Press Releases

Ball bounced for further redevelopment of Simonds Stadium

* * - Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Funding of $5 million ensures next stage of stadiums redevelopment
  • Great news for the local economy and the people of Geelong
  • Napthine Government building a better regional Victoria

The Victorian Coalition Government will provide $5 million to the Geelong Football Club to undertake the next stage of the Simonds Stadium redevelopment, including the development of a full business case and detailed design work.

Premier of Victoria Denis Napthine and Sports Minister Damian Drum were at the stadium yesterday to make the announcement.

Dr Napthine said Simonds Stadium was Australia’s leading regional stadium and provided major economic benefits for the Geelong region.

“The Victorian Coalition Government wants to get the ball rolling on the redevelopment of the stadium which will include increased capacity and enhanced community facilities,” Dr Napthine said.

“Future stages of redevelopment could include replacement of the Brownlow, Jennings and Ford stands, as well as the Ablett Terrace and Southern Terrace. There will also be consideration given to constructing new and enhanced community and sporting facilities adjacent to Simonds Stadium.

“The redevelopment will potentially allow for Geelong to host an increased number of national and international events such as T20 Big Bash games, NRL games, A-league games and international-act concerts.

“As well as the great entertainment and excitement these types of events provide, they also generate local jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefits.

“A Deloitte study has found that each additional major event at Simonds Stadium, such as additional AFL games, injected $3 million into the local economy,” Dr Napthine said.

The $5 million in funding will allow the following work to begin immediately:

Investigate and minimise risks posed by construction activity to events;
Appoint a Design Team, including specialist engineers and consultants, to further develop the concept plans into detailed schematic design documentation;
Prepare 3D rendered images and video animations to assist in communicating the redevelopment vision;
Prepare construction tender documentation for market; and
Develop documentation to support future funding requests to the identified funding stakeholders.

Dr Napthine said the $5 million funding follows the Coalition Government's previous investment of $26.5 million in Stage Three of the Simonds Stadium redevelopment. Stage Three included construction of the Players Stand, installation of oval lighting and a new Community Wellness and Education Centre.

Mr Drum noted the positive effect such investments in sport have on the health of the broader community.

“Not only will this be a great economic driver for Geelong, but having world-class sporting facilities and world-class sporting events in Geelong will inspire generations of local children to be involved in sport and pursue healthy and active lifestyles,” Mr Drum said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Deakin Cats Community Centre, which was built with the last round of assistance from the Coalition Government, had already proved a great success.

“The Deakin Cats Community Centre was created to provide community and education programs.

“Since it opened a year ago, the Deakin Cats Community Centre has engaged with more than 16,000 young people from Geelong and the region. Many community

Regional Growth Fund ensures Wangaratta remains a cycling hub

* * - Wednesday, August 13, 2014


  • Victorian Coalition Government invest $400,000 to create cycling hub in Wangaratta
  • CBD Hub to include shower, toilet and secure bicycle storage facilities
  • Coalition Government building a better regional Victoria

Wangaratta’s reputation as the home of cycling in Victoria’s North East will be further enhanced with the Victorian Coalition Government investing $400,000 to create a cycling hub in the town’s central business district (CBD).

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy to announce the Coalition Government’s $400,000 investment, which is being delivered through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s assistance would enable the $500,000 Merriwa Park Bicycle Hub development project to proceed.

He said the project would transform the Wangaratta Comfort Station building at Merriwa Park into a CBD cycling hub.

Mr Ryan said the project would open up the view to Merriwa Park from the CBD and create a central cycle exchange at the southern end of town.

The project includes the development of toilet and shower facilities, construction of a deck overlooking Merriwa Park, installation of secure bicycle storage, and information on local trails and tourism services in Wangaratta. The new facilities will be wheelchair friendly.

“Wangaratta is considered a Mecca for cyclists in Victoria’s North East,” Mr Ryan said.

“Many of Victoria’s great rides start and finish in Wangaratta including the Murray to Mountain Rail Trail, or journeys into the high mountains to tackle the climbs of Mount Buffalo, Mount Hotham or the challenging roads in and around Bright.

“The creation of the Merriwa Park Bicycle Hub will ensure Wangaratta remains at the head of the peloton when it comes to attracting cyclists to Victoria’s North East.”

Mr McCurdy welcomed the investment and said the CBD cycling hub would provide everything a cyclist needed when embarking on a ride, from the elite cyclists who train in the region, right through to weekend warriors.

