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At the Nationals State Conference, we announced up to $220 million to build the Mildura to Geelong Murray Basin Rail Project which will revolutionise the movement of freight across the State and unlock the economic potential of regional and rural Victoria.

Press Releases

$1 billion Regional Growth Fund transforms Nyora Community Hall

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Deputy Premier announces $255,000 funding for Nyora Hall upgrades
  • Projects will deliver flexible, functional and appealing community meeting place
  • Victorian Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund is putting locals first

Everybody will be Kung Fu fighting in Nyora following Friday’s announcement by the Victorian Coalition Government that it will support a major redevelopment of the Nyora Community Hall.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Nyora on Friday to announce the Coalition Government would invest $255,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support a $340,000 redevelopment of the much-loved community hall.

Mr Ryan said the hall would be transformed into a flexible, functional and appealing meeting place that the Nyora community could be proud of.

The redevelopment will include the replacement of roofing and gutters, the treatment of external walls to eliminate rising damp, the installation of bi-fold walls, internal upgrades, paintwork and a redesigned entry.

The project will also include new car parking, landscaping and drainage improvements.

“The redevelopment of the Nyora Community Hall was identified as a key priority by the local community and we have listened to their concerns and invested $255,000 to ensure this project goes ahead,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Nyora Community Hall is the only community meeting space in Nyora and is a popular location for weddings, birthday celebrations and other community gatherings.

“It is also used for a wide-range of community activities, including playgroups, patchwork groups, Kung Fu classes, the community newsletter office, outreach programs, the local Lions club, as well as hosting the Council immunisation program.

“Nyora residents and user-groups will benefit from having a reliable, flexible and usable space at their disposal.”

Mr Ryan said the redevelopment would be finished by June next year.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien, who joined Mr Ryan at Friday’s announcement, said the redevelopment would ensure the Nyora Community Hall continues to meet the needs of the community as Nyora’s population grows.

“Nyora’s population is projected to grow from 1,300 today to more than 2,100 by 2030,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We need to build the infrastructure that can support a growing population and that is why we have invested more than $250,000 to enable this significant redevelopment of the Nyora Community Hall to be undertaken.”

Mr O’Brien said the project was another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund putting locals first.

“Right across Gippsland, the Regional Growth Fund is investing in vital local projects that would otherwise have struggled to secure funding,” Mr O’Brien said.

“In the South Gippsland Shire alone, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $13 million to support more than 30 projects, leveraging around $60 million in total investment.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victorian Coalition Government halts onshore gas drilling

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Drilling at Seaspray halted while community consultation is carried out
  • Victorian Coalition Government won’t be rushed on onshore gas
  • Information sessions will be held in Gippsland throughout June

The Victorian Coalition Government has put a hold on issuing work plan approvals for onshore gas exploration, including at Seaspray, until the community has had its say and scientific facts are known.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the decision would ensure all the facts were in front of government and communities ahead of any decision on whether an onshore gas industry would be developed in Victoria.

“We will not be rushed into making a decision on the potential for development of onshore gas in Gippsland until we have a full understanding of its effects on communities, farmland, the environment and the economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“This decision means planned drilling by Lakes Oil at Seaspray will not proceed until all the facts are considered and the community has had its say.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s position on onshore gas was in stark contrast to that of the Labor Party, which when in government issued 73 coal seam, shale and tight gas exploration licences and approved 23 fracking operations without community consultation.

“Under the former Labor Government, the onshore gas industry was given a green light to drill and frack without any understanding of the facts and without giving the community a say,” Mr Ryan.

“No fracking has ever occurred under a Coalition Government. The last time fracking occurred in Victoria was when it was approved by the former Labor Government, supported by local Labor representatives Matt Viney and Johan Scheffer.

“In contrast, the Coalition Government is giving the community a say on this important matter.

