Press Releases

Record attendance at Regional Victoria Living Expo

* * - Thursday, April 17, 2014
  • The Regional Victoria Living Expo attracted 9,638 Melburnians with a genuine interest in moving to regional and rural Victoria
  • About 2,000 people had their details electronically collected by exhibitors
  • The Expo is an ongoing Victorian Coalition Government initiative to drive population and investment into regional and rural Victoria

A new record of 9,638 Melburnians attended the 2014 Regional Victoria Living Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre last weekend, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan said the record numbers reflected growing interest amongst Melburnians to move to regional and rural Victoria, with the expo having grown steadily since beginning in 2012.

“Feedback from the 147 exhibitors at the event was that visitors this year were even more serious about relocating to country Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“Many regional councils reported that Melburnians attending had done their homework and asked very specific questions about the regions and the towns they intend to move to.

“The regional councils felt this year’s event would see the effort from the previous two years pay off as potential new country residents put the pieces in place for their move.

“Visitors asked about how to get quality jobs in their respective fields; about affordable housing, education, health and community life – questions indicating they are serious about relocating to the regions.”

Southern Grampians Shire Council Manager Economic Development and Tourism Hugh Koch said there were clear economic benefits in luring city residents to his region.

“A family moving to our region is worth around $90,000 a year to the local economy,” Mr Koch said.

“If we can get three to five families a year moving into the area, we’re more than happy with that – and the Expo is delivering that for us.

“If four families a year move for the next five years, that adds up to around an extra 1.8 million dollars into our local economy.”

Mildura Rural City Council Business Event Facilitator & Special Projects Julie Jewell said the level of interest in moving had increased in the expo visitors.

“Last year people were looking for a destination, and this year people know exactly where they want to move – we feel like it is a culmination of the three years of work we have put in, with each building on the last and becoming more targeted each time,” Ms Jewell said.

“We had 25 people keen to visit, many of whom are genuinely interested in moving.

“We really value the support from the Victorian Coalition Government and are very keen for the Expo to continue in forthcoming years.”

Ararat Rural City CEO Andrew Evans said a Smartphone App launched at the expo was already doing well.

“The App gives people access to a whole range of information about Ararat – we only made it available yesterday and we had 60 downloads by halfway through day two,” Mr Evans said.

“That’s 60 people with ongoing access to a whole lot of information about our area.”

A 2012 report found that by supporting growth in the regions we can help reduce the estimated $95 billion in cumulative congestion costs associated with expanding Melbourne’s outer-metropolitan areas over the next 20 years.

For example, the cumulative cost of providing critical infrastructure to support an additional 50,000 persons in the Regional Cities is $1 billion; this compares with inefficiency costs of $3.1 billion associated with the same number of persons being accommodated in metropolitan Melbourne.

“Basing population in the regions greatly reduces the strain on city services and infrastructure,” Mr Ryan said.

“Relocating house is a big step, and people undertaking it deserve support.”

“Exhibitors at the Expo this year provided visitors with information tailored to their needs including current job opportunities and the chance to match them up with existing or new businesses setting up in the regions.

“It also proves that the Coalition Government’s Good Move campaign, created to showcase the benefits of regional living, spurs city dwellers to genuinely consider a move to the country.

“Positive interaction between councils – promoting the best of their wares as a region – made a big difference to attracting greater interest among people genuinely interested to move.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

$80,000 in prizes on offer for best school gardens

* * - Wednesday, April 09, 2014


·        Victorian Schools Garden Awards promote biodiversity and sustainability
·        $80,000 in prizes for the best and most innovative primary and secondary school gardens
·        Coalition Government is building better education beyond the  traditional classroom

The search for Victoria’s best and most innovative school garden is on with entries for the 2014 Schools Garden Awards now being accepted.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the awards were a great way for students to learn about recycling, reducing waste and limiting their waste consumption away from a typical classroom environment.

“Over many years, these awards, run by Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria, have encouraged generations of children to get out of the classroom and into the garden to increase their understanding of biodiversity and sustainability,” Mr Ryan said.

“The awards provide schools with a way to get students out of the classroom and learn how to design, grow maintain and harvest their own gardens.”

Mr Ryan said he would be thrilled to see a school from Gippsland announced as a winner of one of the categories.

