Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

LC Victorian Ski Championships

Media Releases

Coalition protecting welfare of Sunraysias pets

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The Victorian Coalition Government has provided Sunraysia Animal Rehousing Group (SARG) with $10,000 to bolster its work improving the lives of neglected, homeless or abandoned animals in the Sunraysia region. 
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the grant was in addition to $50,000 provided to SARG last year for its new education and introductory space. 
“These grants have been provided through the Coalition Government’s $1.6 million Animal Welfare Fund, which is supporting not-for-profit and volunteer organisations in delivering animal welfare services across the state,” Mr Walsh said. 
“This funding will help SARG to provide its foster carers with training in recognising and managing animal behavioural issues, as well as supporting the delivery of subsidised pet desexing, information and education programs to the community.” 
The Nationals local Member for Mildura Peter Crisp welcomed the grant and said SARG and its volunteers were playing a vital role to improve animal welfare and reduce euthanasia rates in the region. 
“SARG is a prime example of a community organisation delivering excellent animal welfare services through the generosity of volunteers and donations,” Mr Crisp said. 
“The Coalition Government introduced the Animal Welfare Fund to support animal welfare organisations after 11 years of neglect by Labor. While in government, the Labor Party did absolutely nothing to ensure companion animals were better protected from harm. 
For example, Daniel Andrews and the previous Labor government allowed fines for illegal puppy farms to stay at just $1,195. 
“It took a Coalition Government to significantly increase penalties in 2011, with fines for this serious offence now up to $88,566. 
“Since 2011 we have also introduced the toughest breeding code in the Australia, substantially increased fines for animal cruelty including up to $72,624 or two years jail for aggravated cruelty, and introduced animal ownership bans of up to 10 years for cruelty. 
“Only a Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government has had the heart to act, and is improving the welfare of Victoria’s companion animals.”

Voluntary buy-back for Gippsland Lakes commercial fishing licences

Friday, November 07, 2014
A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will offer a voluntary buy-back of commercial fishing licences on the Gippsland Lakes, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced today. 
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government, if re-elected, would commit up to $2 million for a voluntary buy-back of commercial licences, which had been called for by both commercial and recreational fishing sectors. 
“If re-elected the Victorian Coalition would commit to a fair and equitable exit strategy for Gippsland Lakes licence holders over the next four years,” Mr Walsh said. 
“Reducing commercial fishing efforts will boost opportunities for recreational fishing and, in turn, help grow Gippsland businesses that are supported by recreational fishing tourism.” 
An independent panel would be established to make recommendations to the Victorian Government on how the buyback would be structured. The panel would consult with the peak bodies Seafood Industry Victoria and VRFish and key stakeholders Future Fish, Australian Fishing Trading Association and others. The panel will make recommendations on licence types, species and fishing methods applicable to the buyback. 
The Nationals local Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull welcomed the initiative. 
“A voluntary buyback is a proposal I have received advocacy on from both commercial and recreational interests and I am delighted at today’s announcement by Minister Walsh that we have been able to progress this,” Mr Bull said. 
“In the last four years the Coalition Government has invested $10 million into practical projects that have helped to protect and improve Gippsland Lakes and I’m sure this commitment to a voluntary commercial licence buyback will be well received.” 
Mr Walsh said a re-elected Coalition Government had a vision to grow Victoria into a recreational fishing mecca, and the Gippsland Lakes initiative complimented the Coalition’s commitment to phase out commercial netting in Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay. 
“The Victorian Coalition Government has already delivered more for recreational fishing in the last four years than Labor could achieve during a decade,” Mr Walsh said. 
“As well as continuing the Recreational Fishing Grants Program, the Coalition Government boosted investment to record levels during the last four years with our $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative,” Mr Walsh said. 
“Under the Coalition Government, there has been more improvements to facilities, more boat ramps upgrades, more fish stockings and more artificial reef installations as well as a strong emphasis on education and compliance.”

