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Sign up for VICSWIM 2014 learn-to-swim activities

Friday, June 06, 2014

Children across South Gippsland are gearing up for another fun summer of learn-to-swim activities, following the recent launch of the 2014 VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the 2014 program, to be held in the January school holidays, was set to be the most popular yet.  

“The VICSWIM Summer Kidz program just keeps getting bigger, with a record 7,500 enrolments last summer, meaning more kids than ever are getting involved in learn-to-swim activities around Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.  

“The upcoming program is expected to involve more than 130 instructors providing low cost swimming lessons at 127 venues across the state, including three in South Gippsland.

“Korumburra, Mirboo North and Toora pools will offer quality learn-to-swim activities during the January school holidays for children over four years of age and adults, who are also invited to enrol in the program.”

Mr Ryan said through the VICSWIM program, participants not only learnt important survival skills, but also had the chance to make new friends and boost their health by getting more active more often, in and around water.

“Every participant will receive one 40-minute class each day for the five-day program they are enrolled in,” Mr Ryan said.

“Enrolment is $25 per participant and I encourage families to get in quick and sign up for this very popular program.”

Mr Ryan said the upcoming program built on the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2010 election commitment of $1.6 million to the VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program that had enabled more children to take up affordable learn-to-swim classes.

“The Coalition Government’s commitment to the VICSWIM program is just one way that we are delivering on our goal to build active and healthy communities,” Mr Ryan said.

For more information about the program, participating venues and how to enrol, please visit

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870  

Regional Growth Fund creates jobs, saves water

Friday, June 06, 2014

Burra Foods at Korumburra will embark on a $20 million water saving project and plant expansion with the help of $1.5 million from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the water recycling and wastewater treatment project would pave the way for an expansion of the plant, which will allow Burra Foods to produce infant formula.

“The project will secure 101 jobs at the plant and create an estimated 26 new jobs as well as new jobs on farms and in supply chain businesses,” Mr Ryan said.

“These additional jobs will boost the regional economy through worker’s wages as well as contract fees to suppliers.

“This project will deliver improved water quality and security, and reduce demand on the town water supply by at least 165 megalitres, or 62 per cent, per year. Wastewater discharges to South Gippsland Water’s wastewater treatment plant will drop by at least 60 per cent.

“Recycling water and reducing wastewater provides significant benefits to the wider community.

“The project is a substantial investment in the region, with Burra Foods investing $20.461 million in the water initiatives and the expansion of its Nutritional Milk Powder Division. Further investment in the Nutritional Milk Powder Division is likely from 2016.

“The investment will also boost Burra Foods’ export sales, secure the future of existing regional businesses and make the dairy sector more sustainable and resilient.”

Mr Ryan said the Infant Formula Water Initiatives Project involves fabricating and installing:

  • water recycling infrastructure, including pipelines, new pre-treatment storage tanks and a microfiltration plant;
  • water supply treatment infrastructure, including pipelines, a carbon filtration plant, new reverse osmosis equipment and a sterilisation plant; and
  • wastewater treatment infrastructure, including new pipelines to separate waste streams, a new wastewater filtration plant and new reverse osmosis equipment.

    “The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund strategically drives jobs, growth and investment and has already provided more than $344 million for almost 1,200 projects worth more than $1.4 billion,” Mr Ryan said.

Shepparton water company expansion creates 106 new local jobs

Friday, June 06, 2014
More than 100 new jobs will be created in the Goulburn Valley following
today’s announcement by the Victorian Coalition Government that it will
provide Shepparton firm Rubicon Water with $750,000 to assist the company
expand its Goulburn Valley operations.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan joined Member
for Shepparton Jeanette Powell in Shepparton today to announce the grant
from the Coalition Government’s Industries for Today and Tomorrow program.

Rubicon Water is a provider of innovative and technologically advanced
solutions for improving management of irrigation water and currently
employs 189 people, of which 171 are based in Australia, including 114 in

“The Coalition Government is helping Rubicon undertake an expansion project
worth close to $3.5 million, driving exports and generating 112 new jobs –
106 of them in the local area,” Mr Ryan said.

“This expansion will include a $2.9 million investment in new technology
for the machine shop and a $527,000 upgrade to facilities to house
additional staff, equipment and products.”

Mr Ryan said Rubicon’s export business was the driver of this expansion
with the company currently working on projects likely to create export
sales of approximately $10 million, and potentially up to $100 million over
the next three years.

