Press Releases

Deputy Premier announces $1.3 million to complete important link to the Great Southern Rail Trail

* * - Friday, October 03, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $1.3 million in Great Southern Rail Trail
  • Investment completes 2.6 km section of trail between Koonwarra and Meeniyan
  • Project will deliver a $1.9 million a year boost to the local economy

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan yesterday announced funding of $1.3 million for an iconic project known as the Black Spur that will complete an important section of the Great Southern Rail Trail.

In Koonwarra, Mr Ryan said the $1.85 million project would complete the 2.6 kilometre section of the rail trail between Koonwarra and Meeniyan, and create a 69 kilometre route between Leongatha and Welshpool.

Mr Ryan said the Black Spur section would be carried out in two stages, with the first stage to include the construction of new bridges. The works will include:
demolition and reconstruction of two historic bridges spanning the Black Spur Creek;
construction of a 130 metre connecting trail between the two bridges; and
construction of a picnic area and viewing location at the end of the second bridge.

Mr Ryan said stage two would connect the end of the second Black Spur rail trestle bridge and picnic area to Meeniyan. The works will include:
reconstructing a 146 metre bridge that spans the Tarwin River;
constructing a 170 metre connecting trail between two bridges; and
constructing an 800 metre connecting trail between bridge three and Minns Road.

“The Black Spur project will complete the missing section of the rail trail and create a seamless 69 kilometre route between Leongatha and Welshpool,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1.3 million investment included $1 million from the Regional Growth Fund and $290,000 from the Advancing Country Towns program.

Mr Ryan said the South Gippsland Shire Council invested $562,184 towards the project.

“The Great Southern Rail Trail is a major asset to the South Gippsland region, attracting tourists, supporting local businesses and improving the health and wellbeing of local residents,” Mr Ryan said.

“When complete, the Black Spur connection will provide more than $1.9 million in annual economic benefits to the region through tourism-related business opportunities, employment and new attractions.”

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien welcomed the investment and commended the Great Southern Rail Trail Committee for their work.

“Extending the rail trail has been a high priority for the Coalition Government, the community and the Committee of Management, and thanks to this investment we will now complete another vital link in this impressive rail trail,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This Black Spur leg will consolidate the entire length of the rail trail between Leongatha and Welshpool and represents the realisation of a long held vision for the Great Southern Rail Trail.”

Mr O’Brien said the project would be completed by December 2015.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Full steam ahead at the Moe rail precinct

* * - Monday, September 15, 2014


Construction of the Moe Civic Hub is now underway, and in 18 months will provide an attractive new space for residents to socialise and study.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the works at the Moe Rail Precinct were a great example of all three levels of government working together for the community.

“The $14.3 million Moe Civic Hub will be a great space for residents, with a café, public meeting rooms, a community kitchen, and most importantly, a new home for the public library,” Mr Truss said.

Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent was in Moe today, and joined Deputy Premier of Victoria Peter Ryan and Latrobe City Council Mayor Sharon Gibson to turn the first sod and officially start construction on this exciting project.

Mr Broadbent said the train line currently divided north and south Moe, and the works at the Moe rail precinct would turn that around.

“This project has been a long time coming and I’m thrilled and delighted for all those community members who have lobbied all levels of government. This is a great day for the people of Moe and I congratulate you all on seeing this valuable project through to completion,” Mr Broadbent said.

“By building a swathe of new green spaces and public areas we are linking the town centre with its surroundings, and reconnecting the north and south.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund had invested $3 million into the $14.3 million first stage of the project.

The new hub will include a state-of-the-art public library, Council service centre, public meeting and research rooms and consulting suites. Public toilets, a café, outdoor spaces and green roof are also planned.

“Projects like this show just how effective a well-managed Regional Growth Fund can be through investing in local infrastructure," Mr Ryan said.

“The Regional Growth Fund is making a real difference in regional communities - investing in community led projects, while strategically driving jobs and investment.

“In the Latrobe region alone, the Regional Growth Fund is investing $20.5 million into 73 projects, leveraging $72.63 million in total investment.

“The Regional Growth Fund invested $1.1 million in the $1.55 million Moe Outdoor Pool Refurbishment and $1.5 million in the $2 million Growing Aerospace Manufacturing at Latrobe Regional Airport.”  

