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Our successful 98th State Nationals Conference in Benalla highlighted the important role rural and regional Victoria plays in the State’s future.

Press Releases

Coalition Government building a better Gippsland

Friday, June 06, 2014

This week’s Victorian Coalition Government 2014-15 State Budget delivers in the key areas of education, roads, tourism, business, emergency services and health, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition’s State Budget delivers improved infrastructure and services for residents and businesses throughout Gippsland to build a better, more connected Victoria.

“This Budget is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Gippsland and other regional cities and rural communities,” Mr Ryan said.

The Liberal Nationals Coalition Government outlined significant expenditure in the 2014-15 Budget that benefits residents in the Gippsland South electorate. Highlights include:

  • $5.6 million to upgrade Korumburra Secondary College;
  • $4 million for planning and stage One works at the Sale Specialist School; 
  • $5.12 million for the Leongatha heavy vehicle alternate route;
  • $14 million for regional tourism marketing to increase visitors to regional Victoria;
  • $14 million to provide small business owners with practical financial management, marketing and human resources strategies;
  • $4.7 million to upgrade the online energy price comparison tool, My Power Planner;
  • $65 million to fund bushfire management measures;
  • $29 million for the CFA to acquire 78 additional vehicles
  • $20.5 million to replace Respiratory Protection Equipment for CFA and MFB firefighters;
  • 5.5 million for practical on-ground partnership with Landcare groups;
  • An additional $3 million a year for the Boating Safety and Facilities Program, bringing total funding to $8 million annually; and
  • $1.2 billion commitment per year to Vocational Education and Training.

Mr Ryan said these investments build upon the Coalition Government’s recently announced budget initiatives. Highlights in the Gippsland South region include: 


  • An extra $130 million pumped into road maintenance, meaning that more than $500 million will be delivered in the coming year for maintaining roads - up from $384 million under Labor;
  • $73 million for a major redevelopment of Latrobe Regional Hospital, including a new emergency department with double the capacity of the current facility, a new 30-bed ward and a cardiac catheterisation laboratory;
  • $13.5 million for the rollout of new tasers to all 24 hour police stations across regional Victoria, including Sale; 
  • $34 million to expand drug and alcohol treatment services and tackle the use of illicit drugs including ice throughout the state, including Gippsland;
  • $2 million to improve wild dog control; and
  • $3 million to provide support for regional councils to assess infrastructure demand, develop business cases and manage projects.

“By rebuilding Victoria’s finances and keeping the economy strong, the Coalition Government has been able to advance key projects, including those under the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Nationals are exceptionally proud of the Regional Growth Fund, which has contributed to more than 70 projects in the Wellington and South Gippsland shires, leveraging almost $60 million in total investment.”

Mr Ryan said the local projects announced in the 2014-15 State Budget built on the Coalition Government’s significant investment in Gippsland over past Budgets.

Mr Ryan said the Liberal Nationals Coalition Government is building a better Victoria by delivering a strong budget with a record $27 billion investment in roads, rail, health and education, ensuring growth, jobs and opportunities across the state.

“This is in stark contrast to the risk that Daniel Andrews and Labor pose to Victoria’s economy and prosperity. Victorians cannot afford a return to Labor, which is more interested in kowtowing to its union mates than addressing the needs of regional Victorians,” he said.

“Only a Liberal Nationals Coalition Government can be trusted to deliver these important projects on time and within budget.”

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



Victorian Coalition Government is building a better regional Victoria

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government's 2014-15 Victorian State Budget delivers record funding to build a better Victoria by investing in the future infrastructure and services to unlock the potential and drive growth across regional and rural communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government was investing in new job-creating infrastructure projects that would deliver more efficient roads and rail, better hospitals and schools and safer communities.

"The Coalition Government is building a better regional and rural Victoria by delivering infrastructure and services that unlock the growth potential of the regions," Mr Ryan said.

"Responsible financial management means we have delivered a healthy $1.3 billion surplus and maintain our AAA credit rating, enabling us to invest more in rural and regional Victoria."

Rail Infrastructure

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government's investment in regional and rural Victoria was spearheaded by a commitment of up to $220 million to build the Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.

