LOCAL ISSUES Environment Media releases

Labor should make its gas position clear: Neoh

The Nationals candidate for South-West Coast, Michael Neoh, has called on the Andrews Labor Government to make its position clear on unconventional onshore gas ahead of the by-election.

Labor have a terrible track record on onshore gas exploration. When last in government they issued 73 exploration licences and 23 fracking permits without undertaking any scientific or hydrological studies.

Mr Neoh said he had discussed unconventional onshore gas with the The Nationals MP Emma Kealy, whose neighbouring electorate Lowan faces the same issues.

“Today in Parliament, Emma Kealy asked Labor’s Minister for Energy and Resources to disclose her intentions regarding the future of onshore gas mining activities in Western Victoria,” Mr Neoh said.

“I am sure the local communities in South-West Coast will be keen to hear how the Minister responds.

“As I travel around the electorate – including Portland and the rural areas of Heywood, Condah, Macarthur, Woolsthorpe and Port Fairy – I will be speaking to local residents about their views on onshore unconventional gas mining.

“The Nationals will never support any mining activity that risks harm to our prime agricultural land, water resources or the environment.

“The South-West Coast has some of the best dairy farmland in the world and we need to make sure it is not negatively impacted by gas mining activity. 

“The people of South-West Coast deserve to know what the Government is intending for our region prior to the by-election.”

Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services Health and Aged Care

Grand final holiday to hit aged care sector

The Andrews Labor Government must explain to the aged care sector how it will help providers cope with the cost of the new AFL grand final public holiday.

Shadow Minister for Senior Victorians Tim Bull said aged care providers were facing a massive wages bill for that day, but the government was offering no help.

A Regulatory Impact Statement into the new grand final holiday, and the new Easter Sunday holiday, put the economic cost to Victoria at up to $898 million each year and wage payments of up to $286 million each year.

“It is time the government how it explained how it is going to remove the impact on a sector that cares for some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Mr Bull said

“Leading Age Services Australia has expressed major concerns over the severe cost impost the new holiday will place on aged care providers.

“In comparison with other states, Victoria how has more public holidays than New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT.

“This was a populist commitment with it appears no real thought given to how it will impact on a range of industries.”

Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services

O'Brien endorsed by Nationals for Gippsland South

Creating new jobs, improving roads, upgrading health and education services for families and community safety will be the focus for The Nationals candidate for the Gippsland South by-election, Danny O’Brien.

The 40-year-old former journalist, agricultural industry executive and trade adviser was endorsed as The Nationals candidate over the weekend. He says his vision for Gippsland is focused on healthy families, more jobs, profitable small businesses and better returns for farmers.

Recently re-elected as the Upper House MP for Eastern Victoria, Mr O’Brien said he was attempting the move to the Lower House to continue the work of former Nationals Leader Peter Ryan.

“The electorate of Gippsland South is used to having a strong voice in State Parliament and I’m determined to continue the good work of Peter Ryan,” Mr O’Brien said.

“In the past four years, The Nationals delivered more than $220 million worth of projects in the electorate as part of the Coalition Government.

“It’s not just about delivering money to the region – politics is all about standing up for your community on the issues that matter to them.

“As a born and bred Gippslander, I’m passionate about our region and I want to make sure the new Labor Government doesn’t forget about us.”

Married to Vicki, with two young children, Mr O’Brien lives on a small farm near Sale and is involved in country football, Rotary and the local CFA branch. A keen traveller, he has spent time living in Indonesia and believes the Asian markets are a huge opportunity for Gippsland producers.

“We produce some of the finest agricultural goods in the world in our region and the growing middle class across Asia is keen to access our clean, green food,” Mr O’Brien said. “I’m keen to work with Federal MP Darren Chester to maximise the job opportunities across Gippsland arising from Asian demand.”

Mr Chester said he would campaign to support The Nationals candidate because the region needed a strong, united team to deliver results.

“Unfortunately, the past week in Federal Parliament has seen the Liberal Party fighting amongst themselves and it’s good to be part of a united National Party team which is focused on delivering results for Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.

“I’ve known Danny O’Brien for 20 years and he has the right mix of experience and passion to get the job done for our region in State Parliament. It helps to have your State and Federal MP working in partnership for the good of the region.

“As a local family man, he understands the cost of living and other pressure facing modern families and I’m confident we can work together for the benefit of Gippsland South residents.”

