT milk, make our products a must for the growing Asian middle-class.

“Pactum Dairy Group has been able to capitalise on our great reputation, with 75 per cent of its existing sales occurring overseas.

“Since beginning production earlier this year, Pactum has received strong interest from Asian countries to ship more of its product more often, which has meant this $18 million investment had to be fast-tracked to keep up with demand.

“The Coalition Government is a proud supporter of Pactum as it continues to grow and we are pleased to invest $1 million to support this $18 million expansion.

“A strong Pactum Dairy Group benefits local farmers and creates more jobs for locals and we look forward to continuing our strong association with the company over the coming years.”

Mr Barr welcomed the investment and said the pace of growth at Pactum was astonishing.

“Pactum’s rise has been truly remarkable, growing from nothing to be in a position to employ more than 65 locals and supporting many more workers in the supply chain and on-farm,” Mr Barr said.

“This investment is proof that food processing and manufacturing has a bright future here in Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley, and I applaud the Coalition Government for not only recognising that, but investing significantly to assist it.

“To have a strong and sustainable local economy, we need companies like Pactum to continue to invest locally.

“I am confident that it will not be too long before Pactum is considered right up there alongside other major Goulburn Valley companies such as SPC and Campbells as a major regional employer.”

Mr Barr said today’s announcement was the second project to be funded through the $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund.

It follows last month’s $1.37 million investment to enable Ryan Meat Company in Nathalia to undertake a $5.5 million expansion that will create 70 new full-time jobs and boost exports of lamb from the region.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

New centre for sexual assault victims underway

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014

 

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

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

On site on Friday to turn the first sod for the Morwell Multidisciplinary Centre (MDC), Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said the facility would provide an invaluable resource to victims of sexual assault and those caring for them.

Mr Ryan said the $4.8 million centre, funded by the Victorian Coalition Government, would provide counselling, crisis support, child protection services and also house Victoria Police’s Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team for adults and children who had experienced sexual assault and abuse.

“By co-locating police, child protection and specialised counselling and nursing services together at the one site, staff can work hand-in-hand to provide integrated support to adults and children,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having all of these services at the Morwell MDC will prevent the need for victims to repeatedly recount the details of their often horrific experience as they seek help and support.”

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

Mr Northe said the MDC would also ensure that perpetrators of sexual assault were held accountable for their crimes.

“The Coalition Government is committed to preventing violence from happening, holding perpetrators to account and making sure there is support for women and children,” Mr Northe said.

“Having met with all of the service providers that will be located in the MDC, I am pleased that our government has committed $4.8 million to not only assist those affected by sexual assault, but also to work towards its prevention.”

Mr Northe said the centre was being delivered as part of a $20 million package through Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence against Women and Children 2012-15, which included building three additional MDCs across Victoria.

Mr Northe the Coalition Government had invested more than $200 million this year to address family violence through a range of measures, including the Morwell MDC.

“Once the centre is complete, it will be one of six operational MDCs across the state offering vital services to victims of sexual crimes,” Mr Northe said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Record investment by Napthine Government to prevent family violence

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights of the $150 million package include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Regional Growth Fund delivers jobs for Toora

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014

 

  • Ryan and O’Brien announce $1.5 million investment for ViPlus dairy at Toora
  • Victorian Coalition Government’s investment supports $50.4 million expansion
  • Expansion will create 45 new full-time jobs and boost exports of powdered milk

Forty-five new jobs will be created in Toora with ViPlus dairy announcing on Friday it will embark on a $50.4 million expansion that will boost production of high quality locally produced dairy products for the export market.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien in Toora on Friday to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $1.5 million to support the expansion.

The Coalition Government’s $1.5 million investment will be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, and is the 38th project to be supported by the Regional Growth Fund in South Gippsland.

Mr Ryan said the ViPlus factory at Toora manufactured milk products, including infant formula and milk powders, and was one of only four Australian companies accredited to export infant formula to China.

The $50.4 million expansion will enable ViPlus Dairy to manufacture new product lines locally, including UHT milk and ice cream, and produce infant formula from raw milk.

Mr Ryan said the expansion would include the installation of a spray dryer and pre-treatment infrastructure, a milk powder canning facility and UHT plant.

