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 

Two local show societies receive funding

* * - Thursday, April 03, 2014

  • Almost $3,000 to update Foster show jumping equipment
  • $8,543 to upgrade power, purchase urn and install speed humps at Korumburra Show
  • Gippsland show societies encouraged to apply for next round

The Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government is providing two South Gippsland show societies with funding to upgrade equipment, improve safety and continue their valuable contribution to the community.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said Foster and District Agricultural Society would receive $2,734 to purchase a set of show jumping safety cups and Korumburra Agricultural and Pastoral Society would receive $8,543 to upgrade power, purchase an urn and install two speed humps.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to supporting agricultural and pastoral show societies in the great work they do for their communities as well as showcasing the region’s agriculture industries to locals and visitors.

“Show societies play a vital role in rural and regional communities, by not only boosting local economies but providing a place for the community to come together each year and so we are pleased to provide some assistance,” Mr Ryan said.

“More than $265,000 is being provided to 45 show societies across Victoria this year through the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program, which provides grants of up to $10,000 for improving facilities that promote agriculture and arts and crafts,” Mr Ryan said.

“Societies can also apply for up to $8000 to install or upgrade showground amenities and up to $5000 for business activities such as workshops, planning and surveys.

“I would encourage all local show societies in need of upgrades to consider applying for a grant under the next round of funding.”

Foster Show Society president Noel Afflitto said he was thrilled that the grant would allow the committee to purchase their own set of show jumping cups that would improve safety for riders and horses.

“Up until now, we’ve been borrowing the cups from local pony clubs to use at our show each year, which is difficult as they often require them at the same time,” Mr Afflitto said.

“Having a strong horse presence at our show is integral and it’s important that we provide riders with the best equipment that we can.

“Now that we will have our own set of safety cups, we will be able to loan them out to other smaller organisations to assist them with their events.”

Korumburra Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s Syd White said all show patrons and competitors would benefit from the $8,543 grant.

“The installation of speed humps will prevent the road that runs through the showgrounds from being used as a thoroughfare, which will improve safety for those walking around that area at show time,” Mr White said.

“The power upgrades will take place in the cattle area and the funding will also allow for lighting to be installed, which will be handy for those setting up of a night or early morning.”

Mr White said the hot water urn would also be made available to others who used the Korumburra Showgrounds throughout the year, including the pony club and dairy expo.

Mr Ryan said the show grants were conditional on show societies providing $1 for every $2 contributed by the Victorian Government.

For more information on the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants program, visit: www.depi.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding 

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870 


Regional Growth Fund supports Gippsland Food Plan

* * - Friday, March 28, 2014

  • Deputy Premier unveils Gippsland Food Plan at Farm Wold 2014 
  • Plan supports region to capitalise on growing international demand for food 
  • Victorian Coalition Government is investing in local communities to ensure a bright future 

The Gippsland Food Plan, which sets up the region to capitalise on growing international demand for high quality food, was launched today at Farm World 2014 by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan.

Mr Ryan, who was at Lardner Park to open Farm World 2014 alongside Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood, said the Gippsland Food plan would guide the future growth of the local food industry.

“Now in its 52nd year, Farm World is Victoria’s largest regional agricultural event and includes over 650 exhibitors and attracts over 50,000 visitors from right across Australia,” Mr Ryan said.

“This fantastic event not only gives exhibitors the opportunity to launch new industry products and generate sales, but also creates industry networking opportunities.

“It is the ideal venue to launch the Gippsland Food Plan.”

Mr Ryan said the Gippsland Food Plan identified four key priorities for the future growth of Gippsland’s food industries including: 

  • promoting growth and attracting investment; 
  • enabling infrastructure; 
  • innovation and adapting to change; and 
  • advocacy and policy development. 
“The 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,” Mr Ryan said.

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

Mr Blackwood said the Gippsland Food Plan was a call to action from a region which is well positioned to take advantage of the ever increasing international demand for food.

"By 2030, the number of consumers in Asia who have access to discretionary spending will grow to 3.5 billion people, six times what it is today,” Mr Blackwood said.

