Press Releases

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 

Regional Growth Fund support to complete Morwell Town Common redevelopment

* * - Friday, March 21, 2014
  • New pathways, play area, seating, BBQ, landscaping and carparking for Morwell Town Common
    • Victorian Coalition Government contributes $250,000 
  • Coalition Government building better public spaces for local communities

A new play area, pathways, seating, barbeque and picnic tables will be installed at the Morwell Town Common as part of a $375,000 redevelopment project, which is receiving support from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Speaking at the project site today alongside Member for Morwell Russell Northe, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan announced the Coalition Government would invest $250,000 to complete the project.

“As well as the new park infrastructure, extensive landscaping will also be carried out including re-vegetation, development of new sensory features and planting of shade trees in existing playgrounds,” Mr Ryan said.

“The funding will also be used to complete construction of the western car park, off Chapel Street, further increasing accessibility to this much loved facility.”

Mr Northe said he was extremely proud that The Nationals, as part of Coalition Government, were able to deliver this important community project.

“For almost a decade local organisations, including Advance Morwell and the Rotary Club of Morwell, have called for improvements to the Morwell Town Common and for years the former Labor Government failed to fund it,” Mr Northe said.

“The Coalition Government, through our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, is delivering for Morwell and Latrobe Valley families and businesses.

“Through the Regional Growth Fund we have so far invested more than $16 million to support over 50 projects across the Latrobe Valley, leveraging almost $50 million in total investment.

“This includes the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, which has so far invested around $10 million and created almost 400 new jobs.”

Mr North said the Morwell Town Common project would be managed by funding partner Latrobe City Council, which contributed $125,000.

He said works would be carried out between school holidays to ensure minimal disruption to park users, with the project scheduled to be completed by June 2015.

Mr Ryan said the project was another example of the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund working in partnership with local government to invest in important local infrastructure projects.

“The Regional Growth Fund is creating new jobs and delivering much needed infrastructure in regional communities by investing in projects that may otherwise not have come to fruition,” Mr Ryan said.

“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.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Big opportunities for small communities on agenda

* * - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  • More than 200 leaders from local government, community and business set to attend Rural Summit 2014 at Nhill 
  • Saul Eslake is the keynote speaker on Rural economies – a global perspective. 
  • Victorian Coalition Government building stronger rural communities

More than 200 leaders from across local government, community and business will visit Nhill later this month to explore new opportunities to grow Victoria’s rural communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Rural Summit, an initiative of Rural Councils Victoria, supports country people to make big differences in their communities.

Mr Ryan said the Rural Summit 2014 would be held at the Nhill Memorial Community Centre on 27 and 28 March, with community and business leaders encouraged to attend.

“This year’s theme is: Small Communities, Big Opportunities – Facing the Future and Embracing Change,” Mr Ryan said.

“Delegates at the Summit will hear from high profile economist and media commentator Saul Eslake, chef Stefano De Pieri and Chairman of the Kaiela Institute Paul Briggs, who will discuss matters such as Aboriginal heritage, economic development and tourism.

“Other topics include corporate farms, the benefits of migrants to rural communities and a showcase of rural councils’ innovative programs.

“These are all important components of making rural Victoria more liveable for the people who already reside there, and also for making it more attractive to those looking to relocate from the city.”

Mr Ryan said the Rural Summit 2014 was supported by the Victorian Coalition Government through its $3.3 million Networked Rural Councils program.

“As the voice for Victoria’s rural councils, Rural Councils Victoria advocates for sustainable, liveable and prosperous rural communities and delivers projects which provide support and solutions on issues faced by the state’s 38 rural councils,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is focused on rural Victoria and we work closely with Rural Councils Victoria on a wide-variety rural issues.

“The Coalition Government assists regional and rural Victoria through initiatives such as the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund that supports stronger and more sustainable regional and rural communities by building their capacity to drive development in the regions.

“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.”

For more information about the Summit and to book your seat go to http://www.ruralcouncilsvictoria.org.au/home/events/rural-summit-2014 or join the Rural Summit conversation on Twitter at #RCVSummit.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 

Regional Growth Fund helps Gippsland Body Builders double workforce

* * - Wednesday, March 05, 2014


• Regional Growth Fund invests $150,000 to double workforce of local manufacturing business
• Expansion creates 10 new skilled manufacturing jobs in Drouin
• Victorian Coalition Government continues to build for the future


Gippsland Body Builders (GBB) will expand and diversify with the help of a $150,000 investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood announced today.

