Press Releases

Vic Coalition Government welcomes Bushfire Implementation Monitor’s final report

* * - Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An independent report outlining the Coalition Government’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (VBRC) was tabled in State Parliament today.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan welcomed the report from the Bushfire Implementation Monitor Neil Comrie AO APM and said its findings would guide the Coalition Government’s ongoing implementation measures.

This important report provides a comprehensive assessment of the Coalition Government’s progress against nearly 300 action items identified in its 2011 Implementation Plan,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is pleasing to see the report notes that 35 VBRC recommendations have now been completed, along with hundreds of implementation actions across government departments and agencies.

“Some of the biggest achievements to date include the establishment of the Bushfire Buy-Back Scheme and the formation of a $750 million package over 10 years to reduce the risks of electricity assets.”

Mr Ryan said the report acknowledged that significant progress had been made in delivering VBRC recommendations and better preparing Victoria for the risk of bushfires.

“In his report Mr Comrie says ‘the state has made very good progress in meeting its commitments under the Implementation Plan*’,” Mr Ryan said.

“He also highlights the benefits of work that has already been done saying ‘there is clear evidence that Victoria is now substantially better prepared on a regular basis for bushfire risk than at the time of Black Saturday*’.

“This is very encouraging feedback that recognises the enormous efforts of many people involved in delivering VBRC recommendations.

“The report also identifies some areas where more work is required, which will be a key focus of the Coalition Government over coming months as part of ongoing implementation actions.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was steadfast in its commitment to implementing all 67 recommendations of the VBRC and to helping protect Victorians from the impact of bushfires.

“To ensure there is continued independent oversight of implementation actions, the Coalition Government has extended the role of the Implementation Monitor for a further two years until 30 September 2014,” Mr Ryan said.

“This will enable Mr Comrie to produce two annual reports, to be tabled in Parliament, that continue to assess implementation activities, including the longer-term recommendations.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government thanked Mr Comrie for undertaking this significant task and for his commitment to ensuring Victoria is better prepared for bushfires.

The report is available on the Implementation Monitor’s website:

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

Uniform boost gives local clubs a whole new outlook

* * - Monday, July 30, 2012
Five Gippsland South sporting clubs will have a new look thanks to the Victorian Coalition Government funded Sporting Uniform Grants Program, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan said following sporting clubs would each receive $1000 funding:

· Rosedale Bowling Club
· Tarwin Football Netball Club - Netball
· Toora Netball Club
· Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club
· Woodside Beach Surf Life Saving Club

Mr Ryan said the funding helped sporting groups attract and accommodate new members, helping to increase participation in sport as well as nurture talent.

“New uniforms can go a long way towards boosting team morale and encouraging healthy and active communities, and that’s why we’re proud to continue to deliver this initiative,” Mr Ryan said.

“Team uniforms are more than just colours; they represent local sporting traditions and community pride.”

Mr Ryan said the clubs were among a total of 448 clubs from across Victoria to share in more than $435,000 worth of Sporting Uniform Grants Program funding.

Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty said the Sporting Uniform Grants Program aims to reduce financial barriers to participation by providing sporting clubs with an opportunity to purchase new uniforms, or a range of related items for club members including team tops, shorts, socks and footwear.

“These grants will assist sporting and recreation clubs to invest in new uniform clothing and footwear,” Mr Delahunty said.

“New uniforms can go a long way towards boosting team morale and encouraging healthy and active communities, and that’s why we’re proud to continue to deliver this initiative,” he said.

If your club is looking to introduce new life to your team colours and inspire more people to be more active, more often visit

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

Victoria’s Small Business Festival offers businesses in Sale improved marketing nous

* * - Monday, July 30, 2012

Sale small business owners seeking to stand out have the opportunity to attend an inspiring networking seminar during Victoria’s Small Business Festival in August.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the Stand Out – Marketing for Small Business event will provide local businesses with the know-how and tools that they can apply to better market their products and services.

“Many of Victoria’s small businesses face increasing competition as new products and markets emerge, both here and overseas,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Stand Out marketing event is designed to assist small businesses with finding their own voice and identity to gain a stronger position in the marketplace.”

The event features one of Australia’s leading presenters, marketer Paul McCarthy, who delivers a unique blend of entertainment, astute business insights and proven marketing tactics.

Mr McCarthy is an award-winning speaker and the author of acclaimed marketing handbook ‘8 Steps to a Remarkable Business’. He has worked as a consultant and mentor with regional councils, business groups and individual businesses throughout Victoria to help them implement new marketing approaches for improved business outcomes.

