Press Releases

Deputy Premier announce Benalla Botanical Gardens facelift

* * - Thursday, October 23, 2014


  • Deputy Premier announces $400,000 for Benalla Botanical Gardens facelift
  • Project to create a modern community precinct
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

The children’s precinct at the historic Benalla Botanical Gardens will receive a major facelift including new play equipment, a new formal entry, open space play areas, better seating, new garden beds and connecting pathways.

The facelift is part of a $610,000 investment designed to breathe new life into the popular local attraction, bringing it in-line with today’s expectations.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, Liberal candidate for Euroa Tony Schneider and Member for Benalla Bill Sykes in Benalla today to announce the facelift and provide the news that the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $400,000 of the $610,000 required to complete it.

Mr Ryan said $300,000 of the Coalition Government’s $400,000 investment would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with $100,000 coming through the Community Facility Funding Program, administered by the Minister for Sport Damian Drum.

Mr Ryan said the remaining $210,000 would be provided by a number of community contributors including Benalla Rural City Council ($167,000), Tomorrow Today Foundation ($13,000), Friends of the Gardens ($10,000), and Rotary Club of Benalla ($20,000 in-kind).

Mr Ryan said the $610,000 investment would fund:

  • demolition and site preparation;
  • upgrade of plumbing in existing facilities and amenities;
  • landscaping of new garden beds and refurbishment of pathways;
  • construction of play equipment, formal entry, community open space and seating; and
  • improvements to the public car park.

“Located in the heart of Benalla, the botanical gardens is a popular spot for family picnics, and a key visitor drawcard, particularly for those travelling up and down the Hume Highway,” Mr Ryan said.

“Over the past few years the gardens, particularly the area in which we are standing here today, has begun to show its age and is in desperate need of a facelift.

“Both Bill Sykes and Steph Ryan have been lobbying hard alongside the Benalla Rural City Council to secure this investment, and I am proud to be here today with them to announce this important funding has been secured.”

Mr Ryan said the works would rejuvenate the parklands and create an attractive and functional open-air space for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

The improvements will complement the surrounding attractions including the Benalla Art Gallery and the Lake Benalla Boardwalk.

“When complete, this project will have created a community hub with the capacity to increase tourism and boost the local economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will also make this great location an even more popular place for locals to spend time, particularly on weekends and warm summer evenings, and I look forward to returning here to see these wonderful additions and improvements once complete.”

Mr Ryan said works would begin shortly and would be finished by this time next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victoria Coalition Government invests to create 12 new jobs in Shepparton

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014


  • 12 new Shepparton jobs created as Peter Stoitse Transport expands
  • $750,000 investment to deliver transport depot and truck maintenance facility
  • Victorian Coalition Government building a better Shepparton

Twelve new jobs will be created in Shepparton as Gippsland-based company Peter Stoitse Transport expands its Goulburn Valley operations.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Shepparton to announce the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $75,000 to support Stoitse’s $750,000 relocation and expansion.

Mr Ryan said the $750,000 project would enable Stoitse to relocate from Tatura to Benalla Road in Shepparton, and build a new milk transport depot and truck maintenance facility.

Peter Stoitse Transport has 130 full-time staff and operates 80 trucks from depots in Allansford, Hallam, Yarram, Maffra, Leongatha, Tatura, Wallace and Longwarry.

Its Tatura depot is currently located at Tatura Milk Industries, its biggest local customer, but the company has been unable to expand its depot due to size constraints.

This investment will allow Stoitse to relocated to larger premises in Shepparton, enabling it to significantly grow its Goulburn Valley presence.

Mr Ryan said the $750,000 relocation project would include: Development of a new hardstand, truck parking and fuelling facilities; Installation of new tanker sterilisation and cleaning facilities; Construction of a new complex and driver buildings; and Development of a new maintenance workshop.

“As a proud Gippslander, it gives me great pleasure to be here today alongside Greg Barr to announce the Coalition Government’s support for this great Gippsland company as it expands its Goulburn Valley operations and creates a dozen new local jobs,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project will provide a significant boost for Stoitse in the Goulburn Valley, enabling the company to better service local milk processors and producers.