“Cyclists can base themselves here knowing that there will be a toilet, warm showers and a place to fill up their water bottles at the start and finish of their ride,” Mr McCurdy said.

“Having a secure place to store their bikes will encourage more cyclists to venture into the CBD before or after their ride for breakfast or lunch, or to have a much needed coffee and cake.

“A facility such as this is rare in regional Victoria, and by supporting this development we are encouraging even more cyclists to the region.

“I am proud to be here today alongside the Deputy Premier to say that The Nationals, as part of a Coalition Government, are right behind the community in supporting this wonderful initiative.”

Mr McCurdy also thanked the Rural City of Wangaratta which is contributing the remaining $100,000 needed to complete the project.

Mr McCurdy said the Merriwa Park Bicycle Hub Development would be completed by the end of next year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Ryan welcomes $12.5 million shooting fund

* * - Tuesday, August 12, 2014


  • Shooting clubs in Gippsland South can share in $12.5 million fund
  • Fund will help clubs to upgrade their facilities and attract events
  • Victorian Coalition Government is supporting local sport

The Deputy Premier and Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said local shooting clubs could soon access a $12.5 million fund to expand or upgrade their facilities, purchase equipment or host events and tournaments.

The $12.5 million Shooting Sports Facilities Program will encourage more people to get active in an environment that promotes safe and responsible firearms ownership.

Mr Ryan said shooting was popular throughout Gippsland South, with a number of strong shooting clubs in Sale, Rosedale, Yarram, Mirboo North, Leongatha and Korumburra.

“This fund will improve our local facilities and encourage more regional Victorians to participate in the sport of shooting,” Mr Ryan said.

“Gippsland has produced many successful professional shooters over the years, most recently we saw Longford local Keith Ferguson competing in the men’s skeet at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“Local sporting shooters have also nurtured the talent of 18-year-old Indi Gladman from Sale who took out the Tasmanian Clay Target Championships earlier this year.”

The funding can be used to purchase land for the expansion of existing facilities or to secure tenure over existing facilities in order to improve the long term viability of the sport locally.

Mr Ryan said it could also be used for capital improvements at existing facilities, or to purchase major equipment to enable a local facility to host major events and increase participation.

“Minor projects will be able to receive up to $100,000 from the fund, with the Coalition Government offering $2 for every $1 put in by the club or another contributor, for example a local council,” Mr Ryan said.

“There is no cap on funding invested by Coalition Government into a major project, but the investment will need to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the club or another contributor.

“More than 20,000 Victorians participate in competitive shooting events each year, and we have a proud history of producing Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Games medallists, with Russell and Lauryn Mark, Adam Vella and Peter Tait all flying the flag.

“The Coalition Government is helping shooting clubs develop better facilities, host big events and give more people the opportunity to be participants, coaches, and volunteers,” Mr Ryan said.

An advisory committee, chaired by Mr David Hawker AO, will be established to assess project applications and provide specialist advice on the sport's specific and strategic needs.

Details of the program will be finalised following the establishment of the advisory committee.

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

A new place to cool off in Mildura

* * - Wednesday, July 16, 2014


  • Next stage of the Mildura Riverfront project gets underway
  • Project delivers pop-up jets, streams, BBQ, boardwalks and terraced skate park
  • Precinct will attract visitors and confirms Mildura’s status as the ‘Gateway to the Outback’

Children, families and visitors will have a new place to cool off in Mildura during hot summer days with water jets, splash pools and interactive water play equipment to be developed as part of the $18.3 million Mildura Riverfront project.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp at Mildura today to turn the first sod for the new $2.1 million Mildura Riverfront Waterplay and Ornamental Lakes Precinct.

Mr Ryan said development of the Waterplay and Ornamental Lakes Precinct was the latest stage of the $18.3 million Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment Project, and would include:

  • Extensions to the lake to include water play equipment, pop-up jets and shallows;
  • A shallow stream running throughout the precinct, incorporating water play equipment;
  • Shaded areas, timber boardwalks, sand pits, decking, seats, lighting and barbeques;
  • Indigenous plants, landscaping and cultural heritage information; and
  • A new terraced skate area extending from the existing skate park.

“This is a fantastic development that will benefit the entire Mildura community,” Mr Ryan said.

“The water play equipment will be something truly unique to Mildura, providing another drawcard for visitors and holiday makers looking to spend time in this part of our great state.

“The community can relax and cool off over the pop-up jets and in the shallows or simply relax in the shaded areas.

