Press Releases

Vic Coalition announces funding to support Clunes, Creswick and Talbot

* * - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan announced $890,000 to support development and growth in the communities of Clunes, Creswick and Talbot today.

Speaking in Clunes, Mr Ryan said the grant was part of the $9.4 million Advancing Country Towns program which was officially launched last week.

Mr Ryan said the Advancing Country Towns program would target nine areas which have been identified as experiencing disproportionate levels of entrenched and complex disadvantage while also having great opportunities for growth and prosperity.

“Clunes, Creswick and Talbot are part of the region’s rich heritage and funding under this program will help build on existing successful activities and support new and innovative initiatives,” Mr Ryan said.

“Under this program these communities can build on local success stories like the Clunes Booktown Festival, the Creswick Arts Trail and Talbot’s famous farmers’ market as well as focus on improving economic development and better local services.”

Mr Ryan said the nine communities to receive funding under the program would be encouraged to shape local solutions and take part in local decisions. 

“The Advancing Country Towns program will fund each town to develop innovative solutions and pilot these to achieve local outcomes and inform broader systemic change,” Mr Ryan said.

”Victoria’s Advancing Country Towns program will work alongside the Regional Growth Fund to deliver quality of life, new opportunities and increased prosperity across regional Victoria.”

Other areas to benefit from Advancing Country Towns are Alexandra, Heywood, Mallee Track, Meeniyan, Robinvale, Benalla, Colac and Lakes Entrance. 

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Flood fund to boost Maryborough food industry jobs

* * - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More than 160 manufacturing jobs are expected to be created in Maryborough over the next five years following the announcement that specialist food manufacturer True Foods will establish a facility in the town.

Acting Premier and Minister of Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan and Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva visited Maryborough today to confirm the Coalition Government’s support for the development.

Mr Ryan said True Foods would receive funding under the Victorian Business Flood Recovery Fund to help the company secure a $3.4 million capital investment in a state-of-the-art food processing plant.

“This new operation promises to provide significant benefits for the local community through the creation of up to 165 local jobs over five years,” Mr Ryan said.

“As a specialist manufacturer of flat bread products and supplier to major supermarket chains, True Foods will be a valuable addition to Maryborough’s industrial base.

“It will also present opportunities to expand and diversify into new industry sectors and provide additional value through the processing of local agricultural products.”

Mr Dalla-Riva said True Foods selected the five hectare former Nestle site in Maryborough because it could accommodate the existing and future needs of the company including a capacity to develop and supply new products.

“Maryborough and the Central Goldfields Shire have a strong manufacturing heritage and the relocation of True Foods to the former Nestle site will build on the established manufacturing strengths of the local economy and labour market,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.

“The Coalition Government’s support for the new facility reflects a commitment to strengthen and diversify regional economies by backing sustainable, innovative industry and job-creating investments.”

Mr Ryan said the size and scope of the True Foods development would also provide significant flow-on benefits to regional Victoria.

“The new True Foods facility in Maryborough will support the continued economic development of regional Victoria with benefits that will flow to all of Victoria particularly the Central Goldfields Shire and the Loddon Mallee South region,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541 (Acting Premier)
 Justine Sywak 0448 488 487 (Minister Dalla-Riva)

Plans for new Maryborough CT scanner powering ahead

* * - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan visited Maryborough and District Health Service today to discuss plans for the delivery of a new computed tomography (CT) scanner for the town.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had committed $600,000 towards the purchase of a new CT scanner to significantly enhance access to quality medical imaging services in the community.

“The Coalition Government wants to ensure all rural and regional Victorians can access quality health care when they need it, including state-of-the-art medical imaging services and diagnostic equipment,” Mr Ryan said.

“This commitment will provide first-class radiography services to the Maryborough area, allowing patients to be treated locally rather than travelling to Bendigo or Ballarat.”

Mr Ryan said CT scanners were an invaluable piece of equipment providing cross-sectional images of the body that enabled more proficient and accurate examination of patients.

