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Our successful 98th State Nationals Conference in Benalla highlighted the important role rural and regional Victoria plays in the State’s future.

Press Releases

New Poowong CFA Station open for business

Friday, June 06, 2014
  • Deputy Premier opens new Poowong CFA station
  • Local firefighters can better protect lives and save property from the threat of fire
  • Coalition Government is delivering record investments in regional and rural infrastructure

The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government has invested more than $400,000 to build a new CFA station at Poowong, increasing the capacity of local firefighters to protect lives and save property from the threat of fire.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Poowong today to open the new $434,000 Poowong CFA station.

“The Coalition Government is proud to support CFA members by providing them with the facilities and equipment they need to save lives and property,” Mr Ryan said. 

“This new, modern three-bay fire station has improved meeting and training facilities.

“It also provides space for the brigade’s response trailer, which was previously housed at a brigade member’s property.

“The new Poowong CFA station will ensure the Poowong Fire Brigade is well equipped to perform its critical work now and into the future.”

Mr Ryan said the new CFA station would help attract and boost membership at the unit, which has 37 members who attend about 60 calls each year.

“The Poowong Fire Brigade has provided an invaluable service to the communities of Poowong, Loch and Nyora since it was formed 132 years ago,” Mr Ryan said.

“It has played a vital role in protecting the local community and the people of Victoria during some of the state’s biggest fires, including the Black Saturday fires in 2009.

“The Coalition Government is proud of the vital work performed by the CFA and we will continue to support them.”

Mr Ryan said the new Poowong CFA station had been funded through the Rural Fire Station project and highlighted the Coalition Government’s ongoing commitment to build and upgrade rural fire stations.

“Since 2010, the Coalition Government has provided the CFA with more than $1.84 billion,” Mr Ryan said.

 “This financial year the CFA Budget is $446 million, $47 million more than what was provided by the former Labor Government during its last year in office.

“We have also invested more than $125 million over the past three years to build 250 new or upgraded CFA stations across the state, a record infrastructure investment for the CFA.

“The Liberal Nationals Coalition Government’s record investment is strengthening Victoria’s emergency services.”

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

 

It’s official! Upgraded Rosedale Outdoor Pool opens

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Rosedale Outdoor Pool officially opens after a major upgrade 
  • Victorian Coalition Government invest $835,000 for the redevelopment through $1 billion Regional Growth Fund 
  • Regional Growth Fund is building regional and rural infrastructure

The aging Rosedale Outdoor Pool has been transformed into a modern aquatic centre with the support of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was in Rosedale today to officially open the new Rosedale Outdoor Pool, which was upgraded thanks to a $835,000 Coalition Government investment.

Mr Ryan said upgrades to the Rosedale Outdoor Pool, which were designed in consultation with the local community, included an improved kiosk entry, change rooms, new toilets and toddlers pool with children’s water play feature.

He said the upgrades also delivered new seating and grassed areas, barbecue and shade shelters, plant room, concourse and edge capping to the main pool, as well as a pool hoist, ensuring the pool was accessible to people with a disability.

“This new facility is a credit to the local community,” Mr Ryan said.

“Local pools are the heart of our regional and rural communities during the warm summer months, providing a place for people to relax and socialise, exercise or escape the heat during long hot days.

“They are also the place where many children learn how to swim, and an important part of our school curriculum.

“Having strong local input into the design of this facility will ensure it meets the needs of the community long into the future.”

Mr Ryan thanked the Wellington Shire Council, who managed the redevelopment.

He said the project was another example of the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund supporting local government to build vital community infrastructure.

“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,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project was funded through a portion of the Regional Growth Fund which has been set aside to assist regional and rural councils deliver their community infrastructure priorities.

“By investing in local government infrastructure priorities, the Coalition Government is helping to put downwards pressure on rates while delivering much needed local projects.

“Overall, the Wellington Shire has received more from the $7 million from Regional Growth Fund to support around 40 projects, leveraging $20 million of total investment.”

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

Tackling teenage risk-taking on the road

Friday, June 06, 2014

• Empowering teenagers to get out of potentially dangerous situations
• Revamped Fit2Drive workshop targetting 60,000 year 11 students
• Victorian Coalition Government committed to improving road safety

Gippsland students are among more than 60,000 year 11s that are the focus of a new campaign to save young lives on the roads.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the revamped road safety workshops were being rolled out in schools to encourage teenage passengers to positively influence their friends, who are considering drink driving, speeding or other dangerous behaviour.

“I am sending a letter to all local secondary schools informing them of this important program, and I strongly encourage local principals and teachers to make a booking for the road safety workshop to visit their school,” Mr Ryan said.