“It will become a great place to walk the pet dog and a perfect location to spend time with family and friends enjoying a barbecue.

“Skaters have not been left out, with the large terraced skate space set to add to what is already a terrific and well used skate park.”

Mr Crisp welcomed the Deputy Premier to Mildura and said The Nationals, as part of a strong Coalition Government team, were continuing to deliver for Mildura.

Mr Crisp said the Mildura-based King Construction Group had been awarded the contract for this component of the development. In addition, the project included the redevelopment of the East/West promenade, the Rowing Club and Langtree Avenue pedestrian connection.

“I am proud to be here today alongside the Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan to mark the beginning of another important step in delivering the transformative Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment,” Mr Crisp said.

“This $18.3 million project, $12 million of which is funded through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, is stimulating the local economy, is set to boost tourism and confirms Mildura’s status as the ‘Gateway to the Outback’.

“I will continue to advocate strongly for Mildura to ensure we continue receiving strong Coalition Government support and investment.”

Mr Crisp said construction on the Waterplay and Ornamental Lakes precinct would begin shortly, with the Waterplay area to be completed by April 2015 and the remaining works completed by the second half of 2015.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Ryan and O’Brien in Mirboo North to hear community issues

* * - Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Peter Ryan and Danny O’Brien in Mirboo North on 11 July
  • Opportunity for face-to-face meeting to discuss State Government matters
  • Contact Sale office on 5144 1987 to register interest to meet with Peter or Danny

Members of the Mirboo North and surrounding communities are invited to meet with Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien on Friday 11 July.

Mr Ryan said the mobile electorate office would visit Mirboo North to make it easier for residents to meet with their local Parliamentarians to discuss State Government matters affecting them.

“This event gives us an additional opportunity to connect with our constituents and listen to the issues that are important to them,” Mr Ryan said.

“As part of my role as The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, I believe it is crucial that I am accessible to all of my constituents, no matter where in the electorate they live.

“The mobile electorate office is a great chance for members of the community to meet with me face-to-face to discuss State Government matters relevant to them.”

Mr O’Brien said the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government was responsible for areas including agriculture and fishing, state planning, law enforcement and public transport.

“If you have any State issues you want to discuss or need assistance with, please make contact with Peter’s office to arrange a time to meet,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr Ryan and Mr O’Brien will be at the Dalliance Chocolate Shop on Friday, 11 July and those wishing to make an appointment should call the Sale office on 5144 1987.

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870

$1 billion Regional Growth Fund transforms Nyora Community Hall

* * - Monday, June 02, 2014

  • Deputy Premier announces $255,000 funding for Nyora Hall upgrades
  • Projects will deliver flexible, functional and appealing community meeting place
  • Victorian Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund is putting locals first

Everybody will be Kung Fu fighting in Nyora following Friday’s announcement by the Victorian Coalition Government that it will support a major redevelopment of the Nyora Community Hall.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was in Nyora on Friday to announce the Coalition Government would invest $255,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to support a $340,000 redevelopment of the much-loved community hall.

Mr Ryan said the hall would be transformed into a flexible, functional and appealing meeting place that the Nyora community could be proud of.

The redevelopment will include the replacement of roofing and gutters, the treatment of external walls to eliminate rising damp, the installation of bi-fold walls, internal upgrades, paintwork and a redesigned entry.

The project will also include new car parking, landscaping and drainage improvements.

“The redevelopment of the Nyora Community Hall was identified as a key priority by the local community and we have listened to their concerns and invested $255,000 to ensure this project goes ahead,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Nyora Community Hall is the only community meeting space in Nyora and is a popular location for weddings, birthday celebrations and other community gatherings.

“It is also used for a wide-range of community activities, including playgroups, patchwork groups, Kung Fu classes, the community newsletter office, outreach programs, the local Lions club, as well as hosting the Council immunisation program.

“Nyora residents and user-groups will benefit from having a reliable, flexible and usable space at their disposal.”

Mr Ryan said the redevelopment would be finished by June next year.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien, who joined Mr Ryan at Friday’s announcement, said the redevelopment would ensure the Nyora Community Hall continues to meet the needs of the community as Nyora’s population grows.

“Nyora’s population is projected to grow from 1,300 today to more than 2,100 by 2030,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We need to build the infrastructure that can support a growing population and that is why we have invested more than $250,000 to enable this significant redevelopment of the Nyora Community Hall to be undertaken.”

