Regional Development Transport Infrastructure Media releases

Labor’s port proposal a dud deal for Victorians

The Liberal-Nationals Coalition cannot support the Melbourne Labor Government’s proposed sale of the Port of Melbourne in its current form.

It is a dud deal for Victorians, particularly country Victorians, and would damage the competitiveness of our export sector.

Victoria is the freight and logistics capital of Australia, with the Port of Melbourne handling around 36 per cent of the country’s container trade.

Victoria’s food and fibre industries, particularly dairy, are some of the biggest users of the port.

Daniel Andrews’ proposal exposes Victorians to a massive compensation payout if a second container port is developed in the next 50 to 70 years.

Creating a monopoly for the next 70 years by restricting the development of a second container port creates a real risk that Victoria will lose trade and jobs to Sydney and Brisbane.

It would also lead to higher costs for exporters, which would be passed straight back to farmers. We have already seen port fees tipped to rise by around 800 per cent in one hit.

This deal would be a noose around the necks of all Victorians and future governments for 70 years.

This is not the proposal that Daniel Andrews took to the election. The only debate before the election was whether Victoria’s second container port should be built at Hastings or Bay West.

The current proposal just adds to Labor’s herd of white elephants and dud deals, including the desalination plant, Myki and north-south pipeline.

Regional Development Infrastructure Media releases

Labor refuses to guarantee funds for regions

In a real shock to regional communities today Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford refused to commit the proceeds from the sale of the Rural Finance Corporation to regional Victorian infrastructure projects.

This was a promise that had been made by the previous Coalition Government.

The sale of the Rural Finance Corporation last year netted a profit of about $460 million, which was earmarked for re-investment in regional Victoria.

During the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing for the regional development portfolio today, Ms Pulford refused to say whether that commitment would be honoured by the Andrews Labor Government.

$220 million from the proceeds has been committed to the Murray Basin Rail Project but it is not clear where the remainder of around $240 million will be spent.

Comments from Shadow Minister for Regional Development Damian Drum:

“Quite starkly, Ms Pulford would not answer the question following repeated requests by PAEC member and Nationals MP Danny O’Brien.

“Rural Finance Corporation was built on the success of our state’s farming sectors and regional communities rightly expect the money from its sale to be invested back into their communities – not into Melbourne-based projects, such as level crossing removals.

“Given only 2.9 per cent of the state’s major infrastructure projects have been promised outside of Melbourne, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that this money goes back into regional Victoria.

“Yet again we are seeing this government focused on political outcomes in Melbourne at the expense of rural and regional Victoria.”

Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure Community Services


Daniel Andrews is ripping off regional Victoria to prop up projects in Melbourne, Shadow Minister for Regional Development Damian Drum said today.

Mr Drum said the Andrews Labor Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund contained no additional money for regional Victoria.

He said it was a grab-bag of regional projects that should have been covered by general departmental budgets – like health, sport and education.

“Today’s announcement from Daniel Andrews is just more spin and no substance,” Mr Drum said.

“Daniel Andrews is using his regional fund to do the essentials, so that he has more money left in department budgets to prop up projects in Melbourne.

“Daniel Andrews is ripping off regional communities while he spends billions of dollars in Melbourne.”

Regional Development Infrastructure Media releases


It is illogical that Daniel Andrews is undertaking a costly review of Regional Development Victoria while at the same time slashing funding for regional Victoria itself.

The Andrews Labor Government has appointed a panel, headed by former Labor State Premier John Brumby, to review regional development.

In fact, Regional Development Victoria (RDV) remains an efficient link between all levels of government, the business sector and our communities, and has a track record of delivering fantastic outcomes for regional Victoria.

We don’t know how much this RDV review is going to cost, or what will happen to regional investment programs in the meantime. There is a fear it will put the regional investment on hold completely.

Meanwhile, Premier Andrews is cutting the hugely popular $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which provided funding to communities for their priority projects such as upgrading recreational facilities, parks and CBDs.

The fund secured $3 worth of investment for every $1 contributed by government and created almost 23,000 jobs right across regional and rural Victoria.

Premier Andrews is also cutting the Country Roads and Bridges Program, which provided $40 million a year to local councils so they could fix their priority roads.