“In addition to our consultation process, we have committed to the most extensive investigation into our ground water systems ever undertaken, instigated a moratorium on fracking, put a hold on the issuing of new exploration licences and now a hold on issuing work plan approvals for existing exploration licences.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s community consultation would begin with an initial round of Open Days in June, including sessions at Sale, Yarram, Mirboo North, Inverloch, Bairnsdale and Warragul.

“These Open Days form one part of our extensive community consultation process, which also includes facilitated meetings with community groups, environmental groups, farmers, local government representatives and individuals, as well as workshops to discuss specific issues in greater depth.” Mr Ryan said.

“The Open Days will provide the community with all the information and facts so they can make an informed decision on the potential for the development of an onshore gas industry.”

In announcing the Open Days, Minister for Energy and Resources Russell Northe said the Coalition Government genuinely wanted to engage with community on this important issue.

“This is not just a listening exercise, it’s an information exercise. We want to ensure that everyone has an understanding of the facts to help them participate in discussions about a potential onshore natural gas industry in Victoria,” Mr Northe said.

“We intend to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues and the range of views across the community, particularly in the regional and rural communities, before making any decision on this important matter.”

Mr Ryan said more information on the Coalition Government’s community consultation process, including planned and upcoming events, was available online at

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731


Warragul: 2pm – 8pm, Thursday 5 June 2014 at the Exhibition Hall Warragul, Korumburra Road, Warragul (next to the Warragul Show Grounds)

Sale: 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 10 June 2014 at the Sale Memorial Hall, Macalister Street.

Bairnsdale: 2pm – 8pm, Wednesday 11 June 2014 at the RSL: Lakes Room, 2 Forge Creek Rd, Bairnsdale

Yarram: 2pm – 8pm, Thursday 12 June 2014 at the Anglican Church Hall, 95 Commercial Road, Yarram

Inverloch: 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 17 June 2014 at the Inverloch Community Hub, 16 A’Beckett Street.

Mirboo North: 2pm – 8pm, Wednesday 18 June 2014 at the Mirboo North Shire Hall

$25,000 grants to tackle local graffiti issues

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Regional shires encouraged to apply to tackle graffiti 
  • Part of Coalition’s $35 million Community Crime Prevention Program
  • Up to $25,000 available until 20 June

Councils can now access grants of up to $25,000 to combat graffiti in local neighbourhoods as part of the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s graffiti grants program.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today encouraged local councils to think about graffiti solutions that would improve the visual amenity of neighbourhoods and increase community confidence in the safety of public places.

“The Coalition Government is serious about responding to concerns about graffiti vandalism, which is why we have committed more than $10 million over 4 years to reduce graffiti through a range of strategies under our anti-graffiti plan,” Mr Ryan said.

“The grants are open to councils to partner with local organisations such as schools, community and residents groups, local police, retailers and trader associations, to come up with local solutions to tackle graffiti.

“These might include design features such as murals, education and information programs, and graffiti removal projects.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to stamping out graffiti at a local level.

“Over the past three years, the government has provided more than $918,000 to fund 57 projects across the state through the grants.

Crime Prevention Minister Edward O’Donohue said that the Labor Party had shown its lack of commitment to such programs by abolishing the crime prevention portfolio from the shadow ministry.

“When Daniel Andrews reshuffled his front bench in December, the crime prevention portfolio disappeared,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“The Coalition Government is delivering programs to help communities find local solutions to local problems, while Labor is offering nothing.”

“These grants make a real difference and I strongly encourage councils across the state to apply for grants of up to $25,000.”

The Graffiti Prevention and Removal Grants are part of the Coalition Government’s $35 million Community Crime Prevention Program, which helps promote community safety and prevent crime in communities across Victoria.

Applications close on Friday 20 June and to apply or for further information, visit

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Coalition delivers new $7.5 million learning centre for students at Mirboo North

Friday, June 06, 2014
  • $7.5 million investment delivers flexible learning centre for Mirboo North Secondary College students
  • Project provides new art, science, IT, food tech and classroom areas
  • Victorian Coalition Government is building a better education system

The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government has delivered on its election commitment to rebuild the Mirboo North Secondary College, with the $7.5 million redevelopment now complete.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Mirboo North on Friday to officially open the new school which provides students with a modern and flexible learning space.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had invested $7.5 million in the 2012/13 State Budget to enable the school to complete the long-awaited redevelopment.