Mr O’Brien said the project was another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund putting locals first.

“Right across Gippsland, the Regional Growth Fund is investing in vital local projects that would otherwise have struggled to secure funding,” Mr O’Brien said.

“In the South Gippsland Shire alone, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $13 million to support more than 30 projects, leveraging around $60 million in total investment.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

$16,600 gets Mirboo North netball back on court

* * - Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • New netball court surface for Mirboo North Tigers
  • Funding of $16,600 from Victorian Coalition Government is part of $25,000 project
  • Part of $957,000 investment to get Victorians more active
Mirboo North’s growing sporting community will soon have a new netball court surface on which to practice and host big games following today’s news of a $16,600 investment by the Victorian Coalition Government to ensure the resurfacing of the match netball court at Walter Tuck Reserve.

Minister for Sport and Recreation, Damian Drum today attended the home of the Mirboo North Tigers Football Netball Club to announce the funding under the Country Football Netball Program.

“The Napthine Government is committed to building a more active Victoria, that’s why investments like these are so important,” Mr Drum said.

“The new court surface will be a welcome boost for local clubs like the Tigers and their netball teams which have until now being making do with an ageing an uneven surface.”

Mr Drum said the $16,600 funding boost will enable the replacement of the current surface with a new asphalt surface that will prevent water pooling and will be capable of hosting training and competition.

“Our investment in this project is part of our plan to build more sustainable local infrastructure to cater for growth and encourage even more people to play sport,” Mr Drum said.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the project had strong community support, with the South Gippsland Shire Council and the Mirboo North community committing $4,160 and $4,240 respectively.

“The Mirboo North Tigers field teams in each of the six divisions in the Mid Gippsland Netball Association and last year won premierships in B Grade and the Under 17s, demonstrating the town’s strong passion for netball,” Mr Ryan said.

“This investment from the Coalition Government will deliver a new match court surface to ensure that local netballers of all ages can continue to enjoy their sport in a safe environment.”

Mr Ryan said this project was one of the 12 projects from across Victoria that benefitted from a share in over $957,000 from the latest round of the Coalition Government’s $10 million Country Football Netball Program.

“The program is part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to build a better Victoria by investing in quality sporting infrastructure in regional communities,” Mr Ryan said.

$15 million Cultural Hub project to boost Port of Sale

* * - Friday, May 16, 2014
  • Victorian Coalition Government invest $4.75 million in Sale Cultural Hub
  • Gippsland Art Gallery and Sale Library to co-locate at Port of Sale Civic Centre
  • Victorian Coalition Government is building important local infrastructure

The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will invest $4.75 million to co-locate the Gippsland Art Gallery and Sale Public Library at the Port of Sale, delivering a long awaited cultural and community hub for residents in Sale.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan joined Minister for Local Government Tim Bull at the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale today to jointly announce the Coalition Government’s funding to support the $15 million Port of Sale Cultural Hub project.

Mr Ryan announced $4 million of the Coalition Government’s investment would come from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, with Mr Bull announcing the additional $750,000 would be provided through the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program.

Mr Ryan said the project would involve developing the existing Port of Sale Civic Centre into a cultural and community precinct incorporating an expanded Art Gallery and Library.

He said the new facility at the Port of Sale would include the library headquarters, offices, public meeting spaces, a central café, lounge area and free WIFI.

“The Gippsland Art Gallery currently has insufficient exhibition space, meaning its ability to host exhibits is limited. The Sale Public Library, which is currently located at the Sale Secondary College, faces a similar situation,” Mr Ryan said.

“This new facility will provide both the Art Gallery and Library with more room, with this new hub set to become be a great new asset for the community.

“The expanded Art Gallery is expected to attract a large portfolio of programs and blockbuster exhibitions, while the library will also be of great educational, social and cultural benefit to the local residents.”

Mr Bull said the project would also involve the relocation and consolidation of local council employees to the recently acquired Desailly Street commercial office block.

Mr Bull said the project would retain 29 existing jobs at both the Art Gallery and Library, create 38 new construction jobs and generate more than 40 indirect jobs in Sale.

Mr Ryan thanked funding partners including the Wellington Shire Council, which contributed $9.25 million towards the project, and local philanthropist John Leslie, who made a generous donation of $1 million.

“The new Port of Sale Cultural Hub will inject $15 million directly into the local economy and generate around $27 million in total economic output,” Mr Ryan said.

