Multi-million dollar May delivers big for communities

Today’s announcement of a further $9 million for bushfire recovery infrastructure projects is great news for East Gippsland.

Mayor Cr Mendy Urie said the support of 12 community projects across the shire under the Local Economic Recovery Program (Round 2) would give community recovery another important boost.

“The announcement of the LER grants today is very welcome, and on behalf of all funding recipients I thank the Federal and State-funded program for recognising the value of the East Gippsland projects,” Cr Urie said.

“Amazingly, this brings funding announcement for infrastructure projects in East Gippsland over the past seven weeks to more than $45 million. In May alone, more than $38 million of funding for local projects has been announced. That’s more than $1 million a day!

The economic benefit of this investment will be substantial, both in the construction phase and then the longer-term benefits.

Council applied for one project – the Mallacoota Hall upgrade – in Round 2 of the LER program, administered by Bushfire Recovery Victoria.

“We took the approach of applying for more projects in the first round of funding, knowing we had some important major projects that were shovel ready,” Cr Urie said.

“This ensured a focus was placed on community-led projects in round two funding. We are delighted with the response to applications from across the shire and are so pleased for our communities who put projects forward.”

Council’s Mallacoota Hall upgrade is a priority project identified by the Mallacoota And District Recovery Association.

“The hall is Mallacoota’s largest community facility and is used for a wide variety of activities and functions, and was the town’s primary refuge, relief and recovery facility in the 2019-20 bushfires,” Cr Urie said.

“We will deliver this project and it will improve the day-to-day functionality of the hall. Work will include relocating the main entry to improve accessibility, the creation of additional spaces for storage and offices, and expansion of the existing kitchen.”

Cr Urie said Council officers had also been instrumental in many of the community-led funding applications.

“These successful funding applications are the result of considerable work behind the scenes by all involved, including Council. We have played a key role in the application process for projects such as the Swifts Creek Recreation Reserve (funded all design work), East Gippsland Rail Trail (initiated an economic impact assessment), and of course wrote letters of support and advocated at every opportunity for all other projects.

“I would also like to congratulate the work of the Community Recovery Committees and other community groups in many of our towns where funding has been announced. It is the community-focussed work of these groups that has been instrumental in prioritising, supporting and ultimately being successful.

“Council will support the community in the delivery of these great projects, and the many more projects that we know will still need funding over time.”

East Gippsland projects funded since April 2021 by Federal and State government, some of which Council also has committed to a financial contribution.

Local Economic Recovery Round 2 Grants:

* Swift’s Creek Recreation Reserve: $1.92m

* Mallacoota Golf Course: $1.89m

* East Gippsland Rail Trail: $1.5m

* Bruthen Recreation Reserve: $1.07m

* Mallacoota Hall: $818,000

* Mobile Play2Learn program: $432,549

* Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve: $402,125

* Orbost Cultural Walk: $362,000

* Marlo Community Hall: $336,000

* Mallacoota Pony Club: $296,000

* Goongerah Multi-purpose Facility: $87,260

* Buchan Canoe Launch: $40,250

Other April/May funding announcements:

* Slip Road Paynesville: $4m and $1m

* WORLD Redevelopment Bairnsdale: $5m

* Orbost P-12 College: $7.27m

* Mallacoota streetscape: $1.5m

* Kalimna Lookout: $1.5m

* Mallacoota-Genoa Road upgrade: $10m

* Krautungalung Walk Lakes Entrance (stage 1): $2.2m

* East Gippsland Rail Trail: $2m

* Forest Park Orbost: $1.3m

* Koala Discovery and Rehabilitation Raymond Island: $500,000

“This funding directly impacts at least 12 towns – Mallacoota, Swifts Creek, Bruthen, Buchan, Orbost, Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Bairnsdale, Marlo, Goongerah, Raymond Island, Nicholson and Nowa Nowa – and supports the activities of residents in all our communities and visitors to East Gippsland,” Cr Urie said.

“You would be hard-pressed to find a time in our history when we have received such support for major infrastructure projects across such a range of our communities.

“These projects, many of which as community-led, will drive the recovery and prosperity of our region int the short, medium and long-term and for that we are very grateful to all funding bodies and agencies, government, local MPS, Ministers and the commitment of local communities.”

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