Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services Agriculture

Coalition commits $8 million to health of Gippsland Lakes

  • $8 million to extend Gippsland Lakes Environmental Fund
  • Re-elected Coalition will further protect the health of the iconic Gippsland Lakes
  • Coalition committed to the economic development of regional Victoria

The health of the Gippsland Lakes will continue to be protected and enhanced under a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government, Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today.

Speaking in Paynesville, Mr Ryan said a re-elected the Coalition would invest $8 million into extending the Gippsland Lakes Environmental Fund, which for the past two-and-a-half years has supported important projects that boost the health of the lakes.

Mr Ryan also announced today that the term of the Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee, led by Dr Peter Veenker, would be extended until December 2018.

“The Coalition Government is committed to supporting the health and prosperity of the Gippsland Lakes,” Mr Ryan said.

“In 2012 we established the Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee to develop and implement an environmental strategy for the lakes, as well as providing an initial $10 million Gippsland Lakes Environmental Fund to deliver that strategy.

“So far, we have invested in 66 projects which are either underway or already delivered through the fund.

“This includes $126,000 to monitor the health of the Gippsland Lakes, $120,000 to develop an invasive pest plant and animal strategy, and $200,000 to restore habitat for migratory birds.

“This extra funding commitment today from the Victorian Coalition will ensure the Gippsland Lakes can continue to be protected and enhanced over the next four years.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull joined Mr Ryan in Paynesville and said the Gippsland Lakes were an iconic attraction in Victoria and he was proud that a re-elected Coalition would continue to protect them.

“As a proud local, the Gippsland Lakes hold a special place in my heart and I am thrilled The Nationals, working in Coalition Government, are continuing to deliver for this important waterway,” Mr Bull said.

“In the past, the lakes have suffered environmental health problems, including the 2008 non-toxic algal bloom which had a direct economic cost of $18 million.

“This funding will help to ensure those kinds of issues are minimised in the future.

“Locals and visitors love the Gippsland Lakes and that is why it’s so important we protect and maintain their health so they can be enjoyed for many more years to come.

“The environmental strategy for the lakes balances the needs of the environment, local communities and industries such as tourism and fishing, and this additional $8 million means we will be able to continue funding important projects that protect this balance.”

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien welcomed the commitment and said this ongoing investment would continue to transform the Gippsland Lakes.

“For all its magnificence, the Gippsland Lakes are Australia’s best kept natural secret,” Mr O’Brien said.

“As Australia’s largest inland network of waterways, the potential to grow tourism and jobs is limitless.

“Only the Coalition Government is committed to improving the health of the lakes for the benefit of all.”

Today’s announcement follows the Coalition Government’s recently announced election commitment to offer a voluntary buy-back of commercial fishing licences on the Gippsland Lakes.

The up to $2 million commitment will provide a fair and equitable exit strategy for licence holders to boost opportunities for recreational fishing and help grow local businesses that are supported by recreational fishing tourism.

Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services Agriculture

Coalition delivers $240,000 for Goulburn Valley growth

  • $240,000 to expand fruit production in Goulburn Valley & create 40 jobs
  • Supporting four projects in Shepparton, Toolamba and Bunbartha
  • Coalition Government supporting Goulburn Valley’s horticulture industry

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh was today joined by The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr to announce $240,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government to support the expansion of fruit production in the Goulburn Valley.
 
Mr Walsh said the investment from the Coalition’s $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund would support four projects in Shepparton, Toolamba and Bunbartha and create 40 local jobs.
 
“This is not an election promise, it is funding that has already been approved and will be delivered no matter what happens on 29 November,” Mr Walsh said.
 
The Coalition’s investment will support four projects totalling $2.88 million:

  • A new fruit grader, cool store and shed extension at ACN Orchards to improve packing efficiency;
  • An expansion at Boumbis Orchards to increase packing capacity by 50 per cent and allow the company to expand production;
  • New equipment at Barolli Orchards to allow the company to respond to a growing demand for stone and pome fruit in Asia, and increase production; and
  • New grading, shedding and packing equipment to enable Toolamba Fresh Produce to diversify into new tomato varieties.

Mr Barr said the Goulburn Valley currently produces 90 per cent of Australia’s processed fruit and these projects would ensure the local companies could expand production and unlock new export markets.
 
“The Coalition established the $5 million Goulburn Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund out of the Regional Growth Fund to leverage new industry, investment and employment opportunities and support a strategic long-term plan for the region,” Mr Barr said.
 
“These are exactly the types of projects we want to support in the Goulburn Valley – projects that create jobs, expand businesses and increase production.
 
“The Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund  has invested in almost 1,800 community-driven projects outside of Melbourne, generating almost $2 billion of total investment.
 
“Our $1 billion fund is money set aside for regional spending, over and above normal spending on health, education, sport and roads.
 
“This compares to the Labor Party’s imitation fund announced this week – the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund – which is purely rebadged general revenue, not extra money for the regions.
 