“There are four categories that encompass schools ranging from less than 100 pupils through to those who have more than 280 pupils as well as a category for secondary and P-12 (primary to year 12) colleges,” he said.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government has contributed $55,000 to the $80,000 prize pool, which includes nursery vouchers and four separate turf and installation packages.

“A new seedling grants scheme is also on offer this year to get applicant schools started with their gardens,” Mr Ryan said.

The Victorian Schools Garden Awards program is now open to all Victorian schools, public and non-government and closes on 1 August. Winners will be announced later in the year at a ceremony in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

For more information on how to enter, visit:  

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870




Gippsland Vehicle Collection celebrates 10 years of motoring in Maffra

* * - Friday, April 04, 2014

  • Gippsland Vehicle Collection celebrates 10 successful years
  • More than 70,000 enthusiasts have visited
  • Display vehicles are regularly changed over

More than 70,000 car enthusiasts have admired displays at the Gippsland Vehicle Collection in Maffra since the group first formed 10 years ago.

Speaking at the museum’s 10th birthday celebration today, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the collection provided a significant economic benefit to the Maffra community.

“In April 2004, the decision was made to try and establish a motoring museum for Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.

“The group signed a lease for this property with Murray Goulburn in December 2004 and the members set about creating a home for what would one day become the Gippsland Vehicle Collection.

“Over the following two-year period, the group raised $80,000 by holding vehicle displays and participating in the Maffra Mardi Gras to transform the facility into the magnificent collection it is today.”

Mr Ryan said the Gippsland Vehicle Collection has showcased between 70 and 120 cars and motorcycles at once and has successfully operated out of the Maffra Shed since its inception in October 2006.

“More than 70,000 visitors have visited the collection since its opening in 2006 and in 2010, it attracted 10,000 visitors in one year for the first time,” Mr Ryan said.

“The majority of vehicles in the collection are privately owned and leased or loaned to the club and this unique element allows the collection to be regularly changed to reflect a new theme, such as cars of the 1970s, Holdens, Fords, American-made or British-made vehicles.”

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said the collection is a fantastic community asset for Maffra and the wider Gippsland community.

"Having taken my own family, I can attest to what a great experience a visit to the museum is, and I encourage local residents and visitors alike to check out the collection," Mr Bull said.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Gippsland produce takes a major step forward

* * - Friday, April 04, 2014

  • Food to Asia Plan will get more Victorian food and beverages on Asian tables
  • Brings the Coalition’s support for growing state’s agricultural production and food processing sector almost $160 million 
  • Government investment has seen expansion at Burra Foods in Korumburra. 

The recent launch of the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s Food to Asia Plan will continue to benefit Gippsland by delivering a more profitable food sector and creating new and sustainable jobs.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the plan provides an opportunity for regional businesses and producers to take advantage of the rapid growth of Asia’s consumer class and their requirement for premium food and beverages.

“The plan has allowed Victoria to take a major step forward in capitalising on export opportunities in Asia,” Mr Ryan said.

“That is why the Coalition Government has committed $35.4 million to drive Victoria’s long term growth as the demand from Asia grows.”

Mr Ryan said local dairy company Burra Foods had already benefited from the Coalition Government’s investment towards their expansion project at the Korumburra plant which saw the number of suppliers double and 50 new jobs created.

“South Gippsland has rich soils, a temperate climate and reliable seasonal rainfall that enhance the strong agribusiness focus of the region,” he said.

The $35.4 million Food to Asia Action Plan will:

  • Strengthen representation of Victoria’s food sector in Asian markets;
  • Focus research and development investments on food that meets Asian consumer preferences; and
  • Deliver a Food to Asia Trade Program. 

“This plan builds on the work the Coalition Government has already undertaken to grow production and jobs in the agricultural and food processing sectors throughout Victoria and importantly Gippsland,” he said.

Mr Ryan said this plan linked in well with the Gippsland Food Plan that he launched at Farm World last Friday.

“The Gippsland Food Plan has been formulated specifically for our region and will allow us to further capitalise on growing international demand for high quality food,” Mr Ryan said.

“Gippsland’s food plan will enable local food industries to increase their contribution to the economy, whether it’s on-farm production, manufacturing and processing, or value adding.