“This will include projects in California and China as well as Australian
based projects including major irrigation district upgrades in New South
Wales,” Mr Ryan said.

Mrs Powell welcomed the announcement, saying it would provide a significant
boost for employment in the Goulburn Valley, following a recent contraction
in the fruit processing industry.

“The 106 local roles will include 58 jobs in manufacturing, 40 field roles
and eight jobs in project delivery and administration,” Mrs Powell said.

Mrs Powell said Rubicon was working with the Coalition Government to grow
its business, having recently participated in the Grow Your Business
program and also as a past delegate on international trade missions.

“Rubicon is a tremendous example of what can be achieved when businesses
access government support,” Mrs Powell said.

“The Coalition Government has introduced a new way of engaging with
business to help build lasting relationships that provide support over the

“Teams of business development managers are now working to directly engage
with companies, based in the expanded network of Victorian Government
Business Offices across the state and internationally.

“This closer approach is helping firms improve competitiveness and
productivity, and develop new export opportunities.”

The local Victorian Government Business Office can be found at 79A Wyndham
Street, Shepparton.

Coalition unlocks East Bairnsdale’s economic potential

Friday, June 06, 2014
Hundreds of new jobs will be created in East Bairnsdale as the region continues to benefit from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan announced today that the Coalition Government would provide more than $1.7 million towards a $6.2 million flood mitigation and drainage scheme for East Bairnsdale.

Visiting Patties Foods in Lucknow with Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull, Mr Ryan said the project would solve the long-standing and frequent flooding problems that have impacted on East Bairnsdale’s business growth and investment.

“Constructed adjacent to Lucknow’s flood-prone industrial estate, this project will secure existing business operations and open up land for development, to house new manufacturing, retail and tourism growth opportunities,” Mr Ryan said.

“This, in turn, will provide a boost to the local economy by attracting private sector investment and stimulating business and residential expansion, and flow-on jobs growth.”

Mr Ryan said the project would galvanise business expansion projects in East Bairnsdale, previously prevented by frequent and significant flooding, most recently in 2011 and 2012.

“Among the projects planned is a $25 million expansion of Patties Foods, creating 110 new jobs over the next five years,” Mr Ryan said.

“Another significant project is J C Dalhsens’ proposed $40 million investment in a commercial homemaker centre, creating 150 new jobs locally over the next five years.

“Broadlands Development Pty Ltd will be able to establish its proposed 120-site tourist and caravan park, attracting visitors to the area and providing 10 new jobs.

“Solving the Lucknow flooding issues has the potential to unlock about $67 million in investment for these three businesses alone and more than 280 jobs and more than 570 jobs down the regional supply chain.”

Mr Ryan said in addition to the private sector jobs, 17 jobs would be created during construction of the wetlands system.

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said the project would unlock up to 900 new allotments for residential development, to cater for projected population growth in Bairnsdale.

“The new drainage system will improve the quality of water flowing into the internationally-listed Ramsar Wetlands and the Gippsland Lakes, create a landscaped entry to Bairnsdale, and revegetate degraded land,” Mr Bull said.

“It will also enhance the amount and quality of open space in Lucknow, providing a significant lifestyle asset for the local community.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government would contribute a total of $1,733,000 towards the project from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund – funding quarantined for regional and rural Victoria.

“Between July 2011 and April 2013, nearly $17 million in funding has been approved from the Regional Growth Fund towards a range of projects in East Gippsland attracting more than $23 million of total investment,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan thanked funding partners including local landholders who have contributed $1,224,000 and the East Gippsland Shire Council which has provided $500,000, but said the project was still reliant on federal funding to proceed.

“Council has applied for the balance of funding from the Regional Development Australia Fund and we look forward to the Federal Government confirming its support for this very important regional project,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731  

Lightfoot and Sons benefit from lakes funding

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today visited
Lightfoot and Sons winery at Calulu to inspect important work being
undertaken to slow down river bank erosion.

Mr Ryan was joined by Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull.

Mr Ryan said the project, which was being funded through the Victorian
Coalition Government’s $10 million Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund, would
protect the river frontage adjoining Lightfoot and Sons winery, which has
been under threat from erosion.

“Lightfoot and Sons is a successful local winery situated on the lower
Mitchell River at Calulu,” Mr Ryan said.

“They produce award-winning wine, having won the title of Best Red Wine for
their Shiraz at the inaugural Gippsland Wine Show 2012.