“More importantly, this investment will create 12 new full-time jobs in Shepparton, including depot operators, mechanics, maintenance employees and truck drivers.”

Mr Ryan said the company recently signed a five year contact to provide transportation for

Tatura Milk Industries, ensuring the expansion would be viable.

The project will be completed within a year.

Mr Barr welcomed the investment and said the project would deliver a number of wins for the region.

“Part of the investment includes independent tanker sterilisation and washing facilities, which enables Stoitse to service other local dairy businesses including Pactum Dairy Group,” Mr Barr said.

“Moving to a larger site will also help Stoitse to diversify its Goulburn Valley business, with the potential for future growth and more new local jobs.”

Mr Barr said the relocation would also deliver a number of benefits for Tatura Milk Industries, including a reduction of trade waste from truck washing. It will also enable Tatura Milk Industries to redevelop the former Stoitse site, accommodating future growth.

“Investing in projects that deliver a win-win for regional and rural communities is a priority for the Victorian Coalition Government, and was a key reason why I was drawn to The Nationals,” Mr Barr said.

“This investment continues the Coalition Government’s strong and ongoing commitment to Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley.

“As The Nationals candidate for Shepparton I will continue to work within a Coalition Government to secure investments for our region.

“I am not afraid of hard work and I will continue to promote the best interests of Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley region more broadly.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Coalition Government grant makes Leongatha men’s shed more accessible to more people

* * - Monday, October 20, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government funding will allow people with mobility aids to access shed more easily
  • Funding delivered under $4 million Strengthening Men’s Sheds program
  • Coalition Government is committed to building and improving men’s sheds

Leongatha Men’s Shed will now be accessible to more people thanks to an injection of more than $12,000 from the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government.

Visiting the shed on Friday, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the project, totalling $18,495, would enable a new concrete driveway, paths and a parking area to be built to make the shed easy to access for those with mobility aids.

“About 20 men attend the Men’s Shed gatherings on Wednesdays, however a few of those use walking frames and have trouble navigating the current path and across the grass into the shed,” Mr Ryan said.

“This funding will allow a wider driveway, paths and a concrete parking area close to the shed to be built, meaning those with mobility issues will be able to park nearby and access the shed more easily.

“The shed is a great contributor to the Leongatha community, so it makes sense to make this fantastic facility accessible to more people.”

Mr Ryan said the shed had benefited the community in a number of ways, including the contribution of wooden garden beds for the community garden, attending Woorayl Lodge Aged Care to make and paint bird boxes with residents and offering mentoring to clients from Yooralla disability organisation.

“Once a fortnight, a group of eight young men from Yooralla come here to learn hands-on skills from the shed’s members, so these new paths will make it easy for those guys to access the shed too,” Mr Ryan said.

"The Coalition Government recognises the significant role men's sheds play in local communities through engaging a range of men, including those with a disability, farmers, war veterans, retirees and the unemployed.”

Mr Ryan said the grant was delivered through the latest round of the $4 million Strengthening Men’s Sheds Program.

“This funding commitment shows that we are serious about supporting men’s sheds to continue to grow and thrive and provide stronger and more integrated communities,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was pleased to deliver $12,330 towards the $18,495 project, with the shed, Community College Gippsland and Yooralla to contribute the balance of funds.

Mr Ryan encouraged any men interested in finding out more to visit the shed, located in Howard Street, on Wednesdays from 1pm.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

Funding to protect wildlife in Gippsland South

* * - Wednesday, October 15, 2014


  • Local wildlife shelters to share in Wildlife Rehabilitator Grants 
  • Grants assist shelters to care for native wildlife in Gippsland South 
  • Coalition Government is building a better Victoria

Wildlife carers in Gippsland South can continue protecting the region’s native animals following the latest round of the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government’s Wildlife Rehabilitator Grants.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced $8,725 in grants to help locals care for sick and injured wildlife.

“The work of the five grant recipients is important to maintaining the health of the region’s local wildlife,” Mr Ryan said.

“Animal carers and shelter operators here in Gippsland South do important work to protect and nurture our native wildlife.

“For example, Our Haven Wildlife Shelter at Golden Beach was one of the recipients of funding, receiving $2,000 to assist in their work.