Mr Ryan said businesses in Sale would benefit from the Stand Out marketing seminar, one of the highlights of Victoria’s Small Business Festival.

“Most small businesses, including those in Sale, are now competing in markets where there is a greater need to innovate in order to stay ahead,” Mr Ryan said.

“This practical seminar provides small businesses with clear strategies that they can adopt to distinguish themselves from the competition and promote the value of their business.”

The Stand Out – Marketing for Small Business seminar will be held on 13 August at Laurel’s Function Centre, Sale Turf Club, 1227 Maffra Road, Sale.

For more information and booking details regarding the Stand Out seminar and other Gippsland events during Victoria’s Small Business Festival, visit or call 13 22 15.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

New $109 million firefighter training facility for Metropolitan Fire Brigade

* * - Monday, July 30, 2012
Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine today announced plans for a new Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) training facility in Craigieburn that would give firefighters one of the best emergency services training facilities in Australia.

Dr Napthine said the new $109 million complex, due for completion in late 2014, would challenge firefighters with realistic emergency scenarios tailored to Melbourne’s unique urban landscape, including laneways, rail tunnels and tram stops.

“The new facility will meet the MFB’s current and future training needs and allow it to deliver specialist emergency services, which include firefighting, urban search and rescue, marine response, emergency medical response and hazardous material response,” Dr Napthine said.

“Training in real life hazard scenarios means better prepared firefighters, and better prepared firefighters mean a safer community,” Dr Napthine said.

MFB is partnering with Major Projects Victoria to develop the facility, which will include environmentally sound design initiatives to maximise resource sustainability and minimise environmental impact.

MFB Chief Executive Officer Nick Easy said the state-of-the-art facility would also feature an academic building for classroom-based learning and a drill yard.

“A series of purpose-built training props simulating the Melbourne city environment will present firefighters with realistic emergency situations to test both recruits and serving firefighters,” Mr Easy said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the facility would not only meet MFB’s training requirements but had the capacity to be available to other emergency service organisations as required.

“The MFB Craigieburn facility is a dynamic example of incorporating agency interoperability,” Mr Ryan said.

“The new facility further strengthens the MFB’s role within the emergency services industry in the adoption and promotion of new technologies and the development and implementation of new training initiatives.

“This is also an exciting infrastructure project that will benefit all Victorians as well as the local City of Hume community, who will benefit from increased activity in the area,” Mr Ryan said.

The facility is expected to be operational in 2014 and will occupy almost half of the 18.6 hectare site in Craigieburn.

$259,000 safety upgrade to see trucks and cars share Woorarra Road

* * - Friday, July 20, 2012
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced that the Victorian Coalition Government would invest $259,000 to widen a pinch point on Woorarra Road, between Wonyip and Ryton Junction.

“Woorarra Road, which extends from Welshpool to the Grand Ridge Road at Ryton Junction, has long been home to timber harvesting operations,” Mr Ryan said.

“This section of road was selected for improvement works based on the Timber Industry Road Evaluation Study, which takes into account costs and safety benefits of carrying out improvements.

“A long compound curve limits sight distance along this stretch of Woorarra Road and provides inadequate passing space for vehicles larger than cars.

“These conditions prevent timber trucks from being able to use the road, forcing drivers to detour more than 38kms via Yarram to the Latrobe Valley, adding over an hour to their travel time each way.

Mr Ryan said to address this problem Woorarra Road would be widened for approximately 500 metres, which would allow trucks to use the road.

“The upgrade to Woorarra Road will result in improved safety and more efficient operation of the road for all motorists,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the works would be funded through the Local Timber Roads Program, which aims to maintain the quality and safety of local roads utilised by the timber industry, and are expected to be carried out during the 2012/13 financial year.

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870

New funding of $350,000 for Yarram Library redevelopment

* * - Friday, July 13, 2012
Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell today announced the Victorian Coalition Government has committed $350,000 from the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program towards the Yarram Library redevelopment.

“The revitalised Yarram Library is part of the larger $5.6 million Yarram and District Community Hub project which will give people the access they need to a wider range of services and community spaces in a lighter, brighter and more accessible facility,” Mrs Powell said.

“The Yarram Library is a lovely building, in a great location and is much-loved by the local community making it an ideal place for a multipurpose community hub.

“The new Yarram Library will have almost double the floorspace of the existing library, allowing for more seating and lounge areas where people can access the internet through wi-fi.

“The children’s space will include a toy library and children’s area to help future generations develop a love of reading and learning, as well as opportunities to bring families together to build a stronger sense of community.

