Press Releases

Deputy Premier announces John Leslie Art Prize

* * - Monday, September 22, 2014

 

  • Victorian artist wins $20,000 prestigious Gippsland art award
  • Gippsland Art Gallery hosts major landscape painting prize and exhibition
  • Victorian Coalition Government is a strong supporter of the arts in Gippsland

Melbourne-based artist Shannon Smiley has taken out the prestigious $20,000 John Leslie Art Prize, presented on Friday evening by Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan at Gippsland Art Gallery.

Mr Smiley won with his painting ‘Untitled, Burnley’, which was praised by the judges for its use of contrasting elements and for its ‘equilibrium, colour and detail’.

Mr Ryan also presented Gippsland-based artist Frank Mesaric with the $1,000 prize for Best Gippsland Work for his painting ‘Figure and Cypress Pines, Denison’.

Mr Ryan congratulated each of the 35 artists whose work was short-listed for this year’s awards from over 400 entries nationwide. He thanked management and staff at Gippsland Art Gallery, Wellington Shire Council as well as gallery patron, John Leslie.

“John’s generosity and devotion to the arts and to this region are legendary,” Mr Ryan said.

“Gippsland Art Gallery is extremely fortunate to have John as its patron, and the reach and impact of the John Leslie Art Prize is a testament to that.

“The biennial John Leslie Art Prize, first held in 2000, has grown to become one of Australia’s major prizes for landscape painting, and is open to all artists living and working in Australia.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was a strong supporter of the arts, having announced in May this year it would contribute $5.5 million towards construction of the new $15 million Gippsland Art Gallery and Sale Public Library cultural and community hub.

He said the project – a partnership between the Coalition Government, John Leslie and Wellington Shire Council – would not only deliver a first class arts and cultural precinct for Sale, it would also boost the profile of the John Leslie Art Prize and Gippsland art more broadly.

“A great partnership will produce a great community outcome,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan encouraged locals and visitors to view the exhibition and, while there, to vote for their favourite art work in the People’s Choice Award.

The exhibition at Gippsland Art Gallery runs until Sunday, 23 November 2014. More information is available online at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/Enjoying-Wellington/Gippsland-Art-Gallery.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Celebrating the big difference small business makes in Heyfield

* * - Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Ryan and Bull encourage Gippslanders to buy local in the lead-up to Support Small Business Day
  • Thousands of gift cards for local small businesses up for grabs
  • Coalition Government supporting small business in regional Victoria

Gippslanders are being encouraged to buy local to support small businesses across the region in the lead-up to Support Small Business Day on Saturday 4 October.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today joined The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull at CAFÉ 3858 in Heyfield to promote Support Small Business Day.

“Businesses such as Café 3858 in George Street Heyfield, run by Jamie Riley and Zac Stamos, contribute a great deal to our local economies,” Mr Ryan said.

“Jamie, originally from Heyfield, and Zac moved to Heyfield almost four years ago, purchasing the business and bringing with them a slice of Melbourne Café culture.

“They have grown the business which can now seat around 70 people inside, with room for another 40 in their courtyard.

“Their cafe has won several awards including Best Cafe twice and Best Coffee in the Wellington People Choice Awards and they have received numerous positive reviews in newspapers such as the Herald Sun and the Age.

“Jamie and Zac are a great example of our dedicated local small businesses owners investing in our local communities and I encourage locals to continue to support them by purchasing a coffee, cake or and some of the other delicious food they have on offer.”

Mr Bull said it was important locals supported small businesses such as Café 3858.

“Local small businesses employ local staff, which creates local jobs, they purchase local goods and services and reinvest in our local communities,” Mr Bull said.

“Whenever $100 is spent in a local small business, $50 is retained in the local economy.

“Whether it is purchasing the day’s milk for coffee, bread for sandwiches, or dropping into Tryhorn Supermarket for supplies, businesses like Jamie and Zac’s Café 3858 are reinvesting in our local communities and making your dollar go further.