He said the investment enabled the development of a modern flexible learning centre, that replaced buildings from the 1950s, and included new classrooms for general learning, art, IT, food technology, science, LOTE, woodwork, multimedia and metalwork.

“These new facilities ensure Mirboo North Secondary College can continue to deliver a high-quality curriculum and learning opportunities for its 350 students both now and into the future,” Mr Ryan said.

“A key feature of this new centre is the ability for classrooms to be opened up in a number of ways to create lecture rooms, small study spaces and meeting areas to best suit the activity taking place.”

Mr Ryan said Mirboo North Secondary College had an excellent reputation for high academic achievement in VCE and this redevelopment would ensure that continues.

“This investment means that students wanting to go on to university will have the learning facilities they need to achieve their required ATAR score,” Mr Ryan said.

“It also means that for students wanting to pursue a trade, such as carpentry or metalwork, those wanting to prepare for a career in hospitality, on farm, or in the arts, that they will have the facilities they need to best prepare for the career that awaits them.

“As the Leader of The Nationals and as the local Member of Parliament, I am proud to be here today to open this wonderful facility.”

Mirboo North Secondary College Principal Karen Lanyon said the school community was thrilled with the new facilities.

“When we began designing the project, we wanted to create a high quality flexible learning space that met the needs of the whole school community and this centre has definitely met the brief,” Ms Lanyon said.

“An important part of that brief was to ensure that rural students had facilities that were equal to if not better than their city counterparts, and that is what this space offers.”

Ms Lanyon said the new centre had allowed staff to better connect teaching programs with hands on projects.

“The new food technology area is at the standard it can be certified as a café, which allows students to get the feel of an actual restaurant, while the VCAL students are currently building a market garden to grow produce that will be used in the food tech area,” Ms Lanyon said.

“Students undertaking the VCAL program will also learn about and then build a pizza oven to complement their learning.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Regional Growth Fund makes McIndoe Park safer

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • McIndoe Park is now safer and more accessible for families and children
  • $120,000 upgrade includes new rotunda, free BBQs, perimeter fencing and improved disabled access
  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $88,000 to make the project a reality

Leongatha’s much-loved McIndoe Park is now safer and more accessible for families and children of all ages and abilities thanks to an $88,000 investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Leongatha on Friday to officially open the $120,000 McIndoe Park Development Project.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien at Friday's event, said the project included new perimeter fencing and child proof gates, new pathways to improve disabled access, as well as a new rotunda with free barbecues, tables and chairs.

“McIndoe Park is one of the most used and loved community spaces in Leongatha, regularly hosting large community events such as concerts and Australia Day celebrations,” Mr Ryan said.

“Its accessible playground and open space make it a popular place to play for children of all ages and abilities, while its beautiful surrounds and picnic facilities mean it’s a perfect location to host gatherings with family and friends or simply for an afternoon out.”

Mr Ryan said that while the park was a popular destination for locals and visitors to Leongatha, it wasn’t always safe.

“There are two busy roads bordering the park and an accessible water drain nearby which has caused significant concern for parents of young children,” Mr Ryan said.

“Having secure fencing around the perimeter of the park will mean children are protected from the road and water drain, providing much relief for parents.”

Mr O’Brien said the installation of new pathways linking the rotundas to the playground had greatly improved accessibility at McIndoe Park, particularly for students from the South Gippsland Specialist School.

“The South Gippsland Specialist School spends a lot of time at McIndoe Park thanks to its impressive range of accessible playground equipment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The development of these new pathways will make it easier and safer for students to access the accessible play equipment, enabling them to get the most out of this wonderful facility.”