“I’m sure people of all ages will enjoy the new library, and the new Yarram and District Community Hub,” Mrs Powell said.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan welcomed the announcement and said the library redevelopment brought the total amount of funding, provided by the Coalition Government, towards the much-anticipated Yarram and District Community Hub project to $2.35 million.

“The Coalition Government recently announced $1.1 million for the Yarram and District Community Hub as part of a $40 million state-wide investment in early childhood infrastructure, as well as a further $900,000 through the Local Government Infrastructure Program,” Mr Ryan said.

Mrs Powell said the Coalition Government was investing $17.2 million state-wide over the next four years through the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program.

“Victorian libraries are at the very heart of our communities. Almost 50 per cent of Victorians belong to a library, which is a good measure of how much the community values the broad range of today’s library services,” Mrs Powell said.

The Coalition Government aims to promote life-long learning opportunities in which libraries have a central role, providing a total of $36.8 million in annual funding to councils, regional library corporations and Vision Australia through the Public Libraries Funding Program.

Vic Coalition announces Latrobe Valley Roadmap

* * - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Victorian Coalition Government today unveiled its long-term strategy to guide the Latrobe Valley through challenges imposed by the Federal Government’s new Carbon Tax.

Joined by Coalition Government colleagues at the Latrobe Regional Airport, Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Latrobe Valley Industry and Employment Roadmap built on existing Coalition Government initiatives to create employment and stimulate new investment in the region.

“The Roadmap, which delivers on a key election commitment, showcases the region’s competitive strengths and advantages and provides a long term plan for industry and employment growth in the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Roadmap's development over a 14-month period has been underpinned by intensive research and engagement with the region's business and community groups and responds directly to the recently released advice from the Latrobe Valley Transition Committee.”

The Roadmap outlines a number of Coalition Government initiatives designed to place the region’s economy on a sustainable pathway towards growth, including:

· An expanded Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund (LVIIF) - An extra $5 million is being provided to expand the LVIIF to $15 million to support business and deliver greater employment outcomes. The Fund will also be redesigned to be more flexible and responsive to business needs;

· Industry Planning – Funding is being provided to develop growth plans for energy, food, aviation and ourism in the Latrobe Valley. This includes $80,000 towards a new Gippsland aviation industry plan and $80,000 provided to Destination Gippsland Inc to develop a new tourism industry plan;

· Investment prospectus - $400,000 has been allocated to support the development of a marketing and investment prospectus highlighting key competitive attributes and opportunities and attract new investors to the Latrobe Valley

· Accelerated business growth program – $300,000 is being allocated to target high performing firms to expand their potential and look at strengthening supply chains across the region;

· Small business support – An additional $225,000 will be provided to the region’s local governments to provide business advice, broker support and unlock further potential in the small business sector;

· Competitive advantages from brown coal - The Coalition Government believes that brown coal can, and should play a key role in our energy future. The Coalition Government is encouraging companies developing low emission coal upgrading technologies in the Latrobe Valley and is progressing a new coal allocation framework to open up new reserves of coal.

“The Roadmap will guide future development in the Latrobe Valley by providing an immediate and co-ordinated set of actions and, importantly, leverage Commonwealth Government assistance and funding opportunities,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government sees this as a chance to drive the powerhouse of the state, and we have not only listened carefully to the local community, but also developed a unified agreement with the Federal Government.

“Politics has been put aside for practical reasons, and my dealings and workings with the Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, have been constructive.

“This will require all levels of government to coordinate and deliver the support the Latrobe Valley community needs to strengthen its economy and attract new investment and jobs.”

The Roadmap is attached and also available at

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

$250,000 for Maryvale Pulp Project Feasibility Study

* * - Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced Victorian Coalition Government funding of $250,000 to help Australian Paper explore the opportunity to establish a $90 million recycled paper facility in the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Ryan said the proposed facility at Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill would significantly increase white paper recycling in Australia and triple the amount of locally sourced waste paper used - to 80,000 tonnes per year - in Australian-made communication papers.

“Australian Paper is the only manufacturer in Australia of recycled white communications papers which is made from reclaimed white waste paper that has gone through a screening, cleaning and de-inking process to remove contaminants,” Mr Ryan said.

“The current supplier of de-inked pulp (DIP) to Australian Paper will be closing its facility before the end of the year, therefore Australian Paper will investigate options urgently in order to secure its future in recycled paper products.”

Mr Ryan said Australian Paper would undertake a $825,000 full feasibility and engineering study to support the business case for a $90 million DIP plant at Maryvale.