Coalition support for agricultures next generation

Wednesday, November 05, 2014
A re-elected Coalition Government will boost support for Victoria’s next generation of agri-professionals, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced today.
Mr Walsh said a re-elected Coalition Government would provide $500,000 for two initiatives focusing on promoting and supporting agricultural careers for young Victorians.
“The Victorian Coalition is committed to ensuring there are rewarding career opportunities for our young agri-professionals who are the next generation of a $14 billion powerhouse industry that underpins our State’s prosperity,” Mr Walsh said.
“I want the young people of today to have even better opportunities for fulfilling and exciting careers in agriculture than the farmers of my generation have had.”
Mr Walsh said a re-elected Coalition Government would provide $300,000 for the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) to administer strategic initiatives that build professional networks, facilitate mentoring opportunities, and develop training and leadership activities.
“The Future Harvest Plan announced by the VFF and its Young Agribusiness Professionals’ last week is a practical strategy that has vital industry leadership, and the Victorian Coalition is happy to commit funding that will assist its implementation,” Mr Walsh said.
A re-elected Coalition Government will also provide $200,000 to increase funding for the Food to Asia Passport, and to expand assisted travel opportunities.
“The Food to Asia Passport was piloted in 2014 with tremendous success, helping three young agribusiness professionals join Victorian Government-led trade missions to South East Asia and China,” Mr Walsh said.
“If re-elected, the Coalition will increase funding for assisted travel programs so that 24 scholarships of up to $8,000 can be offered over the next four years.
“As well as China and South East Asia, young professionals will also have a new opportunity to travel with the Victorian Government to the Middle East where there are also important existing and emerging export markets for Victorian food and fibre products.
“Victoria’s food and fibre exports have grown to $11.4 billion, and with this increase comes new career and business opportunities for future agri-business professionals,” Mr Walsh said.

Coalition delivers 45 million dollar Better Bay Plan

Sunday, November 02, 2014
A re-elected Napthine Government to deliver $45 million Better Bay Plan Recreational fishing mecca for Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay with $20 million over four years for buyback of commercial licenses Napthine Government committed to protecting Victoria’s beaches, strengthening coastal communities and boosting recreational fishing Port Phillip Bay will be protected and restored for all Victorians to enjoy under a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government.
Premier Denis Napthine today unveiled a $45 million Better Bay Plan and announced that commercial netting in Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay will be phased out.
Dr Napthine said the comprehensive plan focused on preserving and rehabilitating one of the state’s best assets, while also building important community infrastructure to enable more people to enjoy the picturesque Port Phillip Bay.
A re-elected Napthine Government’s Better Bay Plan will deliver:
A $20.5 million investment into new and upgraded bike paths around Port Phillip Bay; $16.7 million to protect the bay against the impacts of erosion, litter and marine pests; $4.29 million to upgrade and improve fishing piers; and $3.07 million for Beach Patrol volunteers and investment into Surf Life Saving Clubs.
“Port Phillip Bay is one of the many assets that makes Melbourne the world’s most livable city and makes Victoria the best state in Australia,” Dr Napthine said.
“Our Better Bay Plan is the only integrated strategy to keep the Bay beautiful and enhance its amenity for more people to enjoy.
“We will deliver this $45 million initiative because Port Phillip Bay is the heart of Victoria, it’s where we spend time with our friends and families and it is definitely worth protecting for future generations,” Dr Napthine said.
Dr Napthine said the Victorian Coalition Government was also committed to improving recreational fishing opportunities for Victorians and if re-elected, would allocate $20 million over four years towards a buyback of commercial licences for Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay.
“This will significantly improve recreational fishing opportunities through greater fish numbers in the bay, which will in turn boost the recreational fishing industry and see benefits flow on to local businesses.”
“Our vision is for Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay to be recreational fishing meccas for locals and visitors,” Dr Napthine said.
The $20 million funding commitment over four years would provide a fair and equitable exit strategy for licence holders and the buyback would be phased to minimise the impacts to the commercial fishing industry.
An independent panel would be established to make recommendations to the Coalition Government on how the buyback would be structured and commercial netting will be phased out. The panel would consult with the relevant peak bodies such as the Seafood Industry Victoria and Victorian Recreational Fishing (VRFish) and key stakeholders Future Fish, Australian Fishing Trading Association and others.