Cr Gibson said the Moe Civic Hub would turn what were the Moe Railway Station yards into an inviting space for residents.
“This project is all about innovation and making otherwise unused spaces into recreational spaces. Even the roof of the Civic Hub will become a green space, creating a welcoming environment for people to visit while also improving the building’s thermal efficiency.

I would like to thank the State and Federal governments for making the project a reality.”

The Moe Civic Hub is jointly funded, with the Australian Government committing $7.5 million, the Victorian Government $3.95 million and Latrobe City Council $2.85 million.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Victorian Coalition Government delivers PSOs to Traralgon

* * - Monday, August 25, 2014

  • PSOs set to patrol Traralgon Railway Station from tomorrow night
  • Travellers to and from Traralgon will now feel safer at night
  • Victorian Coalition Government delivering its commitment to put PSOs at key regional train stations

Travellers at Traralgon’s V/Line station will feel safer from tomorrow night, with the Victorian Coalition Government delivering on its promise to have the station patrolled by Protective Services Officers.

Speaking at the Traralgon Railway Station, Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said PSOs would patrol the rail platform, car parks and immediate surrounds from 6pm until the last train each night.

“PSOs help to prevent anti-social behaviour, property damage, violence and alcohol and transport-related crime at our train stations,” Mr Ryan said.

“We said we’d deliver PSOs to Traralgon, and we’ve done it.”

Tomorrow’s deployment to Traralgon means that there will now be PSOs at four major regional stations - Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon. Victoria will have 864 PSOs patrolling 142 stations.

“A survey by the Department of Justice in October 2013 reported that the presence of PSOs made passengers feel safer at rail stations,” Mr Ryan said.

“Travellers feel railway stations are safer places at night thanks to PSOs.”

Some 94 per cent of night time travellers agreed that PSOs were a good idea and 93 per cent stated they would seek help from a PSO if they felt unsafe.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien welcomed the announcement.

“PSOs complete a 12-week course that includes the same operational tactics and safety training undertaken by Victoria Police officers,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Newly-graduated PSOs are mentored by experienced PSOs at city railway stations for three months.

“We have increased our initial commitment to deliver 940 PSOs on our rail stations by adding a further 96 to the program.

“This $863.1 million investment in police and PSOs is the single largest law and order recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Coalition Government ensures Gippsland passenger rail services stay on track

* * - Friday, August 22, 2014


• $8.3 million investment to improve crossing safety on the Gippsland line
• Axle counters to be installed at 32 level crossing east of Traralgon
• Victorian Coalition Government is building a better rail network

An $8.3 million upgrade of level crossing safety on the Gippsland train line has reached an important milestone with the completion of a successful trial of newly installed axle counter technology that will ensure trains stay on track east of Traralgon.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan was joined today by The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull and The Nationals Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester to inspect the new axle counters.

“I am pleased to announce the active trial of axle counter technology here in Gippsland is a success and it will be implemented on all 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Bairnsdale,” Mr Ryan said.

“The axle counters will supersede the track circuits, currently used to detect trains at automated level crossings, which were affected by corrosion,” Mr Ryan said.

“This $8.3 million major safety upgrade will future-proof automated rail crossings on the Gippsland line, with the installation spanning 110km of track.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has invested a total of $28 million on new infrastructure on the Gippsland line over the past four years, this is in addition to the millions spent on maintenance of the line.

“We have kept our promise to the community to deliver these enhanced safety systems and will continue to prioritise safety on the rail network,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Bull said the axle counters would trigger new automated crossings with flashing lights, warning bells or boom gates.

“The axle counters detect the number of wheels on a train approaching a level crossing and compares that with the number of wheels when the train passes through the crossing,” Mr Bull said.

Mr Bull said in addition to the $8.3 million works program, automated level crossing ugrades will be undertaken at Myrtle Bank Road, Sale, Flynns Creek Road, Rosedale, and Upper Flynns Creek Road Traralgon.

“As part of the Princes Highway duplication, the Coalition Government will install traffic lights and a roundabout at Minniedale Road near Traralgon with the works to be integrated with improvements to the train line,” Mr Bull said.

“The Minniedale Road level crossing will be upgraded and fitted with axle counters, further boosting safety for rail users, motorists and pedestrians.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said axle counters would improve rail safety and reliability on the Gippsland line.

“Thanks to this investment, we will not have a repeat of the situation where corrosion affected the reliability of level crossing warning systems and required the closure of the Gippsland line for months,” Mr Chester said.