“Thanks to this investment , ViPlus Dairy will boost production at the plant from 10,000 tonnes of milk products produced per annum to 30,000 tonnes of milk products produced per annum,” Mr Ryan said.

“This will create 45 new full-time jobs here in Toora, which for a town of this size will deliver major economic benefits to the community.

“A further 70 jobs will be created during the project’s construction phase, another win for Toora and South Gippsland more broadly.

“It will also provide strong support to local dairy farmers who supply the factory, and create even more new jobs on-farm and in supply chain businesses across the region.”

Mr Ryan said he was thrilled to see the scale of investment here at Toora.

“It was little over a decade ago that we were dealing with the closure of this factory and the subsequent jobs losses, and for many that was the end of dairy processing here in Toora.

“To think then that we would be standing here today just 12 or so years later announcing a more than $50 million expansion is truly quite remarkable.

“This investment reinforces why we as The Nationals, in Coalition Government, fought so hard to secure the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“We are leveraging the money set-aside in the Regional Growth Fund to secure investments such as this here at Toora. Through the Regional Growth Fund, we are working with companies like ViPlus Dairy to encourage them to invest and create new jobs in regional and rural Victoria.

“I am so very proud to be here today in my own electorate alongside Danny O’Brien, the South Gippsland Shire Council and ViPlus Dairy to announce this exciting project.”

Mr O’Brien echoed Mr Ryan’s comments and said another exciting part of the investment was the significant water saving initiatives to be implemented, including the construction of a wastewater recycling plant.

“The wastewater treatment will allow up to 70 per cent of the water used here to be recycled for use within the plant, and for 100 per cent of the site’s wastewater to be treated so that it is suitable for irrigation,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The plant will also be powered by a gas fuelled co-generation system that will produce 1 megawatt of electricity and thermal energy, reducing the boiler steam load and pressure on the grid.”

Mr O’Brien said the investment continued the Victorian Coalition Government’s ongoing support for local dairy processors through the Regional Growth Fund, which included a $1.5 million investment to support a $22 million expansion at Burra Foods in Korumburra, and a $1.5 million investment to support a $22 million expansion at Murray Goulburn in Leongatha.

The $50.4 million expansion will be completed by 2016.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0429 921 404

Deputy Premier announces $1.6 million for children’s hub at Korumburra

* * - Monday, October 13, 2014

 

  • New children’s hub to provide 120 kindergarten places at Korumburra
  • $5.3 million project to provide a range of children’s services at one location
  • Victorian Coalition Government supporting families in South Gippsland

South Gippsland families will have improved access to kindergarten, maternal and child health and childcare with a Victorian Coalition Government investment of $1.6 million in the Integrated Children’s Centre at Korumburra.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan said for the growing number of young families in Korumburra the new $5.3 million centre would provide a range of children’s services all under the one roof.

Mr Ryan said the new centre will provide 120 kindergarten places, giving children access to the learning so vital to their early development.

“Parents and carers of young children will be able to come to the centre and access advice and support from maternal and child health, kindergarten and childcare services,” Mr Ryan said.

“The centre will enable a smooth transition from kindergarten to childcare which will be a blessing for working parents.

“The centre will also provide after school care programs and rooms that will be available for the local community to use, and for vocational education and training opportunities.

“For the many families juggling the pressures of raising children with study or work, the Integrated Children’s Centre will go some way to ease the stress by providing streamlined services.”

Mr Ryan said that the South Gippsland Shire had provided land and $2 million for the project. The community of Korumburra had raised $100,000 and the Federal Government was expected to contribute $1.6 million.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien said investing in early years infrastructure was part of the Coalition Government’s plan to make Victoria a world leader in children’s learning and development.

“Victoria already leads the nation in early childhood education and care, and by improving access to services, we are making regional Victoria an even better place for families to raise their children,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Bringing children’s services together in an integrated centre makes sense for families – it’s more convenient and allows for a child’s progress to be better supported as they grow.”

The Karmai Community Children’s Centre Committee Vice President Rebecca Marriott said the integrated hub would bring together Korumburra kindergarten and Birralee childcare centre.

