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Press Releases

$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

Play your part in creating a safer Easter

Friday, June 06, 2014

·        Take ownership of your driving and help reduce the road toll
·        Share your Easter driving tips on social media by using #roadtozero
·        Make Easter an enjoyable time by making sensible decisions

Gippslanders planning a break or visit to family and friends this Easter are asked to take ownership and help drive down the state’s road toll.

“Victoria’s road toll is the lowest we’ve seen for close to 90 years and I’m asking all Gippslanders to make a conscious effort to ensure this downward trend continues,” Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said.

“The Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government recently launched ‘The Road to Zero – it starts with you’ campaign that encourages motorists to share their road safety ideas and tips through videos, photos or messages.

“By using the ‘#roadtozero’ hashtag, Gippslanders can show their support by posting their ideas and sharing stories through the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages.”

Mr Ryan said the campaign would run in conjunction with a statewide road enforcement operation including the consecutive Easter and ANZAC Day long weekends, as well as the Queen’s Birthday holiday.

“If you’re doing the wrong thing on the road, then expect to be stopped by police,” he said.

“It is thanks to the work of police, government and other agencies joining together to enforce the law and educate the community, as well as advances in medical treatment that has allowed the downward trend in the road toll to occur.”

For the road roll to continue to drop, it will require all motorists to take individual responsibility for improving safety by making safe travel choices, he said.

“Being distracted by text and phone calls, speeding while rushing to your next destination, or simply not respecting other road users, can lead to a situation from which you can never turn back,” Mr Ryan said.

“Whether you’re bushwalking at The Prom, sailing the magnificent Gippsland Lakes or spending time on the 90 Mile Beach, take ownership of our actions behind the wheel because the road to zero starts with you.”

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

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Relocatable units at Dhurringile Prison help ease numbers in police cells

Friday, June 06, 2014


Acting Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Corrections Edward O’Donohue today inspected the recently installed relocatable accommodation units at Dhurringile Prison.

They were joined by local members Jeanette Powell, Wendy Lovell, and Amanda Millar, as well as Bob Allan, CEO of Royal Wolf, the company supplying the accommodation units.

Mr Ryan said Corrections Victoria has installed 50 of the accommodation units at minimum security Dhurringile, with each unit capable of accommodating two prisoners.

“These relocatable units are providing an important immediate boost to capacity in Victoria’s corrections system,” Mr Ryan said.

“We were pleased to see 40 prisoners accommodated in these new units prior to Christmas, and another 20 just last week, with more to follow shortly.”

Mr O’Donohue said the installation of the units is just one of the measures that have contributed to a dramatic fall in the number of prisoners being held in police cells.

“From a high of 372 in mid-November, the number of prisoners in police cells is now down to well below 200,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“While we are constantly increasing prison capacity, this reduction is also a result of great co-operation between Corrections Victoria, Victoria Police and the courts.

“Weekend Magistrates Court sittings, the Melbourne Magistrates Court sitting in the County Court and increased videolink facilities have all contributed to this good result by increasing the efficiency of the flow of offenders through the system.”

Mr Ryan said that the Coalition Government is currently delivering the largest prison expansion in Victoria’s history to support the growing prisoner population.

“We are building new permanent beds and expanding existing prison facilities as quickly as possible.

“These new relocatable accommodation units add to the total of 791 beds that have been opened since the start of 2011, with around 2,500 further beds in the pipeline.”

The security and design of the new units, also known as dongas, is consistent with the standard security accommodation at Dhurringile and at other prison farms across the state.

A dedicated officers' post has been installed to monitor the new units and extra staff have been added to manage the additional prisoners.

The units will be locked at night and fitted with duress alarms and smoke detectors.

Mr O’Donohue said only the lowest security prisoners will be housed in the new units.

“Corrections Victoria worked closely with staff to finalise these security arrangements before prisoners moved in,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“We are also looking at whether similar accommodation can be used at other prisons, including Langi Kal Kal and Beechworth, and other walled prisons, where appropriate.”

Prisoners at the minimum security Dhurringile Prison are lower risk. Many of them are coming to the end of their sentence and preparing to transition back into the community. 

Victoria records lowest road toll in 90 years

Friday, June 06, 2014


Acting Premier Peter Ryan, along with Minister for Roads Terry Mulder and Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips, today welcomed news of a record low Victorian road toll of 242, some 40 less than last year.

