Press Releases

Regional Growth Fund delivers for Oxley

* * - Wednesday, October 29, 2014


  • Oxley Recreation Reserve set for significant upgrade
  • Victorian Coalition Government invest $70,000 towards $112,000 project
  • Upgrade will deliver improved facilities for RV and caravan enthusiasts

Oxley Recreation Reserve will be a more attractive destination for locals and tourists with a $112,000 upgrade set to rebuild toilets and showers, provide better facilities for recreation vehicles and caravans, and redevelop the main pavilion.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy at Oxley to announce the Coalition Government would invest $70,000 to support the upgrade.

The Coalition Government’s investment would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with the Rural City of Wangaratta contributing $25,000 and the Oxley Recreation Reserve Committee of Management $8,000 and a further $9,000 in-kind.

Mr Ryan said the upgrade would include the installation of a recreational vehicle dump point, rebuilding the toilets and showers and construction of undercover patio.

He said there would also be significant works to improve the main pavilion including new flooring, electrical upgrades and installation of reverse cycle air conditioning.

Mr Ryan said Oxley Recreation Reserve had been a popular local visitor destination since it was established in 1865.

“Over recent years, the reserve has begun to show its age and is now in desperate need of a redevelopment,” Mr Ryan said.

“The poor condition of the toilet and shower facilities, as well as a lack of suitable facilities to dump caravan and RV waste, was turning people away.

“By investing in this vital upgrade we are encouraging visitors back to this great location, which will ultimately benefit the broader region by having more tourists visiting the area and spending their hard earned money.”

Mr McCurdy welcomed the investment and paid tribute to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, which will provide the RV dump point infrastructure at no cost.

“Thanks to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s generosity there will be no user charges to dump RV or caravan waste here at Oxley Recreation Reserve - a great outcome,” Mr McCurdy said.

“These new caravan and RV facilities will encourage this ever growing segment of the tourism market to spend a night, a weekend or a week here at Oxley, and having access to these facilities free of charge is further encouragement.”

Mr McCurdy said the project would be finished by October next year.

He went on to say the investment here at Oxley was another example of how this region was continuing to benefit from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“The Nationals, working as part of a Coalition Government, fought hard to secure investments such as the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to deliver much-needed funding to regional and rural communities,” Mr McCurdy said.

“Thanks to the Regional Growth Fund, this region has received funding to deliver more than 30 local projects that would have otherwise struggled to get off the ground but are making a big difference to local communities.

“I am committed to working hard on behalf of the people of this region to ensure we continue to receive our fair share of funding through initiatives such as the Regional Growth Fund.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Coalition Government investment pays dividends for Sale’s Greenwattle Racecourse

* * - Friday, October 24, 2014


  • Punters won’t miss a moment of the action with a new wide screen TV for Sale Turf Club 
  • New horse stalls, fencing and gates improve safety at Greenwattle Racecourse ahead of the Sale Cup 
  • Victorian Coalition Government continues to support country racing

As the marquees go up at Sale’s Greenwattle Racecourse ahead of this Sunday’s Sale Cup, Deputy Premier and Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan has announced a new big screen TV for the Sale Turf Club.

At Greenwattle Racecourse, Mr Ryan also inspected new tie-up stalls and perimeter fencing which has greatly improved safety at the track following an investment of $58,733 from the Liberal National Coalition Government.

Mr Ryan said more than $109,000 had been invested in the new 47 square metre big screen TV to be installed on the infield at the racecourse and to give a significantly better view of the races for everyone at the track.

“Joint funding from the Coalition Government and the racing industry of almost $218,250 will see a magnificent new big screen TV installed at Sale’s Greenwattle Racecourse,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is great investment that will also provide the Sale Turf Club with significant savings as it currently hires mobile screens for its major race meetings such as the Sale Cup this Sunday.

“Currently at non-feature racedays there is no big screen available to patrons.

“As well as saving on the hire costs of a mobile screen, the Sale Turf Club now has the chance to generate revenue by hiring out the big screen for local events such as movies, expos and other community events,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said today’s announcement was in addition to investment at the racecourse that included the construction of new horse stalls and fencing improvements.

“The new tie-up stalls are a boost for racing and training at Sale and will improve safety conditions, particularly for the horses, their trainers and strappers,” Mr Ryan said.

“The project, jointly funded by the Coalition Government and the racing industry, resulted in the demolition of 15 dilapidated stalls and replaced with 18 new modern stalls.                                                                                                                

“The Coalition Government has provided $58,733 towards this new project through its Victorian Racing Industry Fund, with the Sale Turf Club and Racing Victoria each contributing $29,366 towards the total project cost of $117,465.”

