Press Releases

Rural Finance Corporation Leongatha moves premises to expand operations

* * - Friday, June 20, 2014

  • Relocation allows Rural Finance Corporation to expand operations in Leongatha
  • Larger range of service now available from Smith Street premise
  • Move follows Victorian Coalition Government’s successful sale of RFC to Bendigo Bank

South Gippsland residents will have access to the concessional loans, flood and drought relief finance and agri-loans through Rural Finance Corporation’s new shopfront at 1/18 Smith Street, Leongatha from today.

Speaking at the new office, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said RFC Leongatha had moved from 2/9 Peart Street into new premises at 1/18 Smith Street as it has expanded its operations to cater for South Gippsland’s growing agribusinesses sector.

Mr Ryan said the move followed the Victorian Coalition Government’s successful sale of RFC to Bendigo Bank.

“RFC has been an outstanding government-owned agribusiness lender, and it will continue to offer all the same products and more now that it is owned by Bendigo Bank,” Mr Ryan said.

“As part of the sale agreement, a separate RFC branch will remain in Leongatha.

“RFC customers will keep their existing products and services and also be able to access the broader banking service of one of the country’s most respected, community-based banks – Bendigo Bank.

“The Young Farmers Finance Scheme, Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement programs will all be maintained.”

Mr Ryan said that while Leongatha, with its strong history in agriculture and dairy farming, already has its own RFC outlet, this is one of just 11 RFC outlets around the state. The sale of RFC to Bendigo Bank expands RFC’s reach into 276 Bendigo Bank outlets.

“The change of ownership will not impact the three RFC employees,” Mr Ryan said.

“Our sale agreement stated RFC employees would be offered their jobs on equal or better conditions. Looking after local people, be they RFC employees or farmers with loans, was always a non-negotiable part of this sale for us.

“The people of Leongatha and the wider region can access all the same RFC services at 1/18 Smith Street.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Coalition Government supports Wurruk Cricket Club

* * - Thursday, August 15, 2013
Wurruk Cricket Club will begin the 2013/14 cricket season with new practise nets thanks to more than $10,000 in funding from the Victorian Coalition Government.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the club has been unable to function properly following damage caused to their practice nets and pitches by the June 2012 floods.

“This timely funding will allow poles and netting around the practise area to be replaced and the damaged surface will be removed and replaced with a new synthetic surface,” Mr Ryan said.

“Ensuring sporting clubs have equipment and facilities that are safe and fully functioning is important to the Coalition Government.

“That’s why we’re pleased to support the re-establishment and replacement of flood-damaged assets, which are important to regional communities such as Wurruk.”

Wurruk Cricket Club’s Craig Young thanked the Coalition Government for its $10,157 boost to replace nets damaged by the June 2012 floods.

“Players have been unable to use the full net area due to the damage and this year we’re entering four teams, so having use of the full training area will be most beneficial,” Mr Young said.

“The club appreciates this funding which will allow us to replace the damaged infrastructure rather than patching it up, which is what we would have done, had we not received the grant.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was working in close partnership with local councils to ensure that the funding brings about the best local outcomes as communities recover from the 2012 floods.

“The Coalition Government is happy to commit $10,157 from the $2 million 2012 Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Fund towards this $10,686 project, which will see Wurruk full prepared for the upcoming season,” Mr Ryan said.

Flood recovery funds keep on flowing

* * - Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The Sale River Heritage and Wetlands Trail, which has been largely unusable since the 2012 floods, will receive a $40,000 boost from the Victorian Coalition Government.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the funding would support the resurfacing of this important recreational asset for wider use by the local communities and visitors.

“The Sale River Heritage and Wetlands Trail provides access to the internationally listed wetlands of the Sale Common, which host a combination of freshwater marsh and red gum woodlands and support an enormous variety of birdlife,” Mr Ryan said

“The trail begins at the Wellington Visitor Centre in Sale and travels through the Sale Common to the junction of the Thomson and Latrobe Rivers.

“It takes in many historical sites such as the iconic Swing Bridge, the Sale Canal, the restored Sale Powder Magazine, Sale’s two lakes – Guthridge and Guyatt, as well as numerous sections of raised boardwalk and enclosed huts for bird watching.