“The proposed plant will significantly increase the amount of recycled fibre used in the manufacturing of its office and printing paper,” Mr Ryan said.

“The plant is also expected to retain eight jobs, create 12 new jobs and employ up to 60 workers during construction.”

Mr Ryan said Coalition Government funding for the feasibility study would be provided to Australian Paper, which would provide the balance of funding.

“Coalition Government funding is being provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund’s Developing Stronger Regions Program, which provides support for studies to enable applicants to investigate the technical and economic viability of a project,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said following the feasibility study, a final decision to proceed with construction of the DIP plant is to be made by the end of the year.

Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526

Vic Coalition announces $326,000 to help secure Fisher’s future in the Latrobe Valley

* * - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced $326,500 in Victorian Coalition Government funding to help secure the future of Fisher’s pallet Manufacturers in Morwell.

Joining Member for Morwell Russell Northe in the Latrobe Valley, Mr Ryan said the funding would help Fisher’s undertake a $964,382 pallet and wood treatment upgrade project.

“Fisher’s is a family-owned Australian company focused on pallet manufacture and timber treatment which has been operating in the Latrobe Valley for 32 years,” Mr Ryan said.

“This upgrade to the facility will create jobs, increase production and sales and boost the plant’s efficiency. It will also maintain Fisher’s as a sustainable Latrobe Valley manufacturing business and improve the plant’s environmental footprint.”

Mr Ryan said the project would not only retain five jobs but create 10 new full-time jobs at the plant, another eight local contracting jobs and six construction jobs during the one-year building process.

“Fisher’s existing pallet clients are increasingly demanding the company’s manufactured Euro pallets, which boasts a more durable design offering greater product protection, complies with EU pest requirements, and has first-rate environmental credentials,” Mr Ryan said.

Russell Northe said to meet the increased demand for its pallets, and the impending higher demand of alternate methods of timber treatment, Fisher’s required significant investment in its plant and equipment to future-proof the company.

The project includes:

· re-engineering the timber treatment plant;

· installing two 150,000 litre rain water tanks and associated plumbing;

· installing a batch mixing tank for a water-based treatment system;

· installing of a new pack docking machine;

· upgrading the pack strapping system from one that uses steel straps to a plastic strapping system;

· modernising the electrical control system on the pallet line; and

· concreting the floor of the company’s 1400 metre square warehouse.

Mr Northe said Coalition Government funding for the Fisher’s Pallet and Wood Treatment Upgrade Project would be provided to Fisher’s (Latrobe Valley) Pty Ltd through the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund (LVIIF) which is part of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“The LVIIF aims to facilitate new employment opportunities and leverage new private sector investment in the region,” Mr Northe said.

“The LVIIF is an initiative of the broader Latrobe Valley Advantage Fund that is supporting a number of activities to meet the initial transition needs of the Gippsland region."

Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526



Ryan launches Committee 4 Echuca Moama Plan

* * - Tuesday, July 10, 2012
A comprehensive plan to stimulate growth, economic activity and leadership in the Murray River region has been officially launched today by the Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan.

Mr Ryan said the Empowering Vision Strategic Plan developed by the Committee 4 Echuca Moama (C4EM) would provide a blueprint for the advancement and delivery of key regional projects and initiatives.

“The committee’s inaugural strategic plan is a vital document for the region, providing a roadmap of priority projects that will strengthen economic development, industry sustainability, investment attraction and leadership development,” Mr Ryan said.

“The key focus of the plan revolves around platforms including the need for economic investment, innovative business, infrastructure development, natural advantages, community amenity, education and employment.”

Member for Rodney, Paul Weller said the C4EM had become a strong voice for the Echuca Moama community.

“The committee now has more than 30 key leaders from the health, tourism, hospitality, food processing, agriculture, manufacturing, business and tertiary sectors, all working to create a more prosperous and vibrant Echuca Moama,” Mr Weller said.

“We certainly welcome the creative thinking and passionate views of the committee and I look forward to continuing a positive working relationship with the committee.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government provided $20,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) for the development of the inaugural C4EM Strategic Plan.

“The Coalition Govermnent’s flagship $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is designed to support locally driven projects and help drive growth, create jobs and support a better quality of life in regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

"Since its inception, the RGF has been used to support 522 projects across regional and rural Victoria worth in excess of $380 million,” Mr Ryan said.

“The fund supports projects such as improved infrastructure, local economic development and job creation, improved service delivery, improved community capability and support for project planning.”

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541

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