Press Releases

Great South Coast forging ahead, says Ryan

* * - Thursday, May 31, 2012
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined business and community leaders in Warrnambool today to discuss jobs, growth and development for the Great South Coast region.

Mr Ryan said the business forum included representatives of local government, agricultural, transport, education and manufacturing sectors.

“This region has so many great strengths and events like this provide a valuable opportunity to get a broad perspective on current and future opportunities,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Great South Coast region generates about $2 billion in gross revenue per year from its strong agricultural base and is Australia’s most productive milk region.

“It is also home to a robust tourism industry attracting a large number of visitors each year.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was facilitating growth in the region through a number of key projects.

“The recent rezoning of land in Warrnambool will support the creation of a 65 hectare industrial precinct known as the Eastern Industrial Precinct,” Mr Ryan said.

“This project is expected to generate $60 million in new infrastructure and a further $60 million in assets for the city, as well as creating a significant number of jobs.

“The Coalition Government is also investing in major improvements to the region’s rail freight with upgrades underway to the Warrnambool intermodal freight terminal and funding for a new $10 million rail passing loop near Colac.”

Mr Ryan said since coming to government the Coalition had invested more than $1 billion and created more than 1,300 direct jobs across regional Victoria.

“There is plenty more to be done, and we are squarely focused on working with communities such as those in the Great South Coast area, to support locally-driven projects and ideas that create growth and jobs,” Mr Ryan said.

Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine, Member for Western Victoria Region David O’Brien and Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay also attended the business event.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

$351,000 to upgrade three Moyne Shire halls

* * - Thursday, May 31, 2012
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan has announced more than $350,000 in funding to upgrade three community halls in the Moyne Shire today.

Speaking in Grassmere, Mr Ryan said the $351,000 grant would support improvements at the Grassmere, Willatook and Purnim community halls.

“All three communities are growing and there is widespread demand for the community halls to be used for a variety of public and private purposes,” Mr Ryan said.

“The halls are currently in poor condition which is restricting their use so important upgrade works will help ensure their ongoing availability for community events and activities.

“Upgrading the halls will ensure the community has access to quality amenities that meet residents’ needs and expectations and provide for expanded use by local groups for events and festivals, public and private meetings, functions and community celebrations.”

The Moyne Community Halls Upgrade Cluster Two project will involve considerable works to the three halls, including:

Grassmere Hall - new kitchen/dining area and meeting room, upgrades to the entrance foyer including disabled access, new toilets, renovations to external cladding, new windows, lighting and painting; and recoating of the internal timber flooring;

Purnim Mechanics Hall - accessible entry to the main hall area, upgrade of toilets and installation of unisex accessible toilets, new storage room, and roof upgrade; and

Willatook Hall - new foyer with all-abilities access, new kitchen facilities, new unisex toilets and storage space, internal and external painting.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was funding the project through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund’s Putting Locals First Program.

“Putting Locals First is a $100 million initiative that enables regional communities to devise and deliver service and infrastructure responses that reflect local priorities,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is supporting stronger and more sustainable regional communities by building their capacity to drive development in their region.”

The hall upgrades are expected to be completed by October 2014.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Ryan opens Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail

* * - Thursday, May 31, 2012
A rail trail linking Port Fairy and Warrnambool was officially opened today by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan.

Speaking in Koroit, Mr Ryan said the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail would be a major boost for tourism in the region creating an exciting new tourism experience for the Shipwreck Coast.

“The Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail travels from central Port Fairy to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and Warrnambool Visitors Centre, adding a new dimension for visitors to the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“The trail links in with other walking and cycling trails such as the Great Ocean Walk and complements tourism attractions like the Great Ocean Road and Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum.”

Mr Ryan said the 37 kilometre trail was expected to attract up to 65,000 walkers and cyclists a year.

“Already the trail is proving popular with early indications showing that 160 to 170 people per day are using the new route,” Mr Ryan said.

“With a packed limestone surface and gentle terrain the trail is considered accessible for a broad range of users including cyclists on hybrid cycles and mountain, touring and children’s bikes.

“In town areas the trail is asphalt, allowing use by mobility scooters and the elderly.”