Victoria and NSW coordinate Murray cod size limits

Friday, October 31, 2014
The Victorian and NSW Governments have agreed to common Murray cod size limits in the interests of recreational fishers.
In the upcoming season, a recreational slot limit of 55-75cm will apply to all Murray cod caught in Victorian and NSW waters, from the opening of the Murray cod season on 1 December.
Minister Walsh and Minister Hodgkinson agreed it was necessary to have consistent size limits.
This consistent approach between the States will reduce any potential for confusion among recreational anglers along the border region and will improve compliance outcomes to protect this
important native species.
Mr Walsh said it was important for anglers to note that Victoria would still be adopting a daily limit of
one Murray cod in rivers.
“The Victorian slot limit and reduced bag limit in rivers will be reviewed once the results of Murray cod
population monitoring in both States are reviewed,” Mr Walsh said.
Ms Hodgkinson said these changes will improve the sustainability of our Murray cod fisheries and improve long-term fishing opportunities for recreational anglers.
“In NSW, existing bag limits remain for Murray cod, and those lucky enough to catch one outside of the new size limits need to remember that these fish are catch and release only,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“This is a commonsense outcome for Murray cod anglers on both sides of the State border.
“The NSW Government conducts periodic reviews of recreational fishing rules to provide for fairer
sharing of the catch between recreational fishers.”
The Murray cod recreational fishing rules for Victoria and NSW are as follows:
· both States - size limit of 55 to 75 cm;
· Victoria – daily bag limit of one in rivers, two in lakes;
· NSW – daily bag limit of two, possession limit of four; and
· note in NSW, the new size limits apply from 3 November in Copeton Dam, which will now be open year-round.
For more information, visit or

Land managers unite in new rabbit control initiative

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A new Victorian initiative that supports community-led action on rabbits to deliver better management outcomes has been launched today by the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh.
Minister Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government recognised rabbits are a major pest that causes significant economic and environmental damage.
“The Victorian Rabbit Management Collaboration Initiative recognises that coordinated community-led efforts can deliver improved management outcomes,” Mr Walsh said.
“To support this approach, the Victorian Government and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre are providing funding of $300,000 towards the initiative.
“Community-led rabbit management is already taking place, but the initiative aims to improve the coordination of activities and share expertise to deliver more effective and efficient action.”
“The initiative includes a training and mentoring program to develop the next generation of rabbit control experts, ensuring we retain our future capability for rabbit management.
“It also includes a small grants and workshop program that will boost collaboration, coordination, networking and mapping capability in order to help land managers plan their rabbit control activities.”
Other initiative programs will facilitate improvements to warren ripping quality and the flow of funding for community-led action. Opportunities to support Blackberry Action Groups in Victoria and extend their focus to rabbit management will also be investigated.
“An important part of the initiative will be to share success stories which will provide support for participants and motivate future action,” Mr Walsh said.
A skills-based steering group chaired by Gerald Leach will lead the initiative which also involves Landcare, government and industry representatives.
For more information on the initiative, please visit

12 million dollar almond research centre for Sunraysia

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will expand horticulture research capacity at Irymple to establish the Australian Almond Centre of Excellence.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said a re-elected Coalition Government would invest $12 million for capital works and development of research programs that would support Victoria’s fastest growing horticulture sector.
“Irymple will be home to a national, contemporary, world-class research and development centre focused on almonds, which will deliver technical knowledge and services to boost productivity, profitability and competitiveness in Australia’s almond industry,” Mr Walsh said.
“Almonds have been a major success story for Victoria’s horticulture sector in recent years, with opportunities to expand into new markets driving strong export growth.”
Local Member for Mildura Peter Crisp welcomed the announcement and said it reinforced The Nationals strong commitment to supporting industry development in the region.
“The Australian Almond Centre of Excellence will create new jobs in the Sunraysia district and will encourage greater investment in the production and processing of almonds in our region,” Mr Crisp said.
“The Nationals understand the importance of horticulture to our district and a future Coalition Government is committed to working with industry to ensure we are productive, profitable and well-placed to access the expanding high-value export markets.
“A key action of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $100 million Food to Asia Action Plan is better targetted R&D, extension and innovation, and the new Australian Almond Centre of Excellence is an example of the initiatives we will deliver as we aim to double food and fibre production by 2030 and get more Victorian produce to plates around the world.”
Australia is now the second largest almond producer in the world, and more than 70 per cent of national production comes from Victoria. In 2013-14 Victorian almond exports were valued at $366 million, and accounted for 41 per cent of the total value of Victoria’s horticulture exports.
This was an increase of 167 per cent in value and 93 per cent in volume compared to state almond exports in 2012-13.