Mr Ryan thanked the South Gippsland Shire Council, which contributed $22,000 towards the project, and the Lions Club of Leongatha, which contributed $10,000.

He said this project was another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund putting locals first.

“Without a specific fund designed to support initiatives such as the McIndoe Park development, this important upgrade may have never been completed,” Mr Ryan said.

“The community asked for this development, local parents and the council drove it and the Coalition Government is proud to provide the funding to make it a reality.”

Mr Ryan said this project was one of more than 30 across South Gippsland to receive Regional Growth Fund support, delivering almost $60 million of leveraged investment to the region.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer  0437 547 731 

Regional Growth Funds helps Burra Foods grow exports to Asia

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Deputy Premier launches production of infant formula at Burra Foods
  • First commercial production follows a $20 million expansion project 
  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $1.5 million in the project enabling Burra foods to capitalise on the lucrative Asian export market 

Korumburra’s Burra Foods can now take full-advantage of the high Asian demand for nutritional milk powder, with the first batches of the company’s new infant formula rolling off the production line last Friday.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was at Burra Foods Dairy Processing Plant in Korumburra to launch the first commercial production of the new infant formula, which followed a $22 million expansion.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien, congratulated Burra Foods on completing the expansion, which was made possible by a $1.5 million investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan said the expansion had enabled Burra Foods to produce nutritional milk powders as well as a new range of products for infants, toddlers and the elderly, principally for the export market – products it had previously been unable to produce.

“This is great news for the company, great news for Korumburra and the region, and great news for the Victorian economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“This substantial investment created 60 construction jobs, 26 new full time jobs across the business and secured more than 100 existing jobs at the plant.

“It will provide strong support to the local dairy farmers who supply the factory, and create even more new jobs on local farms and in supply chain businesses across the region.

“The expansion will enable Burra Foods to boost its export sales, particularly to the lucrative export markets in Asia, and closely aligns with our Food to Asia Action Plan.”

Mr O’Brien said that development included the construction of a state-of-the-art water treatment plant that allows Burra Foods to produce batches of infant formula using the highest quality of ultra-purified water possible.

Mr O’Brien said the expansion also included significant water saving initiatives including recycling and wastewater treatment infrastructure, to be completed by the end of the year.

“Without the ultra-purified water in the manufacturing process and the ability to dispose of trade waste, Burra Foods did not have the capacity to produce infant formula locally,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This significant Coalition Government investment has enabled this important water saving work to be carried out and the development of this new product to occur.

“Once complete, the water recycling and wastewater treatment initiatives will deliver significant benefits to the company and community through water savings and reduced trade waste discharges.

“This will reduce pressure on the town’s water supply by at least 165 megalitres a year or 62 per cent.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

$16,600 gets Mirboo North netball back on court

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • New netball court surface for Mirboo North Tigers
  • Funding of $16,600 from Victorian Coalition Government is part of $25,000 project
  • Part of $957,000 investment to get Victorians more active
Mirboo North’s growing sporting community will soon have a new netball court surface on which to practice and host big games following today’s news of a $16,600 investment by the Victorian Coalition Government to ensure the resurfacing of the match netball court at Walter Tuck Reserve.

Minister for Sport and Recreation, Damian Drum today attended the home of the Mirboo North Tigers Football Netball Club to announce the funding under the Country Football Netball Program.

“The Napthine Government is committed to building a more active Victoria, that’s why investments like these are so important,” Mr Drum said.

“The new court surface will be a welcome boost for local clubs like the Tigers and their netball teams which have until now being making do with an ageing an uneven surface.”

Mr Drum said the $16,600 funding boost will enable the replacement of the current surface with a new asphalt surface that will prevent water pooling and will be capable of hosting training and competition.

“Our investment in this project is part of our plan to build more sustainable local infrastructure to cater for growth and encourage even more people to play sport,” Mr Drum said.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the project had strong community support, with the South Gippsland Shire Council and the Mirboo North community committing $4,160 and $4,240 respectively.