“The temporary closure reinforced the importance of the ‘Gippslander’ services east of Traralgon and I’m delighted the Victorian Government has taken further steps to reduce disruptions on the Gippsland line.”

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Better passenger services a step closer

* * - Thursday, July 03, 2014

  • Deputy Premier announces Shepparton Passenger Services 
  • Working Group Working Group to present views directly to Minister for Public Transport 
  • Victorian Coalition Government committed to delivering better public transport for regional communities

The Victorian Coalition Government is set to establish a Shepparton Passenger Services Working Group.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell, The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr and the Member for Northern Victoria Region Wendy Lovell to announce the creation of the working group.

Mr Ryan said Jeanette Powell would chair the working group and the Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder would provide specialists from Public Transport Victoria, V/Line and the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure to assist her in that role.

Mr Ryan said the working group would also include representatives from the Greater Shepparton City Council, the Committee for Shepparton, as well as community representatives, particularly those who are regular V/Line passengers.

“This is a major step forward for Shepparton and an opportunity for the community to work together as one and present a united view to government about what public transport services they want,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Barr said the establishment of the working group was an important first step and he encouraged the entire community to get involved.

“I‘ve had many people in the Shepparton community express to me their desire to see more public transport options available to them,” Mr Barr said.

“As a community we need a strong public transport network to ensure that those who cannot or do not wish to drive are provided with appropriate options so they too can access Melbourne for work, study, appointments, shopping or to watch the footy.

“I will continue to advocate for our community to ensure Shepparton’s voice is heard.”

Mrs Powell said she was honoured to chair the working group, which would undertake the following tasks: consult with the community and special interests groups about service levels, timetabling and the public transport needs of the Shepparton community; gain a broader understanding of the transport network and demand levels; and consider all potential options, including additional train and bus services.

“We understand that the Shepparton community wants more convenient and reliable public transport services, however there are differing views about how this can best be achieved,” Mrs Powell said.

“I am proud to be part of a Coalition Government team that is taking the lead on this issue.”

Ms Lovell said the full terms of reference for the working group, as well as its membership, would be finalised shortly.

“It is expected the working group will look at all options over the coming three months, before reporting back to the Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder,” Ms Lovell said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Coalition outlines Rail Corridor Development vision

* * - Monday, June 02, 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government has allocated $8 million over two years to progress development along Melbourne’s Richmond to Footscray rail corridor in its latest budget, the Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced on Sunday.

“The Coalition Government’s vision is to transform Melbourne by unlocking underutilised land along the rail corridor,” Mr Ryan said.

“Projects under consideration such as the E-Gate development, Federation Square East, the Flinders Street Station redevelopment and the Richmond Station Precinct have the potential to deliver new jobs, better pedestrian access, residential housing opportunities, new open public space and better public transport facilities.

“This funding will allow business planning for visionary projects including the area currently known as E-Gate, for Federation Square East, for Richmond Station and Flinders Street station.

“E-Gate, for example, could revitalise one of the last remaining industrial spaces in the central city to create a new suburb of around 5,000 dwellings for up to 10,000 residents over the next 15 -20 years.

“At Federation Square East, the Coalition Government is looking to fill a hole in Melbourne’s landscape by creating a new commercial, residential and civic precinct connecting the CBD to the Yarra River and our sporting precinct, including Melbourne Park.

“The Flinders Street Station project aims to improve the station and cater for future patronage growth while protecting its heritage, developing its underutilised western end, revitalise the Administration Building, and increase connectivity with surrounding precincts.

“A redevelopment of Richmond station could provide much better pedestrian access to Melbourne’s sport and entertainment precinct.

“A redeveloped Richmond station could have a direct connection with the MCG.

“The redevelopment of the Richmond Station precinct could create a new gateway to Melbourne’s famous sports and entertainment precinct, while catering for future patronage growth and improving access for those with disabilities.

“Together this suite of projects represent opportunities for billions of dollars of development and thousands of jobs, creating a pipeline of potential projects stretching out for decades,” Mr Ryan said.

Major Projects Minister David Hodgett said the rail corridor development strategy was part of the Coalition Government’s policy of bringing surplus government land to market.

“We are committed to encouraging sensible redevelopment, new housing and employment opportunities by putting Government owned land to better use,” Mr Hodgett said.