“The committees have already joined to form Karmai Community Children’s Centre and are celebrating the announcement,” Ms Marriott said.

“For the past six years, with the support of the South Gippsland Shire Council, we have been working to make this project a reality for local families.

“This hub will meet the future demand for children’s services in the growing Korumburra community.

“This will mean better outcomes for families, who will have integrated support for their children.

“The children will have access to world’s best childcare practices. We are setting children up for learning for life.

“It will also mean children who attend kindergarten can make a seamless transition to childcare. Younger children in care will be reunited with older siblings attending afterschool care programs.

“For women in Korumburra wanting to participate in the workforce, this will make a real difference.

“This makes the township of Korumburra an even more attractive place to live.”

The hub will be built by December 2015.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0429 921 404

Deputy Premier visits True Foods

* * - Thursday, October 09, 2014

 

  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $500,000 in True Foods’ $5.5 million relocation project
  • New facility has created 250 jobs in Maryborough
  • Project is helping drive local investment and boost the regional economy

True Foods‟ relocation from Melbourne to Maryborough has created 250 new local jobs, with the company quickly becoming one of the region‟s largest employers.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan visited True Foods today to meet with the company and its workers to discuss the move ahead of the final payment from the Victorian Coalition Government‟s $500,000 investment which supported the relocation.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, said the Coalition Government was a proud supporter of the relocation, which is bringing more people to regional Victoria.

“True Foods‟ relocation from Braeside to Maryborough can only be described as a win-win for the region and Victoria-at-large,” Mr Ryan said.

“It has helped this great company grow, boosted sales and delivered 250 new jobs for Maryborough.

“It has also meant 34 families have packed their bags and left Melbourne for a better life in regional Victoria, growing Maryborough‟s population while at the same time relieving pressure on a growing Melbourne.

“The Coalition Government is committed to working with companies such as True Foods to ensure that if they are looking to relocate, they relocate to regional Victoria.

“That is why we have implemented initiatives such as our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is investing in our regions to grow business and jobs, and our successful Regional Victoria Living Expo and „Good Move‟ campaign, which is encouraging Melburnians to choose a life in regional Victoria.

“It is why we are rolling-out natural gas to 18 new regional communities, communities Labor said they would never connect.

“These investments are making regional Victoria a more attractive place to do business, which is benefiting all of us who live outside of Melbourne.”

Mr Turner said he was proud to be part of a Coalition Government team which was delivering wins for this region.

“We need jobs and investment in our region and projects such as this are strongly welcomed,” Mr Turner said.

“I also applaud both True Foods and the Central Goldfields Shire Council who provided considerable help in relocating these 34 families by finding jobs for partners, locating accommodation and accessing education.

“The economic and community benefits from such a large injection of new residents is significant for our region.”

Ms Staley passed on her support and said the company had demonstrated its commitment to becoming part of the local community.

“True Foods is supporting local schools through breakfast programs, fruit bowl programs and literacy programs,” Ms Staley said.

“True Foods also supports the local arts scene and the schools-based RACV Energy Breakthrough Challenge, and provides free products to the Salvation Army and Avoca Food Bank for distribution to local people in need.

“The great work being done by True Foods here in Maryborough is a wonderful return on the Coalition Government‟s investment.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Labor will cut the country

* * - Monday, October 06, 2014

 

  • Labor’s pamphlet reveals it will cut funding to country Victoria by $1.936 billion
  • Labor copycats policies which are already in action
  • Labor puts up token spending to cover massive cuts

Labor’s pamphlet, released today, reveals Labor will cut funding for country Victoria by at least $1.936 billion, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said today.

“Labor’s claims it will spend $200 million on regional jobs, $1 billion on regional roads over eight years, and reinstate its token Regional Infrastructure Development Fund are token offerings to disguise huge cuts in the country,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor steals your wallet then offers you one of your own stolen banknotes as a distraction.

“In the next term of government, Labor, if elected, would cut the Regional Growth Fund ($500 million); cut the Murray Basin Rail Project (up to $220 million); cut up to three quarters of the roads maintenance budget ($1.5 billion); and cut the Country Roads and Bridges program ($160 million).

