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   les.white@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Face of Australia Festival to celebrate Gippsland’s diverse cultures

* * - Monday, March 31, 2014

• Inaugural Sale festival celebrates diversity of cultures
• Food, dance and other cultural activities on offer on Saturday April 5
• $1,000 Coalition Government grant supports Festival marketing

The culture, food, wine and music of Gippsland’s diverse ethnic communities will be celebrated at the inaugural Face of Australia Food, Wine and Music Festival in Sale coinciding with the start of school holidays.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was pleased to offer a $1,000 grant to assist organisers in marketing the event to audiences outside of the local area. 

“This inaugural local festival will provide a mini world tour of Australia’s global communities through various culinary, musical and cultural activities,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Festival will also provide a celebration of all the things that make us different and the common elements that unite us.”

Mr Ryan said The Face of Australia Festival, set for Saturday 5 April at the Port of Sale, will recognise the traditions, music and cuisine of the rich and diversified cultures that co-exist in Victoria and more specifically Gippsland.

“From indigenous Australians to the many ethnicities that now call Australia home, this festival will highlight the contribution these communities make to regional areas.”

Mr Ryan said about 45 percent of Australians were born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas and people from more than 200 countries now lived in Australia.

Tourism Minister Louise Asher said events like this had a strong track record of contributing to regional economies and helping grow Victoria’s $19.1 billion tourism industry.

“It is anticipated the event will draw visitors to Sale and generate economic benefit for local businesses especially accommodation, tourism and hospitality operators,” Ms Asher said.

“Events like the Face of Australia Food, Wine and Music Festival are a major drawcard with the inaugural festival expecting to draw 5000 visitors.”

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

Regional Growth Fund helps Gippsland Body Builders double workforce

* * - Wednesday, March 05, 2014


• Regional Growth Fund invests $150,000 to double workforce of local manufacturing business
• Expansion creates 10 new skilled manufacturing jobs in Drouin
• Victorian Coalition Government continues to build for the future


Gippsland Body Builders (GBB) will expand and diversify with the help of a $150,000 investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood announced today.

In Drouin representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Blackwood said the funding would help the company complete a $655,000 expansion, doubling the company’s workforce to 20.

As part of the expansion, GBB will relocate to a new site in Drouin and invest in new manufacturing plant and equipment to boost production and productivity.

“GBB specialises in manufacturing tipping bodies ranging from rigid tippers to road train semi-trailers in steel and aluminium,” Mr Blackwood said.

“The company is renowned for its quality of workmanship and attention to detail to produce some of the most efficient grain carrying B Double trucks in Australia.

“GBB produces transport options with greater payloads, creating productivity benefits for road transport operators.

“Upgrading its business will allow the company to expand and produce trailers for the Australian mining and construction sectors, as well as enter the Queensland, WA and SA agricultural transport equipment markets.”

Mr Blackwood said the project would provide a boost for manufacturing in Gippsland and continue to position the region as a high tech and innovative provider of transport solutions.

“Installing state-of-the-art equipment will boost GBB’s manufacturing capability, creating skilled employment for seven boilermakers, two spray painters and a store person,” Mr Blackwood said.

Mr Ryan said the $655,000 project was being funded through the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with the balance of funding being provided by Gippsland Body Builders.

“The Regional Growth Fund invests in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”

For more information about the Regional Growth Fund visit www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-growth-fund 

Superb herbs: Regional Growth Fund grows Freshzest

* * - Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Regional Growth Fund helps expand local herb supplier
  • Project creates five new jobs and secures an additional 35
  • Freshzest’s annual turnover increases by $1.3 million a year as it continues to supply supermarkets

The Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is helping to grow herb producer Freshzest, by investing $40,000 into an expansion of the business.

In Pound Creek near Leongatha, Deputy Premier and Minster for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Freshzest expansion meant five new jobs and an extra $1.3 million a year in turnover for the company.

“We are proud to invest $40,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund towards this $240,000 project, with Freshzest providing the balance,” Mr Ryan said.

“The company will expand its cool room, packing facility and office; upgrade food handling and quality control, upgrade electrical infrastructure and relocate and expand staff amenities.

“The Coalition Government helped convince Freshzest to invest in South Gippsland in preference to the company’s other location in NSW.

“Freshzest estimates this expansion will create a further five jobs, boosting the company’s number of local employees to approximately 40.

“Freshzest has used local suppliers in construction, electrical, refrigeration and other trades to complete this expansion.”

Mr Ryan said the Regional Growth Fund continued to invest in community-led projects which helped to strengthen regional economies.