“The restored River Heritage and Wetlands Trail will attract more tourists, providing an important boost to the local economy.

“It will also contribute to the health and wellbeing of users participating in active recreation, such as walking and cycling along the almost 15 km of trail.”

Mr Ryan said Wellington Shire Council would receive $40,000 from the $2 million 2012 Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Fund towards the cost of the $45,000 project.

“The Coalition Government is pleased to support the re-establishment and replacement of flood-damaged assets that are important to these regional communities,” Mr Ryan said.

“We have allocated more than $411,000 from the 2012 Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Fund to six councils across the Gippsland and Hume regions that were affected by last year’s floods.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Additional disaster assistance for Victorian farmers

* * - Friday, July 05, 2013
Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Mark Dreyfus and Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan today announced additional assistance
for farmers hit by severe weather events in Victoria in December 2011, February–March 2012 and June 2012.

Category C Grants of up to $10,000 will be made available to eligible primary producers in those areas of Victoria most impacted under the jointly funded Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery
Arrangements (NDRRA).

“These grants will be in addition to the concessional interest rate loans already available to farmers under the NDRRA,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“This much-needed assistance will provide a boost to our farming sector already facing the long road back to recovery following these devastating events,” Mr Ryan said.

Grants of up to $10,000 will be made available to eligible primary producers affected by the
following severe weather events:

• December 2011 storms and floods – highest impacted areas in the shires of Ararat, Northern
Grampians and Pyrenees.

• February–March 2012 storms and floods – highest impacted areas in the shires of
Campaspe, Wangaratta and Greater Bendigo.

• June 2012 storms and floods – highest impacted areas in the shires of East Gippsland,
Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington.

In addition, the Commonwealth and Victorian governments are also making available concessional low interest loans of up to $200,000 to primary producers affected by the December 2011 event in
the most impacted areas of Ararat, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees.

The Commonwealth and Victorian governments remain committed to supporting the recovery of communities affected by natural disasters.

Further information on the Category C grants for primary producers, including eligibility, is available on the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria website at

Further information on Australian Government assistance is available at

Sealers Cove walking track reopens at the Prom

* * - Thursday, May 30, 2013
The popular Sealers Cove walking track in Wilsons Promontory National Park that was severely damaged by the 2011 floods will be re-opened in time for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the $600,000 repair works were part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $19.7 million Flood Recovery Program.

“We’re delighted that this track will be reopened and can be enjoyed by the many visitors who come here not just for the approaching long weekend but those throughout the year,” Mr Ryan said.

“It’s been a huge task to rebuild and repair the track that was so severely damaged by the floods and it’s great news that people can explore this beautiful place once again.”

Mr Ryan said Sealers Cove was a much loved area of the Prom with around 15,000 walkers coming to the track and 10,000 visitors staying overnight at the hikers’ campground each year.

“The March 2011 floods caused extensive damage to the two-kilometre boardwalk and there were more than 20 landslides along the 10.2km walking track,” Mr Ryan said.

“I’d especially like to thank all the Parks Victoria staff and contractors who have worked tirelessly to get the track ready and safe for visitors.”

For more information contact Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963 or visit

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870,

$5 million Flood Support Program announced

* * - Friday, October 12, 2012
The Victorian Coalition Government has today announced a $5 million program to restore flood damaged catchments and improve environmental conditions for tourism businesses and irrigators in flood affected areas.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the 2012 Flood Support Program would provide further assistance for regions impacted by severe flooding in March and June this year, with a focus on waterway restoration projects.

“In March 2012 widespread flooding occurred across the North East, North Central, East Gippsland and Goulburn Broken regions, causing significant damage to waterway assets,” Mr Ryan said.

“In June 2012, large areas across Gippsland and Corangamite experienced significant rainfall causing both short term (flash) and longer duration flooding – causing more than $6 million worth of damage to waterway assets.”

Mr Ryan said funding under the program would be allocated to Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) for a range of projects in each region.