Mr Ryan said the $2.2 million project had delivered one of Australia’s premier short distance rail trails.

“The trail showcases the rural scenery from Port Fairy, Koroit, Illowa through to Warrnambool which includes dairy farms, an extinct volcano at the Tower Hill State Game Reserve and native animals such as koalas, emus and wallabies,” Mr Ryan and wallabies.

“The route then passes close to the Merri River wetlands and Kelly’s Swamp before ending in Warrnambool.”

The Victorian Government contributed $850,000 towards the rail trail project with funding also provided by the Commonwealth Government, Moyne Shire and Warrnambool City Council.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

$1.3 million ICC improves emergency preparedness in North East Victoria

* * - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Emergency services agencies in North East Victoria are now able to better co-ordinate their responses to emergencies with the opening of a $1.3 million Level 3 Incident Control Centre (ICC) in Shepparton.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan today joined Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell to officially open the upgraded facility which gives emergency services personnel access to improved communications and information technology.

“This ICC has the capacity to handle level 3 incidents which are the most complex and potentially damaging emergencies,” Mr Ryan said.

“The facility is a permanent base where the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), Victoria Police and State Emergency Services staff operate in the event of emergencies.”

Mr Ryan said upgrades to the Shepparton ICC, including a building extension, were completed in December 2011, which ensured the facility had been up and running during the floods earlier this year.

“The upgrades allowed incident controllers to provide the latest maps, weather and warnings information to men and women on the frontline,” Mr Ryan said.

“On behalf of all Victorians I would like to take the opportunity to thank our local emergency agencies for their commitment and hard work during the flood event early this year.”

During the floods a multi-agency Incident Management Team was based at the ICC on a 24-hour basis for 14 days to co-ordinate an emergency response throughout the Goulburn Valley.

Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell said the Shepparton ICC would also be used by the CFA to train personnel and work with communities to better prepare for emergencies.

“Our emergency services play a crucial role in protecting lives and property and the Victorian Coalition Government is proud to support these men and women,” Mrs Powell said.

The CFA contributed $335,000 towards the refurbishment, with the building owner funding the remainder of the $1.38 million project.

Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526

Yarram District Hub shares in more than $40 million in capital grants

* * - Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan, together with Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell, today announced that the Yarram District Hub would receive $1.1 million as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s record investment in early childhood infrastructure.

The funding, which can be used to upgrade facilities or develop integrated children’s services hubs, is a combination of state and National Partnership funding, incorporating the 2011-12 $26 million grants round, money brought forward from the recently announced $50 million grants round and $4.4 million in internal departmental funds.

Mr Ryan congratulated Yarram District Hub for securing the $1.1 million grant which would provide for just under the half the total project cost of $2.76 million.

“Once completed, the project will deliver an integrated children’s centre that replaces the existing stand-alone services in Yarram,” Mr Ryan said.

“The new centre will resolve capacity and access issues for families and will be part of a broader community hub that will include a range of complementary services.

“This is great news for local children, not just now, but well into the future.

“These grants show just how committed the Victorian Coalition Government is to educating our youngest children and setting them up for a life of learning.”

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to recognising early childhood as an important tier of education.

“We know that 95 per cent of a child’s brain development happens by the age of five, and a good quality early childhood education will give them a great foundation for their primary, secondary and tertiary education, and for their future work life,” Ms Lovell said.

“Because of this, every application that met funding criteria has been funded, by bringing forward money from the recently announced $50 million grants round.

“This will ensure that funding is on the ground and construction starts as soon as possible.

“We’ve allocated $80.4 million to Children’s Capital Grants in just 18 months, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next round of applications.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

$4.8 million biodiesel facility opens in Melbourne

* * - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A new $4.8 million facility that will give Victorians greater access to biodiesel was officially opened in Melbourne today by Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva.

Representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Dalla-Riva said the facility at Shell’s Newport Terminal would store biodiesel, which is made from tallow – an abattoir waste product – and used cooking oil.

“The Barnawartha refining facility represents a $60 million investment in regional Victoria, which can produce up to 60 million litres of biodiesel each year,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.