“Local businesses are also the first to give back to their communities by putting up their hands to sponsor local sports clubs, charities or other local initiatives.”

Mr Bull said to further encourage locals to support local small businesses in the lead-up to Support Small Business Day, the Victorian Coalition Government and Bendigo Bank had partnered to give locals the chance to win gift cards that can be spent at participating businesses.

“There are thousands of gift cards be won as part of this initiative which runs throughout the month of September,” Mr Bull said.

“I encourage shoppers and businesses to visit the Support Small Business Day website to see some of the great competitions and initiatives which are on offer.

“Last year more than 4,000 small businesses and consumers participated in the inaugural event and it would be great if we could boost those numbers this year.”

Mr Bull said to participate, small businesses and shoppers across Gippsland could register at www.supportsmallbusinessday.vic.gov.au.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Coalition Government ensures Gippsland passenger rail services stay on track

* * - Friday, August 22, 2014

 

• $8.3 million investment to improve crossing safety on the Gippsland line
• Axle counters to be installed at 32 level crossing east of Traralgon
• Victorian Coalition Government is building a better rail network

An $8.3 million upgrade of level crossing safety on the Gippsland train line has reached an important milestone with the completion of a successful trial of newly installed axle counter technology that will ensure trains stay on track east of Traralgon.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan was joined today by The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull and The Nationals Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester to inspect the new axle counters.

“I am pleased to announce the active trial of axle counter technology here in Gippsland is a success and it will be implemented on all 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Bairnsdale,” Mr Ryan said.

“The axle counters will supersede the track circuits, currently used to detect trains at automated level crossings, which were affected by corrosion,” Mr Ryan said.

“This $8.3 million major safety upgrade will future-proof automated rail crossings on the Gippsland line, with the installation spanning 110km of track.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has invested a total of $28 million on new infrastructure on the Gippsland line over the past four years, this is in addition to the millions spent on maintenance of the line.

“We have kept our promise to the community to deliver these enhanced safety systems and will continue to prioritise safety on the rail network,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Bull said the axle counters would trigger new automated crossings with flashing lights, warning bells or boom gates.

“The axle counters detect the number of wheels on a train approaching a level crossing and compares that with the number of wheels when the train passes through the crossing,” Mr Bull said.

Mr Bull said in addition to the $8.3 million works program, automated level crossing ugrades will be undertaken at Myrtle Bank Road, Sale, Flynns Creek Road, Rosedale, and Upper Flynns Creek Road Traralgon.

“As part of the Princes Highway duplication, the Coalition Government will install traffic lights and a roundabout at Minniedale Road near Traralgon with the works to be integrated with improvements to the train line,” Mr Bull said.

“The Minniedale Road level crossing will be upgraded and fitted with axle counters, further boosting safety for rail users, motorists and pedestrians.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said axle counters would improve rail safety and reliability on the Gippsland line.

“Thanks to this investment, we will not have a repeat of the situation where corrosion affected the reliability of level crossing warning systems and required the closure of the Gippsland line for months,” Mr Chester said.

“The temporary closure reinforced the importance of the ‘Gippslander’ services east of Traralgon and I’m delighted the Victorian Government has taken further steps to reduce disruptions on the Gippsland line.”

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404 kate.lancaster@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Upgraded Bairnsdale Aerodrome provides vital transport link for East Gippsland

* * - Friday, August 22, 2014

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404 kate.lancaster@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Regional Victoria Living Expo teams with First National Real Estate

* * - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

 

  • First National Real Estate to sponsor the 2015 Regional Victoria Living Expo
  • Deputy Premier confirms dates for 2015 event
  • Expo encourages Melburnians to make the ‘Good Move’ to regional and rural Victoria

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today that the Victorian Coalition Government had secured First National Real Estate as the major sponsor of the 2015 Regional Victoria Living Expo.