“Labor is claiming to be investing in the regions while it funnels more money back to the city.
 
“Labor will cut the country.”
 

Media releases Agriculture Environment Infrastructure

$12.5 million to upgrade Grains Centre of Excellence

  • $12.5 million to upgrade and expand Grains Centre of Excellence at Horsham
  • Research capacity boosted with new laboratories, greenhouses & infrastructure
  • Napthine Coalition is building a better agriculture industry for Victoria


A re-elected Coalition Government will invest $12.5 million to upgrade Victoria’s Grains Centre of Excellence, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced today.
 
Mr Walsh, joined by The Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy, said the $12.5 million investment would enhance research capabilities at the Horsham centre.
 
“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition recognises that modern facilities are crucial to equipping our research centres to undertake important, cutting-edge work that supports our agricultural industries,” Mr Walsh said.
 
“Under a re-elected Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government, $12.5 million will be invested into a modernisation project at the Horsham centre that will improve and expand existing laboratories and greenhouses, and upgrade critical infrastructure including power, water, IT capacity and road access.”
 
Ms Kealy welcomed the announcement and said it would be another enhancement to Horsham’s growing research hub.
 
“The creation of the Australian Grains Genebank and the new Bayer CropScience wheat and oilseed breeding centre at Longerenong College alongside an upgraded Grains Centre of Excellence at Horsham will help establish Horsham as the leading place for grains research in Australia,” Ms Kealy said.
 
“The Grains Centre of Excellence modernisation project will help us to attract and retain world-leading scientists here at Horsham.
 
“The Nationals in government set a goal to double food and fibre production in Victoria by 2030, and we are committed to making the research, development and extension investments that are critical to helping our farmers meet that target.”
 
Mr Walsh said the Liberal-Nationals Coalition’s commitment to farmers was in stark contrast to Labor, which failed to commit any additional funding for critical research, development and extension work.

“This $12.5 million commitment comes on top of the additional $60 million a re-elected Coalition Government has already committed for a further four years of the successful Growing Food and Fibre initiative, which partners with industry to co-invest in strategic research, development and extension projects,” Mr Walsh said.
 
“Only the Liberal-Nationals Coalition has committed the funding necessary to deliver the research, development and extension programs needed that will help Victoria’s food and fibre producers increase productivity and profitability.”
 
In 2013-14 Victorian cereal, oilseed, pulse and processed grain exports totalled $1.955 billion.
 

Media releases Agriculture Environment

$10.4 million for war on roadside weeds and rabbits


·    $10.4 million war on weeds, rabbits under a re-elected Liberal Nationals Coalition
·    Supporting councils to control pest weeds and rabbits on rural and regional roads
·    Liberal Nationals Coalition delivering for Victoria’s farmers

A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will commit a further $10.4 million over the next four years to assist rural and regional councils to fight the war on pest weeds and rabbits on municipal roadsides.
 
Minister for Local Government Tim Bull and Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today announced the Victorian Coalition would be extending the Government’s successful Roadside Weeds and Pests Management Program if re-elected on 29 November to help build a sustainable Victoria.
 
Mr Bull said rural roadsides can be a major corridor for the spread of weeds and rabbits, which in turn can threaten the state’s agricultural productivity, biosecurity and environmental assets.
 
“The Coalition recognises the challenges facing small rural and regional councils in managing assets and controlling pests which is why we are committed to providing local government with this funding assistance,” Mr Bull said.
 
“This renewed commitment provides for a more than doubling of the level of assistance provided to councils under the previous Labor Government.
 
“By committing a further $10.4 million to roadside weed and rabbit control if re-elected, the Coalition will be helping put more downward pressure on council rates.”
 
Mr Walsh said 56 rural and regional councils will benefit from the extended roadside weeds and rabbit control program.
 
“The Coalition has worked constructively to build a partnership between the Department of Environment and Primary industries and the local government sector to clarify responsibilities for the control of pest weeds and rabbits on roadsides,” Mr Walsh said.

“Councils have reported treating more than 14,000 kilometres of roadsides for rabbits and weeds over the past two years under this program.

“Funding will be strictly targeted to deliver on-ground works controlling pest weeds and rabbits.”
 
Mr Walsh said the Coalition has given councils the ability to set roadside pest management plans in

consultation with their communities to target weed and rabbit control activities where they would have the greatest positive impact.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has strongly supported this Coalition election commitment with VFF president Peter Tuohey welcoming the extra investment in roadside pests and weeds.

“It’s vital that councils get the funding they need to manage pest and weeds along these road corridors, given their resources,” Mr Tuohey said.

“If councils don’t do this work these roadsides end up acting as a breeding ground for weeds and vermin to invade our farms.”

Mr Bull said Labor had failed to commit to the roadside weeds and rabbits control program meaning rural rates would rise and farm biosecurity would be threatened under an Andrews Labor government.