“With Melbourne’s continuing growth we see opportunities to modernise how land around in the Richmond to Footscray corridor is utilised.

“This strategy is about opening up new areas of the city and strengthening our economically important arts, sports and events precincts within the central city.

“There will be a major role for the private sector in realising this vision and the opportunities these projects present.

“You get one chance to develop these prime sites on the doorstep of our CBD, and in each of these projects, the Coalition Government is taking a considered approach to planning and is looking to deliver outstanding outcomes for Victorian taxpayers.

“We only get one chance to do these projects and we want to get them right,” Mr Hodgett said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Coalition to build transformational Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link

* * - Monday, May 05, 2014

  • Deputy Premier unveils transformational Mildura to Geelong rail link 
  • Up to $220 million project will revolutionise freight movement across the state 
  • Victorian Coalition Government is investing in vital infrastructure across the state, creating new jobs and investment

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest up to $220 million to deliver key country freight rail line upgrades and build the transformational Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today unveiled the Coalition Government‟s Murray Basin Rail Project that will revolutionise the movement of freight across the state and unlock the economic potential of regional and rural Victoria.

In the keynote address to The Nationals State Conference in Benalla, Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government‟s State Budget would deliver funding for the Mildura to Geelong standardised rail link with construction expected to be completed by 2018.

“This landmark project is more than a century in the waiting and the Victorian Liberal and Nationals Coalition has delivered funding to build it in our first term of government,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Murray Basin is one of the nation‟s leading food production regions, exporting in excess of $3 billion worth of food products and mineral resources per year.

“By converting the existing broad gauge tracks to standard gauge, the Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver modern rail infrastructure and transform Victoria‟s freight network to meet the increasing demand for freight services.

“The project involves building and upgrading freight lines to 21 tonne axle loading, providing an immediate 15% productivity improvement that will increase train loads by 300 to 400 tonnes.

“It will improve transport efficiency and enhance access to the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne for Victorian exports.

“A modern and efficient rail freight network is critical to Victoria‟s economic productivity and this Project marks the first phase in the Coalition Government‟s vision to standardise regional and rural Victoria‟s freight-only lines to drive future growth and prosperity.”

Mr Ryan said the first stage of the Murray Basin Rail Project would deliver urgent upgrades on the Mildura to Maryborough and Hopetoun to Murtoa rail lines, while the business case for the full Mildura to Geelong standardisation was finalised.

“The first stage of the Project will include an initial $41 million to upgrade the Hopetoun and Mildura rail lines to ensure quick benefits from more efficient freight movement,” Mr Ryan said.

“The final cost and alignment of the full Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation will be guided by the final business case to be delivered by the end of the year.

“The standardisation is also a crucial first step in the return of passenger rail to Mildura.”

Mr Ryan said the Project would assist in moving freight off road and onto rail and pave the way for the potential future creation of a new „transcontinental link‟ near Broken Hill, connecting to the Sydney- Perth rail line.

“The project will enable further logistical flexibility and ease of use of the Victorian rail network. It will result in a mode shift to rail and thereby improve road safety, reduce road congestion and lower road maintenance costs,” Mr Ryan said.

“Ultimately, the project will enable a Transcontinental Rail Link between Mildura and Menindee, near Broken Hill, NSW, connecting to the Perth interstate rail line.”

Mr Ryan said this historic investment formed a central part of the Coalition Government‟s plan to build a better Victoria by delivering new job-creating infrastructure projects that unlock economic potential and drive growth across the state.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Labor and Jacinta Allan bag in Bendigo what they barrack for in Burwood

* * - Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Jacinta Allan criticising a policy her party supports
  • Labor tells country voters one thing; city voters another
  • Labor treating country voters with contempt

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has slammed the Labor Opposition for treating voters with contempt over the Victoria Coalition Government’s new public transport initiative.

The Coalition Government announced yesterday that it would provide free tram travel within the Melbourne CBD and Docklands, meaning country visitors no longer need a Myki to use trams in the CBD and Docklands.

“Labor leader Daniel Andrews backed the Coalition plan in a story in today’s Herald Sun, titled ‘Cheaper travel for outer ‘burbs – Napthine plan wins over ALP’,” Mr Ryan said.

“Mr Andrews was quoted as saying: ‘No matter who wins the election, public transport fares will be cheaper’.

“In other words, ‘me too’ politics.