Mr Ryan, who was in Wangaratta and the North East today for multiple Regional Growth Fund announcements, also confirmed the dates of the 2015 Expo, to be held over three days from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Mr Ryan said First National Real Estate’s ongoing support was further proof of the success of the Coalition Government’s Regional Victoria Living Expo, which continues to grow from strength to strength.

“First National Real Estate were a founding sponsor of the Regional Victoria Living Expo, which was first held in 2012, and I am pleased to see they are back again in 2015,” Mr Ryan said.

“I want to congratulate First National Real Estate for its ongoing commitment to the Expo and thank them for the fantastic support they have provided at each of the past three Expos.”

Mr Ryan said the fourth Regional Victoria Living Expo would build on the success of this year’s event, which attracted almost 10,000 visitors to learn more about career, housing, health and lifestyle opportunities available in regional and rural Victoria.

“Melburnians who attended this year’s Expo were either those looking to make the ‘Good Move’ to regional Victoria, whether that be a tree change or a sea change, or those simply wanting to learn more about what’s on offer in our many and varied regions,” Mr Ryan said.

“Visitors had access to 147 exhibitions including the state’s 48 regional and rural councils, prominent regional businesses, community and sports organisations and representatives from various Victorian Government agencies.

“The success of this year’s Expo has been built upon by many of our regional and rural councils who have since hosted open days, with individuals, couples and families spending a day or a weekend learning more about these communities.

“Councils to have hosted open days include Yarriambiack, Murrindindi, East Gippsland, Pyrenees, Benalla, Southern Grampians, Benalla, Swan Hill and Corangamite, providing Melburnians with the chance to meet locals and learn about the magnificent property, businesses and lifestyle opportunities available in these communities.”

Mr Ryan also encouraged regional and rural businesses and community groups to get involved in the 2015 Regional Victoria Living Expo.

“Regional businesses and community groups have plenty to gain by participating in the Expo which has become a valuable marketing tool to attract new residents to regional and rural communities,” Mr Ryan said.

“Councils, businesses and community groups can also use the Expo to attract specific professions, occupations, or businesses to their area, or to promote tourism in their region.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to growing regional and rural Victoria, and the Regional Victoria Living Expo was an example of that commitment.

“The Nationals, as part of a strong Coalition Government team, understand that when the regions prosper the whole state prospers,” Mr Ryan said.

“We will continue to support regional and rural Victoria through initiatives such as the Regional Victoria Living Expo, our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, or through our other job creating, community building initiatives.”

Mr Ryan said more information on the 2015 Regional Victoria Living Expo was available online at www.regionalliving.vic.gov.au

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Coalition delivering cheaper water bills

* * - Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government delivering cheaper water bills
  • Savings of up to $36 per year for the next four years
  • Coalition Government driving down cost of living pressures

Homeowners, tenants and landlords in Sale, Rosedale, Stratford, Maffra and Heyfield will save up to $36 on their water bills each year for the next four years thanks to the Victorian Liberal Nationals 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 Gippsland Water cutting back on office waste and unnecessary red tape.

“Gippsland households 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 Gippsland Water will provide rebates of $26 a year to all customers paying water service charges and $10 a year to customers paying water use charges.

“This means that owner-occupiers will receive a total $36 saving off their annual water bills, tenants will save $10, and landlords will save $26.”

Mr Ryan said all residential customers of South Gippsland Water were eligible to receive the savings, which would be delivered through a yearly one-off rebate applied to all residential water customers‟ 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 budgets.

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

“Gippsland Water highlighted a number of cost saving measures, which included a reduction in the use of external consultants, better collaboration with local government and other agencies, and streamlining of internal processes.”

Gippsland Water Chairman Richard McDowell said the organisation was happy to pass on savings to its customers as it would help to ease some of the pressure on household budgets.