“Young people continue to be over-represented in road trauma and the dangers of irresponsible behaviour on the roads can be dire.

“Teenagers need skills and practical strategies to get themselves out of potentially dangerous situations.

“Participants will develop personal and school road safety plans that will empower them to challenge dangerous behaviours and understand the risks involved.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government had partnered with the F2D Foundation (Fit2Drive) to deliver the program, which has Victoria at the forefront of road safety behavioural change at a secondary school level.

“The workshop will be delivered by trained university students and will include group discussions and various scenarios to explore strategies to keep our young people safe on the roads,” Mr Ryan said.

“The revamped F2D workshop, with involvement from police and MFB is increasing its reach to approximately 500 secondary schools.”

The Coalition Government together with road safety agencies has been successful in reducing the young driver casualty crashes by 20 percent in recent years through measures such as the Graduated Licensing System (GLS), a ban on mobile phone use for all probationary drivers and a range of support programs like F2D.

For more information or to book a workshop at your school, visit www.F2D.com.au.

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

Stand together and speak out about bullying

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Bullying in any circumstance is never acceptable
  • Speaking out about bullying helps to diminish bullying
  • Everyone has the right to feel as though they belong
  • Cyber bullying has become a serious problem

Whether it’s in the classroom, on social media, via text or on the bus travelling to or from school, there is no excuse for bullying in any form.

That was the message Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan offered today when he visited Yarram’s primary school and secondary college.

Mr Ryan’s visit to the schools coincided with National Day against Bullying and Violence and National Harmony Day, which will be recognised by the schools tomorrow, Friday 21 March.

Speaking to year seven and eight students at Yarram Secondary College, Mr Ryan said this year’s National Day against Bullying and Violence theme - Bullying. No Way – highlighted that bullying was never acceptable.

“There are many forms of bullying such as excluding people from joining in, physical violence, saying things that upset the person to their face or online or sharing private or unflattering images and messages,” Mr Ryan said.

“All bullying, including cyber bullying, has a negative impact on the ‘target’ that can lead to serious health and social concerns including low self-esteem, reduced academic outcomes, social disconnect, depression and suicide.

“You cannot always judge the effect of your actions online and often messages are taken in a way that you hadn’t intended and with that are consequences that go well beyond your control.”

Mr Ryan said cyberbullying affected people of all races and girls were just as likely to be cyber bullies as boys.

“Cyberbullying can sometimes be worse than other types of bullying because the bully may be anonymous or meaner than they would be in person and the bullying can come at any time, which often leaves victims feeling unsafe in their own homes,” he said.

“With so many Australian youths saying they’ve been cyber bullied, I encourage students to think about what they are saying and the effect that it may have on other people before hitting the post or send buttons on their Facebook or phone.” 

Mr Ryan urged students to stand together and get tough on bullying by speaking up if they or someone they know is being bullied online or face-to-face.

He said those who bully others often aim to impress or intimidate bystanders and the reaction of bystanders can either support or discourage bullying from happening.

“If bystanders do nothing, this can be seen as a form of silent approval whether it’s in the yard or online, however the actions of a supportive bystander have the power to stop or diminish bullying and help the bullied student to recover from the incident,” Mr Ryan said.

“Everyone at your school, sporting club, youth group or community organisation has a right to participate in the activities they enjoy without feeling threatened or intimidated and I encourage each student to ensure this can happen in Yarram.”

In promoting Harmony Day at Yarram Primary School, Mr Ryan said the event was a day to celebrate the diversity of cultures in Australia while making everyone feel as though they belong.

 “This year’s theme ‘Everyone Belongs’ identifies that we should all show cultural respect to everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owners of the land to those who have come from many countries around the world,” Mr Ryan said.

“There are many ways to incorporate cultural inclusion into our day to day lives and it can be as simple as saying good morning and afternoon in a different language each week.”

Mr Ryan said Yarram Primary School students would tomorrow participate in a range of culturally diverse activities specific to their year level.

“To celebrate Harmony Day, I encourage you all to take a moment to think about the people who have come from more than 200 countries that have helped make Australia the great place it is today.”

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

Sign up for VICSWIM 2014 learn-to-swim activities

Friday, June 06, 2014

Children across South Gippsland are gearing up for another fun summer of learn-to-swim activities, following the recent launch of the 2014 VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the 2014 program, to be held in the January school holidays, was set to be the most popular yet.  

“The VICSWIM Summer Kidz program just keeps getting bigger, with a record 7,500 enrolments last summer, meaning more kids than ever are getting involved in learn-to-swim activities around Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.  