“It will stimulate investment in Gippsland by promoting our competitive strengths and reputation for producing high quality products.”

Mr Ryan said Victoria’s food and fibre exports increased by five per cent last financial year.

“There can be no doubt that Victoria is Australia’s premier food state, it is our largest export sector and our investment will ensure this remains so well into the future,” he said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

National Youth Week events foster leadership

* * - Friday, April 04, 2014

  • National Youth Week begins April 4
  • Mirboo North year nines developing skills through leadership camp
  • Coalition Government creating opportunities for young people

The leadership skills of Mirboo North Secondary College year nines will be enhanced through an upcoming camp where students will need to work as a team to complete physical challenges.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South said the Allambee Youth Camp, organised as part of National Youth Week, will also give the year nines a chance to assist people with a disability through challenging physical activities.

“During the first session of the camp, the students will work in teams to complete a number of outdoor challenges before assisting people with a disability to undertake the same activities,” Mr Ryan said.

“The mentor students from Mirboo North will have to pass on the techniques they have learnt to their buddy so they too can successfully complete the course.

“Some of the activities the students will undertake include rock climbing, an initiative course and flying fox rides.”

Mr Ryan said Mirboo North Secondary College had partnered with Vista Support to offer the camp to its students and those with a disability as a National Youth Week event, which begins today.

About 21 young surf life savers will this weekend be put through their paces at Sandy Point as part of Surf Life Saving Victoria’s Champion Junior Life Saver Weekend, another local National Youth Week event.

Mr Ryan said the two-day camp was important because it would teach the young life savers new skills while also assessing their suitability for Life Saving Victoria’s Young Life Saver of the Year award.

“This year’s National Youth Week theme - ‘Our Voice. Our Impact’- recognises that young people do have a voice in society and if they speak out on things they are passionate about, they can make an impact on the way decisions are made in their community,” Mr Ryan said.

“Through our Youth Statement, Engage, Involve, Create, the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government ensures all young Victorians have an opportunity to get involved in education, training and employment opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the Youth Parliament program and the Rookie Reporter Partnership with the AFL were additional ways the Coalition Government was creating opportunities for young Victorians.

Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith said in partnership with the Federal Government, the Coalition Government has invested $186,000 in funding toward youth partnership programs.

“National Youth Week will feature more than 100 events for young people across Victoria, including film festivals, fashion shows and art exhibitions,” Mr Smith said.

For more events, visit  

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

It’s official! Upgraded Rosedale Outdoor Pool opens

* * - Friday, April 04, 2014

  • Rosedale Outdoor Pool officially opens after a major upgrade 
  • Victorian Coalition Government invest $835,000 for the redevelopment through $1 billion Regional Growth Fund 
  • Regional Growth Fund is building regional and rural infrastructure

The aging Rosedale Outdoor Pool has been transformed into a modern aquatic centre with the support of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was in Rosedale today to officially open the new Rosedale Outdoor Pool, which was upgraded thanks to a $835,000 Coalition Government investment.

Mr Ryan said upgrades to the Rosedale Outdoor Pool, which were designed in consultation with the local community, included an improved kiosk entry, change rooms, new toilets and toddlers pool with children’s water play feature.

He said the upgrades also delivered new seating and grassed areas, barbecue and shade shelters, plant room, concourse and edge capping to the main pool, as well as a pool hoist, ensuring the pool was accessible to people with a disability.

“This new facility is a credit to the local community,” Mr Ryan said.

“Local pools are the heart of our regional and rural communities during the warm summer months, providing a place for people to relax and socialise, exercise or escape the heat during long hot days.

“They are also the place where many children learn how to swim, and an important part of our school curriculum.

“Having strong local input into the design of this facility will ensure it meets the needs of the community long into the future.”

Mr Ryan thanked the Wellington Shire Council, who managed the redevelopment.

He said the project was another example of the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund supporting local government to build vital community infrastructure.

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $394 million to support almost 1,400 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.57 billion in total investment,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project was funded through a portion of the Regional Growth Fund which has been set aside to assist regional and rural councils deliver their community infrastructure priorities.

“By investing in local government infrastructure priorities, the Coalition Government is helping to put downwards pressure on rates while delivering much needed local projects.