"The Coalition Government's Murray Basin Rail Project will transform the movement of freight across the state and unlock economic potential by delivering key country freight rail line upgrades and building the Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link," Mr Ryan said.

"An additional $209.5 million is also delivered for the maintenance of new stations, bridge, other infrastructure and the delivery of new train and bus services along the $4.1 billion new Regional Rail Link, which will transform regional passenger rail services.

"Other rail investment includes $5.8 million to improve disability access at the Geelong Station and to upgrade the bus interchanges at Moorabool Street and North Shore in Geelong, $14.3 million for a new crossing loop at Rowsley to improve rail operations on the Ballarat line and $1.3 million for planning for the Avalon Airport Rail Link transport corridor," Mr Ryan said.

Road Infrastructure

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was strongly investing in building and upgrading roads across Victoria with an extra $130 million for roads maintenance and restoration, increasing our roads maintenance investment to more than $500 million for the coming year.

The State Budget delivers key regional and rural road projects in partnership with the Commonwealth including:

  • $362.2 million to duplicate the Princes Highway from Winchelsea to Colac;
  • $86 million for the Calder Highway interchange at Ravenswood;
  • $31.8 million for the Princes Highway East interchange at Sand Road;
  • $11 million for Princes Highway East overtaking lanes; and
  • $56.2 million for the Transport Solutions initiative which delivers targeted improvement projects to reduce bottlenecks and improve transport flows in key regional areas.

The Coalition Government will also invest $12.9 million to deliver the Pioneer Road duplication.

"In stark contrast, Labor's transport plan says it will set aside just $1 billion over eight years, or $125 million a year, for regional roads – slashing regional roads spending by two-thirds," Mr Ryan said.

"The money Labor cuts from country roads will be used to pay for Melbourne level crossing removals, where 32 of the 40 promised level crossing removals are in Labor held seats."

Hospitals and healthcare

Mr Ryan said that country hospitals would share in an extra $287 million to hospital bottom-line funding over the next year alone, to treat more patients and assist more people in emergency departments.

"The Coalition Government is investing in building better hospitals and delivering more efficient services so that regional Victorians can access the best healthcare," Mr Ryan said.

The State Budget's key regional and rural health investments include:

  • $73 million for Stage 2a of the Latrobe Regional Hospital redevelopment;
  • $28million to build the new Barwon Health-North facility;
  • $14 million for the Boort Hospital redevelopment; and
  • $8.6 million for two new Prevention & Recovery Care (PARC) mental health services, at Mildura and Warrnambool.

"This new spending builds on what we have already delivered including the biggest regional hospital in Australia's history – the $630 million Bendigo Hospital; the $46.4 million expansion of the Ballarat Hospital, the $65.6 million Echuca Hospital redevelopment and the $10 million Castlemaine Hospital upgrade, and hospital redevelopments at Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang, Charlton, Numurkah, Geelong and Kilmore," Mr Ryan said.

"The regions will also share in $34.1 million to expand drug and alcohol treatment services and tackle the use of illicit drugs including ice.

"This funding boost will provide support services for over 2,000 extra people a year in rural and metro areas to respond to the growth in the use of ice," Mr Ryan said.

Education and training


Mr Ryan said regional and rural schools would share in a massive $500 million school capital investment package in the 2014-15 State Budget.

"The Coalition Government is building new schools, including $10 million Horsham College for modernisation and regeneration, $8.5 million for Geelong High School as part of $20 million commitment for a modernisation, and $7.8 for the Ballarat High School modernisation," Mr Ryan said.

"Additional to general budget spending, we're also investing $5 million over four years from the Regional Growth Fund into Year 12 retention in the regions.

"The regions will also share in $272.8 million in funding for increased support for students with moderate to severe disabilities in mainstream and specialist government schools.

"For skilling Victorians, the Coalition Government is investing $1.2 billion per year in vocational education and training. The Victorian Coalition Government is also investing $30 million in training for automotive workers," Mr Ryan said.

Food and fibre production

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government will continue to build a stronger food and fibre sector with $41 million of new initiatives in the 2014-15 Budget.