In Drouin representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Blackwood said the funding would help the company complete a $655,000 expansion, doubling the company’s workforce to 20.

As part of the expansion, GBB will relocate to a new site in Drouin and invest in new manufacturing plant and equipment to boost production and productivity.

“GBB specialises in manufacturing tipping bodies ranging from rigid tippers to road train semi-trailers in steel and aluminium,” Mr Blackwood said.

“The company is renowned for its quality of workmanship and attention to detail to produce some of the most efficient grain carrying B Double trucks in Australia.

“GBB produces transport options with greater payloads, creating productivity benefits for road transport operators.

“Upgrading its business will allow the company to expand and produce trailers for the Australian mining and construction sectors, as well as enter the Queensland, WA and SA agricultural transport equipment markets.”

Mr Blackwood said the project would provide a boost for manufacturing in Gippsland and continue to position the region as a high tech and innovative provider of transport solutions.

“Installing state-of-the-art equipment will boost GBB’s manufacturing capability, creating skilled employment for seven boilermakers, two spray painters and a store person,” Mr Blackwood said.

Mr Ryan said the $655,000 project was being funded through the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with the balance of funding being provided by Gippsland Body Builders.

“The Regional Growth Fund invests in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”

For more information about the Regional Growth Fund visit www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-growth-fund 

Victorian Coalition Government invests in future of the Goulburn Valley

* * - Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Goulburn Valley Industry and Employment Plan launched in Shepparton

Regional Growth Fund’s $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund opens for business
Goulburn Valley Fruit Growing Industry Roadmap launched


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today made two important announcements for the Goulburn Valley.

Speaking at the Eastbank Centre, Mr Ryan launched the Goulburn Valley Industry and Employment Plan and also declared the $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund open for applications.

Mr Ryan said the Goulburn Valley Industry and Employment Plan set out strategic approaches to leverage new industry, trade, investment and employment opportunities.

“Food production and food processing have a strong future in the Goulburn Valley and this plan will implement a long-term strategic approach to manage structural change in the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“The region produces 90 per cent of Australia's processed fruit and has trade links with domestic and international markets, including expanding premium food markets in Asia.”

MP for Shepparton Jeanette Powell welcomed the announcement.

“These strong domestic and international trade links have helped employment in agriculture and related manufacturing in the Goulburn Valley increase by 16 per cent in the last 10 years,” Ms Powell said.

“An independent Transition Committee made up of local stakeholders will oversee delivery of actions from the plan.”

Mr Ryan declared the $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund open for applications.

“The new $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund fund will directly support business and industry to create jobs and boost productivity. The fund is now open for interested businesses and industry to apply,” Mr Ryan said.

“This fund forms part of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which supports local initiatives that create jobs and investment in regional and rural Victoria.

“To date, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1,350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”

Ms Powell said recent Regional Growth Fund investment in the Goulburn Valley includes $250,000 to help create 52 full-time jobs within three years at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton and boost company sales into Asia.

“Through the Coalition Government’s investment attraction and local strategic planning, we will make sure the Goulburn Valley makes the most of future opportunities for the benefit of all Victorians,” Ms Powell said.

The event was also attended Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, who launched a major local agricultural industry initiative – the Goulburn Valley Fruit Growing Industry Roadmap.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer ben.bulmer@minstaff.vic.gov.au 0437 547 731

Regional Growth Fund connects Koo Wee Rup to natural gas

* * - Friday, February 28, 2014

• Over 1300 Koo Wee Rup homes and businesses to benefit from natural gas
• $5.25 million Victorian Coalition Government investment supports roll-out
• Regional Growth Fund is delivering for regional and rural Victoria


More than 1300 homes and businesses in Koo Wee Rup will be able to save on their energy costs, as Koo Wee Rup joins the list of towns set to receive a piped natural gas connection with support from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined Member for Bass Ken Smith in Koo Wee Rup today to announce it would be the latest town to receive a natural gas connection.

Mr Ryan said the connection would be made with $5.25 million in Coalition Government support which was funded through the $100 million Energy for the Regions Program, a component of the Regional Growth Fund.

“The Coalition Government has reached an agreement with distributor Envestra Limited, that will see more than 1300 homes and businesses in Koo Wee Rup connected to Victoria’s natural gas network,” Mr Ryan said.

“As part of the roll-out, Envestra will oversee the construction of approximately 14 kms of supply pipeline and at least 10 kms of reticulation mains to supply natural gas to Koo Wee Rup. Work will start before May this year.