“This ever growing Asian middle class will be looking for high quality and premium food products, driving up demand for Gippsland food. This comprehensive plan will position our region to fully capitalise on these limitless opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had proudly invested $250,000 to develop the Gippsland Food Plan.

“Our $250,000 investment has been provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is investing in regional and rural communities to create new jobs, investment and innovation,” 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.

“In Gippsland, it has invested $67 million to support almost 300 projects, leveraging in excess of $200 million worth of investment.

“The Gippsland Food Plan is another example of the Regional Growth Fund investing in and supporting regional and rural communities to ensure they are positioned to fully capitalise on future opportunities for growth.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Deputy Premier welcomes SPC’s $70 million deal with Woolworths

* * - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

· Deal will see SPC supply ready-to-eat fruit snacks to Woolworths
· SPC now requires extra 24,000 tonnes of Australian produce
· Great news for fruit growers and for jobs in the Goulburn Valley


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan
today welcomed news of a five year, $70 million deal between SPC and
Woolworths.

Mr Ryan said the deal means SPC will purchase an extra 24,000 tonnes of
Australian fruit, tomatoes and navy beans, requiring the equivalent of an
extra 86,000 fruit trees in the Goulburn Valley and tripling the amount of
tomato SPC supplies to Woolworths.

He said SPC would supply ready-to-eat fruit snacks to the supermarket.

“I congratulate SPC on securing this tremendous deal and I congratulate
Woolworths on showing faith in Australian produce,” Mr Ryan said.

“I also congratulate Australian consumers on showing faith in Australian
produce.

“Australian fruit and vegetables are the cleanest and greenest in the
world, grown to strict environmental regulations, and Goulburn Valley
produce is some of the nation’s finest.”

Mr Ryan said the decision showed that SPC and the Goulburn Valley had
bright futures and the Victorian Coalition Government’s decision to
co-invest with SPC had been a winner.

"This is great news for regional manufacturing jobs; harvesting jobs and
for growers, as well as for SPC and for Woolworths.

“The modern packaging and presentation of product which SPC will now
produce in partnership with Woolworths is the dawn of a new era for the
company,” Mr Ryan said.

“This sort of thinking will ensure SPC and Goulburn Valley prosper. New,
modern equipment at SPC is part of the deal with the Victorian Government,
and it has paid dividends.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government's co-investment with SPC was largely
made possible by the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which aimed to
maintain and grow regional jobs.

“Every regional Victorian business has access to the same funding programs
which produced the SPC co-investment, Mr Ryan said.

“Our co-investment had no impact on the budget, being funded from existing
programs, which is a tribute to our business and investment programs – it
shows we have the structure right.

“If we as a government had bowed to ill-conceived calls to fund the removal
of fruit trees just a few short months ago, the growers of the Goulburn
Valley would not be in a position to meet this increased demand for their
product.

“I have great faith in SPC and in the Goulburn Valley, and that faith has
been vindicated.”

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

Return of cattle to High Country approved

* * - Friday, March 07, 2014

• Liberal National Coalition pleased to see grazing trial reinstated
• Cattle to return to High Country within weeks
• Trial provides a common sense approach to dealing with Alpine bushfire risk

Planning that will see the return of cattle in the Alpine National Park to evaluate the benefits of grazing to bushfire management is now underway after the Commonwealth Government approved a strategic trial this week.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the grazing trial, that must follow strict conditions set by the federal government, would begin as soon as possible.

“The community only has to look at this bushfire season to be reminded why the Victorian Liberal National Coalition continued to push for a grazing trial that will thoroughly evaluate this practice and its suitability as a bushfire management tool,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is necessary that this trial take place to determine whether grazing reduces the risk of bushfires by removing fuel loads.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was pleased to see the federal government take a common sense approach to tackling fire risk in Alpine areas.

“A high proportion of regional Victorians support cattle grazing in National Parks to reduce the fuel load, so it’s fantastic to see that cattle will now return to the High Country,” Mr Ryan said.

“The first phase of the trial will see 60 cattle released into the Wonnangatta Valley with up to 300 released in the two subsequent grazing seasons,” Mr Ryan said.