“We‟ve been able to identify some projects and internal processes which will have a positive impact on our bottom line through the Fairer Water Bills initiative and we will continue to examine how we do business to keep downward pressure on customer‟s bills,” Mr McDowell said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

$12 million on offer to Engage young locals

* * - Tuesday, June 24, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $12 million to help young Victorians reach their potential
  • Program initiatives include volunteering, mentoring and real life skills
  • Local organisations can apply for up to $150,000

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced that the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $12 million into the Engage program to help young Victorians build skills needed for life after school.

Mr Ryan said the Engage program offered grants of up to $150,000 to local community organisations and councils to help young people become more involved with their local communities.

“The funding will support organisations and councils to deliver a wide range of initiatives including volunteering and mentoring programs, and projects that boost real-life skills and connect young people to further education, training or careers,” Mr Ryan said.

“Through these projects, young people have the opportunity to become more connected to their community, become engaged in education, training and career pathways and have an opportunity to build their networks.

“The program provides local groups with the practical resources they need to listen, respond and create opportunities for young Gippslanders so that they can fulfil their potential,” Mr Ryan said.

“I urge local groups to submit an Engage grant application to enable them to conduct programs to engage younger members of their communities and help them to build skills that they can use in future community service ventures and employment.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s $12 million 2015 - 2017 Engage program was another example of this government’s commitment to providing young Victorians with more opportunities to become involved in their communities.

“Since 2012, more than 100,000 young Victorians have been involved in Engage, highlighting the success of the program,” Mr Ryan said.

Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith encouraged organisations to reach out to young people in the community and work with them to develop innovative projects that could be eligible for an Engage grant.

“Through this Coalition Government program, Victoria’s young people will have access to fantastic initiatives that help develop new skills and networks,” Mr Smith said.

The Engage program is part of the Coalition Government’s Youth Statement, Engage, Involve, Create that outlines its vision for young Victorians.

Applications close on Friday 1 August 2014. For more information or to apply, visit www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

New $2.7 million Australian Sustainable Hardwoods expansion opens

* * - Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Deputy Premier opens $2.7 million expansion at ASH Heyfield mill
  • Expansion creates 27 full-time jobs and secures a further 190 jobs at the mill
  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $650,000 to support expansion

A $2.7 million expansion and upgrade to Victoria’s largest hardwood saw mill, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods at Heyfield, has secured the future of the mill, provided a local alternative to imported products and created 27 new full-time jobs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien in Heyfield to celebrate completion of the $2.7 million ASH’s Value Adding/Expansion Project.

Mr Ryan said the expansion was made possible thanks to a $650,000 investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan said the project included the purchase and installation of a new horizontal finger joiner, an extension to the current finger joining and laminating facility, the establishment of a hard stand site, and new equipment for the joiner line.

“ASH currently produces a range of high quality manufactured timber products, such as window and door frames, door stiles and flooring – products which have traditionally been imported,” Mr Ryan said.

“To help ASH successfully compete against imported products, a more efficient and expanded production process was needed.

“With efficiencies now achieved, ASH is able to produce timber products locally which have previously been imported, and are in a position to begin exporting these products to international markets.

“This significant investment has secured the future of ASH in Heyfield and paves the way for further investments at the mill to achieve even greater efficiencies.”

Mr Bull said today was a great day for the employees of ASH and the local timber industry more broadly.

“Australian Sustainable Hardwoods is the primary recipient of high-quality logs in Gippsland and the ongoing operations at the Heyfield mill are critical to the viability of our forest industry,” Mr Bull said.

“This significant investment not only created 27 full-time jobs and six new indirect jobs, but also secured the jobs of ASH’s existing 190 employees.

“The investment is also a major win for businesses in Heyfield and surrounding communities who rely on a strong and profitable timber industry both directly and indirectly.”

Mr O’Brien said the investment was yet another success story for the Coalition Government’s job creating $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“The Regional Growth Fund is investing in projects right across Gippsland to create jobs, secure investment and boost innovation,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Since it was established in 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has delivered more than $400 million, generating well over $1.6 billion of total investment across almost 1500 projects.”

“This includes more than $7 million of investment in the Wellington Shire to support 40 projects and more than $23 million of total leveraged investment.