“Koo Wee Rup is the sixth town where an agreement has been struck for connection to natural gas under the Energy for the Regions Program, something Labor said couldn’t be done.”

Mr Smith welcomed the announcement and said the arrival of natural gas in Koo Wee Rup would mean that households could make savings on their energy bills, especially through the use of gas for heating, cooking and hot water.

“Lower energy costs are also good news for local businesses, with the opportunity for business operators to grow and for new businesses to be established in Koo Wee Rup,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Ryan said the $100 million Energy for the Regions Program was the Coalition Government’s four-year plan to deliver natural gas to key towns in regional and rural Victoria.

“We remain committed to connecting natural gas the remaining priority towns including Invermay, Lakes Entrance, Maldon, Marong, Orbost, Heathcote, Terang and Warburton,” Mr Ryan said.

“These communities, as well as a number of others along the Murray River, are in line to be connected to natural gas using alternative delivery solutions such as CNG and LNG, as part of the $85 million Request for Tender which was announced in September.”

Mr Ryan said connecting natural gas to communities in circumstances where the previous Labor Government had said it was unviable to do so was another example of how the Regional Growth Fund was delivering for regional and rural Victoria.

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment,” Mr Ryan said.

“Without the support of the Regional Growth Fund many of these job creating investment projects may not have come to fruition, and certainly wouldn’t have under a Labor government.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

ben.bulmer@minstaff.vic.gov.au 

Superb herbs: Regional Growth Fund grows Freshzest

* * - Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Regional Growth Fund helps expand local herb supplier
  • Project creates five new jobs and secures an additional 35
  • Freshzest’s annual turnover increases by $1.3 million a year as it continues to supply supermarkets

The Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is helping to grow herb producer Freshzest, by investing $40,000 into an expansion of the business.

In Pound Creek near Leongatha, Deputy Premier and Minster for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Freshzest expansion meant five new jobs and an extra $1.3 million a year in turnover for the company.

“We are proud to invest $40,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund towards this $240,000 project, with Freshzest providing the balance,” Mr Ryan said.

“The company will expand its cool room, packing facility and office; upgrade food handling and quality control, upgrade electrical infrastructure and relocate and expand staff amenities.

“The Coalition Government helped convince Freshzest to invest in South Gippsland in preference to the company’s other location in NSW.

“Freshzest estimates this expansion will create a further five jobs, boosting the company’s number of local employees to approximately 40.

“Freshzest has used local suppliers in construction, electrical, refrigeration and other trades to complete this expansion.”

Mr Ryan said the Regional Growth Fund continued to invest in community-led projects which helped to strengthen regional economies.

 

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”

In South Gippsland Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $13.1 million to 32 projects, leveraging about $59.3 million in total investment. Those projects include:

  • $1.5 million for Burra Foods’ $21.96 million Infant Formula Water Initiatives in Korumburra
  • $250,000 for the $350,000 Venus Bay Shared Pathway project
  • $730,415 for the Lower Franklin Road Rehabilitation project in Foster.

Media contact: Les White    0409 805 122             les.white@minstaff.vic.gov.au 

Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund helps grow local manufacturing business

* * - Thursday, February 27, 2014
  • Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund invests $150,000 to ensure expansion of local manufacturing business
  • Expansion creates nine new skilled manufacturing jobs
  • Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund is part of $1 billion Regional Growth Fund

The workforce of a Latrobe Valley manufacturing business will almost double, thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, part of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

In Trafalgar today, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said Australian Trailer Manufacturers (ATM) would expand to a new, bigger site in the town, boosting its workforce to 20 as nine new skilled manufacturing jobs were created.

“The new, state-of-the-art workshop will contain eight work bays for pre-fabrication and manufacturing of trailers, meaning ATM can work faster and more efficiently,” Mr Ryan said.

MP for Narracan Gary Blackwood welcomed the announcement.

“The design of the new workshop will limit heavy lifting. Each trailer will remain in a single bay through the entire building process, whereas at the old premises, trailers had to be moved around to different areas in the workshop for different stages of the process,” Mr Blackwood said.

“The relocation and expansion will create at least another nine highly skilled manufacturing jobs, bringing the total number of employees at the company to 20.”

Mr Ryan said the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund had invested $150,000, with the balance of the $922,000 project being provided by Australian Trailer Manufacturers.

“The Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund helps Latrobe Valley companies reposition themselves for sustainable long-term growth,” Mr Ryan said.

“The LVIIF is part of our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.