“The provision of the CT scanner at Maryborough will also help significantly reduce the time of diagnoses and improve the treatment of serious health issues of people living in the region,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said plans were being finalised for the arrival of the new scanner which included the need for some minor refurbishments.

“Building works are expected to start in the coming months with the CT scanner installed by the end of the year,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s recent State Budget included an investment of

$314.6 million to deliver modern new facilities and equipment for Victoria’s regional health services.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

$2.5m grant to help address local disadvantage

* * - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Victorian Coalition Government has confirmed a $2.5 million commitment to support a landmark community initiative that targets the needs of children, young people and their families in the Central Goldfields Shire.

Speaking in Maryborough today, Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government was pleased to back the Go Goldfields Alliance Great Outcomes: An Action Plan for the Future of our Families 2011-2013 initiative.

“The Great Outcomes action plan is a community-driven initiative that gives strategic direction to the Council and local communities on key areas of socio-economic disadvantage,” Mr Ryan said.

“Under the plan the region will be able to support improved and more coordinated services and opportunities with a particular focus on the needs of young people and their families.”

Highlights of the plan include:

• a new Youth Mentoring and Development Program to help reconnect young people with the community, and provide local learning and training opportunities;
• an outreach Home Based Parenting and Daily Living Skills program to build relationships between mothers and early childhood development service providers;
• expanded speech pathology services through the Maryborough District Health Service;
• employment of a specialist children’s librarian and expand children’s literacy programs to improve language and communication skills in young children; and
• better coordination of family violence services.

Mr Ryan said the Great Outcomes action plan was a wonderful example of local determination in action.

“This initiative is driven by the community through a partnership between the Central Goldfields Shire Council and the Go Goldfields Alliance, which comprises representatives from many local organisations in the education, health and community services,” Mr Ryan said.

“This widespread collaboration will be critical in the success of this initiative and I applaud the community for its proactive and constructive approach.”

Mr Ryan said funding to support the plan is from the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund which aims to support growth and prosperity in regional and rural Victoria.

“The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is the Coalition Government’s flagship program to support communities and contribute to a better quality of life in regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Vic Coalition releases Comrie interim flood report

* * - Monday, July 11, 2011

Acting Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan has today released the interim report of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response.

Mr Ryan said the interim report provided valuable feedback from the community, local government and agencies in relation to the handling of the severe and repeated flood events across Victoria from 2010 - 2011.

“This report is an important part of continuing to enhance Victoria’s emergency response arrangements and to building an ‘all-hazards, all agencies’ approach to emergency management,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the report made a number of positive observations about the floods warnings and responses, including that:

• the Victorian State Emergency Service through its volunteers and career staff acted with commitment and professionalism;
• communities worked well to deal with the flood impact and in the recovery phase;
• relief centres provided the right support for affected communities; and
• the emergency funding available to individuals was appropriate and well-managed.

“It also acknowledges that significant work has been done in response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission in developing a strategy for integrated emergency services,” Mr Ryan said.

“However, it highlights some challenges with respect to Victoria’s preparedness for disasters of the scale experienced in 2010-2011 floods and urges the government to consider changes to strengthen Victoria’s emergency management framework.”

In response to the interim report Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government would in the coming weeks release a Green Paper to consult stakeholders with a view to modernising Victoria’s emergency management governance and arrangements.

“The Green Paper process will be wide-ranging and include consideration of factors such as legislative and policy framework, governance mechanisms across government and statewide capacity to deal with large-scale emergencies,” Mr Ryan said.

Copies of the interim report are available on the Victorian Floods Review website:  The final report of the Victorian Floods Review will be submitted to the Coalition Government on 1 December 2011.

Media contact:  Clare Siddins 0429 507 541




Grocery shopping back on the table in Meeniyan

* * - Friday, July 08, 2011

The community of Meeniyan can once again buy groceries locally thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund (VBBIF) which has been used to assist in rebuilding the Meeniyan IGA supermarket that was destroyed by fire two years ago.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today visited the new IGA supermarket ahead of its grand opening on Saturday 16 July 2011.

“Meeniyan has been without a supermarket since March 2009 when the original IGA Friendly store burnt down,” Mr Ryan said.