"This year's budget includes $35.4 million over four years, plus a further $6 million thereafter, for the Government's Food into Asia Action Plan to increase the volume and value of food exports into Asia, as we aim to double Victorian agricultural production by 2030," Mr Ryan said.

"The 2014-15 Budget will assist farmers in the war against wild dogs with an additional $1.8 million allocated for aerial baiting and ground baiting in North East Victoria and Gippsland.

"There is also $2.3 million to help establish a poppy industry in Victoria, and $1.6 million to deliver the Goulburn Valley fruit growing industry concessional loans package.

"The Coalition Government will also invest a further $40 million in water management initiatives which will help protect more communities from floods, tackle salinity and support the Murray Darling Basin Authority," Mr Ryan said.

Public Safety

Mr Ryan said the State Budget continues to invest in the CFA and the three highest CFA budgets in Victoria's history have all been delivered by the current Victorian Coalition Government.

"The 2014-15 CFA Budget is $457 million, $58 million more than Labor provided in its last year of office. This record investment shows Labor's 'CFA budget cuts' mantra is an outright lie," Mr Ryan said.

"The CFA investment will now include a bonus $17.2 million to purchase 49 additional medium tankers for CFA brigades on top of the 29 vehicles already coming out of the CFA's usual budget, and $20.5 million to replace all existing respiratory protection equipment for Victoria's fire services.

"The State Budget delivers $13.5 million to roll out Tasers to all regional 24-hour police stations as well as $14.4 million for the new Echuca Police Station and $8.4 million to establish an emergency service precinct at Ballarat West," Mr Ryan said.

Funding announced in the 2014-15 State Budget was in addition to the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which has so far invested almost $400 million in more than 1,400 projects, generating more than $1.6 billion of total investment and expected to create thousands of jobs.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

$5 million for first phase of Benalla Education Regeneration

Friday, June 06, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government commits to delivering Benalla Education Regeneration 
  • 2014/15 State Budget invests $5 million in the first phase of work 
  • Coalition Government is building a better regional Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government will deliver the visionary Benalla Education Regeneration project with a first phase investment of $5 million allocated in the 2014/15 Victorian Budget, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan joined Member for Benalla Bill Sykes at Benalla P-12 to announce that the Coalition Government would continue building a better Victoria by investing $5 million to begin the community driven education development.

Mr Ryan said Benalla P-12 was created when four Benalla schools merged at the beginning of 2013, and currently operates across four campuses.

“The uncertainty around this project was how do we bring these four facilities into one,” Mr Ryan said.

“Today I am here to announce that the Coalition Government will invest $5 million to deliver certainty to this project.”

Mr Ryan said the $5 million would ensure the school’s master plan could be completed, and initial building works could be started.

“This announcement will enable us begin important building works over the course of this year,” Mr Ryan said.

“The funding will continue to flow for this project over the coming years under a Coalition Government.”

Mr Ryan paid tribute to Mr Sykes , the school council and the broader school community for their joint vision and making this project a reality.


“It’s a very courageous thing for a community to decide to establish one school out of four. It’s also a far sighted decision because this is the best way forward for future generations of Benalla students,” Mr Ryan said.

“Securing this funding is a wonderful vote of confidence for Benalla and we as a government are proud to support it.”

Mr Sykes said securing this important initial funding marked a great day for the Benalla community and the school’s more than 1000 students.

“Securing funding to begin works at Benalla P-12 was my highest priority heading into this Budget and I am thrilled to be here today to make this announcement,” Mr Sykes said.

“This announcement will be well received by the community and it will have a significant and positive impact on Benalla P-12 students.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was delivering better schools right across regional and rural Victoria as part of its strategy to boost education in Victoria.

“The Coalition Government has boosted funding for school maintenance and is providing a record $8.8 billion in funding for primary and secondary school education in the 2014 calendar year,” Mr Ryan said.

“Delivering modern school infrastructure is vital if we are to create a truly world-class school system here in Victoria.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Deputy Premier announces $4.75 million Wangaratta High School redevelopment

Friday, June 06, 2014


  • Deputy Premier announces $4.75 million for Wangaratta High School 
  • Block A to be demolished, replaced by a modern teaching and learning space 
  • Victorian Coalition Government is delivering record education funding

The Victorian Coalition Government will fund much-needed upgrades to Wangaratta High School as part of the 2014-15 Victorian Budget, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan joined Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy in Wangaratta to announce that the Coalition Government would invest $4.75 million to deliver modern teaching and learning spaces, as part of stage three of the Wangaratta High School masterplan.

