Press Releases

Record attendance at Regional Victoria Living Expo

* * - Thursday, April 17, 2014
  • The Regional Victoria Living Expo attracted 9,638 Melburnians with a genuine interest in moving to regional and rural Victoria
  • About 2,000 people had their details electronically collected by exhibitors
  • The Expo is an ongoing Victorian Coalition Government initiative to drive population and investment into regional and rural Victoria

A new record of 9,638 Melburnians attended the 2014 Regional Victoria Living Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre last weekend, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan said the record numbers reflected growing interest amongst Melburnians to move to regional and rural Victoria, with the expo having grown steadily since beginning in 2012.

“Feedback from the 147 exhibitors at the event was that visitors this year were even more serious about relocating to country Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“Many regional councils reported that Melburnians attending had done their homework and asked very specific questions about the regions and the towns they intend to move to.

“The regional councils felt this year’s event would see the effort from the previous two years pay off as potential new country residents put the pieces in place for their move.

“Visitors asked about how to get quality jobs in their respective fields; about affordable housing, education, health and community life – questions indicating they are serious about relocating to the regions.”

Southern Grampians Shire Council Manager Economic Development and Tourism Hugh Koch said there were clear economic benefits in luring city residents to his region.

“A family moving to our region is worth around $90,000 a year to the local economy,” Mr Koch said.

“If we can get three to five families a year moving into the area, we’re more than happy with that – and the Expo is delivering that for us.

“If four families a year move for the next five years, that adds up to around an extra 1.8 million dollars into our local economy.”

Mildura Rural City Council Business Event Facilitator & Special Projects Julie Jewell said the level of interest in moving had increased in the expo visitors.

“Last year people were looking for a destination, and this year people know exactly where they want to move – we feel like it is a culmination of the three years of work we have put in, with each building on the last and becoming more targeted each time,” Ms Jewell said.

“We had 25 people keen to visit, many of whom are genuinely interested in moving.

“We really value the support from the Victorian Coalition Government and are very keen for the Expo to continue in forthcoming years.”

Ararat Rural City CEO Andrew Evans said a Smartphone App launched at the expo was already doing well.

“The App gives people access to a whole range of information about Ararat – we only made it available yesterday and we had 60 downloads by halfway through day two,” Mr Evans said.

“That’s 60 people with ongoing access to a whole lot of information about our area.”

A 2012 report found that by supporting growth in the regions we can help reduce the estimated $95 billion in cumulative congestion costs associated with expanding Melbourne’s outer-metropolitan areas over the next 20 years.

For example, the cumulative cost of providing critical infrastructure to support an additional 50,000 persons in the Regional Cities is $1 billion; this compares with inefficiency costs of $3.1 billion associated with the same number of persons being accommodated in metropolitan Melbourne.

“Basing population in the regions greatly reduces the strain on city services and infrastructure,” Mr Ryan said.

“Relocating house is a big step, and people undertaking it deserve support.”

“Exhibitors at the Expo this year provided visitors with information tailored to their needs including current job opportunities and the chance to match them up with existing or new businesses setting up in the regions.

“It also proves that the Coalition Government’s Good Move campaign, created to showcase the benefits of regional living, spurs city dwellers to genuinely consider a move to the country.

“Positive interaction between councils – promoting the best of their wares as a region – made a big difference to attracting greater interest among people genuinely interested to move.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Gippsland produce takes a major step forward

* * - Friday, April 04, 2014

  • Food to Asia Plan will get more Victorian food and beverages on Asian tables
  • Brings the Coalition’s support for growing state’s agricultural production and food processing sector almost $160 million 
  • Government investment has seen expansion at Burra Foods in Korumburra. 

The recent launch of the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s Food to Asia Plan will continue to benefit Gippsland by delivering a more profitable food sector and creating new and sustainable jobs.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the plan provides an opportunity for regional businesses and producers to take advantage of the rapid growth of Asia’s consumer class and their requirement for premium food and beverages.

“The plan has allowed Victoria to take a major step forward in capitalising on export opportunities in Asia,” Mr Ryan said.