· $2.7 million will go to the West Gippsland CMA to undertake a number of waterway restoration projects;
· $1 million will go to flood restoration projects in the East Gippsland catchment to provide further support following flooding earlier this year;
· $500,000 for flood restoration for projects in the North East catchment including revegetation activities in the Ovens River near Myrtleford;
· $485,000 to the Goulburn Broken CMA to support a range of projects including Whole Farm Planning in affected irrigation areas; and
· $285,000 for restoration projects in the Corangamite catchment for a range projects that focus on fencing, vegetation removal, erosion prevention and revegetation.

Minister for Water Peter Walsh said 15 projects in total would be supported through the 2012 Flood Support Program to deliver environmental, economic and social benefits to flood-affected communities.

“Through these important environmental projects, our waterways will be maintained and improved while also providing a number of employment opportunities for regional Victorians,” Mr Walsh said.

“Funding for the program is from the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.”

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Ryan calls for Commonwealth to act on Category C Flood assistance

* * - Thursday, October 11, 2012
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan has called on the Commonwealth to end delays in decision making around the provision of vital flood assistance for Victorian communities impacted by severe floods in late 2011 and throughout 2012.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Ryan said the Commonwealth had failed to act on repeated submissions from Victoria requesting joint National Disaster Relief Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) Category C funding approval for the state’s flood hit regions.

“Victoria has been hit by severe and repeated flood events in 2012 and so far, the Commonwealth has only approved Category C assistance in four out of 20 local government areas (LGA) (Greater Shepparton, Moira, Indigo and Towong) impacted by the February and March floods,” Mr Ryan said.

“For the remaining 16 shires, the Commonwealth has either refused eligibility or remained silent. These include Wangaratta, Campaspe, Alpine, Ballarat, Benalla, East Gippsland, Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges, Mansfield, Mildura, Mitchell, Mount Alexander, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Whittlesea and Wodonga.

“We are also still waiting for a response in relation to Category C assistance for Grampians and Pyrenees LGAs for December 2011 flooding and East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington which were the most severely affected LGAs from the June 2012 floods.

“The delays and lack of action from the Commonwealth are causing significant uncertainty in these communities, adding to what is already a very difficult and stressful recovery period.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had responded to changing requirements from the Commonwealth and moved quickly to submit more detailed information when required and now it was up to the Federal Government to come to the party.

“Literally hundreds of farming families and people in small businesses and other organisations need this help to support ongoing recovery and re-establishment efforts in these communities,” Mr Ryan said.

“NDRRA assistance is jointly funded between State and Commonwealth Governments to provide help to communities following severe disaster events.

“Under the NDRRA eligible primary producers and businesses can receive Category C grants of up to $25,000, pending sign-off from the Commonwealth.

“The Coalition Government stands ready to meet our 50 per cent share of these grants and I implore the Commonwealth Government and the responsible Minister the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to approve these applications,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Flood fund to boost Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm

* * - Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced $500,000 in funding to support a major expansion of production operations at Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm.

Speaking in Lockwood, Mr Ryan said the funding would go towards the completion of the company’s $39 million stage 1 primary processing plant development and the commencement of stage 2 works to expand the Lockwood production plant.

“This multi-million-dollar expansion program is expected to create up to 115 direct new jobs at Hazeldene’s by 2014 and a further 689 indirect jobs in the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“The growth of Hazeldene’s is also expected to have a massive flow on economic benefit for the City of Greater Bendigo, creating an indirect demand for additional goods and services worth $113 million.”

Mr Ryan said it was pleasing to see progress at the Lockwood processing and production plants following challenges and delays caused by major flooding in the region last year.

“Flooding at Hazeldene’s Broiler Farm at Prairie in January 2011 caused approximately $3 million in damages, including the death of 300,000 birds,” Mr Ryan said.

“The company has now re-established the Prairie Broiler Farm and is ready to continue on with its expansion plans, which is great news for the region.”

Mr Ryan said the $500,000 in funding from the Victorian Coalition Government towards the expansion program was from the $10 million Victorian Business Flood Recovery Fund.

“Flooding across Victoria last year was among the worst in the State’s history, striking hundreds of communities, ruining homes and businesses, and destroying valuable livestock,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Business Flood Recovery Fund was established to drive investment and jobs growth in flood-affected regional areas.