“The upcoming program is expected to involve more than 130 instructors providing low cost swimming lessons at 127 venues across the state, including three in South Gippsland.

“Korumburra, Mirboo North and Toora pools will offer quality learn-to-swim activities during the January school holidays for children over four years of age and adults, who are also invited to enrol in the program.”

Mr Ryan said through the VICSWIM program, participants not only learnt important survival skills, but also had the chance to make new friends and boost their health by getting more active more often, in and around water.

“Every participant will receive one 40-minute class each day for the five-day program they are enrolled in,” Mr Ryan said.

“Enrolment is $25 per participant and I encourage families to get in quick and sign up for this very popular program.”

Mr Ryan said the upcoming program built on the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2010 election commitment of $1.6 million to the VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program that had enabled more children to take up affordable learn-to-swim classes.

“The Coalition Government’s commitment to the VICSWIM program is just one way that we are delivering on our goal to build active and healthy communities,” Mr Ryan said.

For more information about the program, participating venues and how to enrol, please visit http://www.vicswim.com.au/.

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

$20,000 boost for South Gippsland Coast Guards

Friday, June 06, 2014
The Port Welshpool and Port Albert Coast Guard groups will each receive $10,000 as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $235,000 Marine Safety Grant program, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan said the funding would provide much needed financial support to assist both volunteer organisations in maintaining critical services.

“The Port Albert and Port Welshpool Coast Guard volunteers have served the Gippsland community for many years and have been involved in countless rescues in some of the most difficult and trying conditions,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government recognises the tireless and ongoing effort of the Port Albert and Port Welshpool Coast Guard volunteers who provide critical 24 hour emergency response for the South Gippsland coastline.”

Mr Ryan said the Marine Safety Grant program provided funding to volunteer Maritime Search and Rescue (MSAR) organisations to support a range of operational activities including:

· general costs associated with operating MSAR vessels;

· costs associated with operating MSAR radio equipment;

· costs associated with training members; and

· costs associated with meeting MSAR standards.

Mr Ryan said volunteer MSAR organisations, with the exception of the State Emergency Service, are mainly self-funded with additional support from Victorian Government grants.

“This funding is vitally important in maintaining search and rescue operations in the region,” Mr Ryan said.

Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said the Coalition Government was committed to improving safety outcomes on Victorian waterways.

“Maintaining safety in our local ports and on our coastline is a priority and not something to be compromised,” Dr Napthine said.

“Providing funding to volunteer search and rescue operations will enable operational costs to be met and contribute to safety initiatives throughout the state.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

Life Saving Victoria joins Regional Vic Living Expo

Friday, June 06, 2014

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced Life Saving Victoria (LSV) as the official charity partner of the 2012 Regional Victoria Living Expo, to be held at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre (27 – 29 April).

Mr Ryan said the partnership aimed to raise valuable awareness of the dangers of waterways in regional communities.

“Regional Victoria’s waterways are a natural drawcard and while we want people to enjoy these great natural attractions, it’s important to remember every water environment has inherent dangers which can be deadly,” Mr Ryan said.

“Life Saving Victoria provides a valuable emergency service and the Victorian Coalition Government is proud to announce LSV as our official charity partner.

“Tragically there were 34 drowning deaths in Victoria in 2010/2011 and of these, 59 per cent occurred in regional and rural areas. Comparatively, of the 38 drowning deaths in 2009/2010, 47 per cent occurred in regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

LSV Chief Executive Officer Nigel Taylor said volunteer lifesaver patrols were just one of LSV’s many services which worked to improve water safety across all aquatic environments.

“Our services also include education and training programs, research and injury prevention, and communication campaigns, such as Play it Safe by the Water, to raise awareness of water safety,” Mr Taylor said.

“We look forward to being at the 2012 Regional Victoria Living Expo where we can talk to patrons about what they can do to keep their families safe around water.”

The free Expo will host Victoria’s 48 rural and regional councils as well as exhibitors under one roof to give Melbourne residents and businesses all the information they need to consider relocating to regional and rural Victoria.

People attending the Expo will be asked to contribute a gold coin donation to Life Saving Victoria.

For more information on the Regional Victoria Living Expo visit www.rdv.vic.gov.au/expo.

Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526

New Queenscliff Coast Guard headquarters opens

Friday, June 06, 2014

Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan today unveiled the new $190,000 Australian Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG) Queenscliff headquarters which has been rebuilt from the ashes with Victoria Coalition Government support.

“The Queenscliff Coast Guard headquarters has been operating out of temporary facilities since November 2007 after the original building was destroyed by arson,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new flotilla will ensure volunteers can best serve and protect the local community which utilises the busy and hazardous stretch of water around the Bellarine Peninsula.

