Mayor of Northern Grampians Shire Council, Cr Kevin Erwin, welcomed the Andrews Government’s State Budget which includes a number of positive investments for the region.
“Local sport has once again received a big boost with the government delivering $700,000 toward the redevelopment of Lord Nelson Park,” Cr Erwin said.
“Continued investment for the community cricket and world game facilities grant programs as well as a new regional netball development program will provide further opportunities to support local grassroots sport.”
“Evidence continues to show that early childhood education before school lays the foundations for lifelong learning.”
“Children in the Northern Grampians will be among the first to benefit as part of the early roll-out of subsidised three-year old kinder.”
“The support for capital investment is also welcomed, as our kids not only need the attention of early childhood educators but the best facilities to learn in.”
“Funding to support council to stop the spread of roadside weeds and pests helps us protect local agricultural land and our parks from invasive species.”
“With many of our farmers reporting a poor harvest due to drought, support for farmer health is so critical to ensure we are looking out for those doing it tough in the community.”
“The Grampians attracted 2.3 million visitors last year. The budget investment in visitor attraction, marketing, business support and trade exposure for our wine industry and grants to create silo art will help bring even more visitors to experience the best of our region has to offer.”
“Roads continue to be the biggest cost pressure on the council budget, with the pipeline of upgrade and maintenance works required far outweighs the funding we are able to allocate to them.”
“The State Budget allocation of over $400 million for regional road maintenance and $10.7 million for bridge upgrades and renewals is much needed, especially if some of this investment will be directed toward works on our local roads.”
“We are however, highly concerned about the removal of the gold exemption from mining royalties and the negative impact this will have on the Stawell Gold Mine at a time when it is going through a transition.”
“The mine only re-commenced operations in January this year, following an investment of $50 million into the local economy to create 200 direct jobs at the mine, providing a massive shot in the arm for employment opportunities in Stawell.”
“Clearly this has taken the mining sector by surprise and the short timeframe of its commencement meant there was no way this cost was factored into operational planning for further expansion at the mine.”
“Council will be seeking an urgent meeting with government ministers, to discuss options to ensure these revenues are re-directed into the Stawell community.”