“That is why the Coalition Government has committed $35.4 million to drive Victoria’s long term growth as the demand from Asia grows.”

Mr Ryan said local dairy company Burra Foods had already benefited from the Coalition Government’s investment towards their expansion project at the Korumburra plant which saw the number of suppliers double and 50 new jobs created.

“South Gippsland has rich soils, a temperate climate and reliable seasonal rainfall that enhance the strong agribusiness focus of the region,” he said.

The $35.4 million Food to Asia Action Plan will:

  • Strengthen representation of Victoria’s food sector in Asian markets;
  • Focus research and development investments on food that meets Asian consumer preferences; and
  • Deliver a Food to Asia Trade Program. 

“This plan builds on the work the Coalition Government has already undertaken to grow production and jobs in the agricultural and food processing sectors throughout Victoria and importantly Gippsland,” he said.

Mr Ryan said this plan linked in well with the Gippsland Food Plan that he launched at Farm World last Friday.

“The Gippsland Food Plan has been formulated specifically for our region and will allow us to further capitalise on growing international demand for high quality food,” Mr Ryan said.

“Gippsland’s food plan will enable local food industries to increase their contribution to the economy, whether it’s on-farm production, manufacturing and processing, or value adding.

“It will stimulate investment in Gippsland by promoting our competitive strengths and reputation for producing high quality products.”

Mr Ryan said Victoria’s food and fibre exports increased by five per cent last financial year.

“There can be no doubt that Victoria is Australia’s premier food state, it is our largest export sector and our investment will ensure this remains so well into the future,” he said.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

It’s official! Upgraded Rosedale Outdoor Pool opens

* * - Friday, April 04, 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 

Two local show societies receive funding

* * - Thursday, April 03, 2014

  • Almost $3,000 to update Foster show jumping equipment
  • $8,543 to upgrade power, purchase urn and install speed humps at Korumburra Show
  • Gippsland show societies encouraged to apply for next round

The Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government is providing two South Gippsland show societies with funding to upgrade equipment, improve safety and continue their valuable contribution to the community.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said Foster and District Agricultural Society would receive $2,734 to purchase a set of show jumping safety cups and Korumburra Agricultural and Pastoral Society would receive $8,543 to upgrade power, purchase an urn and install two speed humps.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to supporting agricultural and pastoral show societies in the great work they do for their communities as well as showcasing the region’s agriculture industries to locals and visitors.

“Show societies play a vital role in rural and regional communities, by not only boosting local economies but providing a place for the community to come together each year and so we are pleased to provide some assistance,” Mr Ryan said.

“More than $265,000 is being provided to 45 show societies across Victoria this year through the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program, which provides grants of up to $10,000 for improving facilities that promote agriculture and arts and crafts,” Mr Ryan said.

“Societies can also apply for up to $8000 to install or upgrade showground amenities and up to $5000 for business activities such as workshops, planning and surveys.

“I would encourage all local show societies in need of upgrades to consider applying for a grant under the next round of funding.”

Foster Show Society president Noel Afflitto said he was thrilled that the grant would allow the committee to purchase their own set of show jumping cups that would improve safety for riders and horses.

“Up until now, we’ve been borrowing the cups from local pony clubs to use at our show each year, which is difficult as they often require them at the same time,” Mr Afflitto said.

“Having a strong horse presence at our show is integral and it’s important that we provide riders with the best equipment that we can.

“Now that we will have our own set of safety cups, we will be able to loan them out to other smaller organisations to assist them with their events.”

Korumburra Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s Syd White said all show patrons and competitors would benefit from the $8,543 grant.

“The installation of speed humps will prevent the road that runs through the showgrounds from being used as a thoroughfare, which will improve safety for those walking around that area at show time,” Mr White said.

“The power upgrades will take place in the cattle area and the funding will also allow for lighting to be installed, which will be handy for those setting up of a night or early morning.”

Mr White said the hot water urn would also be made available to others who used the Korumburra Showgrounds throughout the year, including the pony club and dairy expo.