“Victoria has just recorded its lowest road toll in almost 90 years,” Mr Ryan said.

“We haven’t seen a road toll this low since 1924, when 224 people were killed on our roads.

“We are proud of the work done so far and proud that the community and all road users have joined with police and all arms of government in a real team effort to reduce tragedies on our roads.

“However, there is still a long way to go. Most road deaths are not ‘accidents’ as such, but the result of poor choices, including choices to speed, or drive under the influence of alcohol.

“Everyone in the community needs to deeply consider the choices they make.

“There are towns in my electorate of South Gippsland with populations of fewer than 242 and to think of this many people dying on our roads every year is tragic.

“We have come a long way in saving lives, but we will not rest until the road toll is zero.”

Mr Ryan said the state’s road safety strategies, including the introduction of the Graduated Licensing System and the Safer Road Infrastructure Program, had helped save lives.

“The Victorian Coalition Government Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan, unveiled in March, included some bold new initiatives to build on these gains,” Mr Ryan said.

“We asked Victorians to tell us what they thought would help save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.

“Victorians called for more enforcement, a stronger approach to those doing the wrong thing and more education, and we’ve listened.”

Mr Ryan said 2013 saw the Coalition Government announce increased measures to stop drink driving; compulsory increased penalties for using a mobile phone while driving, the release the Road Mode mobile phone app and the start of education programs for reckless drivers to supplement tough hoon penalties.

Mr Mulder said the road safety partners, including Victoria Police, the TAC, VicRoads and the Department of Justice, have created new road safety campaigns and public education programs targeting road safety issues.

“This year we saw Victoria’s first ever distractions campaign and we worked with motorcyclists on a campaign to help them achieve the perfect ride,” Mr Mulder said.

“While it has been great to see the reductions in fatalities this year we know that we are only ever one bad week or one bad month away from losing those gains.

“We need to continue to work together to come up with new initiatives and strategies to help us achieve our vision of zero deaths and serious injuries.”

Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said while it is encouraging to see the reduction in road fatalities there is still work to be done to reduce serious injuries on our roads.

“The last 12 months have seen a reduction in fatalities but we have not seen the same reduction in serious injury collisions,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

“We have a number of initiatives underway in 2014 to reduce serious injuries including the Enhanced Crash Investigation Study with the Monash University Accident Research Centre which will be unveiled in February.

“The TAC has also committed $1 billion under the Safer Road Infrastructure Program over the next decade to make Victoria’s most dangerous roads safer for all road users, a vital element of the Safe System approach.

“The release of the Parliamentary Road Safety Committee inquiry into serious injury later this year will give us a better understanding of what we can do to reduce life changing injuries.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Regional Growth Fund delivers airport upgrade for Mildura

Friday, June 06, 2014

Victoria’s Sunraysia region can look forward to a significant economic boost with the opening of Mildura’s long-awaited multi-million dollar terminal, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said today.

The Airport Redevelopment was completed thanks to a $5.2 million investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan joined Member for Mildura Peter Crisp for a community open day at the airport to mark the new terminal’s official opening and enjoyed a display from the RAAF’s elite formation aerobatic display team the Roulettes.

“Mildura Airport is Victoria’s busiest regional airport and its redevelopment will be a great boost for the local economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“It has been fantastic to be involved in a project as significant to this region as the Mildura Airport expansion.

“Given the airport had previously been pushed to capacity during peak periods, it was vital the Coalition Government invested to allow Mildura to grow as it should.

“About twice the size of the old terminal, the airport’s new terminal will ably support increased passenger numbers, the new direct air services to and from Sydney, Adelaide and Broken Hill, and provide much better amenities for airport users,” Mr Ryan said.

Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said the multi-million dollar project extended the terminal to a whopping 1,831 square metres and refurbished and remodeled the internal areas.

“The redevelopment has improved check-in areas, baggage systems and car parks, making it much easier to move traffic both within and outside the building.

“It also provided jobs for 20 to 30 workers, each day of the nine-month construction period.”

“The airport is vital to the growth and development of the Sunraysia region and important for the continuation of current and future air services to the region.

“Major events and festivals attract well over 500,000 visitors to Sunraysia each year and the area has lots of other popular tourist attractions like the city of Mildura itself, the Murray River and the world heritage-listed Mungo National Park to name just a few,” Mr Crisp said.