Mr Ryan said these upgrades built on other recent improvements at Sale racecourse funded by the Coalition Government including an enhanced irrigation and drainage system and a new set of practice starting stalls.

Sale Turf Club chairman David Wilson said with 20 race meetings annually, the provision of a big screen would ensure more than 20,000 patrons that frequented the course would not miss a minute of the action. 

“The new and larger tie-up stalls ensure horses, trainers and strappers are provided with a safe environment leading into their race. 

“The additional new stalls complete the replacement program which provides the club with 123 tie up stalls to be used on race day and during early morning track work conducted on a daily basis,” Mr Wilson said.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien said the Coalition Government was a strong supporter of country racing and was committed to growing the economic and social benefits that arise from the racing industry.

“The racing industry provides an economic benefit of $110 million to Gippsland, including 1,100 full-time jobs and the direct participation of more than 5,600 people,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Coalition Government’s $80 million Victorian Racing Industry Fund, derived from unclaimed dividends and on-course wagering taxes, is critical to growing these economic benefits,” he said.

“The Coalition Government is committed to backing these important projects because it is vital to foster growth in the racing industry, which is worth $940 million annually to the state’s rural and regional economy.”

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404 

Regional Growth Fund delivers for Katandra West

* * - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $999,000 towards $1.3 million Katandra West Community Centre
  • Project will support Katandra Kats and a wide-range of user groups
  • Coalition Government building a better regional and rural Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest almost $1 million to build a new community centre in Katandra West, delivering a one-stop-shop for local sports clubs, community events, meetings and celebrations.

The new Katandra West Community Centre will be located at the Katandra West Recreation Reserve, replacing the century-old Katandra West Hall as a centre-point for life in the small Goulburn Valley community.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Katandra West today to announce the Coalition Government will invest $999,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in the construction of the $1.3 million community centre.

The Katandra West Community Facilities Committee of Management will provide $150,000 towards construction of the new community centre, with the Greater Shepparton City Council providing a further $151,000.

Mr Ryan said the $1.3 million investment will deliver a 685-square metre multipurpose facility, featuring:

  • a large multi-purpose area and meeting room;
  • male, female and disabled toilets;
  • female and umpire change rooms; and
  • commercial kitchen, cool room, storage space, bar and serving area.

Mr Ryan said the new community centre will benefit a number of local user groups including the Katandra Kats Football and Netball Club, local cricket and tennis clubs, Country Women’s Association, CFA, Girl Guides, Ukiah Club and Katandra West Primary School.

Mr Ryan said the new community centre will be the ideal location to host community celebrations such as birthday parties, weddings and engagement parties, community meetings, conferences and other community events.

“Every small town needs a modern, accessible and useable community space to host local events and celebrations,” Mr Ryan said.

“While the existing community hall has served Katandra West for more than a century, it is beginning to show its age and no longer meets the needs and expectations of the community.

“The Coalition Government’s almost $1 million investment will deliver a modern and flexible community centre that will be a focal point for the Katandra West community for the next 100 years, and is sure to be the scene of many great nights for locals.

“This investment will deliver modern facilities for local sports clubs such as the mighty Katandra Kats, with the new umpire and female change rooms to be a welcome addition, particularly for the netballers.

“This project is another terrific example of why The Nationals, working in a Coalition Government, fought to secure the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Through the Regional Growth Fund, we have been able to invest in countless projects similar to this right across regional and rural Victoria, projects that would otherwise have struggled to attract funding support from government.”

Mr Barr, a passionate Katandra West local, welcomed this investment, describing it as long overdue.

“As a local, I know how important the community hall is to our community,” Mr Barr said.

“Whether it’s hosting Girl Guides, school concerts, the football/netball club ball, 21st birthday parties, weddings and funerals, the community hall has seen it all.

“To now have a facility of this calibre at our disposal for local meetings and other community events is a real shot-in-the-arm for Katandra West.

“I am proud to be part of a strong National Party team which continues to deliver for the Goulburn Valley and its many communities including Katandra West.”

Mr Barr said construction would begin shortly with the project to be completed by the end of next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Labor will cut the country

* * - Monday, October 06, 2014


  • Labor’s pamphlet reveals it will cut funding to country Victoria by $1.936 billion
  • Labor copycats policies which are already in action
  • Labor puts up token spending to cover massive cuts

Labor’s pamphlet, released today, reveals Labor will cut funding for country Victoria by at least $1.936 billion, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said today.