Without this vital funding, those councils must either find that money within their budgets by sacrificing other community programs, or simply abandon local road maintenance projects.

It beggars belief that Daniel Andrews would cut funding for these programs while wasting money on an expensive review of RDV.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Instead of media stunts and endless panels and reviews, the city-centric Andrews Labor Government must step up and actually deliver something for regional Victorians. 

Media releases Regional Development SPORTS AND RECREATION

Bendigo Stadium to undergo $16.5 million upgrade under re-elected Coalition Government

  • A re-elected Coalition Government commits $5 million to Bendigo Stadium
  • Upgrade includes three new basketball courts and 12 new netball courts
  • Victorian Coalition Government is building a more active Victoria 

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum at Bendigo Stadium today to announce a $5 million funding boost under a re-elected Coalition Government.

Mr Ryan said the $5 million investment would be provided through the  Regional Growth Fund and would be the catalyst for a $16.5 million project involving Bendigo Stadium Ltd and Bendigo City Council.

“Bendigo Stadium is a hub for community and elite sport in Bendigo and this upgrade will open up a new range of opportunities for the region,” Mr Ryan said.

“This redevelopment will see three new basketball courts that can be converted to a 3000 seat show court, along with 12 new netball courts with change facilities, catering for more than 500,000 annual sports participants.”

Mr Drum said that the upgrades would help grow participation in a number of sports.

“Basketball, Netball and Volleyball will all get additional new facilities, facilities that are needed to keep pace with demand for sport in the city,” Mr Drum said.

Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley welcomed the investment and said the upgrades would see Bendigo attract more events to put the city on the national and international stage.

“We’ve seen the Stadium successfully host the WNBL Grand Final twice, the Australian Goldfields Snooker Open and the recent Australian Diamonds netball Test, proving that Bendigo supports big events,” Mr Bickley said.

“These upgrades mean Bendigo can host big sporting and entertainment events all year round.

“Already NBL Basketball and ANZ Championship Netball are on the agenda through interest from Melbourne United and the Vixens, and in addition these benefits will be enjoyed by our own Bendigo Spirit and Bendigo Braves players and fans.”

Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon said the commitment was great news for Bendigo and the new facilities would be an economic driver locally.

“Professional sporting events are one example, but also national and international basketball, netball and volleyball underage tournaments and titles could come to Bendigo, as well as attracting big music and entertainment events,” Mr Langdon said.

“I am proud to be working as part of a strong Coalition Government team which continues to deliver for Bendigo and the Goldfields regions.”

Media releases Regional Development Transport

Coalition commits $4.7 million to extend Mildura Airport runway

  • $4.7 million commitment to extend one of Mildura Airport’s two runways
  • Will allow planes to land more often, in all weather conditions
  • Only the Coalition will build a better regional Victoria

A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will invest $4.7 million into extending one of Mildura Airport’s two runways to cater for more flights, more often.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp at the airport today to make the multimillion-dollar election commitment, from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“This extension of one of the two runways at Mildura Airport will mean large commercial planes such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s will have more room to land and take off in almost all weather conditions,” Mr Ryan said.

“This will accommodate more frequent flights in and out of Mildura Airport to cater for ever-increasing passenger numbers.

“Local member Peter Crisp has been lobbying strongly for further improvements to the Mildura Airport and I am pleased to say today that it will be delivered by a re-elected Coalition.”

Minister for the Aviation Industry Gordon Rich-Phillips said the funding commitment followed $5.2 million provided by the Coalition Government for the Mildura Airport Terminal Redevelopment Project in 2012, which saw the terminal completely remodelled and brought new air services to the region.

“Thanks to the terminal redevelopment, Mildura is now serviced by three major airlines – Qantas, Virgin and Rex – with regular flights to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Broken Hill,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

“There are currently 210,000 people using the airport each year and that figure is expected to double over the next decade if patronage keeps increasing at the current rate.”

Mr Crisp said the runway extension would cater for that forecast growth by allowing planes to land and take off safely in all conditions.

“This will mean more flights, more often,” Mr Crisp said.

“The Coalition Government recognises that the Mildura Airport is at the heart of our region’s economic development and tourism.

“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition is committed to seeing Mildura become even more of a thriving, vibrant regional city and tourist destination.”