“Theresa and Tony Matthews at Our Haven Wildlife Shelter perform a marvelous service to our local community in taking care of sick and injured wildlife.

“This funding will assist Theresa and Tony to build a new enclosure for kangaroos and joeys, allowing them to reclaim the living space in their home from the wildlife which currently occupy it.

“It will also assist them to purchase heat pads to assist the joeys, who have lost their mothers, to sleep, along with an incubator for very young joeys.

“These grants are another example of how the Coalition Government continues to support practical environmental projects in our local community.”

Mr Ryan said other grant recipients in Gippsland South included:

  • Individual carers in Sale to receive a grant worth $1061 to repair an enclosure and purchase nest and release boxes;
  • Individual carers in Koonwarra to receive $2000 to purchase a flight aviary for bird rehabilitation;
  • Individual carers in Welshpool to receive $2000 to purchase heat pads and hot boxes, formula to feed the animals and fuel for rescues; and
  • Individual carers in Woorarra West to receive $1664 for a new enclosure.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien said in Victoria each year authorised shelter operators and foster carers rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife for release.

“The Coalition Government is committed to recognising and rewarding those in Gippsland with the experience, knowledge and commitment to protect our iconic wildlife,” Mr O’Brien said.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the Coalition Government’s Wildlife Rehabilitator Grants Program supports an amazing network of tireless and dedicated volunteers.

“More than 100 carers and shelter operators along with three wildlife organisations across Victoria will share in grants totaling $212,700 to maintain or upgrade the facilities they need to care for native animals,” Mr Smith said.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Deputy Premier announces major expansion for Mortlock Hydroponics

* * - Thursday, October 09, 2014


  • Mortlock Hydroponics at Carisbrook set to expand again
  • $2.2 million investment to double glasshouse size and create a further 25 jobs
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $175,000 to support the expansion

Mortlock Hydroponics will complete a $2.2 million expansion of its hydroponic cherry tomato facility at Carisbrook with the support of the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government.

The expansion will double Mortlock’s glasshouse capacity and create 25 new local jobs, injecting around $1 million of additional wages and salaries into the local economy.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner at Carisbrook today to announce the Coalition Government’s $175,000 investment to support the expansion.

Mr Ryan said the project would increase the current greenhouse’s size from 15,000 square metres to 30,000 square metres, and would include the installation of heating, irrigation, shade screens and fogging systems, as well as a new tomato packaging and storage area.

“This investment is great show of strength for Mortlock Hydroponics which has been growing hydroponic tomatoes in the region since 1999,” Mr Ryan said.

“Doubling the size of the greenhouse will double production of high quality local tomatoes, ensuring more of this great Carisbrook product is on kitchen tables right across Australia and eventually the world.

“Mortlock Hydroponics Director Shane Mortlock and his team should be proud of the work they have done so far, and I am proud to be here today alongside Shane and the team to announce this exciting expansion.

“Companies like Mortlock are the drivers of growth in our regional communities, with the work to be undertaken coming as a real shot-in-the-arm for this region.”

Mr Turner welcomed the investment and said the expansion of the packing shed would enable Mortlock to grow its export potential and produce new varieties of tomatoes for Australia’s shops and supermarkets.

“One of the new varieties which could be grown is similar to the Tasty Tom, which is individually packed and marketed as a healthy snack for school lunches in the Netherlands,” Mr Turner said.

“There is great potential for this style of tomato to be grown here locally and sold right across the country.

“With the right promotion there is even the chance that these varieties may find their way into our kids’ school lunch boxes as a healthy and tasty alternative to prepackaged snack foods.

“I congratulate Shane and the team for their great work here at Carisbrook – they are truly a great local success story.”

Ms Staley passed on her support and said it was the second such investment from the Coalition Government to support the growth of this great local food producer.

“In 2013, the Coalition Government invested $250,000 to enable Mortlock Hydroponics to build the $4.1 million, 15,000 square metre facility, which created 20 new jobs,” Ms Staley said.

“The company has done well to expand on this initial investment and continue its rapid and strong growth.

“Investment such as that which is being undertaken by Mortlock delivers greater economies of scale and improved productivity which means cheaper and more accessible fresh food products for consumers.”