Extra funding for RSPCA and litter limits for dogs

Monday, October 27, 2014
The Victorian Coalition Government today announced an additional $6 million for RSPCA Victoria to support enforcement aimed directly at shutting down cruel and illegal puppy and kitten breeding businesses.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to wiping out cruel and illegal breeders who profit off the misery and suffering of defenseless animals.
“The RSPCA plays an important role in enforcing Victoria’s animal welfare laws and this role has expanded since the Victorian Coalition Government’s crackdown on illegal and cruel breeders began in 2011,” Mr Walsh said.
“In August I authorised significantly greater powers for the RSPCA, including enhanced access rights at suspected illegal puppy and kitten breeding businesses and pet shops, and greater powers to seize animals and shut down illegal breeders.
“To help RSPCA officers exercise these new powers, the Victorian Coalition Government and RSPCA have reached agreement for an additional $6 million in funding over four years.
“The first allocation of $1.5 million will be paid immediately to assist with the purchase of specialised equipment and new vehicles which help RSPCA officers seize animals from illegal businesses. In March there will be a subsequent allocation of $750,000 followed by allocations of $1.5 million, $1.25 million and $1 million respectively in the next three financial years.
“This extra support from the Victorian Coalition Government will help RSPCA authorised officers target unlawful breeding operations as we work together with local councils to send a strong message to rogue breeders that there is no place for their disgraceful practices here in Victoria.”
Mr Walsh said Victoria had introduced a world-leading mandatory Breeding and Rearing Code for domestic animal businesses in April this year which, for the first time, includes requirements for animal health records, retirement plans and compulsory annual vet checks for breeding animals.
“I am also pleased to announce today that the Victoria Coalition Government has heard community concerns and has taken steps to immediately update the Code to now include five litter limits and compulsory post-birthing vet checks for breeding female dogs,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has done more in four years to stamp out cruelty and illegal breeders than the previous Labor government had attempted in more than a decade.
“Under the Coalition’s leadership Victoria now has dramatically increased fines, we’ve introduced 10-year animal ownership bans, created new offences and introduced a worldleading mandatory breeding and rearing code that is the toughest in Australia.
“Labor allowed animal cruelty and illegal puppy and kitten farms to get out of control when it was in government. Fines were just $1,195 and Labor ignored the animal welfare lobby’s calls to update the out-of-date breeding code.
“The Victorian Coalition Government will continue to work with local councils, the RSPCA and animal welfare groups to stamp out cruelty, and our next priority is to review and tighten the Code of Conduct for pet shops,” Mr Walsh said.
Since 2011 the Victorian Coalition Government has:
· Introduced the toughest breeding code in Australia: breeders must follow more than 100 prescriptions including breeding limits and mandatory vet checks, and specified requirements for housing, nutrition, socialisation and staffing ratios.
· Increased fines for aggravated cruelty to up to $72,624 or two years jail for individuals.
· Dramatically increased fines for not complying with the mandatory breeding code from $1,195 up to $36,312 for individuals and $88,566 for incorporated businesses.
· Introduced court-imposed penalties where people can be banned for up to 10 years from working with or owning animals if convicted of aggravated cruelty, running an unregistered business or non-compliance with the mandatory breeding code.
· Introduced a ‘fit and proper person’ test for people who want to register a domestic animal breeding business. People who plead guilty to animal cruelty offences cannot run a breeding business for 10 years.
· Introduced mandatory record keeping for pet shops to ensure animal traceability for all puppies and kittens sold.
· Introduced the $1.6 million Animal Welfare Fund, which is helping not-for-profit groups to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome abandoned companion animals.
· Imposed explicit bans on blunt force trauma as a method of euthanasia and the use of wire floor cages at breeding businesses.
· Revoked the ‘28 day’ rule, meaning shelters are no longer forced to euthanise animals not claimed within 28 days.