Media releases Regional Development SPORTS AND RECREATION

Mildura to host World Motorcycle event under Coalition Government


  • World Under 21 Speedway Teams Championship to come to Mildura under Coalition Government
  • A re-elected Coalition Government will continue the Significant Sporting Events Program investing a further $3.5m over the next 4 years
  • Napthine Government  investing in sporting events to build a better regional economy  

A re-elected Coalition government will bring the 2015 Under 21 Speedway Teams motorcycle championships to Mildura thanks to a $3.5 million boost to the Significant Sporting Events Program, Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp announced today.
Mr Drum said this would be the first time Mildura has hosted a motorsport event of this stature and is just one of many national and international sporting events that will be held in regional Victoria under a re-elected Napthine Government.
“A Napthine Government will provide $100,000 worth of Significant Sporting Events Program funding to bring this world-class event to Mildura,” Mr Drum said.
“”This event is expected to bring more than 2000 visitors from around the world to Mildura and there is a projected economic boost of $5 million to the region from the staging of the Championships.”
“This is why a re-elected Coalition Government will increase funding for the Significant Sporting Events program by $3.5 million over the next four years.  This is in addition to the $4.8 million already locked into the budget. 
Mr Crisp said the Mildura Motorcycle Club had worked extremely hard to bring this event to Mildura.
“Our Government provided an initial Regional Development grant of $200,000 that was leveraged into $580,000 by the club members to upgrade the facility,” Mr Crisp said.
“That initial investment has made Mildura hosting international motorcycle events possible and today we’re thrilled to announce that this will happen under a re-elected Coalition Government.”
“Aside from the economic impact, and the encouragement it will provide for young people to take up the sport, I am particularly excited about the possible worldwidemedia exposure for the Sunraysia.”   
“A Coalition Government gives regional Victoria a true voice in terms of attracting international sporting events”.
“Regional Victoria deserves major sport and it’s the Coalition that works hardest 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 being held in regional Victoria.

Media releases Regional Development Transport

Coalition to introduce extra train trips on Shepparton line


  • $178.1 million to improve Victoria’s long distance V/Line train frequencies
  • An extra evening weekday service to Shepparton under a re-elected Coalition
  • An additional return trip on both Saturday and Sunday
  • 79 extra long-distance weekly V/Line train trips around Victoria

A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will introduce extra V/Line weekday and weekend train trips on the Shepparton line, Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan, who was joined in Shepparton by The Nationals candidate for Shepparton Greg Barr, said this announcement was great news for the Goulburn Valley.

“The Victorian Coalition Government wants to double V/Line’s long distance train patronage within 20 years,” Mr Ryan said.

“Commencing in 2016-17, the Coalition will introduce an additional 79 weekly V/Line trips on eight long distance country rail lines – Albury, Ararat, Bairnsdale, Echuca, Maryborough, Swan Hill and Warrnambool, as well as Shepparton.” Mr Ryan said that:

  • the 4:31pm Southern Cross to Seymour weekday train would be extended to terminate at Shepparton at 7:15pm,
  • the additional Saturday and Sunday trains would depart Southern Cross at 1:12pm and arrive at Shepparton at 3:45pm, while in the reverse direction the new weekend train would depart Shepparton at 12:50pm and arrive at Southern Cross at 3:15pm.  These weekend trains would stop enroute at Broadmeadows, Wallan, Broadford and Seymour then all stations to Shepparton, and
  • the 4:05pm Saturdays Shepparton to Southern Cross train would depart slightly later.

Mr Barr welcomed the commitment which he said would be strongly welcomed by locals.

“Locals want more frequent trains. Travellers prefer trains to road coaches, so I am delighted that the Coalition has acknowledged this. Under a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government, this will occur,” Mr Barr said.

Mr Barr said at Shepparton, V/Line would call tenders for construction of a secure compound to stable trains overnight together with new train crew facilities.

“This will ensure that a train is protected from vandalism and graffiti. The compound will be built by 2016-17,” Mr Barr said.

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder passed on support and said that a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government would examine funding a new crossing loop between Seymour and Shepparton between Nagambie and Murchison East to further increase the number of trains that could operate.

Mr Mulder said that the Coalition would also investigate providing improved air-conditioning to V/Line’s N set carriages that were the mainstay of V/Line’s long distance trains.