“The Mirboo North Tigers field teams in each of the six divisions in the Mid Gippsland Netball Association and last year won premierships in B Grade and the Under 17s, demonstrating the town’s strong passion for netball,” Mr Ryan said.

“This investment from the Coalition Government will deliver a new match court surface to ensure that local netballers of all ages can continue to enjoy their sport in a safe environment.”

Mr Ryan said this project was one of the 12 projects from across Victoria that benefitted from a share in over $957,000 from the latest round of the Coalition Government’s $10 million Country Football Netball Program.

“The program is part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to build a better Victoria by investing in quality sporting infrastructure in regional communities,” Mr Ryan said.

Coalition Government reduces fire levy rates

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government cutting fire levy rates from 1 July 2014
  • More funding for CFA and MFB in the 2014-15 State Budget
  • Fire services better resourced under the Coalition Government than Labor
The Victorian Coalition Government will reduce the Fire Services Property Levy rates in 2014-15 for all property owners, Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced today.

"The Coalition Government’s successful implementation of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission property-based levy has proven to be a fairer way to fund our fire services,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We are reducing the levy rates from 1 July 2014 while also increasing funding to our fire services. The Coalition Government is delivering better funding for our fire services with lower average costs for households and businesses.”

The variable levy rate will be lower across all property categories than the 2013-14 rates. A fixed charge of $102 for residential properties and $205 for all other properties will apply.

From 1 July, the average household’s contribution to fire services funding in a CFA area is expected to remain at $142, with average MFB area household contributions remaining at an average of $143. This represents a reduction in real terms for the average household.

A $50 concession for eligible pensioners and veterans will continue to apply, benefitting over 400,000 households across the state, easing cost of living pressures.

The fire services property levy funds services provided by the CFA and the MFB twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week including personnel, training, infrastructure and equipment.

“This tax reform provides greater funding for our fire services while also reducing the rates on households, businesses and farmers right across Victoria,” Mr O’Brien said.

The new rates also reflect the recategorisation from 1 July 2014 of residential-investment flats from the commercial to the residential rate, delivering further savings for tenants and property owners across Victoria.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said that the Coalition Government had promised to overhaul the fire services levy and had delivered.

“Last year we brought in the lowest levy rates for regional areas we could afford. This year, we’ve lowered them again,” Mr Ryan said.

“The average business in the CFA area will now pay $823 instead of $923 a year.

“The average business in a CFA area on an industrial block will see its bill drop from $1,689 to $1,389, saving $300.

“Farmers are big winners, with their average Fire Services Property Levy dropping from $449 to $402. This is a massive drop from the average of $725 each farmer was paying back in 2011-12.”

Mr O’Brien said that for more than a decade Labor refused to reform the insurance-based fire services levy. This refusal continued despite recommendations from the Bushfires Royal Commission that it should be abolished.

“It costs over $780 million a year to fund our vital fire services. Record funding of $326 million for the MFB in this year’s budget will include the replacement of all respiratory protection equipment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The 2014-15 Budget also provides an investment of $29 million for the CFA to support an accelerated fleet replacement program.”

The Coalition Government continues to directly fund 12.5 per cent of MFB and 22.5 per cent of CFA operating budgets.

“Since coming to office in 2010, the Coalition Government has provided the CFA with more than $2.29 billion and the MFB more than $1.45 billion,” Mr O’Brien said.

The 2014-15 Budget for the CFA is $457 million, $58 million more than under the last Labor Budget. The 2014-15 Budget for MFB is $326 million, $39 million more than under the last Labor Budget.

For more information about the property-based levy visit

Media Contact: Les White 0409 805 122 

Gippsland schools celebrate Education Week

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • The 70th annual Education Week runs from 18-24 May
  • New resources and activities under theme – Scientists do Amazing Things
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better education system

This week schools across Gippsland will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Education Week while also discovering how science influences our daily lives.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said this year’s theme – Scientists do amazing things – would allow students to explore the wide range of career options in the field and participate in scientific experiments.