“Overall, the Wellington Shire has received more from the $7 million from Regional Growth Fund to support around 40 projects, leveraging $20 million of total investment.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

Sports facility funding now open to local clubs

* * - Thursday, April 03, 2014

  • Funding to upgrade sporting facilities now open
  • New sporting/community facility funded in the last grant round
  • Interested clubs should contact their local council

Local sporting clubs and associations wanting to upgrade existing infrastructure or build new facilities are urged to contact their local shire to access funding on offer from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Coalition’s 2015/2016 Community Facility Funding Program (CFFP) was now open to fund a broad range of sport and recreation projects across regional Victoria.

“In the last round of this program, $400,000 was committed for a new community sports pavilion featuring modern change rooms and a multipurpose community space at the Yarram Recreation Reserve,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is committed to providing sporting infrastructure that meets the needs of the community and allows people of all ages to participate in sport and physical activity.

“We’re proud to continue this great initiative so even more regional communities can enjoy the benefits of getting more active more often and build a better Victoria.”

Mr Ryan said the CFFP provided a unique opportunity for councils, local clubs and communities to work together to develop proposals that make a real difference.

He said CFFP funding was available in these six categories: 

  • Better Pools – grants of up to $3 million to build new or upgrade existing aquatic centres; 
  • Major Facilities – grants of up to $650,000 to develop or upgrade major sport and recreation facilities; 
  • Seasonal Pools – grants of up to $200,000 to upgrade seasonal pools in rural, regional and outer metropolitan locations; 
  • Minor Facilities – grants of up to $100,000 to develop or upgrade local sport and recreation facilities; 
  • Soccer Facilities – grants totalling $100,000 for up to two projects are available to upgrade existing and construct new facilities; and 
  • Planning – grants of up to $30,000 to fund initiatives that assess the future sport and recreation facility needs of local communities and up to $50,000 for regional planning initiatives.

“Only Local Government Authorities are eligible to apply for funding however local clubs and associations are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest Form for Community Organisations to their council to register their interest in obtaining support,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said over the past three years the Coalition Government had invested $58 million into 382 community sports facility projects that had resulted in more than $350 million of new grassroots sporting infrastructure for Victorians.

Proposals for the current round of the CFFP close on Wednesday 16 April 2014.

For more information about the Community Facilities Funding Program please visit

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

When you post or share, It’s There For Life

* * - Thursday, March 27, 2014

• Grants of up to $30,000 available to help young people stay safe online
• Young Gippslanders urged to think twice about what they’re posting on social media
• Grant applications need to be submitted by 5pm on Friday 4 April

Gippsland community organisations with programs that educate and encourage young people to be responsible digital citizens are encouraged to take advantage of grants of up to $30,000 on offer from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government before they close on 4 April.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the grants are about working with young people to ensure that they are careful about what they say and do online.

“The successful recipients of these grants will build on the Coalition Government’s It’s There for Life campaign, which reminds young people to think twice before uploading photos or posting online,” Mr Ryan said.

“With more and more young people reporting that online posts and images posted on Facebook and Twitter have resulted in them missing out on jobs, being bullied or falling foul of the law, the Coalition Government is taking action to help young people safeguard their privacy and protect their reputations.”

An avid user of social media to promote the Coalition Government’s messages and announcements, Mr Ryan said the web has a long memory and once something was online, it could be there for life.

“Social media is a great tool, but it also has potentially damaging impacts. As young people go forward and start a career or enter into relationships their digital reputation can stay with them for life,” Mr Ryan said.

“While I am not saying don’t post comments and images on social media, I urge you to think twice before you do.”

To apply for It’s There For Life grants visit Applications close on Friday 4 April, with successful projects to be announced in June.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870  

Coalition promoting diversity through football

* * - Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Design a poster or image that promotes diversity and inclusiveness
  • Competition open to all Victorian students until Friday 23 May
  • $5,000 and tickets to an AFL game on offer

Gippsland students are encouraged to enter a new competition that will promote and celebrate cultural diversity with the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government and the AFL this week announcing a new partnership to stamp out racial intolerance.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said sport played an influential role in cultural diversity and was a fantastic way to promote inclusiveness.

“If there’s one thing that unites Victorians, it’s football. Football brings people from all backgrounds and from all regions of the state together to barrack for their teams,” Mr Ryan said.