 

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”

In South Gippsland Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $13.1 million to 32 projects, leveraging about $59.3 million in total investment. Those projects include:

  • $1.5 million for Burra Foods’ $21.96 million Infant Formula Water Initiatives in Korumburra
  • $250,000 for the $350,000 Venus Bay Shared Pathway project
  • $730,415 for the Lower Franklin Road Rehabilitation project in Foster.

Media contact: Les White    0409 805 122             les.white@minstaff.vic.gov.au 

Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund helps grow local manufacturing business

* * - Thursday, February 27, 2014
  • Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund invests $150,000 to ensure expansion of local manufacturing business
  • Expansion creates nine new skilled manufacturing jobs
  • Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund is part of $1 billion Regional Growth Fund

The workforce of a Latrobe Valley manufacturing business will almost double, thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, part of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

In Trafalgar today, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said Australian Trailer Manufacturers (ATM) would expand to a new, bigger site in the town, boosting its workforce to 20 as nine new skilled manufacturing jobs were created.

“The new, state-of-the-art workshop will contain eight work bays for pre-fabrication and manufacturing of trailers, meaning ATM can work faster and more efficiently,” Mr Ryan said.

MP for Narracan Gary Blackwood welcomed the announcement.

“The design of the new workshop will limit heavy lifting. Each trailer will remain in a single bay through the entire building process, whereas at the old premises, trailers had to be moved around to different areas in the workshop for different stages of the process,” Mr Blackwood said.

“The relocation and expansion will create at least another nine highly skilled manufacturing jobs, bringing the total number of employees at the company to 20.”

Mr Ryan said the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund had invested $150,000, with the balance of the $922,000 project being provided by Australian Trailer Manufacturers.

“The Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund helps Latrobe Valley companies reposition themselves for sustainable long-term growth,” Mr Ryan said.

“The LVIIF is part of our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.

The  Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $365 million to support over 1250 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.5 billion in total investment.

In Baw Baw Shire the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $9.5 million to 41 projects, leveraging more than $35.5 million in total investment. Those projects include:

  • $1.2 million for the $12.7 million Leisure Centre project
  • $460,000 for the $996,000 Flavorite Water Efficiency project
  • $100,000 for the $200,000 Phoenix Street drainage upgrade in Warragul.

Media contact: Les White    0409 805 122             les.white@minstaff.vic.gov.au 

Ryan launches Gippsland Freight Master Plan

* * - Friday, January 31, 2014

 

The Gippsland Freight Infrastructure Master Plan, which supports jobs growth and investment in Gippsland’s transport and freight industry, was launched today by Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan.

Speaking at Dyers Transport in Sale, Mr Ryan said the Master Plan provided an in depth look at the transport and freight challenges and opportunities in Gippsland.

“The Master Plan has been developed as a key component of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Latrobe Valley Industry and Employment Roadmap, launched in 2012,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Roadmap, designed to create new jobs and stimulate investment in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland, highlights the need to develop an ‘infrastructure vision’ for the region.

“The Gippsland Freight Infrastructure Master Plan supports this ‘infrastructure vision’ and identifies additional funding for local road projects as a key priority for the development of the transport and freight industries locally.

“This includes upgrades to the South Gippsland Highway, as well as funding for the Leongatha Heavy Vehicle Route, Traralgon truck bypass, Sand Road Interchange, Drouin to Drouin South B-double access and Korumburra heavy vehicle route.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government recognised the challenge of maintaining and upgrading Gippsland’s road network and was working in partnership with all levels of government to prioritise important regional road projects.

“Earlier this month I joined Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss in Traralgon, where he reaffirmed the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to support the $175 million Princes Highway duplication between Traralgon and Sale,” Mr Ryan said.

“Improving road safety, growing Gippsland’s economic productivity and reducing costs for businesses were the main drivers behind the Commonwealth’s continued support for the project.

“At a state level, the Coalition Government continues to deliver vital roads funding, including an additional $11 million investment for road maintenance in Eastern Victoria over and above existing maintenance funding, as part of our three-year $170 million road maintenance boost.

“This includes more than $6 million in the South Gippsland region for urgent pavement strengthening, rehabilitation, asphalting and road resurfacing works.

“$66 million has been invested to complete the long-awaited Koo Wee Rup Bypass, and in 2012 I opened the final stage of flood-proofing works on the South Gippsland Highway between Sale and Longford, which followed a $56.9 million Victorian Government investment.