The Mortlock Hydroponics expansion will be completed by the middle of next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victorian Coalition Government delivers for Kilmore

* * - Tuesday, October 07, 2014


  • Deputy Premier announces $140,000 for $190,000 Kilmore Town Centre Revitalisation Study
  • Study to deliver a strategic plan to revitalise commercial precinct
  • Visit coincides with the start of the $450,000 Mill Street Focal Space Project

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan visited Kilmore today to mark the start of the $450,000 redevelopment of Kilmore’s Mill Street, which will deliver a new pedestrian plaza and other key improvements.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, said the Mill Street Focal Space Project would create a modern retail and community hub in the heart of Kilmore, linking Sydney Street with Kilmore Creek.

Mr Ryan said Mill Street would be transformed into a vibrant pedestrian plaza, incorporating a viewing platform, seating, shade structures, landscaping and paving.

“This project is one of the key investments to be undertaken here in the CBD prior to the Kilmore Bypass,” Mr Ryan said.

“Kilmore residents and businesses have been calling for this important work to be completed for years and the Coalition Government is proud to have answered by investing $300,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support this $450,000 project.

“Creating a modern and accessible CBD supports local businesses and encourages locals and visitors to spend more time and money in Kilmore.

“The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, will continue to invest in our local communities to deliver improved local infrastructure such as the works which are being undertaken here in the heart of Kilmore.”

During his visit, Mr Ryan also announced that the Coalition Government would invest $140,000 from the Regional Growth Fund to support a $190,000 planning study to further revitalise Kilmore’s town centre ahead of the Kilmore Bypass.

Mr Ryan said the Kilmore Town Centre Revitalisation Study would outline plans to enhance the town’s commercial precinct, and supported the works being undertaken in Mill Street.

“Kilmore has been experiencing steady population growth due its proximity to Melbourne and excellent transport links to the city,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is important that we continue to support and invest in Kilmore as its population grows.

“The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, look forward to working alongside the Mitchell Shire Council to deliver these important planning and infrastructure projects here in Kilmore.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Labor will cut the country

* * - Monday, October 06, 2014


  • Labor’s pamphlet reveals it will cut funding to country Victoria by $1.936 billion
  • Labor copycats policies which are already in action
  • Labor puts up token spending to cover massive cuts

Labor’s pamphlet, released today, reveals Labor will cut funding for country Victoria by at least $1.936 billion, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said today.

“Labor’s claims it will spend $200 million on regional jobs, $1 billion on regional roads over eight years, and reinstate its token Regional Infrastructure Development Fund are token offerings to disguise huge cuts in the country,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor steals your wallet then offers you one of your own stolen banknotes as a distraction.

“In the next term of government, Labor, if elected, would cut the Regional Growth Fund ($500 million); cut the Murray Basin Rail Project (up to $220 million); cut up to three quarters of the roads maintenance budget ($1.5 billion); and cut the Country Roads and Bridges program ($160 million).

“It would return a token $200 million for a regional jobs fund, far less than the $500 million the Coalition has already set aside in the Regional Growth Fund – which Labor has said it will axe. The Regional Growth Fund has already invested more than $440 million in 1,600 projects, generating $1.8 billion of investment and 5,000 jobs in regional and rural Victoria.

“Labor’s pledge to spend $1 billion on regional roads over eight years equates to $125 million a year – up to a 75 per cent cut. This year, the Coalition invested $500 million in roads maintenance.

“Labor has said it would reinstate its token Regional Infrastructure Development Fund, which its glossy brochures tell us invested just $61 million a year – $611 million over a decade – so that’s $244 million over the next term of government.

“That’s a $2.38 billion cut from the country and $444 million offered as a replacement – Labor cuts the country by $1.936 billion,” Mr Ryan said.

“Furthermore, Labor’s copycat regional jobs ‘policies’ released today are already reality under the Regional Growth Fund, which Labor aims to axe.

“Labor says it will set up Regional Business Centres and Regional Cities Clusters to ‘provide expert advice and assistance to businesses looking to expand or relocate to regional Victoria’.

This is already done under the Regional Growth Fund.”