Mr Ryan said the project would involve demolishing Block A’s dilapidated classrooms and administration facilities, replacing it with modern classrooms and open spaces.

“Block A was described as substandard, worn and of poor quality in the Coalition Government’s recent maintenance audit of every school in Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is proud to deliver this much-needed funding to support the replacement of Block A.

“I thank local teachers, parents, students and the broader Wangaratta community who have championed this project, and I applaud their dedication to see it through to completion.

“I also pay tribute to the Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy who has strongly advocated for this project in the Parliament; he can take great pride in the fact this funding has now been delivered.”

Mr Ryan said the project would complement works already undertaken as part of the school’s masterplan.

“Stage one of the masterplan saw the development of new senior school facilities, with stage two delivering a new science block and administration facilities,” Mr Ryan said

“The Coalition Government’s investment will finalise the work outlined in the masterplan, providing a school that will meet the educational needs of the region’s students long into the future.”

Mr McCurdy said securing this funding marked a great day for the Wangaratta community and the school’s 950 students.

He said the school community would be provided with the opportunity to have its say in how the funds should be directed to ensure the best return for students.

“This project will have a significant and positive impact on Wangaratta High School students,” Mr McCurdy said.

“I am proud to be part of a Coalition Government that is investing in local schools and building a brighter future for students in Wangaratta and the North East.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was delivering better schools right across regional and rural Victoria as part of its strategy to boost education in Victoria.

“The Coalition Government has boosted funding for school maintenance and is providing a record $8.8 billion in funding for primary and secondary school education in the 2014 calendar year,” Mr Ryan said.

“Delivering modern school infrastructure is vital if we are to create a truly world-class school system here in Victoria.”

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

Deputy Premier announces $7.6 million boost for Yarrawonga P-12

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Yarrawonga College P-12 to receive $7.6 million in 2014-15 Victorian Budget 
  • Primary and secondary school facilities to be consolidated onto a single site 
  • Victorian Coalition Government is delivering record education funding

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest more than $7 million to enable Yarrawonga College P-12 to consolidate its primary and secondary school campuses at one location, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan joined Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy in Yarrawonga today to announce that the Coalition Government had allocated $7.6 million in the 2014-15 Victorian Budget to enable the school to co-locate its campuses.

“Today is a great day for students, parents, teachers and all those associated with the Yarrawonga P-12 school,” Mr Ryan said.

“The $7.6 million investment will enable Yarrawonga College P-12 to begin consolidating its campuses and delivering improved school facilities.”

Mr Ryan said the site of the new school would be adjacent to the recently completed BER building on the east side of Gilmore Street.

He said the BER building would now form a Prep-Year One precinct.

Mr Ryan said Yarrawonga College P-12 had been identified as a priority for capital works funding in the Coalition Government’s recent maintenance audit of every school in Victoria.

“The Coalition Government invested an initial $260,000 at Yarrawonga College P-12 in 2013 to address the critical maintenance needs identified in the audit,” Mr Ryan said.

“The $7.6 million we are providing in this Budget will include an allocation of $625,000 to further address those critical maintenance needs identified in the audit.”

Mr McCurdy said securing the Coalition Government funding marked a great day for students and the wider Yarrawonga community.

He strongly encouraged the school community to have their say on how the funds should be spent to ensure the best return for students.

“This project will have a significant and positive impact on Yarrawonga P-12 students, ensuring they are able to start and finish their school years at the one location,” Mr McCurdy said.

“I am proud to be part of a Coalition Government that is investing in local schools and building a brighter future for students in Yarrawonga and the North East.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was delivering better schools right across regional and rural Victoria as part of its strategy to boost education in Victoria.

“The Coalition Government has boosted funding for school maintenance and is providing a record $8.8 billion in funding for primary and secondary school education in the 2014 calendar year,” Mr Ryan said.

