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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

$80,000 in prizes on offer for best school gardens

Friday, June 06, 2014


·        Victorian Schools Garden Awards promote biodiversity and sustainability
·        $80,000 in prizes for the best and most innovative primary and secondary school gardens
·        Coalition Government is building better education beyond the  traditional classroom

The search for Victoria’s best and most innovative school garden is on with entries for the 2014 Schools Garden Awards now being accepted.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the awards were a great way for students to learn about recycling, reducing waste and limiting their waste consumption away from a typical classroom environment.

“Over many years, these awards, run by Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria, have encouraged generations of children to get out of the classroom and into the garden to increase their understanding of biodiversity and sustainability,” Mr Ryan said.

“The awards provide schools with a way to get students out of the classroom and learn how to design, grow maintain and harvest their own gardens.”

Mr Ryan said he would be thrilled to see a school from Gippsland announced as a winner of one of the categories.

“There are four categories that encompass schools ranging from less than 100 pupils through to those who have more than 280 pupils as well as a category for secondary and P-12 (primary to year 12) colleges,” he said.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government has contributed $55,000 to the $80,000 prize pool, which includes nursery vouchers and four separate turf and installation packages.

“A new seedling grants scheme is also on offer this year to get applicant schools started with their gardens,” Mr Ryan said.

The Victorian Schools Garden Awards program is now open to all Victorian schools, public and non-government and closes on 1 August. Winners will be announced later in the year at a ceremony in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

For more information on how to enter, visit:  

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870




Coalition funds 16 recycling bins in Korumburra

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • 16 new bins will reduce landfill in Korumburra by 30 tonnes
  • $30,000 provided by Coalition to South Gippsland Shire Council
  • Educating the community about recycling

About 30 tonnes of recyclable items each year can now be diverted away from landfill in Korumburra thanks to the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s Regional Public Place Recycling Grants.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government will provide $30,000 for South Gippsland Shire Council to install 16 recycling stations in Korumburra’s Main Street.

“A total of $815,000 has been allocated to 22 regional Victoria projects through this program, which aims to make it easier for people to dispose of their rubbish and recyclable materials correctly,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government has set a target to improve the littering behaviour of Regional Victorians by 25 per cent by the end of this year compared with figures recorded in 2003.”

Mr Ryan said accessible recycling bins with education signage outlining what items are recyclable will make it easier for people to do the right thing.

“These bins will also educate the community about the types of items that are able to be recycled to reduce landfill in Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the installation of the bins in Korumburra would help reduce unsightly litter while creating a safer and healthier environment for regional Victorians.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Regional Growth Fund support to complete Morwell Town Common redevelopment

Friday, June 06, 2014
  • New pathways, play area, seating, BBQ, landscaping and carparking for Morwell Town Common
    • Victorian Coalition Government contributes $250,000 
  • Coalition Government building better public spaces for local communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $394 million to support almost 1,400 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.57 billion in total investment.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Return of cattle to High Country approved

Friday, June 06, 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

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

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

Friday, June 06, 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 

Tidal River Open Air Cinema to go digital

Friday, June 06, 2014


The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $28,000 from its $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to buy a new digital projector for the Tidal River Open Air Cinema.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the new equipment would be used by East Coast Cinemas Pty Ltd (ECC) to provide a modern tourism experience for visitors of Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Mr Ryan said Parks Victoria had an agreement with ECC enabling them to screen the latest films for patrons of the Tidal River Open Air Cinema.

“Feature films are no longer made on 35mm reel and are now available in digital format only, which has made ECC’s current projection equipment out-of-date,” Mr Ryan said.

“This funding will allow ECC to purchase new projection equipment and once installed, ECC can continue to run a normal screening season.

“The improvement in film quality may also result in an increase of overall visits to the area which in turn will boost the local economy.”

Mr Ryan said ECC had been the cinema operator for more than 40 years, providing holiday makers with evening entertainment throughout that time.

“In the peak holiday period Tidal River has a resident camping population of at least 2,000 people and the area is visited by more than 7,000 holiday makers during the season,” Mr Ryan said.

“In addition, Tidal River is a regular school camp destination with up to 400 students per week attending camps with ECC’s screenings often a popular part of the camps.

“Importantly, the cinema also serves the local primary and secondary schools.”

Mr Ryan said ECC would create a website about the Open Air Cinema that would link to and from the Parks Victoria website and Twitter and Facebook pages and could be viewed via mobile phone.

“East Coast Cinemas is confident this will give the company more penetration into the area creating even more visits to the cinema and the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is pleased to support this $38,000 project through its $1 billion Regional Growth Fund with ECC to contribute the balance of $10,000.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Regional Growth Fund delivers $600,000 rail trail boost

Friday, June 06, 2014


Gippsland’s reputation as an attractive tourist destination will be enhanced with the Victorian Coalition Government to provide $600,000 towards the completion of the final section of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail, funded through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today joined Member for Morwell Russell Northe in Glengarry to announce the funding allocation for the 7.1km Traralgon to Glengarry section of the rail trail.