“As a result, residents of Meeniyan and surrounding areas have been travelling to other towns to do their supermarket shopping.”

Mr Ryan said the new IGA supermarket, located at 100-102 Whitelaw Street Meeniyan, would deliver numerous benefits to the community.

“This new supermarket is expected to create 16 new jobs which is significant in a small community like Meeniyan,” Mr Ryan said.

“Residents will no longer have to travel to Leongatha or Foster to do their grocery shopping, and it will encourage visitors travelling to Wilson’s Promontory, or cycling along the South Gippsland Rail Trail, to stop in Meeniyan and spend money.”

Mr Ryan said the $100,000 grant was funded from the Federal and State Governments’ $10 million Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund, with the supermarket contributing the remaining costs towards the $650,000 project.

“Meeniyan IGA is one of the first of the VBBIF-funded recipients to celebrate the opening of a newly built business,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund provided capital works funding assistance to new businesses looking to become established in the designated bushfire-affected areas.

“The Fund provided grants to support capital costs incurred in setting up new businesses and expanding existing businesses, driving jobs, business confidence and economic growth in Victoria’s bushfire-affected regions,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Community Support Grants now available

* * - Friday, July 08, 2011

Metropolitan councils and community organisations will be better placed to respond to the challenges of population growth, disadvantage and economic change, with applications now open for the Victorian Coalition Government’s $42 million Community Support Grants program.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan said the grants would support communities to develop infrastructure, improve people’s connections to resources and boost local skills development and participation.

“The Community Support Grants program encourages Victorians to drive their own local development and will fund projects with the best long-term results for communities,” Mr Ryan said.

“These grants will go towards infrastructure projects such as shared multi-use community centres and hubs, parks, village greens and open space developments that enable wide use as gathering spaces.

“Grants will also be available for initiatives that help communities build their skills and knowledge and the strength of social connections and networks, bringing together people from different backgrounds, ages and abilities.

Mr Ryan said the program would also provide extra support for councils in high-growth areas to provide well-planned, well-designed and well-built facilities which would meet high levels of demand and need.

“It is predicted that 58 per cent of Melbourne’s population growth between 2006 and 2026 will be in Melbourne’s six growth areas of Melton, Wyndham, Whittlesea, Hume, Casey and Cardinia,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is important that we continue to equip our communities with the resources necessary to cope with a growing population and rapid change.”

Mr Ryan said Community Support Grants funding for regional and rural areas would be delivered separately through the Regional Growth Fund’s Putting Locals First program, which was officially launched on 5 July 2011.

“These programs work together to improve community infrastructure and facilities, improve community connections and boost the capacity of regional Victorians to take local action and drive development,” Mr Ryan said.

“This means regional communities can access complementary programs via a single entry point, making applying for regional development funding easier.”

The grants are part of Victoria’s $55 million Community Support and Recreation Sport Package announced in the 2011 State Budget.  

For more information about the Community Support Grants program, visit

More information about the Regional Growth Fund and the Putting Locals First program, can be found at

Media contact: Lauren Smith 0408 023 092

Coalition supports country towns to meet the challenges of change

* * - Friday, July 08, 2011

Nine Victorian communities will each receive more than $800,000 to fund grassroots projects that create new prosperity, job opportunities and a better quality of life, courtesy of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Advancing Country Towns program.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan visited Fish Creek today to launch the $9.4 million program which assists communities that may have experienced disadvantage but offer strong opportunities for growth and prosperity.

“Small regional towns across Victoria are experiencing changes to their population, economy and industries due to a variety of reasons,” Mr Ryan said.  

“We understand local people know the key issues in their communities but often don’t have the appropriate community resources to make a difference in their lives.

“Through Advancing Country Towns, the Coalition Government will ensure money is available for grassroots projects that lead to improved social and economic outcomes on the ground.”
The nine communities include Benalla, Colac, Lakes Entrance and Robinvale and cluster communities centered on Alexandra, Clunes, Heywood, Mallee Track and Meeniyan.

