Press Releases

Regional Growth Fund delivers Bendigo’s Events & Exhibition Complex

* * - Tuesday, July 22, 2014
  • Regional Growth Fund invests $2 million for $3.38 million Events and Exhibition Centre
  • Centre means more events and visitors and tourist dollars for Bendigo
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better regional Victoria

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan today opened the new $3.38 million Bendigo Events & Exhibition Complex at the Bendigo Showgrounds.

Speaking at the Showgrounds, Mr Ryan said the project was part of the Bendigo Showground Masterplan and had received a $2 million investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund. 

“This project delivered an exhibition pavilion of more than 6000 square metres, with meeting rooms and a kitchen,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new pavilion can be used for large scale animal and agricultural events, including national and international equestrian events.

“The new centre will boost local businesses by increasing the number of events and visitors bringing their tourist dollars to Bendigo.

“The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund continues to invest in community-led projects, strategically driving jobs and investment in rural and regional Victoria. 

“Since it was established in 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has delivered almost $420 million, generating around $1.6 billion of total investment across more than 1500 projects.” 

“In Bendigo, the Regional Growth Fund has invested $14.01 million to 27 projects, leveraging $58.1 million in total investment. This includes $2 million for the $9.12 million Bendigo Library and Community Hub; $350,000 for the $430,000 Leveraging the Benefits of the Bendigo Hospital Redevelopment, and $200,000 for the $756,362 Safe Transport Space project.” 

Media contact: Les White    0409 805 122    

Labor and Jacinta Allan’s half a billion dollar blunder

* * - Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • Labor’s Jacinta Allan wrongly claims no money is allocated for the next four years of the Regional Growth Fund
  • Another serious error from Labor’s regional spokesperson
  • $500 million gaffe again shows Labor can’t be trusted to manage the economy

Labor and Jacinta Allan have humiliated themselves yet again, with a half a billion dollar blunder in their reading of the 2014-15 state budget, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said today.

Following wannabe Treasurer Tim Pallas’ inept billion dollar blunder, Ms Allan wrongly claimed there was no money allocated in the budget for the Regional Growth Fund.

On May 8, Ms Allan spoke in parliament claiming the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund was a “hoax”.

“The budget papers do not reveal one cent of the forward allocation for this $1 billion growth fund…We keep being told how it is $1 billion and how it is locked into the budget. This budget shows what a betrayal that is, because nowhere in the budget papers is it articulated that the forward estimates show a funding allocation of the next $500 million.” (Hansard, 8 May 2014.)

The money is in fact allocated under the departmental budget; Ms Allan had simply failed to correctly identify it.

“This shows us once again that Labor cannot manage money and cannot be trusted to manage Victoria’s finances,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is the MP who recently criticised the Coalition Government’s plan for free Melbourne CBD transport to the people of Bendigo, when leader Daniel Andrews had already said Labor supported the plan – Ms Allan seeming to think the people of Bendigo wouldn’t read Melbourne papers and notice the contradiction.

“One would think Ms Allan would have bothered to make sure she had her facts right before making public statements based on pure fiction. This is another serious error from Labor’s regional spokesperson.

“In addition to displaying an economic incompetence that borders on innumeracy, these matters also raise questions about honesty and judgement. I call on Ms Allan to admit her mistake and apologise for misleading the people of Victoria in State Parliament.”

This is not Ms Allan’s first embarrassing financial blunder this year.

On February 19, Ms Allan issued a media release claiming the Victorian Coalition Government blew “a quarter of a million dollars designing a stall” to promote Regional Living at the Royal Melbourne show – but once again had the facts and figures wrong; Regional Development Victoria had actually paid $165,836 for numerous initiatives promoting rural and regional Victoria.

Taxpayers should also be reminded that the Victorian Auditor General’s report into Ms Allan’s provincial spending program when Labor was last in government found there was “little supporting evidence to substantiate” where $21.64 million went.

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

Eaglehawk community confirms bright future for primary school

* * - Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday 23 June 2011

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan visited Eaglehawk today to send a clear message to the community that the Eaglehawk Primary School would stay open under the Victorian Coalition Government.