Regional Development Victoria already manages 18 regional offices which ‘facilitate investment, jobs and exports, creating a local contact point for businesses, council and community groups’.

RDV also has a Business Engagement Team which ‘engages with Victorian regional businesses to promote the development of sustainable industries that are growth orientated and export focussed’.

“Labor has refused to commit to the Murray Basin Rail Project, worth up to $220 million, which will transform the way goods are transported in western and northern Victoria, creating countless jobs and huge opportunities for business and exports,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor has also refused to commit to the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program.

“Labor will cut the country by $1.936 billion, print a glossy brochure and try to fool regional Victorians into believing it invests in the regions.

“Labor will cut the country.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Regional Growth Fund delivers $500,000 for new pedestrian bridge in Horsham

* * - Friday, October 03, 2014


  • $500,000 from Victorian Coalition Government to build new pedestrian bridge
  • $1.2 million bridge will link Southbank with Horsham’s key facilities
  • The Nationals, as part of a Coalition Government, are building a better Horsham

Southbank residents have called for better access to Horsham’s CBD, schools, sporting facilities and health care services and the Victorian Coalition Government has answered, investing $500,000 in the construction of a new pedestrian bridge.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy and The Nationals Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty in Horsham today to announce the $500,000 investment from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had partnered with the Horsham Rural City Council and the Southbank developer to deliver the $1.2 million new pedestrian bridge.

Mr Ryan said the bridge, to be located one kilometre west of the Western Highway Bridge, would provide a vital link between the growing Southbank residential area and the Horsham CBD.

“For years the community has called for this vital piece of local infrastructure to be built and I am proud to be here today alongside Emma Kealy and Hugh Delahunty to announce that we are going to build it,” Mr Ryan said.

“Southbank residents will now have easy access to Horsham’s CBD, shops, schools, sports facilities, health care services and other community infrastructure.

“No longer will locals have to walk more than a kilometre down to the existing bridge on the Western Highway to gain access to the CBD. It will now be just a simple walk from home, over the river and into town.

“This new bridge will provide a significant boost for the local community, local businesses and residents living in the growing Southbank residential precinct.

“The Nationals, working as part of a strong Coalition Government, are proud to partner with the Horsham Rural City Council and the private sector to deliver projects which are important to local communities.

“The Nationals will continue to invest in Horsham to ensure it remains a great community in which to live and work.”

Ms Kealy welcomed the Coalition Government’s investment and said partnerships between all levels of government and private industry were vital to ensuring a prosperous local economy.

Ms Kealy applauded the Coalition Government for investing in this project which makes it much easier for locals to walk or ride from their home into the Horsham CBD.

“By encouraging more people to walk or ride from home into town we are creating a healthier and more active community, while also providing a boost for local businesses,” Ms Kealy said.

“The construction of this important bridge will make Southbank an even better place to live, encouraging more people across the river to this wonderful part of town.

“Delivering practical local projects which make a difference to our local communities is what attracted me to The Nationals, and as The National candidate for Lowan I will continue to be a strong voice from within government to deliver important local investments such as this.

“I look forward to returning here in July next year, once this project is complete, with my family to walk across what I am sure will be a wonderful structure that the entire Horsham community can be proud of.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Regional Growth Fund delivers for Natimuk

* * - Friday, October 03, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $80,000 in multi-purpose facility at Natimuk Showgrounds
  • New facility will support large community events such as the Nati-Frinj Festival
  • Victorian Coalition Government continues to build a better regional Victoria

The Natimuk Showgrounds, home of the iconic Nati-Frinj Festival, will receive a major facelift with the the construction of a new 178 square metre multi-purpose building.

The Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy invited Deputy Premier Peter Ryan to Natimuk today to announce the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government would invest $80,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in the $212,500 project.

Ms Kealy said it was an honour to be at Natimuk Showgrounds alongside the Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty to make this exciting funding announcement.

Ms Kealy said the project would involve the construction of a 178 square metre multi-purpose building including first aid and parents’ rooms, new toilets, equipment storage, a covered BBQ area and covered public viewing area.