“Scientific innovation is the key to facing critical challenges like food and water security, delivering improved health and wellbeing, and ensuring Victoria’s prosperity and development,” Mr Ryan said.

“Education Week is a great time to celebrate Victoria’s education system, our scientific advancements, and for schools to showcase their programs to the local community.”

Mr Ryan said a revamped Education Week website, which contained sections for parents, teachers and students, provided information about science learning and careers, as well as fun science experiments to undertake at school and home.

“The Victorian economy is highly diversified and science is the key to many industries and services, including agriculture, manufacturing, building and construction, technology, research and education, and health,” Mr Ryan said.

“That is why the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government is investing a total of $31.2 million in 400 science teaching scholarships, training 200 Primary Maths and Science Specialists and developing six Specialist Science and Maths Centres.”

“In addition to that funding, the Coalition Government is also providing grants for schools to specialise in areas such as science, engineering, aeronautics and earth sciences.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was focused on building a better education system for all students and their families with a record $8.8 billion funding for schools in 2014. 

For more Education Week information, visit  

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

Coalition supporting Gippsland volunteers

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • $4.42 million invested in volunteering program for students
  • Victorian Coalition Government supporting volunteers
  • Unite with more than 1.5 million people; become a volunteer today

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government this week announced more than $4 million to support volunteer programs for Victorian secondary school students.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the funding would see more than 20,000 students take part in volunteering and give back to their communities through the Advance program.

Mr Ryan said that the Coalition Government’s $4.42 million volunteer program would support more than 420 Victorian secondary colleges including those in Sale, Leongatha, Korumburra, Yarram and Foster.

“The Advance program helps young people develop skills and receive training across a range of sectors, including animal welfare, culture, conservation, emergency services, events, human rights, and sport and recreation, that will help them transition from school to work,” Mr Ryan said.

“Examples of local activities include joining the Air Force cadets, becoming a volunteer surf lifesaver, CFA or SES member, helping out the Red Cross, becoming a Girl Guide or Scout and assisting at a community radio station.

“This is a great Coalition Government initiative that provides young Victorians with exciting opportunities so that they can volunteer and make a difference in their communities.”

Mr Ryan said National Volunteer Week was a fitting time to announce funding that would assist young people to be more active volunteers and also thank all of the young Gippslanders that already contribute their time to benefit others.

"Volunteers make a real difference in our communities, from volunteering their time as fire fighters, assisting with Meals on Wheels, providing lifesaving at our beaches and assisting at Visitor Information Centres. They provide a crucial service and for that I thank them.”

Mr Ryan today caught up with volunteer members of the Sale Fire Brigade to thank them for the service they give to the Sale and surrounding communities.

“At present, Sale Fire Brigade has 120 members, which includes 15 junior members and 13 auxiliary members, who actively contribute their time and skills to benefit members of the Sale community,” Mr Ryan said.

“In the 2012-13 year, the brigade was called out a record number of 246 times, which demonstrates the commitment that these members and fire fighters have for the communities they protect.”

Mr Ryan said most years the brigade attended around 230 turnouts.

“About 20 per cent of Sale Fire Brigade’s membership provides essential support services to reduce the workload of the fire fighters, so they can concentrate on putting out fires,” he said.

“The role that support members play to a brigade is invaluable and should never be underestimated.”

Mr Ryan said with more than 1.5 million Victorians currently volunteering, now was a great time to become involved in a community organisation.

“Volunteering brings immense personal satisfaction for the volunteer as well as making communities more active, confident and resilient,” Mr Ryan said.

"Research shows that people who volunteer report better physical and mental health as well as improved employment opportunities.

"Volunteering allows people to learn new skills, meet people and create networks, as well as providing a sense of belonging through team work and getting involved in the local community."

For more information on the Advance program, visit or to learn more about volunteering, visit: 

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870