Mr Ryan said the show grants were conditional on show societies providing $1 for every $2 contributed by the Victorian Government.

For more information on the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants program, visit: 

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870 

Regional Growth Fund supports Gippsland Food Plan

* * - Friday, March 28, 2014

  • Deputy Premier unveils Gippsland Food Plan at Farm Wold 2014 
  • Plan supports region to capitalise on growing international demand for food 
  • Victorian Coalition Government is investing in local communities to ensure a bright future 

The Gippsland Food Plan, which sets up the region to capitalise on growing international demand for high quality food, was launched today at Farm World 2014 by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan.

Mr Ryan, who was at Lardner Park to open Farm World 2014 alongside Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood, said the Gippsland Food plan would guide the future growth of the local food industry.

“Now in its 52nd year, Farm World is Victoria’s largest regional agricultural event and includes over 650 exhibitors and attracts over 50,000 visitors from right across Australia,” Mr Ryan said.

“This fantastic event not only gives exhibitors the opportunity to launch new industry products and generate sales, but also creates industry networking opportunities.

“It is the ideal venue to launch the Gippsland Food Plan.”

Mr Ryan said the Gippsland Food Plan identified four key priorities for the future growth of Gippsland’s food industries including: 

  • promoting growth and attracting investment; 
  • enabling infrastructure; 
  • innovation and adapting to change; and 
  • advocacy and policy development. 
“The Plan will enable local food industries to increase their contribution to the economy, whether it’s on-farm production, manufacturing and processing, or value adding,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will stimulate investment in Gippsland by promoting our competitive strengths and reputation for producing high quality products.”

Mr Blackwood said the Gippsland Food Plan was a call to action from a region which is well positioned to take advantage of the ever increasing international demand for food.

"By 2030, the number of consumers in Asia who have access to discretionary spending will grow to 3.5 billion people, six times what it is today,” Mr Blackwood said.

“This ever growing Asian middle class will be looking for high quality and premium food products, driving up demand for Gippsland food. This comprehensive plan will position our region to fully capitalise on these limitless opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had proudly invested $250,000 to develop the Gippsland Food Plan.

“Our $250,000 investment has been provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is investing in regional and rural communities to create new jobs, investment and innovation,” Mr Ryan said.

“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.

“In Gippsland, it has invested $67 million to support almost 300 projects, leveraging in excess of $200 million worth of investment.

“The Gippsland Food Plan is another example of the Regional Growth Fund investing in and supporting regional and rural communities to ensure they are positioned to fully capitalise on future opportunities for growth.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Visitors to Melbourne will benefit with free CBD trams

* * - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

• Significant cost of living relief for Victorian families
• Free tram travel in Melbourne CBD without needing to touch on with a myki card
• Coalition Government building a better public transport network for Victoria

Visitors to Melbourne including regional and rural Victorians will be able to take advantage of free tram travel in Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today.

“Visitors to Melbourne will be able to travel for free on trams within the CBD and Docklands without needing to touch on with their Myki card,” Mr Mulder said.

“Many people travel from the country to the city for all sorts of reasons, including to watch the football, cricket or tennis – in fact the Friday night and Saturday night V/Line services to the city are affectionately known as ‘footy trains’.

“Free trams within the CBD and Docklands can take sports fans to the Docklands, or to within an easy walk of the MCG or Nationals Tennis Centre.

“Visitors to Melbourne can also take free trams to the city’s laneways and bars, theatres, museums, restaurants, Casino, Victoria Market, Melbourne Aquarium or Federation Square.

“Those wanting to explore the Docklands’ many attractions, including Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Waterfront City or concerts at Etihad Stadium, can do so minus the travel costs.”

Mr Mulder said the changes would come into effect from 1 January 2015.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the free tram reforms build on the success of the City Circle tram, which is hugely popular for regional and rural visitors.

Mr Ryan said regional and rural families travelling to Melbourne’s CBD for the day, a weekend or during school holidays would benefit from the Coalition Government’s initiative.

“It currently costs $7.16 a day per adult to travel on our tram network,” Mr Ryan said.