“Labor’s claims it will spend $200 million on regional jobs, $1 billion on regional roads over eight years, and reinstate its token Regional Infrastructure Development Fund are token offerings to disguise huge cuts in the country,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor steals your wallet then offers you one of your own stolen banknotes as a distraction.

“In the next term of government, Labor, if elected, would cut the Regional Growth Fund ($500 million); cut the Murray Basin Rail Project (up to $220 million); cut up to three quarters of the roads maintenance budget ($1.5 billion); and cut the Country Roads and Bridges program ($160 million).

“It would return a token $200 million for a regional jobs fund, far less than the $500 million the Coalition has already set aside in the Regional Growth Fund – which Labor has said it will axe. The Regional Growth Fund has already invested more than $440 million in 1,600 projects, generating $1.8 billion of investment and 5,000 jobs in regional and rural Victoria.

“Labor’s pledge to spend $1 billion on regional roads over eight years equates to $125 million a year – up to a 75 per cent cut. This year, the Coalition invested $500 million in roads maintenance.

“Labor has said it would reinstate its token Regional Infrastructure Development Fund, which its glossy brochures tell us invested just $61 million a year – $611 million over a decade – so that’s $244 million over the next term of government.

“That’s a $2.38 billion cut from the country and $444 million offered as a replacement – Labor cuts the country by $1.936 billion,” Mr Ryan said.

“Furthermore, Labor’s copycat regional jobs ‘policies’ released today are already reality under the Regional Growth Fund, which Labor aims to axe.

“Labor says it will set up Regional Business Centres and Regional Cities Clusters to ‘provide expert advice and assistance to businesses looking to expand or relocate to regional Victoria’.

This is already done under the Regional Growth Fund.”

Regional Development Victoria already manages 18 regional offices which ‘facilitate investment, jobs and exports, creating a local contact point for businesses, council and community groups’.

RDV also has a Business Engagement Team which ‘engages with Victorian regional businesses to promote the development of sustainable industries that are growth orientated and export focussed’.

“Labor has refused to commit to the Murray Basin Rail Project, worth up to $220 million, which will transform the way goods are transported in western and northern Victoria, creating countless jobs and huge opportunities for business and exports,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor has also refused to commit to the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program.

“Labor will cut the country by $1.936 billion, print a glossy brochure and try to fool regional Victorians into believing it invests in the regions.

“Labor will cut the country.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Deputy Premier announces jobs boost for Nathalia

* * - Thursday, September 25, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $1.37 million to deliver 70 new jobs
  • $5.5 million project will boost exports from Ryan Meat Company
  • Benefits of GVIIF begin flowing through to the Goulburn Valley

Seventy new jobs will be created in Nathalia and local lamb exports will be boosted as the benefits of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund begin to flow through to the region.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today joined The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr in Nathalia to announce that the Coalition Government would invest $1.37 million to support a $5.5 million expansion of Ryan Meat Company (RMC).

Mr Ryan said this project was the first to be funded through the Coalition Government’s $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, developed to support the region’s economy through a period of transition, diversification and growth.

Mr Ryan said the investment would enable RMC to double production, from 7,500 head of lamb and mutton per week to 15,000, and more than double its workforce, from 66 full time employees to 136. It would also create a further 77 full-time jobs in the supply chain.

Mr Ryan said the expansion project would deliver a full export-oriented meat processing plant to cut, bone and pack chilled and frozen product, and included:

  • An expansion to the processing floor and installation of a new processing line and equipment;
  • Construction of new carcass chillers;
  • Construction of a new boning/cutting room;
  • Upgrades to the computerised processing system;
  • Expansion of the stockyards;
  • An increase of the company’s water and gas capacity; and
  • Construction of new staff amenities.

“This investment will see RMC double production, double its workforce and double its exports from the region, which is a win for Nathalia, a win for local suppliers and a win for the Goulburn Valley,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project is a terrific example of why we as The Nationals, working as part of a Coalition Government, fought so hard to secure an initial $5 million for the Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund.

“There are many great companies and businesses operating right across the Goulburn Valley, and through this fund we are co-investing to secure their future, create new local jobs and deliver a strong, resilient and diverse local economy.”

Mr Barr welcomed the Coalition Government’s $1.37 million investment, describing it as vital to ensuring RMC continued to meet international demand for locally produced and processed lamb and mutton.

“In March 2013, RMC commenced exporting lamb to the Middle East. This was so successful that production doubled and 20 new jobs were created, however, this growth has meant the current factory is now at maximum capacity,” Mr Barr said.

