Press Releases

Labor and Jacinta Allan bag in Bendigo what they barrack for in Burwood

* * - Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Jacinta Allan criticising a policy her party supports
  • Labor tells country voters one thing; city voters another
  • Labor treating country voters with contempt

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has slammed the Labor Opposition for treating voters with contempt over the Victoria Coalition Government’s new public transport initiative.

The Coalition Government announced yesterday that it would provide free tram travel within the Melbourne CBD and Docklands, meaning country visitors no longer need a Myki to use trams in the CBD and Docklands.

“Labor leader Daniel Andrews backed the Coalition plan in a story in today’s Herald Sun, titled ‘Cheaper travel for outer ‘burbs – Napthine plan wins over ALP’,” Mr Ryan said.

“Mr Andrews was quoted as saying: ‘No matter who wins the election, public transport fares will be cheaper’.

“In other words, ‘me too’ politics.

“Meanwhile, in the Bendigo Advertiser today under the headline ‘Allan slams transport pledge’, the member for Bendigo East attacks the Coalition’s plan for free tram transport within Docklands and the CBD.

“This is deceitful and deceptive conduct by any standards.

“The member for Bendigo East is trying to give the impression to the people of Bendigo that Labor is opposed to this plan, which Labor actually supports. She seems to think country people are not aware of what her leader is saying in the Herald Sun.

“Labor supports this great new public transport initiative when it is speaking to city voters and smashes it when it is speaking in the country – Labor barracks for this initiative in Burwood while bagging it in Bendigo.

“Labor treats country people with contempt. The contempt shown by the member for Bendigo East and Labor to the voters of Bendigo and regional Victoria is not lost on these people. They will remember this,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

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 

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 

New $200 travel allowance for apprentices

* * - Friday, February 21, 2014

Apprentices that have to travel more than 100 kilometres to access training are now entitled to $200 from the Victorian Coalition Government to assist with meals, accommodation and transport.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said many apprentices found it costly to attend trade school and this funding would ease the financial burden on those travelling from Gippsland to access training.

“To access funding through the Apprenticeship Travel Allowance Scheme pilot, apprentices must travel more than 100 kilometres from their home to their training organisation for three or more consecutive days of training,” Mr Ryan said.

“Local apprentices are vital to the ongoing delivery of essential services across Victoria which is why in 2012 the Coalition Government increased the subsidy for every apprenticeship course by an average of 20 per cent.”

Mr Ryan said the pilot program would help thousands of regional apprentices and was another example of how the Coalition Government was making vocational training more accessible for those living in regional areas.


“This funding will greatly assist young people and adult learners to gain skills where the jobs are and where the jobs are needed,” he said.


Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had recently doubled the bonus subsidy for regional training, meaning vocational training providers, including TAFEs, had received an additional $20 million for delivering training in regional Victoria.

“These changes are supporting more regional vocational students than ever, with close to an extra 60 per cent more subsidised enrolments across country Victoria since coming to government,” Mr Ryan said.

“These record figures are supported by the Coalition Government’s record investment of $1.2 billion in the training system as we work towards building a skilled workforce for the future of Victoria.”

Visit www.education.vic.gov.au/training for more information on the program.

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

Future secure for 600 Geelong refinery workers

* * - Friday, February 21, 2014

The future of more than 450 full-time refinery workers and 150 contractors in Geelong has been secured with the news that Vitol will purchase Shell’s Geelong Refinery, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan joined Minister for Manufacturing David Hodgett today at the Shell Refinery in Geelong to meet with both Shell and Vitol, and welcomed Vitol’s $2.9 billion purchase of Shell’s downstream operations, including its 870 retail businesses.

“This is a great day for Geelong and the Barwon region, and brilliant news for Victoria and more broadly Australia,” Mr Ryan said.

“The acquisition by Vitol means that the future is now secure for the more than 450 dedicated full-time staff and 150 contractors who work here at Shell’s Geelong Refinery.

“It means 1,800 jobs across Australia are secure, 1,200 of which are here in Victoria, including the 600 jobs in Geelong as stated by Vitol earlier today.”

Mr Ryan said Vitol’s purchase would ensure that it continued to be ‘business as usual’ at the refinery.

“Speculation surrounding the future of the refinery has been causing much concern for the Geelong community, so to have this announcement today is a wonderful thing,” Mr Ryan said.

