Media releases Agriculture Sport and Recreation Environment

Coalition support for Bay licence buy-back unchanged

The Liberal-Nationals Coalition continues to support a buy-back of commercial netting licences for Port Phillip Bay, including Corio Bay.

The Coalition committed to the policy during the lead up to the November 2014 election.   

The Coalition’s initiative was then adopted by the Victorian Labor Party.

Today the Andrews Labor Government introduced the Fisheries Amendment Bill 2015 which will legislate the buy-back of commercial licences and phase out netting in Port Phillip Bay by 2022.

Comments from Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh:

“Both myself and Matthew Guy have met with recreational fishing and commercial fishing representatives and stakeholders in recent weeks and we’ve made it clear that we remain committed to the policy we took to the last election.

“In the coming weeks we will examine the legislation presented by the Government to ensure that it provides fair compensation to the licences holders and that the phase-out mechanisms are appropriate.

“Our pre-election policy aspired to make Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay recreational fishing meccas for locals and visitors alike, and ending commercial netting was a key part of the plan.”

Sport and Recreation Environment Community Services Media releases

Statement from Senator Bridget McKenzie

The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie welcomed today’s decision to ensure licensed firearms users and industry representatives have meaningful input into the review of the technical aspects of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).

“This is a common sense decision which is long overdue,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Establishing the Industry Reference Group and providing further stakeholder consultation is critical to ensuring we get the NFA review right.

“Our licenced and law-abiding shooters are the people who are most affected by the NFA review yet they have not had the opportunity to formally engage with the overly bureaucratic Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group.

“Shooters and industry representatives right across the country have been telling me they are angry at being locked out of the decision making process, a process which directly impacts on their ability to earn a living or participate in lawful recreational pursuits.

“The decision to suspend the importation of the Adler A110 was made without consulting firearms owners or industry representatives and was further proof that the system is broken.

“The Nationals have fought hard to ensure there is genuine and meaningful consultation with shooters and industry and we are grateful that the Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, has listened and acted.

“Australia’s more than 800,000 licenced firearms users are not terrorists or criminals, they are responsible law-abiding members of our community and part of a broader industry that contributes in excess of $1 billion a year to Australia’s economy.

“The Nationals accept that the use of firearms must be regulated and that owners need to be responsible citizens, but licenced shooters do not need more red tape, they must be treated with respect and their very real concerns must be heard – the Minister’s decision ensures this will now happen.

“This newly established Industry Reference Group will be made up of highly experienced individuals and organisations who will add a great deal of knowledge and expertise to the review of the NFA, including issues of the lack of harmonisation between states and gaps in data collection.”

Regional Development Sport and Recreation Community Services Media releases

Adventure Festival funding secured

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he was pleased the Australian Adventure Festival to be held later this year – which he says could put East Gippsland on the international stage and bring millions to the local economy – will receive State Government funding.

“Having raised the matter at each of the April, May and June sittings of Parliament this year, explaining the event and seeking support, I was pleased to receive a letter from the Minister on Friday stating $75,000 has been allocated for this year’s event.

“Pre-election the Coalition committed $350,000 over the next four years in recognition of what this event can potentially do for this region and while this commitment is not to that level it will nevertheless be important in the developing years of the festival. I will pursue funding in future years also.

“There has been a lot of work go into the planning by East Gippsland Marketing Inc (EGMI) and its Adventure Festival Sub-committee, all hard working East Gippslanders who want to see the region promoted.

“The proposal was developed by EGMI, which received State Coalition and Local Government funds to develop a signature event for the region.”

Mr Bull said there would be several events as part of the Festival that included activities such as trail running, kayaking and mountain biking and the various skill levels will be catered for from elite to the “weekend warrior”.

“In addition, it is planned to have family friendly activities across the weekend providing sporting challenges for kids that mirror the adventure series; and shopping and food experiences including a nightly market.

“Lakes Entrance will be the focal point and base destination of the event, however the sporting challenges will take place throughout the East Gippsland region.

“The Australian Adventure Festival will bring together the world of adventure sports to compete in ultimate adventure challenges, all held in one of the most picturesque and diverse nature based destinations in Victoria.

“Based on estimated participation from the report that has been done, the event is expected to return an economic benefit of over $2 million in year one, growing exponentially as the competitor pool increases, but funds are required to get it off the ground,” Mr Bull said.



Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, pictured with East Gippsland Marketing Inc members Richard Rijs, Karly McCaskill and John Morton. Mr Bull said funding has been secured for the event to be held later this year.

Media releases Sport and Recreation Community Services Health and Aged Care

Drum demands detail on sport funds

Victorian Shadow Minister for Sport Damian Drum has demanded the Andrews Labor Government release full details of major sporting funds which failed to get a mention in this year’s State Budget.