“It would return a token $200 million for a regional jobs fund, far less than the $500 million the Coalition has already set aside in the Regional Growth Fund – which Labor has said it will axe. The Regional Growth Fund has already invested more than $440 million in 1,600 projects, generating $1.8 billion of investment and 5,000 jobs in regional and rural Victoria.

“Labor’s pledge to spend $1 billion on regional roads over eight years equates to $125 million a year – up to a 75 per cent cut. This year, the Coalition invested $500 million in roads maintenance.

“Labor has said it would reinstate its token Regional Infrastructure Development Fund, which its glossy brochures tell us invested just $61 million a year – $611 million over a decade – so that’s $244 million over the next term of government.

“That’s a $2.38 billion cut from the country and $444 million offered as a replacement – Labor cuts the country by $1.936 billion,” Mr Ryan said.

“Furthermore, Labor’s copycat regional jobs ‘policies’ released today are already reality under the Regional Growth Fund, which Labor aims to axe.

“Labor says it will set up Regional Business Centres and Regional Cities Clusters to ‘provide expert advice and assistance to businesses looking to expand or relocate to regional Victoria’.

This is already done under the Regional Growth Fund.”

Regional Development Victoria already manages 18 regional offices which ‘facilitate investment, jobs and exports, creating a local contact point for businesses, council and community groups’.

RDV also has a Business Engagement Team which ‘engages with Victorian regional businesses to promote the development of sustainable industries that are growth orientated and export focussed’.

“Labor has refused to commit to the Murray Basin Rail Project, worth up to $220 million, which will transform the way goods are transported in western and northern Victoria, creating countless jobs and huge opportunities for business and exports,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor has also refused to commit to the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program.

“Labor will cut the country by $1.936 billion, print a glossy brochure and try to fool regional Victorians into believing it invests in the regions.

“Labor will cut the country.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

St Thomas leads the way in sustainability with Coalition Government grant

* * - Monday, October 06, 2014

 

  • Energy Efficiency Program grants $10,000 to St Thomas and Nambrok Denison primary schools and Gippsland Grammar
  • Schools to minimise waste, save energy and reduce environmental footprint
  • More than 1,200 schools taking part in ResourceSmart program

Students at St Thomas Primary School in Sale are set to become Energy Captains with a $10,000 grant to assist in an audit of the school’s energy consumption.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced St Thomas Primary School was among three local schools and more than 200 state-wide to receive funds in the latest round of the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2014 Energy Efficiency Program.

Gippsland Grammar and Nambrok Denison Primary School were also successful applicants for this round of funding, receiving $10,000 each.

“This program gives schools the opportunity to minimise waste, save energy and water and reduce their environmental footprint,” Mr Ryan said.

“Students and teachers at St Thomas have already been implementing measures to make their school environment more sustainable, including the building, planting and maintaining of a vegetable garden.

“They have also built a chicken coop and are responsible for taking care of the chickens, feeding them food scraps and collecting their eggs.”

Mr Ryan said the funding would allow students and teachers to undertake additional energy saving initiatives.

“They will start measuring energy consumption giving them a clearer picture of the school’s overall environmental footprint and strategies on how to reduce it,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is a way of teaching students about sustainability in a practical way.”

St Thomas Primary School principal Jason Slattery said the grant would build upon the sustainability measures already implemented at the school.

“The grant will allow us to purchase energy measuring devices that will allow the students to act as Energy Captains,” Mr Slattery said.

“The students will be able to predict and then see how much energy we are using at the school.

“The students will then be able to conduct an energy audit on the school and develop ways to cut back on our energy use.

“The funding will also be used to replace our old lighting with new energy efficient light bulbs.”         

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien said educating children about sustainable practices helped them develop the knowledge and skills to contribute to a more sustainable Victoria.

“The Coalition Government is committed to encouraging Gippsland schools to do their bit to create a more sustainable, cleaner and safer Victoria,” Mr O’Brien said.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said there are now more than 1,200 schools participating in the ResourceSmart program.

“Victorian schools participating in the program are cutting their costs by a total of $1.3 million each year,” Mr Smith said.

For more information about the Resource Smart Victorian Schools visit: www.resourcesmartschools.vic.gov.au

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404


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