Northern Grampians Shire Council presented a huge program of over 20 priority projects and issues to our state parliamentarians over a bumper two-day visit to Spring Street this week.
A delegation including the Mayor, CEO and councillors had 18 one-on-one meetings in the Victorian Parliament with government ministers, shadow ministers and their advisers.
This included ministers Jacinta Allan, Martin Pakula, Adem Somyurek and Lily D’Ambrosio, parliamentary secretaries Danielle Green, Ros Spence and Josh Bull, Leader of the Nationals Peter Walsh, shadow ministers Ryan Smith, David Morris, David Hodgett, Roma Britnell, Gordon Rich-Phillips, local MP Emma Kealy and Member for Western Victoria Andy Meddick.
Discussions were also held with the Chief of Staff to the Premier, and advisers to the Minister for Public Transport, Ports and Freight, and Regional Development as well as senior public servants including the CEOs of Freight Victoria and Major Road Projects Victoria, and a senior manager from the Higher Education and Skills Group in the Department of Education.
Some of the projects presented on the trip included, the Heath Street Bridge Project in Halls Gap, the Western Highway duplication, future development of Great Western, revitalisation of St Arnaud’s streetscapes, Stawell Airport upgrades, housing development in Stawell and key issues including support for the Stawell Gift, funding for road maintenance, rock climbing in the Grampians, and the Local Government Rating System Review.
Mayor of Northern Grampians Shire Council, Cr Kevin Erwin said, “It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, that I’m keen to see works on the Western Highway Duplication continue as soon as possible to ensure families are no longer torn apart by this dangerous section of road.
“This view has been reinforced by the Minister in her own comments in the media this week.
“We continue to be well received on the Heath Street Bridge project and the benefits that will result from developing the road reserve and building an arterial grade bridge over Stoney Creek, unlocking the full tourism potential of Halls Gap by activating a walking village.
“Other highlights of our discussions included, how we can improve public transport connections to the region, find a sustainable pathway forward for the Stawell Gift, create more housing, attract a future workforce for the new jobs that are coming online, and ideas to deliver a fairer rating system for regional and rural ratepayers.
“I’d like to thank the ministers and shadow ministers who gave up their time to hear about all of the exciting things we’re doing in Northern Grampians Shire.
“It’s very satisfying to be recognised for this work and for all sides of politics to show a keen interest in supporting that to continue.
“Having put in a lot of extensive work with the local community to develop the key infrastructure projects and programs that will grow our region, we’ve really sharpened our focus this year by formally extending that partnership to include the federal and state governments.
“With recent funding for the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory and our major sporting facility upgrades at Lord Nelson Park in St Arnaud and North Park in Stawell, this approach is paying dividends.
“We refuse to accept as a small rural shire that we face insurmountable challenges. Our plan is to continue to do the heavy lifting and present our politicians with proposals for support that are just too good to refuse.”