“The Coalition Government has also invested almost $9 million for passing lanes on the Strzelecki and Hyland Highways, and partnered with the Commonwealth to fund new passing lanes on the Princes Highway between Nowa Nowa and Orbost as part of an $11 million investment.

“We are supporting local councils to complete much needed road repair and improvement projects through our $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program, which provides each of Victoria’s 48 regional and rural councils with $1 million a year over four years.

“This program has so far delivered an additional $15 million to the Bass, Baw Baw, South Gippsland, East Gippsland and Wellington Shire councils to improve our local road network.”

Mr Ryan said Regional Development Australia Gippsland had provided $100,000 to the Committee for Gippsland to complete the Gippsland Freight Infrastructure Master Plan.

“The Committee for Gippsland, which also contributed funding towards the Master Plan, consulted key industry stakeholders and local government to identify the priorities which are specific to industry from a freight and logistics perspective,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Master Plan will also support the recently announced Gippsland Freight Strategy, which formed a key part of the wider Victoria – the Freight State strategy.

“Victoria – the Freight State strategy outlines the Coalition Government’s long-term plan to improving freight efficiency, to grow productivity and better connect Victorian businesses with the marketplace.” 

Additional disaster assistance for Victorian farmers

* * - Tuesday, December 24, 2013

 

Commonwealth Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan today announced additional assistance for farmers in the Greens Creek area hit by the severe weather event in December 2011.

Mr Keenan said Category C Clean-up and Restoration Grants of up to $10,000 would be made available to eligible farmers located north and north-east of Stawell, within the general Greens Creek area.

“The Commonwealth Government is pleased to offer these grants to the Greens Creek farming community”, Mr Keenan said.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad welcomed the funding.

“Extending these grants to the Greens Creek community shows how the new Commonwealth Government and Victorian Coalition Government are working closely together for the benefit of regional communities impacted by natural disaster,” Mr Broad said.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was pleased the Greens Creek area was finally eligible to receive this much needed assistance.

“The Greens Creek area had previously been refused access to Category C Clean-up and Restoration Grants due to an anomaly which meant financial assistance was awarded on the basis of eligible postcodes,” Mr Ryan said.

“A number of affected properties in the Greens Creek area fell outside of these eligible postcodes, which meant funding was withheld. I thank Western Victorian upper house MP David O’Brien for his tireless advocacy on this issue, which has now produced results for this community.”

Mr O’Brien thanked the Federal Coalition Government for taking a compassionate approach to the issue.

“Despite numerous requests to the former Federal Labor Government to overturn this anomaly, it was not rectified and funding continued to be withheld,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I am pleased the new Federal Coalition Government has rectified this anomaly, with clean-up and restoration funding now available to affected properties and businesses in the Greens Creek area.”

Mr Keenan and Mr Ryan also announced that the deadline for claims for assistance from farmers hit by severe weather events in Victoria in December 2011, February–March 2012 and June 2012 had been extended to 31 March 2014.

“The Commonwealth and Victorian governments are committed to assessing the continued impacts of past events on the communities affected, and to identifying further recovery assistance that may be required,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said further information on the Category C Grants for primary producers, including eligibility criteria, was available on the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria website at www.ruralfinance.com.au.

Mr Keenan said further information on Australian Government assistance available at www.disasterassist.gov.au.

Regional Achievement and Community award winners announced

* * - Monday, November 11, 2013

 

Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Development Damian Drum joined the best and brightest representatives from communities and businesses from across regional and rural Victoria in Bendigo for the 2013 Regional Achievement and Community Awards.


Mr Drum, who represented Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan at the award ceremony, presented two awards sponsored by the Victorian Coalition Government

“It was with great pleasure I presented the Regional Victoria Living Expo Business Achievement Award to Beechworth Honey Experience and the Regional Victoria Living Expo Leadership and Innovation Award to Rebekah Vass of Mount Pleasant,” Mr Drum said.

“Beechworth Honey Experience is a wonderful business which tells a story about nature’s perfect food in an interactive and fun way, leaving a lasting connection with visitors.

“The award is well deserved and is testament to Beechworth Honey Experience’s innovative way of doing business.

“The Leadership and Innovation Award is a new category this year that acknowledges role models paving the way for others to follow in successful careers or community ventures.

“Rebekah Vass is a worthy winner of this award and has been recognised for volunteering her time to conduct workshops that encourage students to finish their Year 12 studies and undertake further studies.”

Mr Drum congratulated the night’s other award winners, including: Dr Christine Lee – GippsTAFE and University of Ballarat Regional Achiever Award; Cassandra Anderson – Fantastic Furniture Indigenous Award; Delacombe Primary School – Medibank Healthy Participation Award; Kaniva College – Ricoh Australia Environment and Sustainability Award; and Firefoxes Australia – Prime Super Community Group of the Year Award.