“Vitol has indicated that they will run this operation in its current form ensuring that the positions of those many dedicated people who work at the refinery will continue to be secure well into the future.”

Mr Hodgett welcomed the announcement and said he had great confidence in a strong future for the refinery under the stewardship of Vitol.

“Vitol have significant experience managing downstream operations and currently own and operate four refineries globally, with Geelong set to be their fifth,” Mr Hodgett said.

“Vitol are led by a strong and experienced management team who have indicated they see a strong future for their Geelong operations.

“Equally the Victorian Coalition Government has confidence in a bright future for manufacturing in Geelong."

Additional disaster assistance for Victorian farmers

* * - Tuesday, December 24, 2013

 

Commonwealth Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan today announced additional assistance for farmers in the Greens Creek area hit by the severe weather event in December 2011.

Mr Keenan said Category C Clean-up and Restoration Grants of up to $10,000 would be made available to eligible farmers located north and north-east of Stawell, within the general Greens Creek area.

“The Commonwealth Government is pleased to offer these grants to the Greens Creek farming community”, Mr Keenan said.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad welcomed the funding.

“Extending these grants to the Greens Creek community shows how the new Commonwealth Government and Victorian Coalition Government are working closely together for the benefit of regional communities impacted by natural disaster,” Mr Broad said.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was pleased the Greens Creek area was finally eligible to receive this much needed assistance.

“The Greens Creek area had previously been refused access to Category C Clean-up and Restoration Grants due to an anomaly which meant financial assistance was awarded on the basis of eligible postcodes,” Mr Ryan said.

“A number of affected properties in the Greens Creek area fell outside of these eligible postcodes, which meant funding was withheld. I thank Western Victorian upper house MP David O’Brien for his tireless advocacy on this issue, which has now produced results for this community.”

Mr O’Brien thanked the Federal Coalition Government for taking a compassionate approach to the issue.

“Despite numerous requests to the former Federal Labor Government to overturn this anomaly, it was not rectified and funding continued to be withheld,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I am pleased the new Federal Coalition Government has rectified this anomaly, with clean-up and restoration funding now available to affected properties and businesses in the Greens Creek area.”

Mr Keenan and Mr Ryan also announced that the deadline for claims for assistance from farmers hit by severe weather events in Victoria in December 2011, February–March 2012 and June 2012 had been extended to 31 March 2014.

“The Commonwealth and Victorian governments are committed to assessing the continued impacts of past events on the communities affected, and to identifying further recovery assistance that may be required,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said further information on the Category C Grants for primary producers, including eligibility criteria, was available on the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria website at www.ruralfinance.com.au.

Mr Keenan said further information on Australian Government assistance available at www.disasterassist.gov.au.

Sky Software Global Support Centre for Geelong

* * - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

 

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced $400,000 in Victorian Coalition Government funding for Geelong-based Sky Software to establish a Global Support Centre that will create 40 new jobs in Geelong.


Sky Software is a provider of smart, cloud-based education solutions to the tertiary and private education markets, and chose to be headquartered in Geelong rather than the UK after engaging with the Coalition Government.

Speaking in Geelong, Mr Ryan said Sky Software had recently won a global tender to supply educational software for English language teaching, and that Coalition Government support for the project would see the global contract serviced and delivered from Geelong.

“A Global Support Centre for Geelong is another example of new investment and business opportunities in Geelong that are creating new jobs”, Mr Ryan said.

“This project is a glowing endorsement of our international engagement strategy and our Super Trade Missions, in which Sky Software has taken part. The company says this helped it access new export market opportunities, leading to today’s announcement.

“Sky Software is a growth business with 35 employees in Geelong and one of many regionally-based innovative companies contributing to regional growth,” Mr Ryan said.

“Around 40 per cent of Sky Software’s business is export based and the Global Support Centre would service an international network of up to 103 teaching centres across 60 countries, predominately in the northern hemisphere.

Mr Ryan said the $400,000 in Coalition Government funding came from the Industries for Today and Tomorrow program, which helps develop regionally-based businesses with high growth potential, and encourages new investment, jobs and exports in regional Victoria.

“The Coalition Government is committed to working with businesses in Geelong to see more projects such as the Sky Software Global Support Centre proceed,” Mr Ryan said.