“Through initiatives such as our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, the Coalition Government is delivering much-needed and important local infrastructure that will benefit regional and rural communities.”

Mr Bull said the Coalition Government were strong supporters of libraries in regional and rural Victoria.

“Our libraries are at the very heart of our communities with nearly half of all Victorians current members of their local library,” Mr Bull said.

“We are is investing more than $17 million in our Living Libraries Infrastructure Program, with a record $39.5 million to be invested through our Public Libraries Funding Program in 2014-15, the highest amount of ongoing funding ever provided for library service delivery.

“Over the past three years the Coalition Government’s Living Libraries Infrastructure Program has provided $12.4 million towards 45 library projects across the state.”

Media contacts:

Ben Bulmer   0437 547 731 (Deputy Premier)                     

Sean Burton  0428 506 585 (Minister Bull)  

$10,000 grants for crime prevention initiatives

* * - Friday, May 02, 2014

  • Grants of up to $10,000 now open to local groups, schools and councils
  • Funding can be used for security lighting, fences and alarms
  • More than $200,000 in grants funding already delivered

Community groups, schools and councils in Gippsland are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for crime prevention initiatives as part of the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government’s Community Safety Fund.

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said groups with innovative and practical community safety projects should apply.

“In the two previous rounds of these grants, groups in Wellington and South Gippsland shared in more than $200,000 to deliver projects in and around their clubrooms that improve safety and security,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government recognises that locals are best placed to identify and prioritise safety and security issues in their communities, and we will support them to do so.”

Mr Ryan said councils, community and sporting groups, and local schools are able to access these grants that can be used to install a range of security measures.

“This includes installing security lighting, padlocks, security screens, fencing, or undertaking awareness activities to deter crime and increase community safety,” he said.

Mr Ryan said previous local grant recipients included Nyora Recreation Reserve Committee, which received $10,000 to install security lighting, and Sale Scout Group, which was granted more than $9,000 to install security lighting and fencing.

Crime Prevention Minister Edward O’Donohue said the grants support local community groups to help provide safer and more secure facilities for local people.

“Over the past three years, the Coalition Government has provided more than $2.8 million to fund 422 projects across the state through the grants,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“The grants are part of the Coalition Government’s $35 million Community Crime Prevention Program, which helps promote community safety and prevent crime in communities across Victoria.”

Applications close on Monday 12 May and to apply, visit:

Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 

$110,000 for Benalla Airport master plan

* * - Friday, May 02, 2014
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests $110,000 in Benalla Airport master plan 
  • Project is a local priority ahead of the 2017 World Gliding Championships 
  • The Regional Growth Fund has delivered almost $400 million to support more than 1400 projects, leveraging more than $1.6 billion in total investment

The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $110,000 from its $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in a detailed master plan for the Benalla Airport.

In Benalla today, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the project was a priority for the Benalla Rural City Council as it prepares for the pre World Gliding Championships test event in December 2015 and the World Gliding Championships in January 2017.
“We’re delighted to be able to be part of it,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Benalla airport precinct includes more than 15 active user groups including aviation businesses, club members, accommodation facilities, recreational aviation, potters, museums, tertiary education facilities and a Performing Arts Centre.

“This Regional Growth Fund investment will help Benalla Rural City Council complete a strategic review of the airport and engage with user groups about the planning for future growth and development of this facility.”

Mr Ryan said the airport master plan would provide strategic development advice to Benalla Rural City Council and give confidence to user groups and investors looking to develop and grow businesses at the airport.

“The project will develop a collective vision across all user groups and a broader plan for the airport precinct,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will help ready the airport for the World Gliding Championships.”

Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan said Benalla’s airport was renowned for good weather and safe, reliable flying conditions.

“The future of the airport is important to pilots and gliders as well as local businesses who benefit from the economic activity and tourism it brings.”

Member for Benalla Bill Sykes said the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund was investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.

“The Regional Growth Fund has delivered almost $400 million, generating over $1.6 billion of total investment across more than 1400 projects,” Mr Sykes said.

“In Benalla Rural City, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $4.1 million to 18 projects, leveraging about $12.4 million in total investment. This includes $1.6 million for the $4.58 million Benalla Library/Civic Centre Conversion; $104,075 for the $3.5 million Benalla Aquatic Centre Re-development and $300,000 for the $400,000 Benalla Town Hall Restoration.”

The Benalla Airport master plan will be completed in June 2014.

Media contact: Les White
0409 805 122

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