Media releases Regional Development Education and Skills

Coalition questioning reveals Labor’s training cuts

Training and Skills Minister Steve Herbert has admitted to massive funding cuts to student training under questioning from Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.

More than $175 million in funding meant for student training was cut from the Victorian Training Guarantee, including $125 million that was returned to consolidated revenue.

A further $50 million of money earmarked for student training was instead handed out as general grants to “bolster” TAFEs – with no outcomes or deliverables attached.

The admission shows Labor has broken its pre-election promise to grow enrolments and restore TAFE.

The number of students in government-subsidised training has plummeted by 15 per cent under Labor but Mr Herbert today claimed “they’re not real numbers”.

Yet just last week he told Parliament: “The training system should not just be about shovelling bucketloads full of cash to providers so that they can get rich. It should be measured on the outcomes it provides for students, industry, jobs, productivity and economic growth”.

Comments from Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan:

“Steve Herbert and Daniel Andrews have completely backed away from their TAFE promises, abandoning young people trying to get the training they need to find a job.

“All we have seen since the Andrews Government came to office is cuts to training funding and plummeting student enrolments.

“Steve Herbert and Daniel Andrews have broken their promises to Victorian students and job-seekers.” 

Media releases Agriculture Environment

Water Act changes first step towards fairer Basin Plan

Leader of The Nationals and Coalition Shadow Minister for Water Peter Walsh has welcomed the passing of amendments to the Commonwealth Water Act.

“On behalf of Victorian irrigators who called for these amendments, I extend our thanks to Barnaby Joyce for getting this important Bill dealt with before the Federal election,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Amendment gives the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder much greater flexibility for spending the proceeds gained from water sales.

“Under the old law, if the CEWH sold water to the temporary market, it had to use the proceeds of that sale to purchase water back at a future date.

“That restrictive condition is gone now, and the CEWH will be able to make smarter use of these funds. For example, it could invest in engineering works like the systems we have in Gunbower Forest or Hattah Lakes that deliver positive environmental outcomes while using water much more efficiently.

“This alteration was a key part of the submission I made to the Senate’s Basin Plan enquiry last year. Minister Joyce committed to us that he would fix it before the election and he has delivered on the promise.

“The Water Act amendment is a good first step to ensuring better outcomes for irrigators but The Nationals will continue the fight for a fairer Basin Plan that protects our irrigators, rural industries and communities.”

Media releases

Drum endorsed as Nationals candidate for Murray

Damian Drum has been elected unopposed as The Nationals candidate to contest the Federal seat of Murray at the next federal election.

The Nationals for Regional Victoria confirmed Mr Drum, who is currently serving as an Upper House Member in State Parliament, will contest the seat to be vacated by Sharman Stone, who announced her retirement last month.

The Nationals Victorian President Peter Schwarz said Mr Drum was an outstanding candidate with strong links to Shepparton, Goulburn Valley and broader Murray community.

“As someone who was born and grew up in the Goulburn Valley, Damian is passionate about the future of the region. He has the skills and political experience to deliver results for the community,” Mr Schwarz said.

“The Nationals are the only Party that is 100% focussed on the issues affecting rural and regional communities. The Murray electorate will do better under The Nationals.” 

Mr Drum said he was looking forward to the challenge of winning the seat, which was held by the Nationals for 47 years under Sir John “Black Jack” McEwen and then Bruce Lloyd.

“The Nationals have a proven track record of standing up for people who live outside our capital cities and our Federal Parliamentary team are doing an outstanding job of delivering for regional Australia,” Mr Drum said.

“The contest in Murray is about who the community can trust to stand up and fight for them in Canberra and deliver a better deal for the Murray electorate.”

“The Nationals know what is important in Murray. Jobs are important, economic development is important and delivering the infrastructure for better roads, bridges and public transport for our region is important”

“Water security is critical for us in Murray. I know we need to strike the right balance between water for a growing agricultural sector and the environment. We need to keep as much water as possible in the region and I will fight to stop 450 gl of so called "up water " heading down the Murray . I just won't accept that arrangement.”

“For the whole electorate of Murray, I will be fighting to make sure we get our fair share of government funding for key services in health, education, childcare, aged care and transport.”



For further information, please contact

Sally Branson, State Director 0418 335 713

Media releases

Nominations Open for the seat of Murray

Nominations for the seat of Murray open today and close on Monday 11 April.