The  Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $365 million to support over 1250 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.5 billion in total investment.

In Baw Baw Shire the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $9.5 million to 41 projects, leveraging more than $35.5 million in total investment. Those projects include:

  • $1.2 million for the $12.7 million Leisure Centre project
  • $460,000 for the $996,000 Flavorite Water Efficiency project
  • $100,000 for the $200,000 Phoenix Street drainage upgrade in Warragul.

Media contact: Les White    0409 805 122             les.white@minstaff.vic.gov.au 

Victorian Coalition Government supports job growth in Shepparton

* * - Friday, February 14, 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government continues to support jobs growth in the Goulburn Valley, this time helping to create 52 full-time jobs at long-life milk manufacturer Pactum Dairy Group.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced the Coalition Government would invest $950,000 to assist Pactum Dairy Group develop a new Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk processing facility at Shepparton.

Mr Ryan said the new UHT processing facility represented a $40 million investment and would enable the company to process 100 million litres of milk per year.

“This investment will generate up to $100 million worth of sales per year, with around 40 per cent being export sales to Asia, particularly to the Chinese market,” Mr Ryan said.

“The additional processing capacity will create an initial 35 new full-time jobs. As production grows the number of new full-time jobs is expected to grow to 52 within three years.”

Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell joined Mr Ryan in Shepparton today to announce the Coalition Government’s funding support towards the job creation project.

“The Coalition Government’s $950,000 contribution will assist Pactum Dairy Group to establish processing lines, connect natural gas and develop other enabling infrastructure at the site,” Mrs Powell said.

“This investment by the Coalition Government and Pactum Dairy Group is as another shot in the arm for agriculture in in the Goulburn Valley and further proof of the diversification of our local economy.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s investment was provided through two of its regionally focused job creation initiatives, including $700,000 from the Industries for Today and Tomorrow and $250,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Industries for Today and Tomorrow is designed to attract investment and assist regionally based businesses with high growth potential,” Mr Ryan said


“The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund supports local initiatives which create jobs and new investment in regional and rural Victoria, and has so far invested more than $380 million to support over 1,350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 ben.bulmer@minstaff.vic.gov.au 

Victorian Coalition Government invests $2.75 million in Bendigo Library

* * - Saturday, February 08, 2014

 

Bendigo residents can now access state-of-the-art library services, including a computer research space with free Wi-Fi, a community lounge and coffee shop, and engaging performance spaces following the completion of the $9.5 million Bendigo Library redevelopment.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was in Bendigo today to open the New Generation Bendigo Library.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had proudly invested $2.75 million towards the $9.5 million redevelopment, which included $2 million from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and $750,000 from the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program.

Mr Ryan said the redeveloped library included:

  • activity rooms for community use, a performance space, exhibition spaces for visual arts and an engaging childrens’ area to encourage early reading;
  • the new home of the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre to encourage volunteerism within the community;
  • a community lounge and coffee shop for informal gatherings; and
    meeting rooms, a computer research space and study areas with free Wi-Fi access.

    Mr Ryan said unlike the former Labor Government, the Victorian Coalition Government was investing in important community infrastructure, particularly in regional and rural communities.

    “The library has not received any upgrades or renewal works to either the interior or the exterior since opening in 1984, which meant it could no longer meet the needs of the growing community,” Mr Ryan said.

    “This $9.5 million redevelopment ensures the library can now support its 40,000 members and the wider Bendigo community for many decades to come.

    “It will also encourage a further 50,000 to 100,000 visits per year, in addition to the already impressive 500,000 visits the library receives each year.”

    Mr Ryan thanked the redevelopment project’s funding partners including the City of Greater Bendigo ($5.55 million), the Library Corporation ($1 million), Hugh DT Williamson Foundation ($100,000) and the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre ($20,000).

    “This project is another example of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund working in partnership with local government and community organisations to invest in important regional infrastructure projects,” Mr Ryan said.

    “Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $365 million to support over 1,250 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.5 billion in total investment.”

    Mr Ryan said in the Greater Bendigo City alone, the Regional Growth Fund had invested more than $13 million toward 20 projects, leveraging almost $55 million in total investment. Those projects included:
  • $3 million for the $25.8 million Sandhurst Theatre Complex;
  • $2 million for the $3.25 million Victorian Regional Exhibition Complex Bendigo (Stage 2); and
  • $300,000 for the $540,000 Central Deborah Gold Mine Ground Water Pumping and Discharge Project.

    Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 ben.bulmer@minstaff.vic.gov.au

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