“By helping RMC to expand, it is no longer limited by size and can resume growing local exports of quality Australian produced lamb and mutton.

“By growing our exports we are creating new local jobs, new local investment and a stronger region.”

Mr Barr said today’s announcement continues the Coalition Government’s strong support for RMC, which included $200,000 to enable the company to build a new offal processing facility following the devastating 2012 floods.

“The Coalition Government rolled up its sleeves to help RMC during the difficult times and that investment is now paying off in spades, with its future not only secure, but flourishing,” Mr Barr said.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Garry Lyon supports Regional Victoria Living Expo at Royal Melbourne Show

* * - Monday, September 22, 2014


  • AFL great Garry Lyon drops in to Royal Melbourne Show stand in support of next year’s Regional Victoria Living Expo
  • Expo offers information on regional housing, career, education, health, lifestyle
  • Expo to be held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1-3 May

Former AFL champion and media personality Garry Lyon has dropped in on the Regional Development Victoria stand at the Royal Melbourne Show, helping promote the Regional Victoria Living Expo.

Mr Lyon, raised in Kyabram in northern Victoria, joined Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan at the Regional Development Victoria stand to promote the three-day Regional Victoria Living Expo, which will run from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May 2015.

Mr Lyon, a long-time supporter of the Regional Victoria Living Expo, gave a passionate speech at last year’s event, telling listeners his heart had never left his home town.

“Regional Victoria is a great place to grow up and a great place to raise kids,” Mr Lyon said.

“The space and sense of community is great for children and adults too. The country lifestyle has many advantages the city can't offer – like a 10 minute commute to work.”

Mr Ryan said the Royal Melbourne Show, which attracts half a million visitors, was a great opportunity to promote the advantages of regional living.

“The Royal Melbourne Show showcases the best on offer from regional Victoria and is one of Melbourne’s premier events with a genuine connection to country living,” Mr Ryan said.

“The RDV stand at the Show will give people considering relocating to regional Victoria access to the right information to plan their move, while entertaining the kids with plenty of activities including fishing games, rock climbing and finger painting.

“The Regional Victoria Living Expo will showcase Victoria’s 48 regional councils as well as information on career, housing, health, education and lifestyle opportunities in regional Victoria. It allows attendees to speak directly with regional real estate agents and to sample Victoria’s great food and wine, with regional food tastings.

“Almost 10,000 people attended last year’s expo and it’s easy to see why. On-stage performers will provide entertainment for all ages, while the Kids' Interactive Zone and Sports in the Community Precinct will engage children with interactive and educational games.

“An Arts and Culture Program will feature at the 2015 Expo, curated by Arts Victoria, in conjunction with Regional Arts Victoria, Multicultural Arts Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria and Public Galleries Association of Victoria.

“I am also pleased to note that major sponsor First National Real Estate – a company founded in regional Victoria – will continue its support in 2015,” Mr Ryan said.

For more information about the 2015 Regional Victoria Living Expo, visit

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Celebrating the big difference small business makes in Heyfield

* * - Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Ryan and Bull encourage Gippslanders to buy local in the lead-up to Support Small Business Day
  • Thousands of gift cards for local small businesses up for grabs
  • Coalition Government supporting small business in regional Victoria

Gippslanders are being encouraged to buy local to support small businesses across the region in the lead-up to Support Small Business Day on Saturday 4 October.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today joined The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull at CAFÉ 3858 in Heyfield to promote Support Small Business Day.

“Businesses such as Café 3858 in George Street Heyfield, run by Jamie Riley and Zac Stamos, contribute a great deal to our local economies,” Mr Ryan said.

“Jamie, originally from Heyfield, and Zac moved to Heyfield almost four years ago, purchasing the business and bringing with them a slice of Melbourne Café culture.

“They have grown the business which can now seat around 70 people inside, with room for another 40 in their courtyard.

“Their cafe has won several awards including Best Cafe twice and Best Coffee in the Wellington People Choice Awards and they have received numerous positive reviews in newspapers such as the Herald Sun and the Age.

“Jamie and Zac are a great example of our dedicated local small businesses owners investing in our local communities and I encourage locals to continue to support them by purchasing a coffee, cake or and some of the other delicious food they have on offer.”

Mr Bull said it was important locals supported small businesses such as Café 3858.

“Local small businesses employ local staff, which creates local jobs, they purchase local goods and services and reinvest in our local communities,” Mr Bull said.