“The trial will take place on 262 hectares of land within the boundaries of the former Wonnangatta Station, which was grazed for more than 100 years, before it was acquired as part of the Alpine National Park.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government last year exceeded the planned burning target of 250,000 hectares and was proud of the bushfire mitigation efforts it had so far undertaken.

“That figure is five times greater than when Labor was in government, which got down as low as 50,000 hectares more than once,” Mr Ryan said.

For further information, visit www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=7069

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870 stephanie.nicholls@parliament.vic.gov.au

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 

Local groups share in $26,000 to conserve the natural environment

* * - Friday, February 21, 2014

A program to treat mange in wombats and two vegetation recovery projects will share in more than $26,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Communities for Nature grants program.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Communities for Nature grants helped environmental groups to undertake practical grassroots programs that conserved local areas.

“It gives me great pleasure to provide funding to three local groups that will use the grants to carry out works in Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.

“Gippsland is a magnificent area of Victoria and I’m thrilled that these three groups, among many others, are looking after the natural environment so it can be enjoyed by locals and visitors.”

The local recipients are:

* Volunteer Group of Wildlife Carers – Treatment of mange in wombats - $14,114;

Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park – Mountain Ash Recovery project - $7,831; and

Point Smythe Co-op – Cape Liptrap Coastal Park Banksia Woodland Restoration - $4,692.


“More than 380 applications were received for this round of grants, and the high quality of applications reflects the significant works being carried out by community groups throughout the state,” Mr Ryan said.

“I congratulate these groups on their initiative and commitment to our environment and encourage other organisations throughout the electorate to access this in the future.”

Mr Ryan said the local recipients were among 115 groups across the state to share in $4.1 million of funding that would be rolled out over two years.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the Coalition Government’s most recent $4.1 million grant round delivered practical partnerships between government, community and environmental groups.

“After 11 years, Labor left Victoria’s ecosystem with a legacy of waste and mismanagement,” Mr Smith said.

“Across the life of the Communities for Nature grants program, the environment will benefit to the tune of $20 million.

“These grants are another example of the Coalition Government’s ability to deliver real and tangible support to local communities that directly benefit the environment.”

To find out more about the Communities for Nature grants, phone Mr Ryan’s Sale office on 5144 1987.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 stephanie.nicholls@parliament.vic.gov.au 

Avenue of Agriculture highlight of Show

* * - Monday, February 17, 2014

A new feature at this year’s Foster Show will shine a spotlight on the breadth of quality food produced by the Gippsland agriculture industry, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.

“The Avenue of Agriculture highlights the variety of food grown and produced in this magnificent region, much of which is sold throughout Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“Truffles, unique jams and preserves, 30 varieties of fruit and nuts and locally grown pepper and garlic are some of the foodie delights that will be available,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said it was important to recognise the contribution that local farmers made to Victoria’s economy and urged the community to support their efforts by visiting the Avenue of Agriculture this Saturday.


Mr Ryan said he was thrilled to be presenting this year’s Junior Show Ambassador awards. 

“The Junior Show Ambassador awards recognise some of Foster’s young residents that are dedicated to improving their community and demonstrate leadership among their peers,” Mr Ryan said.

“Young leaders are the lifeblood of rural communities and contribute in many ways through sporting clubs, Landcare, primary school programs and show societies so it’s fantastic to see their efforts recognised.”

He said the winner of the Junior Show Ambassador award would represent the district at the Central and South Gippsland Regional Final at Korumburra in May.

“This year’s show will celebrate 60 years of oat-filled sacks being tossed over a bar when it hosts Victoria’s longest running sheaf tossing championship,” Mr Ryan said.

“For those not familiar with sheaf tossing, it involves a competitor using a pitchfork to throw a 3.2 kilogram oat filled sack over a bar that is raised after each competitor’s ‘toss’ has successfully cleared the bar.”

Mr Ryan said it was great to see that Leon Murphy, the man who introduced Foster to sheaf tossing in 1954 was opening the 107th Foster Show.

“I urge Gippslanders to come and enjoy some of the events at the 107th Foster show on 22 February to ensure the event can be enjoyed by generations to come,” he said.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870 stephanie.nicholls@parliament.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 

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