“Shell’s investment in this facility will give people in Victoria greater access to biodiesel produced in regional Victoria, which will support jobs and investment and expand the local biofuels industry.”

Mr Ryan said the Newport storage facility would enable the annual distribution of up to 50 million litres of biodiesel into Victoria’s retail distribution channels.

“This will improve the diversity of fuel supplied in Victoria and underpin the future of Australian Renewable Fuels’ (ARF’s) Barnawartha plant and its 24 employees. It will also create many more indirect jobs that support the regional supply chain,” Mr Ryan said.

“Replacing diesel with biodiesel reduces emissions. Biodiesel is non-toxic, biodegradable and suitable for sensitive environments. It has a higher flashpoint which makes it safer to store and transport.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided $2 million funding towards the storage facility.

Shell Vice-President of Downstream Australia Andrew Smith said after a lengthy and robust quality assurance process he was confident of supplying a B20 product of consistently high quality to the Victorian market.

“This has been a collaborative effort between Shell, the Victorian Government and ARF in Barnawartha,” Mr Smith said.

Automated fire danger rating signs for high-risk areas

* * - Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Automated Fire Danger Rating (FDR) signs will be rolled out across the state as part of a $1 million boost to bushfire safety and awareness in local communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said 50 additional automated signs would be installed in high-risk bushfire areas for the summer fire season.

“These signs will make it easier for communities and motorists to easily see the fire risk within an area, whether they live there or are travelling through, while also receiving important fire safety messages,” Mr Ryan said.

“The new half-moon FDR signs are remotely activated and feature automated indicators and an LED variable message display for important bushfire safety messages.

“The large, bright display will ensure that motorists can clearly see the Fire Danger Rating and fire safety messages while driving along high-traffic locations during summer.”

Mr Ryan said the Fire Danger Rating system provided important information about the risk of bushfire within a fire district so that individuals could prepare for the threat of fire and take action to stay safe.

“There are six Fire Danger Ratings which predict fire behavior, should a fire start. The higher the rating, the more dangerous the bushfire,” Mr Ryan said.

“Fire Danger Ratings are your trigger to act. Leaving early on the night before or on the morning of a day of Extreme or Code Red Fire Danger Rating is the safest option.”

Mr Ryan said the new signs would improve safety for local CFA Brigades in high-traffic areas because the signs could be remotely updated and checked for correct operation, rather than volunteers manually changing them.

“The roll-out of the additional signs follows the successful trial of 14 automated FDR signs which commenced in December 2011,” Mr Ryan said.

Automated FDR signs will be installed along the roadsides of major transport routes in and around 50 high-risk bushfire areas across Victoria. 

Automated Fire Danger Rating signs – proposed locations:

Heywood - Barwon South West

Mumbannar - Barwon South West

Dunkeld - Barwon South West

Allansford - Barwon South West

Lismore - Barwon South West

Colac West - Barwon South West

Apollo Bay - Barwon South West

Avalon Barwon - South West

Mount Duneed - Barwon South West

Dandenong North - Southern Metropolitan

Safety Beach - Southern Metropolitan

Longwarry - Gippsland

Nyora - Gippsland

Pound Creek - Gippsland

Hedley - Gippsland

Flynn - Gippsland

Fernbank - Gippsland

Omeo - Gippsland

Wilsons Promontory - Gippsland

Coldstream - Eastern Metropolitan

Narre Warren - East Eastern Metropolitan

Bundoora - Northern and Western Metropolitan

Ravenhall - Northern and Western Metropolitan

Gladstone Park - Northern and Western Metropolitan

Warrenheip - Grampians

Korweinguboora - Grampians

Trentham - Grampians

Redbank - Grampians

Burrumbeet - Grampians

Halls Gap - Grampians

Dadswells - Bridge Grampians

Apsley - Grampians

Charlton - Loddon Mallee

Murray - Sunset Loddon Mallee

Mildura - Loddon Mallee

Echuca - Loddon Mallee

Ravenswood South - Loddon Mallee

Argyle - Loddon Mallee

Castella - Hume

Narbethong - Hume

Seymour - Hume

Yarroweyah - Hume

Goulburn Weir - Hume

Shepparton - Hume

Yarrawonga - Hume

Glenrowan East - Hume

Bonnie Doon - Hume

Wahgunyah - Hume

Bandiana - Hume

Towong - Hume

Funds available to strengthen men’s sheds

* * - Monday, May 28, 2012
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced grants of up to $30,000 were available to support the redevelopment of men’s sheds in Gippsland through the Victorian Coalition Government’s $900,000 Strengthening Men’s Sheds grants initiative.