“Delivering modern school infrastructure is vital if we are to create a truly world-class school system here in Victoria.”

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

Coalition Government delivers $316 million surplus for 2012-13

Friday, June 06, 2014

 

The Victorian Coalition Government has delivered a healthy budget surplus of $316 million for the 2012-13 financial year.

Releasing the 2012-13 Annual Financial Report for the State of Victoria today, Premier Denis Napthine and Treasurer Michael O’Brien said the final outcome demonstrated the Coalition Government’s fiscal strategy to build stronger state finances and a stronger economy was on track.

“The Coalition Government’s strong surplus of $316 million is considerably higher than the $177 million estimate at the time of the 2013-14 budget,” Dr Napthine said.

“Our surplus, combined with substantial investment in infrastructure, confirms the Coalition Government has the right strategies in place to manage the Victorian economy.”

Dr Napthine said constraining expenses growth for 2012-13 to 2.1 per cent was central to delivering a surplus higher than the revised budget estimate.

“Expenditure growth of 2.1 per cent is significantly lower than the average growth rate of 8 per cent over the decade to 2009-10 under the former State Labor Government,” Dr Napthine said.

“The Coalition Government has been able to achieve this responsible economic outcome at the same time as delivering successive record infrastructure programs, a record health budget, increased funding for schools and better services for people with disabilities.”

Mr O’Brien said the result confirmed that only a Coalition Government has the discipline to make the responsible decisions required to manage the Budget and deliver the infrastructure and services all Victorians need.

“This is the lowest expenditure growth since 1998-1999 and underlines the Coalition Government’s commitment to careful financial management while enhancing frontline services and running a record infrastructure program,” Mr O’Brien said.

“A productivity focus and ensuring value for money in enterprise bargaining is critical to ensuring that our state’s finances can withstand continuing revenue pressures from a soft national economy.”

Net debt in the general government sector as a proportion of gross state product was in line with the revised Budget forecast at 5.8 per cent.

The Annual Financial Report confirms that Victoria’s finances are the strongest of any state in Australia and will provide a solid foundation for future investment in critical infrastructure and service delivery.

“Sound financial management has maintained Victoria as the only state in Australia to hold a AAA stable credit rating from both major rating agencies,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Over $5.2 billion was invested in infrastructure over the 2012-13 financial year to support Victorian communities and population growth.”

Major projects that commenced in 2012-13 include the Monash Children's Hospital, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital upgrade, the Geelong Hospital upgrade, increased prison capacity and removal of level crossings.

“The Coalition Government is continuing to build more capacity in Victoria’s finances to fund future infrastructure and prioritise investment in frontline services to improve safety, health services, education and community services,” Mr O’Brien said.

Improving business sustainability in Leongatha

Friday, June 06, 2014
Business owners wanting to reduce electricity costs and discover ways to operate a more sustainable enterprise can attend the Sustainability: It's Just Good Business seminar in Leongatha this month.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan encouraged owners and managers to attend the seminar that will assist them to implement energy efficiency and sustainability opportunities to gain measurable benefits.

Mr Ryan said the seminar, which is being supported by the Victorian Coalition Government, will be held at Community College Gippsland’s Leongatha Campus (38 – 40 Horn Street) from 7.30am on Wednesday, 21 August.

“Participants will have access to relevant, reliable and affordable information on how to make their business more sustainable thanks to this forthcoming seminar,” Mr Ryan said.

“Research indicates 70 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy their products or services from sustainable local businesses.”

Mr Ryan said more than 3,000 businesses throughout the state participated in Small Business Victoria’s workshops and seminars last year.

“I encourage local businesses to take advantage of this high-quality course. Undertaking local learning rather than having staff travel to Melbourne for training saves businesses time and money,” Mr Ryan said.

“All of Small Business Victoria’s workshops and seminars are delivered by private sector business specialists who are well-qualified and experienced in small business.”

Innovation, Services and Small Business Minister Louise Asher said the Coalition Government recognised the vital role Victoria’s 533,000 small businesses played in the economy of the state.

Ms Asher said the Coalition Government was committed to encouraging small business and individual initiative.

“An environment that rewards those who work hard, save, invest and create employment is essential to the future of small businesses across the state,” Ms Asher said.