“Whenever $100 is spent in a local small business, $50 is retained in the local economy.

“Whether it is purchasing the day’s milk for coffee, bread for sandwiches, or dropping into Tryhorn Supermarket for supplies, businesses like Jamie and Zac’s Café 3858 are reinvesting in our local communities and making your dollar go further.

“Local businesses are also the first to give back to their communities by putting up their hands to sponsor local sports clubs, charities or other local initiatives.”

Mr Bull said to further encourage locals to support local small businesses in the lead-up to Support Small Business Day, the Victorian Coalition Government and Bendigo Bank had partnered to give locals the chance to win gift cards that can be spent at participating businesses.

“There are thousands of gift cards be won as part of this initiative which runs throughout the month of September,” Mr Bull said.

“I encourage shoppers and businesses to visit the Support Small Business Day website to see some of the great competitions and initiatives which are on offer.

“Last year more than 4,000 small businesses and consumers participated in the inaugural event and it would be great if we could boost those numbers this year.”

Mr Bull said to participate, small businesses and shoppers across Gippsland could register at

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Deputy Premier inspects Bright foreshore

* * - Thursday, August 14, 2014
  • Deputy Premier inspects progress of the Bright Foreshore redevelopment
  • Announces $150,000 for $200,000 planning strategy in Alpine Shire
  • Victorian Coalition Government supporting regional tourism towns

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan yesterday inspected progress of the $525,000 Bright Foreshore Redevelopment Project.

During his visit, Mr Ryan also announced Victorian Coalition Government funding for the Alpine Better Places project.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by The Nationals Member for Benalla Bill Sykes and The Nationals Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy, said the foreshore redevelopment was made possible by a $300,000 investment from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“This important local project is revitalising the Centenary Park precinct,” Mr Ryan said.

“I am glad to see that work is progressing and remains on track to be completed before the busy summer tourist period.

“Centenary Park is one of the most visited sites in Bright, with this project set to transform the foreshore area, further enhancing this already wonderful community asset.”

Mr Ryan said the project involved:

landscaping and additional shade; redevelopment of the splash park; installation of new lighting; and new path connections into the CBD and river trails.

Dr Sykes said he was pleased with the progress being made at the site.

“This project will create a point of difference for Bright, enhancing tourist visitations and increasing their length of stay,” Dr Sykes said.

“The new path connections into the CBD will also draw more visitors into the main shopping areas of town, providing a boost for local traders.”

Mr Ryan also announced yesterday that the Coalition Government would invest $150,000 from the Regional Growth Fund to enable the Alpine Shire Council develop a new planning and engagement strategy for Bright, Porepunkah and Myrtleford.

Mr Ryan said the $200,000 Alpine Better Places planning and engagement strategy would outline plans for the renewal of key public spaces in the three townships.

“All three communities are tourist hotspots, with natural features that include the Ovens River in Bright and Porepunkah, and Happy Valley Creek in Myrtleford,” Mr Ryan said.

“The focus of the project will be to plan for public infrastructure upgrades, enhancing each township’s ‘sense of place’ and encouraging new investment and population retention.”

Mr McCurdy, whose existing seat of Murray Valley will be renamed Ovens Valley and include Bright following the 2014 Victorian Election, welcomed the investment and said it was important the Victorian Coalition Government continued to invest in these communities.

“We all know that these areas are popular visitor destinations and wonderful places to live, however this hasn’t happened overnight,” Mr McCurdy said.

“These communities have grown their population and tourism base through hard work over many long years and this work needs to continue if they are to remain strong.

“I am proud to say that The Nationals, as part of a Coalition Government, are right behind the community as they continue to develop this magnificent part of Victoria.”

The Alpine Better Places planning and engagement strategy project will be complete by the end of 2015.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Regional Growth Fund invests in Wangaratta CBD master plan

* * - Wednesday, August 13, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invest $150,000 to develop Wangaratta CBD Master Plan
  • Master Plan will drive the growth of the CBD
  • Coalition Government helping to build a better Wangaratta

A comprehensive master plan for the growth of Wangaratta’s central business district (CBD) will be developed with the support of $150,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy in Wangaratta today to announce the Coalition Government’s investment in the Wangaratta CBD master plan.

Mr Ryan said the $225,000 master plan would look at ways to grow the CBD, ensuring Wangaratta continues to be a leading economic, social and cultural hub in the North East.

“The master plan will focus on maximising existing assets and facilities, developing Wangaratta’s economic strengths, and capitalising on the town’s unique landscape and heritage in order to grow the CBD,” Mr Ryan said.