“Queenscliff’s flotilla covers Port Phillip heads which is a dangerous marine area and the new facilities will help Coast Guard volunteers carry out their vital job.”

Mr Ryan said the new well-equipped headquarters included a marine radio station, meeting and training room, first aid room and storage area for Coast Guard equipment and records. 

“The Coalition Government is committed to supporting the AVCG Queenscliff operations to undertake  important marine safety work, from small boat engine failure assistance to full-scale search and rescue operations,” Mr Ryan said.

The new headquarters has been made possible by $50,000 State Government funding, $17,000 Queenscliff flotilla funding, $10,000 donations, and a $113,000 insurance payout.

“The Queenscliff flotilla will keep the community informed about marine safety with marine education courses for the boating public and training for returning Coast Guard members,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the AVCG’s commitment to local marine safety and their selfless work made them a central part of emergency services on Victorian waterways.

“AVCG flotillas are totally integrated into the emergency services as registered CFA brigades and they work very closely with the Victoria Water Police, Volunteer Marine Rescue Mornington, Victorian State Emergency Services, and Life Saving Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Queenscliff Coast Guard responded to 61 incidents and callouts in the last financial year as part of its all-hazards, all-agencies approach to community safety.”

Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526

Victorian drowning rate lowest on record

Friday, June 06, 2014

Victoria has experienced the lowest rate of drowning deaths on record according to the 2011 Victorian Drowning Report released today by the Victorian Coalition Government. 

Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan said 34 people died in drowning incidents in 2010/11– the lowest drowning rate since the start of the Play It Safe by the Water campaign in 1998.

“While the latest figures are an improvement on previous years, the reality is one drowning death in the water is one too many, and that people of all ages must be vigilant around waterways,” Mr Ryan said. 

“One area that has seen a significant improvement is the rate of toddler drowning deaths, which is down from seven in 2009/10 to just one in 2010/11,” Mr Ryan said.

“The ‘20 seconds is all it takes for a child to drown’ advertising campaign is believed to have played a big part in reducing the death toll and the government will invest $500,000 to ensure it continues this summer.” 

Mr Ryan said while the overall result was welcome, the report showed that drowning deaths were still too frequent among certain age groups and in certain areas.

“The report highlights that there are still too many drowning deaths in the 5 to 14 years of age group and amongst young males,” Mr Ryan said. 

“People aged over 60 years, however, accounted for the highest drowning rate, with medical conditions playing a major factor in these drownings.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government, together with the aquatics industry, was working on new and existing water safety strategies to promote water safety and highlight the risks.

“The Coalition Government has allocated $3 million this financial year to continue delivering water safety programs which include the Play It Safe by the Water campaign, community and school education programs and lifesaving services,” Mr Ryan said. 

“Advertising campaigns over summer will reinforce safety messages to parents, carers and at-risks groups such as Look Before you Leap and Never Swim Alone.

“Children will also benefit from a $1.6 million Coalition Government VICSWIM initiative to make learn-to-swim classes more affordable for families by providing subsidies on lessons,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Funds to rebuild Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club

Friday, June 06, 2014

Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) will receive $500,000 from the Coalition State Government to rebuild its clubhouse after it was almost destroyed by violent storms in 2007.

During a visit to Seaspray today, Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan announced a new club would be built in a location less susceptible to storms.

“As one of the last Victorian surf life saving clubs located on coastal dunes, Seaspray SLSC is very much at the mercy of the elements,” Mr Ryan said.

“In 2007 storms washed millions of tonnes of sand into the sea, leaving the local clubhouse on the brink of toppling into the ocean.

“The Coalition’s $500,000 investment will ensure the club can be relocated back up the beach, out of harm’s way, therefore ensuring the club’s future for many years to come.”

Mr Ryan said the funding was part of $7 million Life Saving Victoria has received to upgrade clubhouses and provide on-the-ground administration support.

“The $7 million commitment includes $6 million to upgrade clubhouses and $1 million for field-based administrators to support Life Saving Victoria volunteers and the organisations’ operations,” Mr Ryan said.

Life Saving Victoria will ensure plans for any new or upgraded clubhouses fit in with local coastal environments in terms of the use of sustainable practice and building design.

Mr Ryan commended volunteer surf life savers for freely giving their time to protect beach goers, and to Life Saving Victoria for its role in educating the public about beach and water safety.

“The Coalition Government recently announced an extra $1.5 million investment in Victoria’s water safety campaign, Play It Safe by the Water, which directly targets an alarming rise in toddler drownings and also focuses on young men, who are among those most at-risk of drowning and water-related deaths,” Mr Ryan said.