“Meanwhile, in the Bendigo Advertiser today under the headline ‘Allan slams transport pledge’, the member for Bendigo East attacks the Coalition’s plan for free tram transport within Docklands and the CBD.

“This is deceitful and deceptive conduct by any standards.

“The member for Bendigo East is trying to give the impression to the people of Bendigo that Labor is opposed to this plan, which Labor actually supports. She seems to think country people are not aware of what her leader is saying in the Herald Sun.

“Labor supports this great new public transport initiative when it is speaking to city voters and smashes it when it is speaking in the country – Labor barracks for this initiative in Burwood while bagging it in Bendigo.

“Labor treats country people with contempt. The contempt shown by the member for Bendigo East and Labor to the voters of Bendigo and regional Victoria is not lost on these people. They will remember this,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Six crossing upgrades improve driver safety

* * - Friday, February 28, 2014

• Rosedale, Fulham, Wurruk, Flynn and Kilmany crossings upgraded
• 50 major upgrades under the Fix Country Crossings Program
• Improving regional road and rail safety

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced six local rail crossings had been upgraded to improve motorist and passenger safety.

Mr Ryan said the works had been undertaken through the Victorian Coalition Government’s $47 million Fix Country Crossings Program, which had seen major upgrades at 50 level crossings in regional and rural Victoria.

“The completion of these local works mark a significant milestone for the Fix Country Crossings Program, which is designed to improve the safety of the state’s railway network for regional road and rail users,” Mr Ryan said.

“The installation of boom gates and flashing lights has increased the visibility of the crossing to approaching motorists which has reduced the likelihood of a train and vehicle collision.”

Mr Ryan said major safety upgrades had been completed at the following six local level crossings:

• Wrights Lane, Flynn; Flashing lights and boom gates have been installed;
• Sale-Cowarr Road, Fulham; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights;
• Velore Road, Kilmany; Flashing lights and boom gates have been installed;
• Longford Road, Rosedale; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights;
• Willung Road, Rosedale; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights; and
• Hunt Place, Wurruk; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was building a better Victoria and delivering transport improvements that made a real difference to motorist and rail users within the community.

Minister for Public Transport and Roads Terry Mulder said installing boom barrier protection resulted in safer level crossings for country Victorians.

“With frequent V/line trains using the line, motorists will have improved safety at these Gippsland crossings, and that is what this investment delivers,” Mr Mulder said.

“As well as a safety boost across country Victoria, the program has been an economic boom for regional Victoria.

“The program relies on a skilled workforce with each level crossing upgrade requiring many skilled hands to deliver the safety improvements.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870

Trains return to Sale

* * - Monday, October 21, 2013
Acting Premier Peter Ryan and Transport Minister Terry Mulder have welcomed the return of passenger rail to Sale today.

Work to ‘shave’ the steel track to enhance level crossing detection is complete and test trains have triggered the timely activation of boom gates and bells at level crossings.

The first train departed Melbourne just after 7am.

Gippsland East MP Tim Bull greeted the service as it arrived in Sale.

Mr Ryan thanked the people of Sale and Rosedale for their patience during the time train services had been replaced with buses.

“The people of Gippsland have been very patient while V/Line has worked through the safety issues on their line,” Mr Ryan said.

“Since the grinding machine arrived from Austria in late September, V/Line crews have acted quickly to get the section of track between Traralgon and Sale back up and running.

“Safety was always our key concern with this issue. I remind Gippslanders to be attentive at level crossings, remembering that trains are back on the line.”

Mr Mulder said grinding work would now begin on the line between Sale and Bairnsdale with a full service return between Melbourne and Bairnsdale by the end of October.

“Later this year, axle-counter technology will also be installed to ensure a permanent solution is in place.”

Mr Bull said he was "rapt" that work on the line between Sale and Bairnsdale had now begun.

"I look forward to the restoration of services to Bairnsdale, following the successful completion of work on the Sale line," Mr Bull said.

Mr Ryan said it was disappointing that Labor chose to run a misleading scare campaign that indicated trains would not return to service east of Traralgon.

“The primary concern for the Coalition Government was always passenger safety and ensuring trains would return to service only when it was safe to do so,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is committed to maintaining passenger rail services east of Traralgon having recently replaced 20,000 sleepers between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

“We have also provided up to a further $8 million to install axle counter technology at all 32 level crossings along the line, to ensure once trains return to service they remain on track.”

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