“The expansion of Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm is a great example of how governments can support private sector investment to create widespread benefits in regional and rural areas.”

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

$1.56 million to support Central Goldfields flood recovery

* * - Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Flood recovery in the Central Goldfields region has received a boost of $1.56 million in Victorian Coalition Government funding, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan announced today.

Speaking in Maryborough, Mr Ryan said the Central Goldfields Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Re-establishment project would help to accelerate recovery in the region through the reinstatement and repair of important community assets.

“The Central Goldfields Shire was heavily impacted by flooding in early 2011 and the Coalition Government remains ready and willing to assist during the ongoing rebuilding phase,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is essential for flood-affected regions to have access to community infrastructure and this is why the Coalition Government established the $30 million Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Fund (FRCIF) in the wake of recent flooding events.”

Mr Ryan said the $1.56 million in funding had been provided to the Central Goldfields Shire Council through the FCRIF to assist with the following projects:

· Reinstate Carisbrook Senior Citizens Centre to previous standard;
· Reinstate Carisbrook Opportunity Shop to previous standard;
· Reinstate Carisbrook Maternal and Child Health Centre;
· Reinstate shelter, drainage and carpark at Maryborough Sports and Leisure Centre;
· Repair structural damage to London House, Talbot;
· Rebuild Maryborough Caravan Park amenities and facilities block; and
· Repair and landscape of the Carisbrook to Maryborough Bike Path

The FRCIF is jointly administered by Regional Development Victoria (RDV) and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE). The DSE component of the funding has assisted with projects on Crown Land reserves within the Shire.

While in Maryborough, Mr Ryan also announced $75,000 in funding from the Local Skills Partnership program for the appointment of a Business Initiatives Officer at the Central Goldfields Shire Council.

“The appointment of a dedicated officer will support the development and implementation of an Economic Development Strategy for the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Local Skills Partnerships Program aims to build the workforce capability of local government and help to guide growth and manage economic initiatives and investment.”

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Joel Joel misses out on Federal Gov’t flood grants

* * - Monday, June 25, 2012
Joel Joel farmers and businesses impacted by the December 2011 storms and flash floods will be extremely disappointed to learn the Commonwealth has rejected an application for $25,000 clean up and recovery grants, Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided information to the Commonwealth on damage incurred in the Northern Grampians and Pyrenees local government areas after the event to support an application Category C assistance under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

“The Coalition Government had been hopeful the Commonwealth would extend this support to the Upper Wimmera Catchment Area (Joel Joel), after the region experienced an intense flash flood in December,” Mr Ryan said.

“Prime Minister Julia Gillard has responded by stating the application ‘does not satisfy the thresholds for the activation of Category C assistance in this instance’.

“Joel Joel has now joined Wangaratta and Campaspe Shires in being rejected for the Commonwealth Government’s $25,000 clean up and recovery grants.

“This latest refusal would bring little hope to the remaining nine Local Government Areas which were impacted by the 2012 floods, and are still awaiting a decision by the Commonwealth about Category C support.”

Mr Ryan said he had recently written to the Commonwealth raising issues with the eligibility criteria being applied by the Commonwealth for the recent flood events.

“My concern is that the Commonwealth is being inconsistent with their support provided following flood and bushfire events in previous years, and it’s to the determent of many regional and rural communities in Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Council of Australian Governments has endorsed a recommendation to define what constitutes a severe event and develop consistent criteria for the activation of Category C under the NDRRA. In the interim, the Victorian Coalition Government is addressing the issue later this week at a national meeting of emergency management in Melbourne."

Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526

© 2013, Peter Ryan MLA. Terms & Conditions. Privacy Policy. Sitemap.

Contact: Electorate Office: 54B Cunninghame Street SALE 3850. P.O. Box 145, SALE 3850. Phone: (03) 5144 1987 Fax: (03) 5144 7086

Website Designed by Design Experts, 41 Mundy Street Bendigo 3550

peter ryan for regional victoria

Authorised by Peter Ryan MP, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne 3000.