In Parliament Mr Drum, Nationals MP for Northern Victoria, asked the Treasurer Tim Pallas to explain what had happened to:

  • $9.8 million yet to be spent in the Shooting Sports Facilities Program;
  • Funding for the Country Football Netball Program; and
  • $18 million which had been ear-marked for two major Bendigo sport projects, the Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre and the Bendigo Tennis Centre.

Mr Drum told Parliament that Labor Sport Minister John Eren had been embarrassed at a recent budget review meeting by not being able to show where the funds had been included in this year’s Budget.

“It will be welcome news to many sporting clubs that the Andrews Labor Government has now backflipped and decided to continue the Country Football Netball Program and the Shooting Sports Facilities Program after I raised these issues publicly,” Mr Drum said.

“These are important programs that support local sporting clubs and encourage greater participation in sport across the state.

“But I am still concerned about the long-term future of the programs, with the government refusing to say how long they will continue or where the money is coming from.”

Media releases Sport and Recreation Community Services Health and Aged Care

Labor drops the ball on country sport: Drum

The Andrews Labor Government has today shown how little it cares about country sport.

Sport Minister John Eren today told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that the government had provided $2 million in the 2015/16 State Budget to continue the Country Football and Netball Program.

Yet when asked where that funding was written in the State Budget, he was unable to point to any reference to the program on any page. It is not listed in the budget.

The Country Football Netball Program has provided support for local clubs to upgrade their facilities and therefore involve more people in sport. It funded more than 110 projects during the past four years.

The Coalition made an election commitment to provide another $8 million to continue the program for four more years, and ensure local clubs have better and safer facilities and equipment.

Labor failed to make any commitment.

Comments from Shadow Sport Minister Damian Drum:

“If the Andrews Labor Government values the Country Football Netball Program then they should fund it. Sports programs can’t run with imaginary funding.

“The fact that the government doesn’t even know what it has provided to country football and netball in the budget shows just how little it cares about regional Victorians.”

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.

Media releases Sport and Recreation Regional Development

Coalition funding provides home for Greenvale Field and Game Association

  • Coalition funds Greenvale Field and Game Association land purchase
  • Funding will give a permanent home for the sport in the region
  • Napthine Government investing in regional sport for a more active Victoria


Victorian shooters can now practice a wider range of skills following today’s announcement of funding towards land purchase and facility upgrades at the Greenvale Field and Game Association at Willowmavin by Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum and Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan.

The funding is part of the Victorian Shooting Sports Facilities Program (SSFP), helping shooting sports clubs and associations build the capacity of the sport and increase participation throughout the state.

“Shooting is a sport that Victorians of all ages can get involved with, progressing right up to Olympic Games level,” Mr Drum said.

“This upgraded facility will be a home for the sport from beginner to elite levels and secures the future of the sport in the region.”

“The accessibility of the sport was highlighted when 24 year-old Laetisha Scanlon won her second consecutive Commonwealth Games Gold medal in Glasgow earlier this year, more young competitors and females are taking up the sport and the new facility will assist in catering for that growth.”

The funding will contribute to securing the association’s tenure by enabling Field and Game Australia to purchase the land, with the final figure based on the valuer general’s valuation of the land.

$17,114 will contribute to clay target traps to support the "Come and Try Day" program to increase youth participation, as well as insulate, reline and provide sliding doors to the existing clubhouse to improve the general amenity.

Ms Ryan said that the assistance with the purchase of the facility would have many benefits for the region.

“This funding means the sport in Victoria now has a true home forever and can plan to grow the sport rather than worry about where it’s future lies,” Ms Ryan said.

“It’s a boost for the Greenvale association as well, but just as importantly it’s an economic boost for the local region with people travelling to Willowmavin to compete.”    

Over the past four years the Victorian Coalition Government has invested more than $141 million across a range of programs in more than 885 community sports facility projects like these, resulting in almost $600 million of new local sporting infrastructure for Victorians.

For more information about the SSFP and other community sporting facility funding programs on offer, please visit

Regional Development Sport and Recreation

Revamp for Rushworth Public Park Reserve

Member for Rodney Paul Weller opened the Rushworth Public Park Reserve at the weekend following a redevelopment made possible by a $390,000 investment from the Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

In Rushworth on Saturday representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Weller said the Victorian Coalition Government was proud to invest $390,000 in the project, worth a total of $584,000.

“This project will restore community pride in the reserve and boost the local economy,” Mr Weller said.

“The project has replaced the ageing kitchen and servery, upgraded the social club rooms, constructed a new multi-use community building with change rooms and accessible toilets, and added disability car parking.”

Mr Weller said Rushworth had a proud history but the rundown facilities were in desperate need of renewal.

“By restoring the building and bringing it up to the latest standards, the project has improved access to the reserve and made the building more sustainable,” he said.

“Local sporting clubs and user groups will immediately benefit from the new facilities, which will be easier to maintain, reduce the workload for volunteers and encourage more residents to hire the club rooms for social events and celebrations.”