“As the local member, I’m proud to have been part of this important project, and I congratulate all involved for getting it finished on time and on budget.

“In 2011, 215,000 passengers from 3,500 regular passenger transfer services were projected to pass through Mildura airport. Passenger numbers increased with 6,200 charter and general aviation movements each year, including flight training, air ambulance, aerial agriculture, parachuting, military and VIP flights.

“Mildura airport is also used for refueling of transiting aircraft and is a convenient calling point for diverting aircraft and aircraft experiencing on-board emergencies.

“The Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund was set up to fund regional projects such as this – which would not have come to fruition without the $5.2 million provided toward the $6.4 million development. The Mildura Rural City Council is to be complimented for contributing the remaining $1.2 million.

“Mildura has again benefited from the Liberal National Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Crisp said.

Highlights for Mildura from the Regional Growth Fund include:

• $5.2 million for the Airport;
• $7 million for the Riverfront Parklands Project;
• $5 million for the Langtree Avenue Promenade connection;
• $1 million for the Resort and Conference Centre at the marina; and
• $500,000 for the establishment of an Authority for the Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment.

Construction to begin on a new 24-hour police station for Sale

Friday, June 06, 2014
The former prison site on the corner of Foster and Reeve Streets will be home to Sale’s new 24-hour police station, with the Victorian Coalition Government today announcing it will provide $15.3 million to complete the project through this year’s Budget.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced the funding for the project on behalf of Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells, saying it would allow for the construction of the new station to be completed.

“I am pleased to announce the Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to address concerns raised by the community about the old, out-dated and overcrowded police station,” Mr Ryan said.

“Sale’s existing 24-hour police station, which was built in 1976, is the oldest 24-hour police station in operation east of Dandenong, is run down and no longer meets police requirements.

“This $15.3 million allocation, which is being funded through the 2013/14 State Budget, completes the funding needed for this important project, following a $2.9 million allocation in the 2011/12 State Budget, to purchase land and begin planning.”

Mr Ryan said the new station would provide accommodation for a uniform branch, criminal investigation unit, highway patrol, police prosecutors, as well as a sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, and the Police Service Area Commander.

“The new station will initially accommodate 63 police personnel, but the design includes substantial growth capacity to allow for an expansion in police numbers,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new station is underpinned by our commitment to deliver an additional 1,700 police to Victorian streets in our first term of government.

“By June this year, 1200 additional police will be allocated to their communities as part of this commitment and Victoria Police is on track to deliver the remainder by November 2014.

“As part of this, an additional 25 police officers will be deployed to Division Six of Eastern Region by June, which includes both the Wellington and East Gippsland Police Service Areas.”

Mr Ryan said in order to support the local police officers to carry out their duties, the new building would feature:
• public consultation and interview rooms;
• mess room and other staff amenities including change rooms and a gymnasium;
• conference and training room facilities that can be adopted for emergency situation management purposes;
• short term custodial holding rooms; and,
• custodial area and administration work areas.

Mr Ryan said the remaining portion of the former prison wall would be incorporated into the design of the new building, providing a fitting reminder of the history of the site, which housed inmates for 110 years after being completed in 1887.

“It is anticipated that up to 500 jobs will be created during construction of the new station, with 55 additional full-time positions created within the industry as a result of this project,” Mr Ryan

Mr Ryan said plans for the new station would be available for public comment before construction work was due to commence.

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870  

Go4Zero campaign to eliminate violence in Victoria

Friday, June 06, 2014

Say NO to violence of any kind, including family violence. That is the core message of the Go4Zero campaign which was formally launched at Victoria Police headquarters today.

The Go4Zero campaign is a partnership between Victoria Police, the Victorian Coalition Government and the community.

Today Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan joined Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton to launch the advertising campaign.

“The Go For Zero campaign is about the collective responsibility of everyone to speak out and reject violence in any form – particularly family violence and violence against women,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Violence against women and children is unacceptable in any form and under any circumstances.

“The Coalition Government is committed to preventing violence happening, and holding perpetrators to account for their actions.

“In October last year the Coalition Government launched Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence Against Women and Children - Everyone has a Responsibility.

“The plan is supported by an investment of $90 million in 2012-2013 – a 20 per cent increase in funding in just two years,” Mr Baillieu said.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government is also delivering a record investment for an additional 1,700 frontline police officers across Victoria, by June this year, 1,200 of those sworn police officers will be working across Victorian communities.