Mr O’Brien was educated in Gippsland and completed a journalism cadetship at the Gippsland Times in Sale and local television, before working in State and Federal politics as a senior trade and agricultural adviser. He is the former Chief Executive of the National Irrigators’ Council and was elected to the Upper House in 2014 to replacing retiring MP Peter Hall.

He was pre-selected unopposed as The Nationals candidate for the upcoming by-election after nominations closed on Friday, February 13. The date for the Gippsland South by-election has not been set at this stage.

 

 

For further information: Danny O’Brien 0481 013 620

Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services Agriculture

Violet Town Nursing Centre wades into wetland project

  • $199,000 Living Victoria grant for new wetland at Violet Town Bush Nursing Centre
  • Project will manage stormwater and create a biodiversity ‘hot spot’
  • Napthine Coalition creating healthy waterways to build a better Victoria  
Violet Town Bush Nursing Centre will be helping the health of local waterways thanks to a $199,000 grant from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Living Victoria Fund.
 
Minister for Water Peter Walsh, The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan and Liberal candidate for Euroa Tony Schneider met with board members of the nursing centre on Wednesday to discuss the project.
 
“The $199,000 Living Victoria Fund grant will enable the creation of a wetland and biodiversity ‘hot spot’ at the Violet Town Bush Nursing Centre,” Mr Walsh said.
 
“This is a great project which will give centre residents and the community a vibrant natural wetland to enjoy, while at the same time improving the management of Violet Town’s stormwater runoff and the downstream health of Lambing Gunyah Creek.”
 
Ms Ryan said healthy waterways were the lifeblood of regional and rural communities.
 
“Healthy local waterways contribute to the liveability of our towns, and this project is going to create a beautiful, natural entrance for Violet Town,” Ms Ryan said.
 
“This project is also going to be a great way to educate our next generation about water use and waterway care and management.”
 
Mr Schneider said the Napthine Coalition Government had reshaped urban water policies for Victoria, to avoid costly mistakes like Labor’s North-South Pipeline and the desalination plant.
 
“The Living Victoria Fund is a great program which is helping communities big and small, including Violet Town, make better use of all water sources, which includes stormwater, rainwater, groundwater and recycled water,” Mr Schneider said.
 
“It makes sense that with a variable climate and a growing population, we need to be smart in how we manage and use all available sources of water to keep our natural environment green and thriving.”
 
Centre president Pat Glyn said the project would involve regenerating the paddocks to the western side of the site to create a thriving wetland.
 
“This project will have a significant and positive impact on the whole Violet Town community,” Mr Glyn said.

“This is a community wetlands site so we are encouraging individuals and groups to get involved in its development and use - we hope to see school groups, families and individuals also enjoying the space.
 
“It will also be important to engage as many volunteers as possible to lend a hand with different aspects of this exciting project, such as tree planting.”
 
Draft plans for the project will be circulated across the town, in locations such as the library, supermarket, and community centre and, of course, the Bush Nursing Centre.

Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services

An open letter to the people of Victoria

A message from the Board of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria.

On Tuesday 18th November, the Labor Party announced a policy that we believe will have grave and disastrous consequences for CFA.

As CFA volunteer firefighters with an average of over 40 yearsservice each and as the elected board of the body established in Victorian law to be the voice of CFA volunteers, we feel the need to take this unprecedented action of activating all Victorians to help us stop a policy that has the potential to destroy CFA.

Our concern with the recently announced Labor policy is that it establishes external industrial interference with the CFA Chief Officer’s power to decide where and when and how he uses CFA firefighters.

We are also concerned that Labor’s policy will reduce CFA’s volunteer firefighting force by thousands of volunteers, pushing volunteers out of CFA stations and hundreds of CFA trucks off the road when we need them for major fires such as Black Saturday.

Labor has grossly underestimated the cost and impact of its policy. Labor’s promise of $150M and an additional 350 paid firefighters actually only provides 70 additional paid firefighters on the ground at any one time under current paid firefighter rostering arrangements, and it will come at the expense of thousands of highly trained and professional volunteer firefighters.

We support and welcome additional paid support and resources for CFA, provided these resources are required and provided that the CFA determines the need, not a union. Don’t be fooled, the plan announced by Labor is not about improving community safety in Victoria, the detail included in their announcement is about giving the control of CFA to a union.