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

Victoria’s gas supplies secured well into the future

* * - Tuesday, December 03, 2013

 

•    Deputy Premier turns first sod of ExxonMobil’s $1 billion gas conditioning plant

•    Plant will process enough gas to power a city of one million people for 35 years and create 250 construction jobs
•    Victorian Coalition Government is supporting industry to deliver Victoria’s future infrastructure needs

Construction is set to begin on ExxonMobil’s $1 billion gas conditioning plant, enabling the development of new off-shore gas fields in the Gippsland basin and underpinning Eastern Australia’s future energy needs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan today visited ExxonMobil’s Longford complex to turn the first sod for the start of construction of the $1 billion gas conditioning plant.

Mr Ryan said the new plant, which will begin processing gas in 2016, would create 250 construction jobs at the site 20 kilometres south of Sale, and provide security for Victoria’s gas stocks.

“The finished plant will process gas associated with ExxonMobil’s $4.5 billion project that covers three oil and gas fields – Kipper, Tuna and Turrum,” Mr Ryan said.

“The gas processed will maintain current gas supplies by bringing on new reserves. This means that Victoria will have an ongoing stable source of natural gas, a clean burning low emission source of energy for use now and into the future by business, industry and households.”

Mr Ryan said the $4.5 billion Kipper, Tuna and Turrum project had already created 1,300 construction and installation jobs.

“This project is the largest domestic oil and gas development on Australian’s eastern seaboard and will provide enough energy to power a city of one million people for 35 years,” Mr Ryan said.

“The project will not only secure Victoria’s gas needs for the foreseeable future, it will also be able to supply gas to interstate markets through the gas transmission lines that connect to New South Wales and South Australia.”

Mr Ryan said that Esso Australia Pty Ltd (Esso), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Australia Pty Ltd, owns the Longford complex, an onshore receiving point for oil and gas output from Bass Strait.

“The Longford complex, which currently has four plants operating 24-hours a day, seven days a week, has been supplying most of Victoria’s gas supply since 1969,” Mr Ryan said.

“During this period Esso has been a strong contributor to the local and state economies, employing 1,800 people, the majority of whom are based in regional Victoria.

“This project will ensure Esso continues to be a strong contributor to the Gippsland and Victorian economies for many years to come.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had worked with ExxonMobil, the Wellington Shire and relevant government agencies regarding development approvals for the new plant.

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

Funding available for children’s services facilities

* * - Monday, November 04, 2013

 

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan is encouraging local government, schools, community groups and children’s service providers to apply for funding to build and upgrade local children’s services under the Victorian Coalition Government’s $20 million grants program.


Mr Ryan said the grants were a golden opportunity for the community to build or upgrade local children’s facilities.

“Securing a grant will improve access to high quality early years services and ensure children have greater access to high-quality early years services,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said communities could apply for four types of grants, including:

•    Integrated Children’s Centre Grants of up to $1.6 million to support the building of new centres offering kindergarten, day care, maternal and child health and early childhood intervention services under the one roof;
•    New Early Learning Facilities Grants of up to $650,000 to support communities to establish new early learning facilities to meet demand for kindergarten places;
•    Early Learning Facility Upgrade Grants of up to $350,000 to support existing services to upgrade and extend their facilities to meet the demand of kindergarten place; and
•    Minor Infrastructure Grants, up to $10,000 for small refurbishments that will enhance the quality of the kindergarten program at a service.

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said that proposals to build early childhood education and care facilities on the same sites as government schools would be favourably assessed.

“Building services on school sites benefits the whole community as it is not only more convenient for families; it ensures children are better supported to move smoothly and confidently into school,” Ms Lovell said.

Mr Ryan said the $20 million program brought the Coalition Government’s investment in children’s capital projects to new record highs, with a total of $106 million of state and national partnership funding invested towards building and upgrading hundreds of services since December 2010.

“Applications for the minor infrastructure grants close on 19 November, expressions of interest for major infrastructure grants close on 29 November and the Children’s Facilities Capital Program grants round closes on 21 February 2014,” Mr Ryan said.

For more information on the program, phone Mr Ryan’s Sale office on 5144 1987 or visit www.education.vic.gov.au/ecsmanagement/capitalprogram.

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

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