“Despite their success, river erosion is threatening their land and posing
a very real environmental risk to Gippsland Lakes in terms of sediment

Mr Ryan said to combat the erosion, the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund
had contributed $3,700 to fund works to stabilise the site.

“This included establishing one kilometre of fencing, excluding stock,
controlling weeds and protecting more than two hectares of river frontage,”
Mr Ryan said.

“The project has protected the land asset of a local small business and
delivered a significant environmental outcome in preventing sediment and
nutrients from degrading the Gippsland Lakes.

“This project will allow Lightfoot and Sons to continue producing fine
Gippsland wines, including their award-winning Shiraz for many years to

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

The future is clear for the Gippsland Lakes

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government’s Gippsland Lakes Environmental Strategy was launched
in East Gippsland today, along with a range of new projects that will benefit the iconic
Gippsland Lakes.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan launched the
strategy in Paynesville today and said it puts in place a framework for investment through the
$10 million Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund, which was launched in August last year.

“The Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee has prepared the strategy which
balances the needs of the environment, local communities and industries such as tourism and
fishing,” Mr Ryan said.

“More than 200 individuals and 50 government agencies, community and special interest
groups, and industry bodies have had input into the strategy.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the strategy outlined clear
steps for maintaining the environmental significance of the lakes, improving their health and
enhancing the lakes’ economic and social value.

“A total of $1.67 million will be invested in projects that build partnerships and support on-theground
works, planning, community engagement and sustainable fishing and boating,” Mr Smith said.

“Among the new projects, $150,000 will go towards a sustainable development plan and a
further $50,000 will be used to study the benefits of commercial and recreational fishing to the local economy in order to better support its long-term sustainability.

Other projects announced today include:

* Gippsland Care Groups caring for the Gippsland Lakes ($413,000)
* Enhancing the lower reaches of the Gippsland Lakes tributaries ($313,000 )
* Reducing the Loads, targeting the Upper Latrobe River ($150,000)
* Improving the Gippsland Lakes by Reducing Sedimentation through Improved
Catchment Management ($150,000)
* Gippsland Care Groups Engaging the Community ($57,400)
* Community-based education and interpretation ($100,000)
* Sustainable Lakes Management Centre of Excellence Feasibility Study ($80,000)
* Investigation of Economic Value of Boating ($50,000)
* Evaluation of models for fish stock assessment ($75,000)
* Engaging the Gippsland Lakes Community ($80,000)

“These are in addition to $800,000 worth of projects announced last year that are already
helping to improve water quality and restore vegetation in the catchment area,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Ryan said the $10 million Gippsland Lakes Environmental Fund was a component of the
Coalition Government's $1 billion Regional Growth Fund which is investing in regional areas
to improve infrastructure and services, grow jobs, and contribute to a better quality of life.

“Local projects already funded through the Regional Growth Fund include the Paynesville
CBD upgrade ($300,000), Bairnsdale Library community access project ($500,000),
Bairnsdale CBD upgrade ($500,000), Bullock Island refueling facility ($500,000), East
Gippsland Food Cluster Innovative Vegetable Processing project ($70,000) and J & J Nielson
nursery expansion ($70,000),” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Loch Sport moves closer to reticulated sewerage system

Friday, June 06, 2014

Work has begun on the $40.3 million project to connect Victoria’s largest unsewered town, Loch Sport, to a reticulated sewerage system.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan visited Loch Sport on Friday to inspect the first construction works on the Loch Sport Sewer Project.

Mr Ryan said more than 1500 residences would receive reticulated sewerage when the project is completed in 2015.

The Victorian Coalition Government contributed $9.2 million towards the planning phase of the project, with the remainder provided by Gippsland Water.

“The project will provide significant benefits for Loch Sport residents, as well as the Gippsland Lakes and its users,” Mr Ryan said.

“This can only be a good thing for everyone who enjoys fishing, swimming and boating in the iconic Gippsland Lakes.

“This project will also end many years of community concern regarding the public health and environmental risk of more than 1500 septic tanks situated on small sandy blocks beside Lake Wellington.”

Mr Ryan said the project had been a long time coming through its conception, investigation and planning stages.

“Loch Sport is the third community in the Wellington Shire connected to sewerage by Gippsland Water through the Victorian Government’s Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program, alongside Seaspray and Coongulla /Glenmaggie,” Mr Ryan said.

“These projects are significant to the future development of the Wellington Shire.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870


Regional achievement awards call for nominations

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today called for Gippsland’s high-achievers to be nominated for the 2012 Regional Achievement & Community Awards.