54000 Dollars To Boost Recreational Boating For Kow Swamp

Friday, October 24, 2014
Over $54,000 is being invested to plan for better recreational boating infrastructure in Kow Swamp through the 2014-15 Victorian Government Boating Safety and Facilities Program, Member for Swan Hill and Nationals candidate for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, announced today.
“The annual Boating Safety and Facilities Program enables councils and waterway managers to deliver necessary projects that improve recreational boating,” said Mr Walsh.
“I’m pleased that for this year’s grants, over $54,000 is being invested in a recreational boating infrastructure master plan for the Kow Swamp site.
“The plan will be managed by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and involve stakeholder consultation to investigate further development of boating and fishing facilities at the site.
“This is great news for recreational boaters who enjoy Kow Swamp and I look forward to see the future plans for the area,” said Mr Walsh.
Minister for Ports David Hodgett said this year’s investment is a record amount in the history of the initiative and is a great example of the State Government’s commitment to the industry.
“The Victorian Government has a strong record of investing in projects to make recreational boating safer and more accessible for all Victorians,” Mr Hodgett said.
"I’m proud to say that over the past four years the Victorian Government has invested over $40 million in total on around 250 recreational boating projects to address safety and improve accessibility across the State’s waterways.
“This year’s package of projects includes over 50 grants for local councils and waterway managers in the areas of boating infrastructure, search and rescue and aids to navigation.
“Through initiatives like the Boating Safety and Facilities Program, the Victorian Government is working with industry to promote recreational boating and support a broad range of projects that will make a real difference to local boating communities,” Mr Hodgett said.
For more information about the Boating Safety and Facilities Program, contact the Grants Administration Team on 1800 337 222, email or visit

Sunraysias new approach for QFF pest control

Thursday, October 23, 2014
A new industry-led committee has been established by the Victorian Coalition Government to oversee pest control efforts in Sunraysia on behalf of citrus, stone fruit and table grape growers.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh and Local Member for Mildura Peter Crisp today announced the formation of the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA) Industry Development Committee.
“The Victorian Coalition Government understands fruit exports are vital to the Greater Sunraysia region and we are committed to supporting growers in this region in the fight against Queensland Fruit Fly,” Mr Walsh said.
“It was frustrating when legal action caused the Murray Valley Citrus Board to disband last year, but following lobbying from industry the Victorian Government agreed to propose new arrangements for relevant growers in Victoria and New South Wales.
“Growers have voted in favour of the Victorian Government’s proposed Greater Sunraysia PFA Industry Development Order, and subsequently I am now announcing the industry-led Committee that will oversee a PFA program to tackle Queensland Fruit Fly.
“New South Wales has already indicated informally it will support Victoria’s proposed Order, with formal requirements now being progress.”
The Committee will be chaired by Paul Grigg and includes representatives from Sunraysia Citrus Growers Incorporated, the Swan Hill Summer Fruits Development Association and the Australian Table Grape Association.
Mr Crisp welcomed the new Order and the establishment of the grower Committee.
“Victorian grape, citrus and stone fruit exports totalled $339 million in 2013-14, with exports to China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea alone worth $147 million,” Mr Crisp said.
“Earlier this year, the Victorian Government dedicated an extra $1.1 million to QFF control measures over autumn and winter to protect trade in the region.
“Infestations of QFF adversely affect access to these markets so I warmly welcome the long term certainty that the new Order and the new Committee provides.”
Once the proposed Order has formal support from both governments, the Committee will oversee a program where growers in the area will contribute to the cost of PFA control activities if they have at least 150 citrus fruit bearing trees or produce at least 1,000kg of stone fruit or table grapes per annum.
The charge in the first year would be $3.00 per tonne. Growers would have the opportunity in each year to vote on the charge, which can be no greater than $3.50 per tonne.
The charge would be collected at packing sheds for citrus growers and when buying boxes from a box supplier for packing stone fruit and table grapes. There is an opportunity for growers to apply for an exemption from paying the charge if they can prove they do not receive any benefit from the services.
More information is available at

Contact: Electorate Office: 274 Campbell Street SWAN HILL Vic 3585 Phone: (03) 5032 3154 Fax: (03) 5032 9483