Mr Ryan also congratulated the award winners and said a key objective of the 2013 Regional Achievement and Community Awards was to promote regional Victoria as a great place to establish a home, and take up employment, business and education opportunities.

“When regional Victoria is growing, the whole state prospers,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is committed to showcasing the benefits of regional and rural living through such initiatives as the Good Move campaign and the Regional Victoria Living Expo.

“With this year’s expo attracting 9,500 people looking to make their dream of country living a reality, the Regional Achievement and Community Awards provide another opportunity to promote the benefits of regional and rural Victoria.”

Mr Ryan said the 2014 Regional Victoria Living Expo would be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 11-13 April.

“Up to 130 exhibitors will be on hand to assist the anticipated 10,000 visitors on their relocation journey with information on regional jobs, housing, education, health and lifestyle opportunities,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 ben.bulmer@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Regional Growth Fund to revitalise Cobram CBD

* * - Wednesday, November 06, 2013

 

An exciting revitalisation project that will enhance the Cobram streetscape, improve pedestrian linkages and revitalise the Cobram CBD will be carried out with more than $800,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy in Cobram today to announce the Coalition Government would provide $500,000 towards the Cobram Streetscape Upgrade project, following an earlier allocation of $310,000.

“The new design for Cobram CBD will see improved street furniture and a flexible community space that can be utilised for existing and proposed arts and cultural festivals,” Mr Ryan said.

“There will be an improved flow of traffic through the CBD with a new traffic circle that will encourage people to park their car and walk around the precinct.

“Tree planting, garden beds and the lawn will also be incorporated into the overall look and feel of Cobram’s streetscape.”

Mr McCurdy welcomed the funding support and said there had been significant community consultation regarding the project.

“The Cobram Building Initiative Committee were involved in design discussions, and identified the key issues of social inclusion, community pride and cohesiveness, and the need to improve opportunities for local businesses – all of which are included in the design framework,” Mr McCurdy said.

“Cobram is a river community that has a large influx of visitors over holiday periods and the ability to maximise this opportunity by attracting them to a vibrant CBD is critical to the success and growth of businesses within the town.”

Mr McCurdy thanked funding partner Moira Shire Council for its $135,000 contribution towards the project, which was in addition to the Coalition Government’s $810,000 Regional Growth Fund contribution.

“This project is another strong example of the Coalition Government, through the Regional Growth Fund, delivering important local infrastructure projects for communities in the Moira Shire,” Mr McCurdy said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 ben.bulmer@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Regional Growth Fund completes Lardner Park’s transformation

* * - Thursday, October 24, 2013

 

Lardner Park’s transformation into a regional events and entertainment complex will finally be complete, with the Victorian Coalition Government to provide $218,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to finish a number of key works.


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today joined Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood at Lardner Park to announce funding for the $290,000 From Good to Great Completing the Lardner Park Exhibition Centre project.

“Works to be funded include completing asphalt roadways, concrete delivery bays, landscaping, signage and the development of a ‘grand entrance’ with appropriate road signage,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said completing the project would finalise a project which the Victorian Government began in 2010, when $500,000 was provided towards construction of a $2.7 million 900-seat exhibition centre.

“Completing this project means Lardner Park can grow from a primarily field day venue that depends on a small number of marquee events, to a regional events and entertainment complex catering for a wide variety of activities under the banner of Lardner Park Events,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will also allow Lardner Park to host all-weather and winter events, as well as indoor exhibitions, auditorium functions, entertainment and award dinners.”

Mr Blackwood welcomed funding support for the project which will enable Lardner Park to generate new revenue streams and create a number of new local jobs.

“Having the capacity to host year round events will increase the number of visitors to the region, providing a significant boost for local hotels, accommodation providers and local business,” Mr Blackwood said.

Mr Ryan said in addition to the Coalition Government’s $217,500 Regional Growth Fund contribution, Lardner Park Events would contribute the remaining $72,500.

“This project is another example of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund supporting important local infrastructure projects that improve the competitiveness of regional and rural Victoria, creating more jobs and better career opportunities,” Mr Ryan said.

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $340 million to support almost 1,200 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging almost $1.5 billion in total investment.

“In Baw Baw Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided almost $9 million for around 35 projects, leveraging a total investment of $31 million.”

Mr Ryan said the From Good to Great Completing the Lardner Park Exhibition Centre project was expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

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