For more information about other workshops and seminars that are available, please go to: www.business.vic.gov.au/workshops or contact Mr Ryan’s office in Sale on 5144 1987.

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

Budget builds growth in Gippsland South

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2013-14 Budget investments builds for growth in Gippsland and right across regional Victoria.

Mr Ryan said the 2013-14 Victorian Budget had invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Gippsland and other regional cities and rural communities.

“Across our great state, the Coalition Government is delivering major infrastructure funding to transform our regional transport, health, safety and agriculture industries to maintain and enhance liveability for future generations of regional Victorians,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said residents in the Gippsland South electorate would benefit from the following Budget initiatives:

• $32 million for Macalister Irrigation District 2030 project, which aims to increase on-farm productivity, greater regional economic production and improved waterway and estuarine health;
• $15.3 million for a new police station at Sale;
• Funding for land acquisition and to begin planning for the Sale Special School as part of the $203 million school capital program;
• $8.3 million for Clean Coal Victoria;
• $5 million to develop and install electronic learning technology at existing training providers, including Gippsland TAFE; and
• $19.2 million to reinvigorate Victoria’s mining industry by driving a new wave of exploration and reducing barriers to investment;

“Families and householders in Gippsland will also benefit from the Coalition’s reforms to the Fire Services Levy,” Mr Ryan said.

“The property levy replaces the old levy on insurance premiums, leading to a fairer system – with all property owners making a contribution to the fire services, rather than just those who take out insurance.”

Mr Ryan said other regional and state-wide initiatives in the 2013-14 Victorian Budget to benefit Gippsland South include:

• $170 million over three years for a road maintenance including $90 million towards renewing deteriorated roads and $80 million for resurfacing works;
• A record $14.34 billion in health funding statewide to treat more patients and manage the increasing pressure on the system;
• $11.6 billion in education funding statewide to improve student outcomes;
• $33.7 million to expand the Coalition’s planned burning program;
• $8 million tourism campaign to drive regional tourism;
• $61 million for upgrades and replacements of rural fire stations;
• $4.7 million to help better protect the livestock industry from serious disease, with a focus on foot-and-mouth disease;
• $16 million for grants to landholders and organisations to support native vegetation and threatened species;
• $2.3 million for Rural Financial Counselling Service providing assistance to primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses suffering financial hardship;
• $91 million extra for out-of-home care, to continue improving the lives of vulnerable children;
• $42.4 million for continued support for mental health beds across Victoria;
• $46.2 million extra to support children in the vital years before school, including $7 million to build and upgrade children’s centres and kindergartens;
• $8.5 million for a new independent authority to improve game species management, enforce relevant laws and promote responsible hunting; and
• boosting the First Home Owner Grant to $10,000 for newly constructed properties and reducing stamp duty from 1 July 2013.

Announcing the Victorian Budget on Tuesday with Treasurer Michael O’Brien, Premier Napthine said the Coalition would fund a number of nation-building projects in this year’s Budget, including stage 1 of the East West Link at a total capital cost of $6-8 billion.

“As a nation-building piece of major infrastructure, a funding contribution of $1.5 billion from the Commonwealth Government will be required to ensure its timely delivery,” Dr Napthine said.

“The East West Link will provide a bypass of Melbourne and transform the way people move around Victoria linking the Eastern Freeway to CityLink, alleviating congestion and ensuring travel-time reliability.”

Dr Napthine said enabling regional freight to bypass Melbourne would reduce costs for regional exporters.

“The East West Link will also improve access to Melbourne Airport. In addition to funding the East West Link, the Coalition Government will invest more than $2 billion in other new infrastructure projects,” Dr Napthine said.

Mr O’Brien said responsible economic management had delivered an operating surplus in challenging times while ensuring that borrowings were kept at prudent levels.

“This Budget will not only benefit regional Victoria, but the prosperity of the whole state,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr Ryan said funding announced in the 2013-14 Victorian Budget was in addition to the Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund – a record eight-year investment in the regions.

“Across Victoria, the Regional Growth Fund has so far invested a total of more than $250 million into 900 projects worth more than $900 million and is expected to create 3,700 direct jobs and a further 3,800 indirect jobs,” Mr Ryan said.