Labor’s policy announcement includes specific provisions to surrender CFA operational decisions to an external industrial relations panel.   page1image18720page1image18880

Instead of Labor’s policy, we need a plan that will recruit and train more CFA volunteer firefighters, provide trucks and equipment to combat fires and other incidents, investment in a modern firefighting fleet, give CFA the flexibility to deploy resources when and where they are needed and remove industrial control over how CFA uses its workforce.

Victoria is one of the most fire prone areas in the world and there are predictions of longer, hotter and more severe fire seasons ahead. If Labor’s policy is allowed to push trained and experienced CFA volunteers out of fire stations across greater metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria will not have the fire fighting force it needs for day to day incidents and certainly will not have the force to deal with major incidents when they occur, such as Black Saturday.

When you vote on Saturday 29th understand one thing, as some of Victoria’s most senior volunteer firefighters, we believe Labor’s policy for CFA is not good for CFA volunteers, is not good for Victoria and is not good for the future of CFA.

Signed & authorised by

Hans van Hamond AFSM
48 years’ volunteer service
State President, Ex Captain Wendouree Fire Brigade

Nevyn Jones AFSM
45 years’ volunteer service State Vice President,

Bruce Pickett AFSM
44 yearsvolunteer service

Ex Captain Geelong West Fire Brigade

Andy Cusack AFSM
37 years
’ volunteer service Captain Mumbannar Fire Brigade

Gerry Neyenhuis
48 years
’ service
Ex Captain Wallington Fire Brigade

Bill Maltby
37 years
’ volunteer service
Ex Captain Castlemaine Fire Brigade

Captain Moorooduc Fire Brigade

Tom Brodie AFSM
51 years
’ volunteer service
Ex Captain Longwood Fire Brigade

Gary Lyttle AFSM
50 years
’ volunteer service
Former President VFBV, Cardigan Fire Brigade

Graeme Jilbert
45 years
’ service Swan Hill Fire Brigade

Mick Nunweek JP
34 years
’ service
Ex Captain Stawell Fire Brigade

page2image21688

PO Box 453 Mt Waverley 3149 Unit 9, 24 Lakeside Drive Burwood East 3151Tel 9886 1141Fax 9886 1618vfbv@vfbv.com.au Inc. A0043424H ABN. 110 830 804 03 

Media releases LOCAL ISSUES Community Services Agriculture

Coalition commits a further $10 million for Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation

  • Coalition commits $10 million for Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation
  • Finalised project will deliver 9700 megalitres of water savings back into production
  • Victorian Coalition aims to double food and fibre production by 2030

A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will invest $10 million into the Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation, Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today.

In Maffra with The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien, Mr Ryan said the investment would contribute to Phase 1B of the project, which involved modernising the Southern Tinamba delivery system with pipelines and automated channels.

“The Coalition Government is a strong supporter of this major irrigation system modernisation project, which will boost the region’s economy by about $45 million every year through increased water efficiency and food production,” Mr Ryan said.

“We have already provided $16 million to Phase 1A of the Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation, which will connect 75 per cent of customers to a modernised system by 2017 and will save more than 12,000 megalitres of water, water which will go back into food production.

“I am pleased to announced today that if the Victorian Coalition is re-elected we will invest another $10 million to kick-start the $60 million Phase 1B of the project.

“This phase includes replacing about 85 kilometres of ageing, open channel with 38km of pressurised pipes and 26km of modernised automated channel – expected to save another 9700 megalitres of water.”

Mr Bull said he was pleased to see the Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation identified in the Federal Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper for potential Commonwealth funding.

“The Macalister Irrigation District is an absolute powerhouse of food and fibre production in Victoria. The district’s farmers already inject about $500 million a year into the state’s economy – imagine how much that will grow with this modernised irrigation infrastructure,” Mr Bull said.

“The Coalition Government has a clear vision for agriculture in Victoria. We want to double the state’s production of food and fibre by 2030.

“Projects such as this – combined with our $60 million Growing Food and Fibreinitiative, which is funding vital agricultural research and development – will ensure we reach that goal."

Mr O’Brien said the Liberal-Nationals Coalition’s clear vision for Victorian agriculture and its support for food producing regions was in stark contrast to the Labor Party.

“Labor has no vision and no commitment to invest in growing food and fibre production in Victoria,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Labor’s only real irrigation commitment has been its hollow promise not turn on the north-south pipeline if elected – which just shows that the $750 million project was a total waste of money.

“Unlike Labor, the Coalition will invest in projects that make a real difference forVictorian farmers and will help them to double food and fibre production.”