“This can add an extra $20 to $30 or more per trip to Melbourne for mum, dad and the kids to use Melbourne’s CBD tram network.

“This money will now go straight back into mum and dad’s pocket for use elsewhere.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s initiative came as the Coalition Government continues to deliver more frequent and improved regional train services.

“This bonus comes on top of the massive $4.8 billion Regional Rail Link project, which is reducing travel times from Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat by giving V/Line trains from these destinations their own dedicated rail lines, so that they are not delayed or slowed by city Metro trains,” Mr Ryan said.

“Regional Rail Link will allow for an extra 10 regional train services during each morning and evening peak period.

“It also supports our decision to purchase 43 VLocity railcars which will cater for growing regional patronage and increased service levels when Regional Rail Link is complete.

“Each VLocity carriage can seat 76 passengers, adding more than 3,000 extra seats to the V/Line network.

“This latest move by the Coalition Government is just one more bonus for regional travellers.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122 

Regional Growth Fund support to complete Morwell Town Common redevelopment

* * - Friday, March 21, 2014
  • New pathways, play area, seating, BBQ, landscaping and carparking for Morwell Town Common
    • Victorian Coalition Government contributes $250,000 
  • Coalition Government building better public spaces for local communities

A new play area, pathways, seating, barbeque and picnic tables will be installed at the Morwell Town Common as part of a $375,000 redevelopment project, which is receiving support from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Speaking at the project site today alongside Member for Morwell Russell Northe, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan announced the Coalition Government would invest $250,000 to complete the project.

“As well as the new park infrastructure, extensive landscaping will also be carried out including re-vegetation, development of new sensory features and planting of shade trees in existing playgrounds,” Mr Ryan said.

“The funding will also be used to complete construction of the western car park, off Chapel Street, further increasing accessibility to this much loved facility.”

Mr Northe said he was extremely proud that The Nationals, as part of Coalition Government, were able to deliver this important community project.

“For almost a decade local organisations, including Advance Morwell and the Rotary Club of Morwell, have called for improvements to the Morwell Town Common and for years the former Labor Government failed to fund it,” Mr Northe said.

“The Coalition Government, through our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, is delivering for Morwell and Latrobe Valley families and businesses.

“Through the Regional Growth Fund we have so far invested more than $16 million to support over 50 projects across the Latrobe Valley, leveraging almost $50 million in total investment.

“This includes the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, which has so far invested around $10 million and created almost 400 new jobs.”

Mr North said the Morwell Town Common project would be managed by funding partner Latrobe City Council, which contributed $125,000.

He said works would be carried out between school holidays to ensure minimal disruption to park users, with the project scheduled to be completed by June 2015.

Mr Ryan said the project was another example of the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund working in partnership with local government to invest in important local infrastructure projects.

“The Regional Growth Fund is creating new jobs and delivering much needed infrastructure in regional communities by investing in projects that may otherwise not have come to fruition,” Mr Ryan said.

“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.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Big opportunities for small communities on agenda

* * - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  • More than 200 leaders from local government, community and business set to attend Rural Summit 2014 at Nhill 
  • Saul Eslake is the keynote speaker on Rural economies – a global perspective. 
  • Victorian Coalition Government building stronger rural communities

More than 200 leaders from across local government, community and business will visit Nhill later this month to explore new opportunities to grow Victoria’s rural communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Rural Summit, an initiative of Rural Councils Victoria, supports country people to make big differences in their communities.

Mr Ryan said the Rural Summit 2014 would be held at the Nhill Memorial Community Centre on 27 and 28 March, with community and business leaders encouraged to attend.

“This year’s theme is: Small Communities, Big Opportunities – Facing the Future and Embracing Change,” Mr Ryan said.

“Delegates at the Summit will hear from high profile economist and media commentator Saul Eslake, chef Stefano De Pieri and Chairman of the Kaiela Institute Paul Briggs, who will discuss matters such as Aboriginal heritage, economic development and tourism.

“Other topics include corporate farms, the benefits of migrants to rural communities and a showcase of rural councils’ innovative programs.