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

Construction to begin on a new 24-hour police station for Sale

Friday, June 06, 2014
The former prison site on the corner of Foster and Reeve Streets will be home to Sale’s new 24-hour police station, with the Victorian Coalition Government today announcing it will provide $15.3 million to complete the project through this year’s Budget.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced the funding for the project on behalf of Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells, saying it would allow for the construction of the new station to be completed.

“I am pleased to announce the Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to address concerns raised by the community about the old, out-dated and overcrowded police station,” Mr Ryan said.

“Sale’s existing 24-hour police station, which was built in 1976, is the oldest 24-hour police station in operation east of Dandenong, is run down and no longer meets police requirements.

“This $15.3 million allocation, which is being funded through the 2013/14 State Budget, completes the funding needed for this important project, following a $2.9 million allocation in the 2011/12 State Budget, to purchase land and begin planning.”

Mr Ryan said the new station would provide accommodation for a uniform branch, criminal investigation unit, highway patrol, police prosecutors, as well as a sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, and the Police Service Area Commander.

“The new station will initially accommodate 63 police personnel, but the design includes substantial growth capacity to allow for an expansion in police numbers,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new station is underpinned by our commitment to deliver an additional 1,700 police to Victorian streets in our first term of government.

“By June this year, 1200 additional police will be allocated to their communities as part of this commitment and Victoria Police is on track to deliver the remainder by November 2014.

“As part of this, an additional 25 police officers will be deployed to Division Six of Eastern Region by June, which includes both the Wellington and East Gippsland Police Service Areas.”

Mr Ryan said in order to support the local police officers to carry out their duties, the new building would feature:
• public consultation and interview rooms;
• mess room and other staff amenities including change rooms and a gymnasium;
• conference and training room facilities that can be adopted for emergency situation management purposes;
• short term custodial holding rooms; and,
• custodial area and administration work areas.

Mr Ryan said the remaining portion of the former prison wall would be incorporated into the design of the new building, providing a fitting reminder of the history of the site, which housed inmates for 110 years after being completed in 1887.

“It is anticipated that up to 500 jobs will be created during construction of the new station, with 55 additional full-time positions created within the industry as a result of this project,” Mr Ryan

Mr Ryan said plans for the new station would be available for public comment before construction work was due to commence.

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

New kitchen and dining hall for Sacred Heart Mission

Friday, June 06, 2014

A $1.2 million renovation of the Sacred Heart Mission dining hall and kitchen in St Kilda will ensure more than 180,000 meals continue to be served each year to people who are homeless and disadvantaged. 

Acting Premier Peter Ryan visited the historic and much-loved community organisation today to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would contribute $400,000 towards the project.

“For more than three decades the Sacred Heart Mission has provided more than 500 meals a day, 365 days a year, in a space that was not originally designed or built for this purpose,” Mr Ryan said.

“As well as providing meals, it’s here in the dining hall that Sacred Heart Mission’s care and support workers actively engage with people who are doing it tough, helping them to get back on their feet.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is pleased to partner with several private philanthropic interests and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to secure the future of the Sacred Heart Mission’s cornerstone meals program for homeless and disadvantaged Victorians.” 

Mr Ryan said the new facilities would include a full industrial kitchen, the replacement of 100-year-old degraded and leaking plumbing and sewerage pipes, and essential amenities for volunteers and staff including extra toilets, change rooms and showers, a meeting room, chef’s office, and storage space. 

“This $1.2 million renovation will provide a greatly improved environment for clients, staff and volunteers, allowing Sacred Heart Mission workers to more effectively connect with those who use their services,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan thanked the Sacred Heart Mission for its tremendous work to tackle homelessness, social exclusion and poverty and said the Coalition Government was proud to support organisations that carried out such important work within their local communities.

“Homelessness and disadvantage remain problems in our community,” Mr Ryan said.

“Through programs such as the Community Support Grants scheme, the Victorian Coalition Government is helping organisations such as Sacred Heart Mission to continue their valued work for those in our community who are doing it tough.”

Media contact:  Les White 0409 805 122