“The 7.1 km section of trail between Traralgon and Glengarry is the final leg of the 65 km Gippsland Plains Rail Trail, which stretches from Traralgon to Stratford and passes through communities such as Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Tinamba, Heyfield and Maffra,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government’s funding will be used to construct a 2.5 metre wide shared gravel pathway linking Traralgon with Glengarry.

“The funding will also be used to upgrade culverts, repair an embankment, reinstate four bridges and eradicate and prevent the recurrence of termites in the timber bridges.

“The project is also expected to create 27 new jobs, including 15 jobs during the project’s construction phase and a further 12 ongoing indirect jobs.”

Mr Northe welcomed the $600,000 Coalition Government contribution and said once completed the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail would deliver significant economic and social benefits to the region and greatly enhance Gippsland as an attractive tourist destination.

“The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail traverses undulating dairy country, boasts views of the Great Dividing Range and provides numerous opportunities for cyclists, runners and walkers to stop for a rest and a snack and explore the magnificence of the region,” Mr Northe said.

“The project complements a suite of nature-based activities in Gippsland, adding value to attractions such as Wilsons Promontory, the Gippsland Lakes District and the existing trails, including the Great Southern Rail Trail, Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail and the Grand Strzelecki Track.

“It is estimated that visitors to the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail will contribute more than $3 million to the local economy each year.

“The trail will also provide an alternate transport network between the towns along the route, building community health and wellbeing.”

Mr Ryan said today’s announcement continued the Coalition Government’s strong support for the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.

“In October 2012, the Coalition Government provided $200,000 to complete a 14 km section of the trail from Glengarry to Cowwarr, and in May this year we announced a further $100,000 to complete the section of trail between Tinamba, Heyfield and Cowwarr,” Mr Ryan said.

“Providing funding support to complete the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail was an important 2010 election commitment and one the Coalition Government is proud to have delivered.

“This project is another example of the Coalition Government, through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, delivering important community-led local initiatives.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Local schools awarded for being sustainable

Friday, June 06, 2014

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan has congratulated four local schools on receiving a Victorian Coalition Government grant to help reduce energy use and promote sustainability practices.

“Mary MacKillop Catholic College, Loch Primary School, Poowong Consolidated and South Gippsland Specialist School were selected for an Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) grant due to their efforts in environment preservation,” Mr Ryan said.

 “These grants will assist schools to carry out energy audits and install equipment such as energy efficient light bulbs, door and window draught seals, small wind generators or to replace less energy efficient appliances.”

Mr Ryan said the grants can also be used for energy efficiency training for staff or for guest speakers to provide knowledge and motivation to staff and students.

“The grants are a great way to encourage Victorian schools to join ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic and to support schools in adopting sustainable practices,” Mr Ryan said.

“The program is part of the Coalition Government’s Energy Efficiency Grants Program for Victorian Schools and round 1000 schools are now involved in the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic program.

AuSSI engages participants in a whole-of-school approach to improve the management of resources and facilities including energy, waste, water, biodiversity, landscape design, products and materials.”

The Energy Efficiency Grants Program is a joint partnership between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and Sustainability Victoria.

For more information about the Energy Efficiency Grants Program and ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic, go to the Environmental Sustainability area at or

Regional Growth Fund creates jobs, saves water

Friday, June 06, 2014

Burra Foods at Korumburra will embark on a $20 million water saving project and plant expansion with the help of $1.5 million from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the water recycling and wastewater treatment project would pave the way for an expansion of the plant, which will allow Burra Foods to produce infant formula.

“The project will secure 101 jobs at the plant and create an estimated 26 new jobs as well as new jobs on farms and in supply chain businesses,” Mr Ryan said.

“These additional jobs will boost the regional economy through worker’s wages as well as contract fees to suppliers.

“This project will deliver improved water quality and security, and reduce demand on the town water supply by at least 165 megalitres, or 62 per cent, per year. Wastewater discharges to South Gippsland Water’s wastewater treatment plant will drop by at least 60 per cent.

“Recycling water and reducing wastewater provides significant benefits to the wider community.

“The project is a substantial investment in the region, with Burra Foods investing $20.461 million in the water initiatives and the expansion of its Nutritional Milk Powder Division. Further investment in the Nutritional Milk Powder Division is likely from 2016.

“The investment will also boost Burra Foods’ export sales, secure the future of existing regional businesses and make the dairy sector more sustainable and resilient.”

Mr Ryan said the Infant Formula Water Initiatives Project involves fabricating and installing:

  • water recycling infrastructure, including pipelines, new pre-treatment storage tanks and a microfiltration plant;
  • water supply treatment infrastructure, including pipelines, a carbon filtration plant, new reverse osmosis equipment and a sterilisation plant; and
  • wastewater treatment infrastructure, including new pipelines to separate waste streams, a new wastewater filtration plant and new reverse osmosis equipment.

    “The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund strategically drives jobs, growth and investment and has already provided more than $344 million for almost 1,200 projects worth more than $1.4 billion,” Mr Ryan said.