“The One Team, One Goal – Celebrating Diversity competition launched this week encourages students to design a logo or poster that depicts diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism.

“With National Day against Bullying and Violence being recognised by today, it is a fitting time for local schools to encourage their students to participate in this competition.”

Mr Ryan said the One Team, One Goal – Celebrating Diversity competition would help students gain a full understanding of the importance of cultural diversity and the harm that can be caused by bullying and intolerance.

“The Coalition Government has partnered with the AFL to help raise awareness about the importance of inclusion and tap into the creativity of young Victorians to promote the benefits of recognising this state’s rich cultural diversity,” Mr Ryan said.

While Primary students are asked to create a poster reflecting the themes of the competition – diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism – secondary students are invited to produce a logo, with the winning design to be printed on AFL Sherrin footballs.

The winning entry in each category will receive $5,000 for their school, a football clinic with one of the AFL Australia Post Multicultural Ambassadors, 50 tickets to an AFL match during the Multicultural Round, and an opportunity to meet the Premier at Parliament House.

One Team, One Goal is now open to all Victorian school students and entries close on Friday 23 May. Enter at

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870 

Stand together and speak out about bullying

* * - Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • Bullying in any circumstance is never acceptable
  • Speaking out about bullying helps to diminish bullying
  • Everyone has the right to feel as though they belong
  • Cyber bullying has become a serious problem

Whether it’s in the classroom, on social media, via text or on the bus travelling to or from school, there is no excuse for bullying in any form.

That was the message Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan offered today when he visited Yarram’s primary school and secondary college.

Mr Ryan’s visit to the schools coincided with National Day against Bullying and Violence and National Harmony Day, which will be recognised by the schools tomorrow, Friday 21 March.

Speaking to year seven and eight students at Yarram Secondary College, Mr Ryan said this year’s National Day against Bullying and Violence theme - Bullying. No Way – highlighted that bullying was never acceptable.

“There are many forms of bullying such as excluding people from joining in, physical violence, saying things that upset the person to their face or online or sharing private or unflattering images and messages,” Mr Ryan said.

“All bullying, including cyber bullying, has a negative impact on the ‘target’ that can lead to serious health and social concerns including low self-esteem, reduced academic outcomes, social disconnect, depression and suicide.

“You cannot always judge the effect of your actions online and often messages are taken in a way that you hadn’t intended and with that are consequences that go well beyond your control.”

Mr Ryan said cyberbullying affected people of all races and girls were just as likely to be cyber bullies as boys.

“Cyberbullying can sometimes be worse than other types of bullying because the bully may be anonymous or meaner than they would be in person and the bullying can come at any time, which often leaves victims feeling unsafe in their own homes,” he said.

“With so many Australian youths saying they’ve been cyber bullied, I encourage students to think about what they are saying and the effect that it may have on other people before hitting the post or send buttons on their Facebook or phone.” 

Mr Ryan urged students to stand together and get tough on bullying by speaking up if they or someone they know is being bullied online or face-to-face.

He said those who bully others often aim to impress or intimidate bystanders and the reaction of bystanders can either support or discourage bullying from happening.

“If bystanders do nothing, this can be seen as a form of silent approval whether it’s in the yard or online, however the actions of a supportive bystander have the power to stop or diminish bullying and help the bullied student to recover from the incident,” Mr Ryan said.

“Everyone at your school, sporting club, youth group or community organisation has a right to participate in the activities they enjoy without feeling threatened or intimidated and I encourage each student to ensure this can happen in Yarram.”

In promoting Harmony Day at Yarram Primary School, Mr Ryan said the event was a day to celebrate the diversity of cultures in Australia while making everyone feel as though they belong.

 “This year’s theme ‘Everyone Belongs’ identifies that we should all show cultural respect to everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owners of the land to those who have come from many countries around the world,” Mr Ryan said.

“There are many ways to incorporate cultural inclusion into our day to day lives and it can be as simple as saying good morning and afternoon in a different language each week.”

Mr Ryan said Yarram Primary School students would tomorrow participate in a range of culturally diverse activities specific to their year level.

“To celebrate Harmony Day, I encourage you all to take a moment to think about the people who have come from more than 200 countries that have helped make Australia the great place it is today.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

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