Ms Kealy said the project would also incorporate paths to connect the new facility to other buildings in the showgrounds precinct

“This investment will also deliver important safety outcomes for the community because the showgrounds are a designated relief centre during local emergencies,” Ms Kealy said.

“The development of a new multi-purpose building will enable more people to be accommodated here in greater comfort during floods, fire and other disasters.

“It will also support the work of the Natimuk Agricultural and Pastoral Society, the neighbouring Natimuk Men's Shed, the Arapiles Historical Society, Natimuk Tennis Club, Natimuk Football and Netball Clubs, and the Natimuk Primary School.

“I thank the Coalition Government for this investment and acknowledge in particular Peter Ryan and Hugh Delahunty for their strong support for this region.

“As The Nationals candidate for Lowan, and working within a Coalition Government I will continue to be a strong voice for Natimuk and this region to ensure more projects such as this are supported and delivered by all levels of government.”

Mr Ryan said it was an honour to be in Natimuk alongside Emma Kealy and Hugh Delahunty, praising their strong and constant advocacy for the region.

Mr Ryan said The Nationals, working in Coalition Government, were a strong supporter of communities in the Wimmera and were proud to invest in this important local project.

“In addition to the benefits outlined by Emma Kealy, I understand this investment will support iconic community events such as the biennial Nati-Frinj Festival,” Mr Ryan said.

“I have been told by many locals that Natimuk is famous for two things, rock climbing and Nati-Frinj, with the festival having a strong reputation as a major cultural event for the region that not only brings this community together but attracts more than 1,500 visitors to town.

“Rock climbers, artists, musicians, those coming from the city for a great time, those wanting to socialise or meet new friends, and many others are attracted to this magnificent festival, and I am proud that we as a government can support it and other local user groups.”

Mr Ryan said The Nationals fought hard to secure investments such as the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which he said could only be spent in the regions outside of Melbourne, to support initiatives such as the development of this new multi-purpose facility here in Natimuk.

“If given the chance to again govern Victoria in Coalition with the Liberals, The Nationals and our candidates such as Emma Kealy will continue to be a strong voice for this regions to ensure they continue to receive their share of funding.

“This government understands, we as The Nationals understand, that when the regions do well the whole state prospers.”

Mr Ryan said the new multipurpose building would be completed and functional by October next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Western Highway works ramp up after winter

* * - Friday, September 26, 2014

WINTER is over and works on the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell are ramping up.


Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined Deputy Premier of Victoria Peter Ryan outside Buangor today to inspect the progress of construction.


“Drivers will soon notice excavation equivalent to 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools of earth from Box’s Cutting, building a flatter dual carriageway to help trucks maintain a more constant speed and bring down freight costs,” Mr Truss said.


“These works aren’t the only progress being made on the Western Highway — residents will be extremely pleased to know that planning for the Buangor bypass is progressing well, and we expect to award the contract to design and build the bypass next month.”


Mr Ryan said both governments were also wasting no time in getting on with the planning studies for the Ararat and Beaufort bypasses that were announced in May this year.


“Consultation with local residents, councils and stakeholders around the Ararat and Beaufort communities will kick off in the next couple of months, with a consultant coming on board to investigate any environmental, heritage, social, economic or traffic impacts of the bypasses,” Mr Ryan said.


“This will ensure we get the planning right on the bypasses to get the best result for local residents as well as the industries that rely on moving freight along the Western Highway.”


Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the Western Highway was the main freight link between Victoria and South Australia, with up to 5,500 vehicles, including 1,500 trucks, taking the route every day.


“The highway supports Victoria’s thriving western district, with its farming, grain production, tourism and manufacturing sectors,” Mr Tehan said.


“That is why the Australian and Victorian Governments have dedicated more than half a billion dollars to its upgrade.”


The Australian Government has committed $404 million to the Western Highway upgrade between Ballarat and Stawell, and the Victorian Government committed $101 million. The Australian and Victorian Governments have also committed $3 million and $1 million respectively to the Ararat and Beaufort bypasses planning study.


Media Contacts

For Mr Truss:                      Kate Barwick                         0408 072 809

For Mr Ryan:                        Ben Bulmer                           0437 547 731

For Mr Tehan:                       John Harris                            0400 192 205

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