Mr Ryan said Gippsland was home to a diverse and innovative range of businesses, a highly skilled workforce and proactive community groups that would be worthy nominees in this year’s Regional Achievement & Community Awards.

“These awards have built a prestigious reputation over the past 10 years and I strongly encourage people to consider nominating for one of the eight award categories on offer this year,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is pleased to provide $78,500 to sponsor five awards which recognise regional businesses, individuals or groups that make significant contributions to their communities or lead the way in sustainability and water efficiency.”

Mr Ryan said the government was committed to ensuring regional and rural Victoria remained a key contributor to the state’s future growth and prosperity.

“The Coalition Government’s centrepiece for regional and rural Victoria is the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund which is being used for strategic initiatives to accelerate population and business growth outside of Melbourne,” Mr Ryan said.

“We recently provided $3 million from the Regional Growth Fund for the first ever Regional Victoria Living Expo to encourage Melburnians to consider a move to regional and rural Victoria.

“This is being backed by the Coalition Government’s Good Move Campaign which promotes the benefits a regional lifestyle offers.”

The 2012 Regional Achievement & Community Awards will be presented in Bendigo on 13 October.

The list of award categories include:

· Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award
· Regional Development Victoria Trade and Career Achievement Award
· Parks Victoria Regional Achiever Award
· Parks Victoria Environment and Sustainability Award
· Medibank Healthy Participation Award
· Bluescope Distribution Leadership and Innovation Award
· Department of Sustainability and Environment Water Efficiency Improvements Award
· Prime Super Community Group of the Year Award

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

$12 million on offer in emergency services grants

Friday, June 06, 2014

Almost $12 million is on offer to emergency services groups for the purchase of vital resources such as rescue equipment, trucks and facility upgrades, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s $11.95 million Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program was offering grants of up to $100,000 to ensure local volunteers are equipped to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

“Emergency services volunteers play a crucial role in protecting lives and property and the Victorian Coalition Government is pleased to provide record funding to boost the capability of local volunteers to respond to emergencies,” Mr Ryan said.

“From surf lifesavers to fire fighters, our volunteers are the backbone of Victoria’s emergency services, so we want to ensure they have the best equipment available to help them carry on their vital work.

“By committing more money for equipment and upgrades than ever before, the Coalition Government is ensuring our emergency services have the resources they need to continue their vital work for the community.”

Mr Ryan said the grants may be used to pay for upgrades to group facilities or for the equipment needed to assist in emergencies, such as trucks, trailers and generators.

“The VESEP will also contribute $2 for every $1 of funding raised by local volunteer groups,” Mr Ryan said.

The VESEP grants program is open to members of the Country Fire Authority, Victoria State Emergency Service, Life Saving Victoria, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association and other eligible volunteer groups.

Each agency will distribute specific guidelines on selection criteria, application forms and about application lodgement dates to its members and applications will be assessed by a panel of representatives from government and emergency services organisations.

Further information is available from, or email

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

Coalition delivers $1.3 million to improve environment

Friday, June 06, 2014

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced that community groups across Gippsland South would receive $1,338,412 as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $20 million Communities for Nature grants program.

 Local projects to be funded in Gippsland South include:




Yarram Yarram Landcare Network


Jack and Albert River Restoration Project

South Gippsland Landcare Network


Habitat for Life – Friends of Strzelecki Koala

Greening Australia (Vic) Ltd


Marlay Point Woodland Restoration

Friends of Cape Liptrap Peninsula including Bald Hill and Kings Flat reserves


Reconstruction of Sections of the Walking Track at Bald Hill Reserve

“The funding received through the Communities for Nature grants program will enable the four local recipient organisations to carry out their valuable work protecting and enhancing the local environment,” Mr Ryan said.

“All four projects will provide practical environmental outcomes and will be of great benefit to the region.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith highlighted the important role Victorian communities’ play in protecting our environment and delivering on-the-ground environmental works.

“Communities for Nature delivers on the Coalition Government’s election commitment to provide practical assistance to local communities so that they can improve, protect and conserve our environment,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said a total of 117 projects would be supported in this funding round.

“I congratulate community groups and land managers across Victoria for participating in this funding round and for their ongoing hard work in protecting our environment and delivering on-the-ground environmental works,” Mr Smith said.

“We received more than 300 applications for this first round of grants and the high quality of those applications is yet another demonstration of the significant environmental works that are being carried out by community groups across Victoria.”

For more information about the program, please visit

Media contact:  Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870