“The feasibility of a number of key projects will be looked at as part of the master plan, enabling a number of key local projects to be further refined, scoped and developed.

“These projects include developing the CBD laneway network, improving the retail and commercial precinct and enhancing linkages between the CBD and riverside precinct.

“These projects have the potential to boost jobs, attract new forms of investment and grow tourism in Wangaratta.

“The Nationals, working as part of Coalition Government, are committed to growing regional communities, and by funding projects such as this, we are saying to communities such as Wangaratta that we stand next to you and support you as you grow.”

Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy welcomed the investment and said the master plan would map out a clear path for the growth of Wangaratta’s CBD.

“Wangaratta is a wonderful place to live and work, or for those from outside the region, it is the perfect place for a weekend getaway or an extended holiday,” Mr McCurdy said.

“However, there is always things that we could be doing better and I applaud the council for seeking the assistance of the Coalition Government to map out a clear plan for the growth of the Wangaratta CBD.

“If we get this right, we have the potential to grow jobs, encourage new forms of investment and make Wangaratta an even better place to live and work, an even stronger economic hub and an even more popular tourist destination.”

Mr McCurdy thanked the Rural City of Wangaratta for its $75,000 contribution to the master plan, which is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

During his visit to Wangaratta, Mr Ryan also inspected the $3.2 million Ovens Riverside project, completed thanks to a $715,000 investment from the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan said he was impressed with how the project had turned out and praised the community for its dedication in seeing the project through.

“The riverside promenade and boardwalk has dramatically improved the look and feel of the riverside precinct,” Mr Ryan said.

“The entire Wangaratta community can take much pride in this development, which is the envy of many other communities across regional and rural Victoria.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Tynong to supply 30 per cent of Australia’s apples

* * - Monday, August 11, 2014

  • Deputy Premier opens Australia’s largest apple processing facility at Tynong
  • Also launches a new plan for agrifood businesses in Melbourne’s outer south east
  • Coalition Government a strong supporter of Victoria’s food and fibre sector

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan on Friday opened Australia’s largest and most sophisticated apple sorting facility, the new $17 million Nine Mile Fresh facility at Tynong.

Mr Ryan said the facility, which was a joint venture between Battunga Orchards and Bon View Orchards, would process a significant portion of Australia’s apples.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by Member for Bass Ken Smith, said the Victorian Coalition Government had proudly invested $410,000 to support the $17 million development, which created 50 new jobs in Tynong, growing to 100 new jobs within five years.

Mr Ryan said cutting-edge equipment operating at Nine Mile Fresh increased sorting capacity from 160 to 500 bins per day, and reduced sorting, grading and packing costs by up to 20 per cent.

“Fifty local apple growers will supply this state-of-the-art facility, allowing them to meet the quality and volume requirements demanded by the major supermarkets,” Mr Ryan said.

“This impressive facility will process 30 per cent of all the apples sold in Australia, a truly remarkable achievement.”

Mr Smith welcomed the investment and said that by reducing the cost of processing apples, this facility would allow local growers to better compete against imports, while giving local exports an edge in global markets.

“This facility will also significantly improve the productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of our apple supply chain, helping to secure the future of this vital sector of our economy,” Mr Smith said.

During his visit to Nine Mile Fresh, Mr Ryan also launched Southern Melbourne Regional Development Australia’s (RDA) Agrifood Master Plan, developed in collaboration with the region’s three local councils – the City of Casey and the shires of Cardinia and Casey.

“The RDA’s Agrifood Master Plan outlines a framework for the development of agriculture across Melbourne’s outer south east,” Mr Ryan said.

“The plan outlines the region’s many agricultural advantages, its economic benefits to Victoria and recommends strategies for investment and growth in the food production industry over the next 10 years.”

Mr Ryan said with the region’s food producers continuing to experience significant urban encroachment, there was a need to focus on higher value, differentiated products such as asparagus, premium beef, quality wine, premium dairy products, berries and herbs.

Mr Ryan said the plan identified key trends that will have the greatest impact on the local agrifood sector over the coming decade, from challenges such as rising water costs and seasonal labour shortages, to opportunities such as soaring global demand for food and the rise of Asia’s middle class.

“The Victorian Coalition Government recognise the importance of local agrifood businesses adapting to these ongoing changes,” Mr Ryan said.

“That’s why we are supporting the sector through initiatives such as our Food to Asia Action Plan, which seeks to build on our position as a leading exporter of premium food and beverage products to key Asian markets.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

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