“We are also recruiting 940 protective services officers (PSOs) to patrol our metropolitan and major regional train stations from 6pm until the last train,” Mr Ryan said.

“Today we have more than 270 PSO’s on our train stations, they are working to make Victorian train stations places of safety rather than places of fear.

“We are putting in place the resources to undertake a cultural change in Victoria, to make Victoria a place where everyone in our community feels safe and violence is simply unacceptable,” Mr Ryan said.

Minister for Women’s Affairs Mary Wooldridge said reducing violence against women and children was a shared responsibility across the Victorian community and could not be achieved by government on its own.

“Violence against women and children is a complex social and economic problem that affects all Victorians,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“The Coalition Government is investing in a comprehensive and complementary range of innovative prevention initiatives in schools, media, workplaces and communities that will educate about and promote respectful and non-violent relationships and gender equity.

“Through this action plan, the Coalition Government is providing strong leadership and a co-ordinated and integrated approach to tackling this issue.

“However, as the action plan states, everyone has a responsibility to act,” Ms Wooldridge said.

The Coalition Government with Victoria Police has launched a website, a Facebook page and a dedicated Victoria Police webpage which can be accessed from

Sunshine commuters now protected by PSOs

Friday, June 06, 2014

More Victorian commuters will be safer every night of the week with the deployment of Protective Services Officers to Sunshine railway station from tomorrow, Tuesday 8 January.

Acting Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said there were now 30 railway stations across metropolitan Melbourne staffed by PSOs every night from 6pm until the last train. 

“It is fantastic to see one of our busiest railway stations now staffed by PSOs,” Mr Ryan said. 

“PSOs calm threatening situations and neutralise conflict, and make the community feel safer through the deterrent effect their presence brings. 

“PSOs have powers to detain anyone who threatens public safety, confiscate weapons and issue fines and are also trained in conflict resolution and dealing with vulnerable people,” Mr Ryan said. 

The 12-week training course for PSO recruits includes the same level of Operational Tactics and Safety Training as police, including the same firearms and defensive skills training. 

This training also includes dealing with vulnerable people and people in a drunk or drug-affected state, plus initial exposure to the job under the supervision of Victorian Transit Police. 

The Coalition Government has allocated $212 million to recruit, train and deploy PSOs at every metropolitan train station as well as four major regional centres, every night.

“We are well on the way to recruiting 940 PSOs and 1700 extra frontline police officers by November 2014, with 259 PSOs and 850 extra police already working across the state,” Mr Ryan said.

Sunshine Residents and Ratepayers Association president Darlene Reilly and Melbourne Youth Worker Les Twentyman OAM welcomed the announcement. 

“We have been pushing for this. It’s a great move,” Ms Reilly said.

“It’s all about safety. This is a step towards giving people the ability to go about their lives with some security,” Mr Twentyman said.

Media contact:  Les White 0409 805 122

Hoons face three years’ jail for fleeing from police

Friday, June 06, 2014
Drivers who flee from police face up to three years’ jail as of tomorrow, Thursday 20 December, when the Victorian Coalition Government’s Police Pursuits legislation takes effect.

The changes to the law mean fleeing from police and leading police officers in pursuits, or car chases, is now an indictable offence. It will be punishable by up to three years’ jail time.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the Police Pursuits legislation was part of a raft of measures put in place by the Coalition Government to make roads safer, which included tough hoon laws which see cars impounded if used in hooning behaviour.

“This is about choices. Driving a car is a privilege. Drivers who choose to flee from police, driving dangerously, negligently or speeding, endanger themselves, other road users, and police,” Mr Ryan said.

“There were 721 police pursuits in 2011, up from 545 in 2002. This number must be reduced.”

Since tough new hoon laws were introduced in 2011, the number of vehicle impoundments has increased by approximately 20 per cent to more than 4,140 compared with the previous financial year.

“Victoria Police carefully consider whether they engage in a police pursuit and when to terminate such a pursuit. Police face the difficult task of responding to dangerous driving behaviour,” Mr Ryan said.

“Police pursuit laws will be another weapon against those who present a great danger to other road users, police members and themselves.

“I urge drivers to think of other road users and make sensible choices on the road, this Christmas and beyond.”

Media contact: : Les White 0409 805 122