“Here in Heyfield, the Regional Growth Fund has also invested $150,000 to support the $275,000 redevelopment of Apex Park and a further $100,000 to support the $135,000 upgrade of the Heyfield section of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

New Sale Specialist School now one step closer

* * - Friday, June 13, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government committed to building a new Sale Specialist School
  • $4m provided in State Budget for planning and Stage 1 construction
  • Member for Gippsland South announces settlement of land for new school

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today visited Sale Specialist School to announce that the land purchased for the new school had now settled.

Mr Ryan said the land settlement of the four-hectare Princes Highway site in Sale’s north was an exciting day for the school community with the realisation of the new school now one step closer.

“Today’s announcement progresses the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s commitment to providing a new school for students and teachers of Sale Specialist School,” Mr Ryan said.

“In last month’s Victorian Budget, the Coalition Government provided an initial $4 million for planning and design, and to deliver stage one works.

“The total cost of the project is anticipated to be in the order of $15 million.”

Mr Ryan said the finalised land purchase and $4 million commitment from the Coalition Government meant that planning for a new school would begin shortly.

“Due to rising enrolments, the Sale Specialist School has had to expand beyond its Raymond Street campus to include a senior campus within the grounds of Sale College,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having two campuses is a less than ideal situation, however these Coalition Government commitments mean that the Sale Specialist School community can look forward to a new school in the very near future.”

While at the school, Mr Ryan presented awards to students of the leadership team, including the school and campus captains and members of the student representative council.

“It’s great to be here today to present these leadership awards and recognise the magnificent effort made by these student leaders to assist fellow students,” Mr Ryan said.

“Students who demonstrate leadership qualities while at school often go on to be strong leaders within the community, so I’m pleased that these students are being rewarded by their peers and school community.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Sale leader awarded a women’s scholarship

* * - Friday, June 06, 2014


  • Local Christina Rush awarded leadership scholarship
  • Scholarship finds leadership course worth more than $7000
  • More than 179 applicants applied to Coalition Government

Gippsland Women’s Health Service board member Christina Rush has been awarded one of 34 Women’s Governance Scholarships from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government was proud to provide opportunities for local women to enhance their leadership skills by participating in the scholarship.

Mr Ryan said since 2012, the Victorian Coalition Government had been making scholarships available to women currently serving on boards of not-for-profit organisations that receive State Government funding.

“These scholarships are intended to professionally develop women serving on community boards in order to facilitate their expansion into more senior community leadership roles,” Mr Ryan said.

“The program provides a full-fee payment for the successful applicants to undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Company Directors Course, as well as a 12 month membership of the Institute.”

Mr Ryan said the total cost for an individual to undertake the course would be more than $7,000, which can make it unaffordable for a great number of women.

“Ms Rush, of Maffra, is an active leader in the Gippsland community and is currently serving on the board of Gippsland Women’s Health Service, a position she has held since 2011,” Mr Ryan said.

“Ms Rush has a long association within the nursing and health care field and won the State Nursing Excellence and Commitment Award in 2004.”

Minister for Women’s Affairs Heidi Victoria said she was impressed by the quality of the applicants for this year’s scholarship program.

“This year the Coalition Government particularly encouraged applications from women living in rural and remote areas, from non-English-speaking backgrounds and from disability and Indigenous communities,” Ms Victoria said.

“The result was overwhelming with more than 179 applications for the scholarship program received from impressive women across Victoria from all walks of life.

“I’m delighted to see so many women from so many backgrounds taking such an interest in the Government’s Women’s Governance Scholarship Program.”

Mr Ryan said scholarship applicants were judged on their experience as a board member and the extent to which the scholarship would assist the person in attaining future leadership and board positions.

“Since the scholarship program began in 2012, almost 70 Victorian women, like Ms Rush, have taken the opportunity to undertake the important professional development course at the prestigious Australian Institute of Company Directors,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870


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