While visiting the school, Mr Ryan and Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum released the recommendations of the Scaffidihugh-Jones community consultation report into the future of the school, commissioned by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
“The consultation report includes input from the school, the school community and residents of Eaglehawk about the best way to ensure a sustainable future for the school,” Mr Ryan said.
“I am delighted to announce today that the $2 million allocated for Eaglehawk Primary School in the May Budget will support the community’s recommendations on infrastructure upgrades.

“The funding will include new toilets, upgraded information communication technology, improved heating and cooling and improved disabled access in the first instance, with additional improvements to be determined once initial work has been completed.”

Mr Ryan said the report included a number of other recommendations, including the need for:

• greater certainty around the future of the school for staff and the community;
• greater community involvement, particularly if the school becomes a community hub;
• meeting the students’ perceived higher emotional and educational needs;
• a plan to build enrolments; and
• the development of a broader curriculum and access to extra-curricular activities.

Education Minister Martin Dixon said the Victorian Coalition Government had honoured its election commitment to invest in Eaglehawk Primary School and to work with the community to secure its future.

“The previous Labor Government’s plan to close the school caused a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty for teachers, students and local families,” Mr Dixon said.

“The Coalition Government is listening to Victorians – we listened to the people of Eaglehawk, and we are investing to ensure this school stays open,” Mr Dixon said.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541


Stephanie Ryan - Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Castlemaine ambulance station will be upgraded to deliver 24-hour local ambulance coverage under a Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan, who made the announcement in Castlemaine with Shadow Minister for Health David Davis, said the Coalition would commit up to $2 million for a refurbishment of Castlemaine ambulance station to ensure it had the capacity to provide 24-hour service to the community.

“All Victorians deserve a fully-equipped ambulance service that can respond to the needs of the community, but a lack of Brumby Government funding and resources has stretched the Castlemaine ambulance station to breaking point,” Mr Ryan said.

“For 18 months now, Castlemaine ambulance station has been trialling a 24 hour roster utilising paramedic trainees, with full time staff working excessively long hours to meet local needs.

“John Brumby has refused to provide clear direction on whether Castlemaine ambulance station will receive additional staff and be permanently upgraded to 24-hours.

“The Coalition’s $2 million capital commitment to upgrade Castlemaine ambulance station and extend it permanently to 24 hours with extra staff will ensure local families have peace of mind with ambulance services around the clock.”

Mr Ryan said Castlemaine had been neglected by the Brumby Government and abandoned by the Member for Bendigo West, Bob Cameron.

“Despite overwhelming community support for more ambulance services, Castlemaine has been ignored by Labor when further resources were desperately needed,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the population of the Castlemaine area was projected to grow significantly and more resources and better infrastructure were desperately required.

“The needs of the community can’t be ignored any longer. The Coalition will ensure the ambulance station will be staffed around the clock and rebuilt to a modern standard,” Mr Ryan said.

Shadow Minister for Health David Davis said that as the recently released report by the Auditor-General confirmed, after 11 years under Labor, ambulance services in Victoria were in chaos and suffering from under-resourcing and mismanagement, particularly in regional areas.

“John Brumby and Labor have failed to manage Ambulance Victoria, and have botched the merger of Rural Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Ambulance Service,” Mr Davis said.

“It is time for action to be taken and only a Coalition Government is committed to rebuilding Victoria’s ambulance service.”

Mr Davis said the Coalition would take action to address the current disastrous state of Victoria’s ambulance service and ensure regional areas, including Castlemaine, were properly resourced to receive the services they deserved.

“In July this year the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition vowed to take action to strengthen Ambulance Victoria, with the recruitment of 340 additional ambulance staff, including 43 paramedics and six patient transport officers for the Loddon Mallee region,” Mr Davis said.

“In addition to upgrading Castlemaine ambulance station, the Coalition will upgrade Maryborough ambulance station to 24 hours and build a $630 million world-class hospital for Bendigo.

“The Coalition’s planned upgrade of the Castlemaine ambulance station reinforces our commitment to regional health services,” Mr Davis said.

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