“We will make a decision on this within a year of being re-elected,” Mr Mulder said.

Media releases Regional Development Transport

Coalition to introduce extra daily Maryborough line train


  • $178.1 million to improve Victoria’s long distance V/Line train frequencies
  • Extra daily return Maryborough train under a re-elected Coalition Government
  • 79 extra long-distance V/Line train trips around Victoria

A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will introduce an extra daily return train between  Ballarat and Maryborough, Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Ryan, who was joined in Maryborough by The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, said this announcement was great news for Maryborough and the region.                                                                                                            

“The Victorian Coalition Government wants to double V/Line’s long distance train patronage within 20 years,” Mr Ryan said.

“Commencing in 2016-17, the Coalition will introduce an additional 79 weekly V/Line trips on eight long distance country rail lines – Albury, Ararat, Bairnsdale, Echuca, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Warrnambool, as well as Maryborough.”

Mr Ryan said the initiative would see the 9:08am train from Southern Cross to Ballarat on Mondays to Saturdays (9:28am on Sundays) extended to Maryborough, arriving at Maryborough at 11:40am and 12 noon respectively.

“On the return, the train will commence from Maryborough at 1:10pm on weekdays, 1:35pm on Saturdays and 3:15pm on Sundays and provide a convenient afternoon train to Ballarat, Ballan, Bacchus Marsh and Southern Cross,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Turner welcomed the announcement and said the extra train would be a further boost to Creswick, Clunes and Talbot.

“The more travel options that these towns have by public transport the better,” Mr Turner said.

“Locals prefer trains to coaches, so I am very optimistic that residents of historic towns like Clunes and Talbot will support the new return daily Maryborough line train by purchasing tickets and boarding the smooth, sleek V/Line VLocity railcars that will make two return trips a day instead of just one,” Mr Turner said.   

Liberal Candidate for Ripon Louise Staley said the tourism industry in Maryborough would  gain from the extra Maryborough line trains.

“V/Line already has an extensive network of trains and coaches from Southern Cross via Ballarat or Castlemaine to Maryborough.  The extra daily train is proof positive that under a Victorian Coalition Government, Maryborough is advancing further as a rural city that attracts many visitors,” Ms Staley said.

Sport and Recreation Regional Development

8-lane indoor swimming pool for Traralgon


  • $9 million commitment to build the new Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre, Traralgon
  • Project to deliver competition 50 metre indoor and 25 metre outdoor swimming pools
  • Coalition Government investing in community sport to build a more active Victoria 

Member for Morwell Russell Northe today announced that a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will commit $9 million to build the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre.

Mr Northe said the Coalition will provide significant funding towards delivering a new indoor/outdoor swimming pool centre in Traralgon.

“Once completed, this state of the art aquatic centre will include the only competition 50-metre indoor facility in eastern Victoria. Importantly for locals, this development will include the retention of an outdoor pool for the summer season,” Mr Northe said.

“This is wonderful news for local swimming enthusiasts who are keen to get on the blocks year-round. It would be great to see Gippsland’s next generation of Olympic swimming champions starting their sporting career up and down the lanes of the new Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre.

“This is great news for not only recreational swimmers but for the Traralgon Swimming Club, one of the most successful swimming clubs in Victoria.


Mr Northe thanked the Latrobe City Council for providing $12 million in funding towards the project.

Newly elected Latrobe City Mayor Dale Harriman said this investment will deliver a heated 50m 8-lane competition indoor pool with a dividing boom, an outdoor 25m 4-lane heated pool, spectator seating and a toddler’s pool.

“There will also be a warm water pool that could be used by health professionals for rehabilitation,” Cr Harriman said.

“This is great news for the local people of Traralgon, Latrobe City and the broader Gippsland region.

“I am confident that the facility will become the centre of swimming in the region, providing huge health and social benefits for Gippsland.


The Federal Government has also been invited to contribute to the project, with the committed $21 million providing a good position to leverage any additional funding.

Mr Northe said the Coalition Government is committed to a more active, healthier Victoria and recognises the importance of facilities in achieving that goal.

“A new Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre will provide an exciting centre for competition and family recreation swimming in the region, we expect these upgrades to grow swimming participation in the region,” Mr Northe said.