Media releases

Nominations for the seat of Murray

The Nationals are the only party solely focused on representing rural and regional Victorians, and we have a proud 100-year history of doing so. The electorate of Murray has great historical significance for The National Party, being first held by John McEwen. With this legacy, and an eye firmly on the future, our party is committed to Murray again having a strong National Party voice to put the electorate first.

The diverse needs of those who live and work across the seat of Murray deserve a local champion who will fight for their interests in Federal Parliament. After local discussions with communities in the electorate, our party has decided to open nominations for preselection in the electorate of Murray. 

Nominations will open tomorrow, Tuesday the 29th of March and close at 5pm on Monday the 11th of April, 2016.

For further information, please contact Sally Branson, State Director 03 9654 6588


Media releases

Nominations are open for 3 seats in the upcoming Federal Election.


Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure

Up to $700 million secured for regional Victoria

The Liberal-Nationals have secured three times as much funding for regional Victoria from the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease than was offered by Daniel Andrews.

The Liberal-Nationals will support an amended version of the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 in Parliament.

In those amendments we have secured 10 per cent of port sale proceeds – or up to $700 million – for transport infrastructure projects in regional Victoria. 

That’s compared to the paltry 3 per cent – or $200 million – originally offered by Daniel Andrews, and welcomed by the VFF president. 

After countless empty threats by Treasurer Tim Pallas, Labor has finally backed down and agreed to our sensible proposal which will deliver a better deal for all Victorians.  

Unlike the city-centric Andrews Labor Government, the Liberal-Nationals stand up for regional communities and fight for their fair share. 

Daniel Andrews’ proposal to send 97 per cent of the port sale proceeds to level crossing projects Melbourne was not a fair deal. 

We will not accept the scraps off the table thrown to regional Victorians by the Andrews Government.

Media releases

Appointment of The Nationals Victoria State Director

Sally Branson has been appointed The National Party of Victoria’s State Director. 

Victorian President Peter Schwarz today welcomed the appointment of Sally to this role, as an eminently qualified professional who will provide strong leadership for the party.

Sally has worked extensively across rural and regional Australia in community development and in senior public affairs roles in both the private sector and in international diplomatic and defence relations. She most recently served in the Office of The Prime Minister and in a senior leadership role for a Commonwealth Minister.

Along with her professional qualifications and post graduate studies in regional development, Sally brings to the role her great love for rural Victoria and passion for the parliamentary system. She looks forward to working together with both the members and Parliamentary team to ensure country voices are well represented in Victoria’s political and social conversations.  

Sally is from Colbinabbin in rural Victoria, where some of the very first meetings of The National Party of Victoria were held one hundred years ago. 

Sally will carry on the great work of departing State Director Jenny Hammett who showed great leadership and diligently worked as both a member of the party and as State Director.  

Sally will commence in the role on March 2, 2016.

For more information contact State President, Peter Schwarz – 0419 118 069

Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure

Walsh congratulates Federal Nationals colleagues

Leader of the Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh has congratulated his Federal colleagues following significant changes this week, including new party leadership and Cabinet positions.

Firstly, Mr Walsh welcomed Barnaby Joyce as the new leader of the Federal Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister in the Coalition Government.

“Barnaby tells it how it is, and has been a strong voice for rural and regional Australians for many years,” Mr Walsh said.

“There is no questioning Barnaby’s passion for country communities and he will be a dedicated leader of The Nationals going forward.”

NSW Senator Fiona Nash is the new Deputy Leader and was today announced as Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health in the new Federal Cabinet.

“Congratulations to Fiona, who has been a fierce advocate for regional communities and is the first female Deputy Leader of the Federal Nationals,” Mr Walsh said.

“Fiona’s work so far to progress the health needs of rural communities has been crucial in ensuring they can keep better pace with bigger cities.”

The Nationals have secured an additional position in the Federal Cabinet today, which sees Member for Gippsland Darren Chester promoted to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

“Well done to Darren on his much-deserved elevation into the Federal Cabinet,” Mr Walsh said.

“With his new portfolios, I’ll be talking to Darren sooner rather than later about regional Victoria’s need for roads and rail investment.”

Media releases

Statement: Warren Truss

Leader of the Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh has congratulated Warren Truss on his dedicated leadership of the Federal Nationals.

“Throughout his career Warren Truss has applied a common sense approach to government decision making.”

“In particular, Warren’s commitment to securing extra funding for regional roads and especially the Black Spot program has made dangerous roads safer and saved lives.”