October 22, 2020

After 10 months of waiting, the Government has finally published the detail of its flagship $68.6 million bushfire recovery program, which will fund community recovery and economic stimulus projects.

People in the Upper Murray and Alpine regions have been working for months to develop recovery plans. It is well past time this hard work was honoured by making the promised funding available.

I am also pleased that the Alpine resorts of Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek have been included in the program. The National Bushfire Recovery Agency had originally excluded these resorts from funding, despite fires burning right through the Dinner Plain region and gutting the summer tourism economy for all the resorts.

But after working with Steve Belli from the Alpine Community Recovery Committee, we successfully lobbied for this change. This is a great win for the Alpine communities, and I thank Steve for his advocacy.

This funding is also available for projects in Indigo, Mansfield, Wangaratta and Wodonga.

Really though, issuing these guidelines should have happened six months ago. And none of this money will actually flow until January of next year – over a year since the fires came.

Together with the Member for Gippsland, the Hon. Darren Chester MP, I recently met with the NBRA and Bushfire Recovery Victoria to express my dissatisfaction with the glacial pace of the recovery funding.

We need to see this funding delivered quickly and into meaningful projects that will actually create jobs for the long-term.

The funding is available for a huge range of organisations – TAFEs, businesses, councils, not-for-profits.

I encourage everyone with a good idea to reboot the economy in our bushfire-affected regions to register your interest at https://www.vic.gov.au/local-economic-recovery-program-bushfire-affected-communities.

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