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

Newborough CFA to get $1.2 million upgrade

  • A re-elected Coalition Government to fund $1.2 million upgrade to Newborough CFA station

  • Investment will fund the purchase of land and upgrade the station to enhance emergency response capabilities

  • Coalition Government building a better and safer Victoria

Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells and Member for Morwell Russell Northe today announced a re-elected Coalition Government will fund a new $1.2 million CFA station in Newborough.
 
Making the announcement at the Newborough Fire Station, Mr Northe said that the Coalition Government is building a better and safer Victoria and enhancing emergency response capabilities for Newborough and surrounding areas.
 
“Newborough Fire Brigade is nearly 60 years old. The new station will ensure Newborough’s 26 volunteer firefighters have access to the latest specialist equipment and resources to increase protection for our region and boost their own personal safety,’” Mr Northe said.
 
“Responding to around 250 callouts each year, for bushfires, structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, and chemical spills, this new facility will provide an important infrastructure asset that will protect life and property for many years to come.
 
“This is fantastic news for Newborough, as it will significantly enhance emergency services in our area. Newborough Fire Brigade regularly responds to support surrounding CFA brigades at Moe, Yallourn North and Morwell.”
 
This major investment for Newborough will fund $400,000 for land acquisition and $800,000 for a new station. It builds on the Coalition Government’s proven track record in delivering significant investment in Victoria’s emergency services.
 
Mr Northe said the announcement builds on the recent delivery of $5 million funding for the new Morwell CFA station.
 
“I am proud to have delivered an array of fire-fighting resources for the Latrobe Valley area over the past four years including new fire tankers for the Tyers and Glengarry fire brigades; new CFA stations for Cowwarr, Glengarry and Glengarry East; a fire-fighting helicopter based in Traralgon this fire season; additional career fire-fighters and fleet vehicles; and amenity upgrades to a number of stations,” Mr Northe said.
 
“Since 2010, the Coalition Government has invested $2.29 billion in the CFA, more than any previous government. This financial year the CFA Budget is $457 million, $58 million more than when Labor left office in 2010.
 
“Under a Coalition Government, Victoria’s emergency management response is better prepared and resourced than ever before.”

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 LOCAL ISSUES SPORTS AND RECREATION Regional Development

Coalition Government commits to future of Stawell Gift

  • A re-elected Coalition Government will continue the Significant Sporting Events Program investing a further $3.5 million over the next 4 years
  • The Stawell Gift  just one of a number of events to be supported in Victoria by the Coalition
  • Napthine Government  investing in sporting events to build a better economy 

Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum joined Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner and Liberal candidate for Ripon Louise Staley, to announce that under a Coalition Government the future of the Stawell Gift will be secured through increased funding to the Significant Sporting Events Program.

The oldest professional footrace in the world, the Stawell Gift held over Easter is one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events and will be one of many national and international events that will be held in Victoria under a Coalition Government.

Mr Drum said that these events bring economic benefits to the state as well as inspire Victorians to get involved in sport.

“The Stawell Gift brings people from across Victoria, Australia and the world to the region with economic, social and health benefits flowing,” Mr Drum said.

“This is why the Coalition has increased funding for the Significant Sporting Event Program by $3.5 million over the next four years. 

“This is in addition to the $4.8 million already locked into the budget. The Stawell Gift will benefit from $150,000 worth of funding each year for the next four years and a commitment from the Government to work with the Stawell Athletic Club to make the event financially sustainable into the future,” Mr Drum said.

Mr Turner said that the Stawell Gift is an important event for the region and the benefits will be felt by the whole community.

“The Stawell Gift is our iconic major event, the event that showcases to all of Australia what the region has to offer, it is vital economically and for us to develop further tourism,” Mr Turner said.

“Not only will a Coalition Government secure the Gift for the next four years, but the commitment to work on a sustainable model for the future means the event can start to plan forward and become bigger and better.”

Ms Staley said a focus on regional cities and towns means the Significant Sporting Events Program is vital to regional Victoria.

“A Coalition Government gives regional Victoria a true voice, and program and events such as the Stawell Gift are unashamedly viewed as a way to inject tourism benefits for regional areas that can hold and support sporting events as well as anywhere in the city,” Mr Staleysaid.

“Regional Victoria deserves major sport and it’s the Coalition that will work hard to make that happen.”

An independent review of events held from 2012-2014 found a an average return on investment of 12.8 to 1 from the estimated 68,700 interstate and 7,150 international visitors to events supported by the program. Many of these events are held in regional Victoria.