“These are all important components of making rural Victoria more liveable for the people who already reside there, and also for making it more attractive to those looking to relocate from the city.”

Mr Ryan said the Rural Summit 2014 was supported by the Victorian Coalition Government through its $3.3 million Networked Rural Councils program.

“As the voice for Victoria’s rural councils, Rural Councils Victoria advocates for sustainable, liveable and prosperous rural communities and delivers projects which provide support and solutions on issues faced by the state’s 38 rural councils,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is focused on rural Victoria and we work closely with Rural Councils Victoria on a wide-variety rural issues.

“The Coalition Government assists regional and rural Victoria through initiatives such as the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund that supports stronger and more sustainable regional and rural communities by building their capacity to drive development in the regions.

“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.”

For more information about the Summit and to book your seat go to or join the Rural Summit conversation on Twitter at #RCVSummit.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 

Victorian Coalition Government bowls up a redeveloped club for Torquay

* * - Friday, March 07, 2014

• $1.75 million redevelopment of Torquay Bowls Club opened by Member for South Barwon
• Victorian Coalition Government fulfils election promise with $1.5 million investment
• Coalition Government continues to build for the future

The Torquay Bowls Club was officially reopened today by the Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos, following a $1.75 million redevelopment.

In Torquay representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Katos said the Victorian Coalition Government was proud to have delivered on its election commitment and invested $1.5 million in the project.

“The redevelopment will meet the needs of this popular club but also the wider community,” Mr Katos said.

“The redevelopment includes bigger and better clubrooms which can be used for different purposes by community groups, including offices and meeting rooms for the Torquay RSL Sub-branch.

“There’s improved dining and kitchen facilities, outdoor viewing areas, equipment storage, and a modern appearance designed specifically for its coastal location.

“As well as providing accommodation for the Torquay RSL Sub-branch, the bigger and better new club will allow for increased membership and use by other local community groups and clubs.

“The club has about 340 members and sharing the facilities with the Torquay RSL Sub-branch will increase the number of users to about 550 patrons.”

Mr Ryan said the redevelopment would help the Torquay Bowls Club attract more people to barefoot and twilight bowls, which were increasingly popular.

“Corporations, local clubs and individuals use the club’s facilities for a range of events, including celebrations and conferences,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan acknowledged the funding partners for this project: the Torquay Bowls Club contributing more than $225,000 in cash and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee providing $25,000 in-kind support.

Deputy Premier addresses Australian Industry Group at Bendigo

* * - Thursday, March 06, 2014

• Deputy Premier addresses Australian Industry Group on regional issues
• AIG represents the interests of more than 60,000 businesses employing more than 1 million people
• Victorian Coalition Government and AIG continue support for local regional industry

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan has addressed issues and priorities for regional industry at an Australian Industry Group (AIG) luncheon in Bendigo today.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government and the AIG shared the common goals of supporting productivity, and the competitiveness and sustainability of local industry.

“The AIG represents more than 60,000 businesses employing more than 1 million people Australia-wide, representing members to all three tiers of government,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government and AIG have maintained a strong relationship built on healthy dialogue around skills, trade, investment, regulation and infrastructure.”

Mr Ryan spoke of the strengths of regional Victoria, such as the food and agricultural sector, education, tourism, transport, logistics and manufacturing, which contributes $25.6 billion of the state’s Gross State Product and employs up to 9.3 percent of the state’s workforce.

“A key focus for the Coalition Government is its International Engagement Strategy, where businesses are helped to access new market opportunities including export, with Super Trade Missions to India, China, South East Asia and the Middle East.

“Since the Coalition Government came to office in November 2010, we have organised more than 65 overseas trade missions with up to 2000 companies projected to earn around $4 billion in new export sales, over the longer term.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was delivering the infrastructure and services to boost productivity and drive growth in the regions.

“The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund has now spurred $1.553 billion in investments across regional and rural Victoria. In Bendigo alone, the Regional Growth Fund has provided over $13.37 million toward 24 projects totalling over $55 million,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122  

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