Mr Ryan said the funding was part of a $4 million package over four years to help men’s sheds increase their capacity to attract new members, operate sustainably and continue to make valuable contributions to the community.

“The Victorian Coalition Government recognises the significant role men’s sheds play in local communities through engaging a diverse range of men, including those with a disability, farmers, war veterans, retirees and the unemployed,” Mr Ryan said.

“Gippsland boasts many thriving men’s sheds which continue to do great work within their local communities.

“The Victorian Coalition Government recently provided $29,000 to extend the Yarram Men’s Shed, as well as a further $27,000 to assist in the opening of the Milpara Men’s Shed at Korumburra.

“I encourage all men’s sheds throughout Gippsland to apply for funding through the latest round of the Strengthening Men’s Sheds grants program.”

Mr Ryan said applications for the Strengthening Men’s Sheds Program grants close on 13 July 2012 and more information is available at

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

$1.2m boost for not-for-profit legal support services

* * - Monday, May 28, 2012
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan has announced $1.2 million in funding to support free or low-cost legal services for Victoria’s not-for-profit sector community organisations.

Speaking at the Communities in Control conference in Melbourne today Mr Ryan said the funding for the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) over four years would secure the future of its PILCH Connect service.

“PILCH Connect combines the pro-bono resources of the private legal profession with specialist in-house expertise to provide timely, tailored and free or low-cost legal information and advice to community organisations,” Mr Ryan said.

“The funds will benefit small and rural NFP’s, in particular those that would normally find it difficult to afford such valuable legal services.

“I commend the work of PILCH Connect and acknowledge the work of the Attorney-General Robert Clark in helping to secure this ongoing funding.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was investing in a range of initiatives to better support of the work of the NFP sector in Victoria.

“There are around 120,000 NFPs in Victoria alone, making an enormous contribution to our community in a range of areas,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government allocated $4.56 million over four years in its first State Budget to build the capacity of NFPs and reduce regulatory burden.

“We have also launched the online NFP Compliance Support Centre which is a simple portal where community organisations can access all regulatory information, licenses, forms and related support materials.

“Victoria is also leading the way in rolling out a Common Funding Agreement by the end of this year, for all Victorian Government departments funding NFPs to deliver community projects and services,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan also congratulated the organisers of the 2012 Communities in Control conference and acknowledged the event had helped to inspire and educate community sector workers, volunteers and community development practitioners from around Australia.

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Gippsland CFA engages with its community

* * - Saturday, May 26, 2012

CFA members from across the region have come together in Sale over the weekend as part of the inaugural Gippsland Regional CFA Community Engagement Forum.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the important event would allow CFA members at the frontline of emergency response to share initiatives and take away different ideas how to best support local communities.

“We’ve got a lot of enthusiastic brigades and members out there and the Gippsland Community Engagement Forum is about supporting them to develop their skills,” Mr Ryan said.

“We need to continually improve and update the way we approach community engagement – it’s about thinking differently and being innovative.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas that come from this forum, and using them to better support our members in the future as they promote bushfire preparedness among their communities.”

Mr Ryan said the forum was also an opportunity to recognise the great work CFA does at the local level.

“CFA volunteers play a crucial role in protecting the lives and property of all Victorians and we are fortunate to be able to call upon these steadfast men and women in difficult times,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government allocated almost $57 million to emergency services in its 2012-13 State Budget, including $22.9 million to build or upgrade rural fire stations across the state.

“The government also recently announced that almost $12 million in grants will be available under the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program to help agencies purchase much-needed equipment and resources to support day-to-day operations.”

The forum is a local version of the statewide Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Forum held last October in Macedon, and is being held from Saturday, 26 May to Sunday, 27 May at the Sale Sporting Legends Club, Sale.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870


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