“For Benalla, Colac, Lakes Entrance and Robinvale grants of $810,000 each have been provided to a local funds holder,” Mr Ryan said

“$890,000 has been provided to funds holders at Alexandra, Clunes, Heywood, Mallee Track and Meeniyan, the additional funding being allocated to cover expenses associated with the challenge of reaching small towns spread over a large area.”

Mr Ryan said local project managers would be employed in each community over the coming weeks and would be responsible for developing partnerships with local businesses, community organisations and government agencies to deliver tangible local outcomes.

“The program will fund each town to develop its own local innovative solutions and pilot these to achieve beneficial local outcomes,” Mr Ryan said.

“Locals are the best people to identify the needs of their communities and this program supports that local input.

“For example, the Meeniyan cluster will look at projects that focus on economic development, employment, skills and training and sustainable energy use,” Mr Ryan said.

Media Contact:  Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Vic Coalition launches new strategy to cut regional road toll

* * - Thursday, July 07, 2011

Police will use tougher and more targeted enforcement methods as part of a new strategy to cut road trauma in regional and rural Victoria.

Acting Premier and Minister for Police Peter Ryan launched the three-year Regional Victoria Road Trauma Reduction Strategy with Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police Kieran Walshe in Warragul today.

Mr Ryan said the strategy would seek to address the over-representation of country Victorians in the annual road toll figures.

“Last year 163 people tragically died in road accidents across regional Victoria, an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year,” Mr Ryan said.

“We need to put a stop to the carnage on regional and rural roads and encourage drivers to take basic precautions at all times to protect themselves and other road users.

“Research indicates that country drivers often have a more relaxed attitude in relation to seatbelts, drink and drug driving and obeying the speed limit, which is a significant part of the problem and something that must change.”

Mr Ryan said police enforcement in country areas would vary, including increased undercover drink-driving tests, expanded road-side drug testing and increased use of speed detection devices.

“Police will target over-represented groups such as heavy vehicles and motorcycles and clamp down on people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Mr Ryan said.

“There will be more breath testing and speed enforcement by undercover vehicles on secondary roads, so any driver who thinks they know the local police ‘hot spots’ should think again.”

Mr Ryan said the strategy would focus on changing attitudes and raising awareness of the damaging effects of speeding, drink-driving and hoon behaviour.

“Road trauma tears apart the lives of so many families and communities across regional Victoria and it needs to stop,” Mr Ryan said. 

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Extra police brawler vans to target crime hotspots

* * - Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Victorian Coalition Government is broadening its tough on crime approach with the addition of nine new brawler vans for Victoria Police to patrol city and regional crime hotspots late at night.

Speaking alongside Assistant Police Commissioner Stephen Fontana today, Acting Premier and Minister for Police Peter Ryan said the $1.2 million investment would help Victoria Police tackle crime, violence and anti-social behaviour in entertainment precincts.

“The addition of one large and eight mini brawler vans will ensure Victoria Police can respond quickly and effectively to diffuse volatile situations,” Mr Ryan said.

“The brawler vans have a highly visible presence and will be used by Victoria Police patrolling city and regional zones across the state to help stamp out loutish behaviour and protect Victorians attending major events.

“Agitators charged with drunken, violent or disorderly behaviour will be transported back in brawler vans and on to the nearest police station.”

Mr Ryan said the brawler vans were fitted with shatter-proof glass and internal video monitoring systems to keep an eye on detainees.

“The mini brawler van is capable of accommodating up to six detainees while the maxi brawler van accommodates up to 16 detainees,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government’s $1.2 million commitment will ensure police have the capacity to patrol nightlife precincts and work with the community to curb drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Mr Ryan said the brawler vans were part of the Coalition Government’s efforts to reverse crime, violence and anti-social behaviour which had been allowed to escalate due to chronic under funding by the former Labor Government.

“The Coalition Government has allocated $212 million to recruit 940 Protective Services Officers to patrol all metropolitan and major regional railway stations from 6pm until the last train at night, seven days a week,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is also providing $602 million to deliver 1,700 extra frontline police officers by November 2014.”

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

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