MEDIA STATEMENT

Today was a great day in the long process to recover from last year’s terrible bushfires. Indi secured 60 per cent of all Regional Economic Stimulus Project bushfire recovery grants in Victoria, which is testament to the quality of the applications received from across our region.

The 10 successful projects in Indi are all incredibly worthy and I know how much it will mean to each of these communities to have this much-needed investment in the future of our region.

The projects funded today have come from the community and I have worked hand in glove with our local governments and community organisations to advocate for these projects in Canberra. They will bring new jobs and attract tourism, and I’m so proud to see the hard work and initiative of our region recognised by this investment.

I am particularly thrilled that the Upper Murray has received an additional $2.17 million to develop its own renewable energy system. This comes on top of $800,000 announced last year, and I couldn’t be happier.

The Upper Murray’s Place Based Power Plan will mean the region generates and stores its own renewable power locally, so is not reliant on distant coal generators. This is a massive win for places like Corryong and Cudgewa but is also an example for the entire nation to follow.

Just on Thursday I met with the Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor to advocate for greater investment in these projects, and I have put forward the Upper Murray’s project for funding for the last two years. It’s great that the Government continues to respond to our community’s advocacy.

It is fantastic that the Alpine resorts have received $7 million for three transformational projects. The resorts were hit hard by the fires and then COVID-19, and yet inexplicably, the Government had initially excluded them from the bushfire recovery funding. I’m glad our local campaign to get them included has paid off.

I am also over the moon for the Mansfield community to receive $1.35 million funding for Mansfield Autism’s redevelopment. I have backed their campaign for over a year now, and this is a brilliant win for Mansfield. We’ll continue to advocate to secure the remaining funding they need for the $29 million upgrade.

There is also great news for tourism in our region here. $5 million for the Great River Road, upgrades to the Alpine Hotel and Bright Velo will help position our region for a strong economic recovery, creating sustainable jobs by bringing tourists to our wonderful region.

I’ve been lobbying the Government to seal the Dargo High Plains road since the beginning of last year. When I hosted the National Bushfire Recovery Coodinator’s virtual visit in April, he heard directly that this road access was critical during emergency events. This upgrade has been a long time coming and I’m thrilled this will open up more opportunities for tourism and make us safer.

The investment of $800,000 in a network of smoke sensors is a welcome boost to resilience of our local wine sector. I was delighted to write a letter of support for this innovative project which will benefit the entire region and help our world-famous wines get back on top.

Grapes and wine employ hundreds in the North East and yet was hit hard in the fires by the loss of crops due to smoke taint incurring $141 million worth of damage. I’ve worked with the newly-formed North East Wine Zone to take these ideas to Government and it’s just brilliant to get this investment.

I know there will also be many disappointed people who missed out on funding today. My message to you is that there is more bushfire recovery funding yet to be allocated, so let’s continue to work together to bid for those funds and further build our recovery.

Full list of projects

  • $5 million to boost tourism infrastructure and visitation along the Great River Road.
  • $2.6 million for new and upgraded infrastructure along the Dargo High Plains Road.
  • $2.17 million to support Upper Murray Inc’s plan to protect communities against power outages and reduce running costs.
  • $1.35 million for Mansfield Autism Statewide Services to develop accessible accommodation units to suit visitors to the region who have special needs.
  • $870,000 for Wines of the King Valley to develop a smoke sensor network that will help winemakers make informed decisions.
  • $600,000 to help redevelop the iconic Alpine Hotel in Bright so that it can be used for community events.
  • $375,000 for a cycle tourism and accommodation redevelopment in Bright.
  • $2.5 million for Falls Creek Alpine Resort to redevelop the lakeside trailhead and foreshore to assist growing water sport activation.
  • $2.5 million to develop the Mt Hotham Snow Play and Activity Hub.
  • $2 million to develop the Dinner Plain recreation reserve and village centre.

Images: Reviewing the extent of bushfire impact across the upper King Valley in January 2019, and Alpine national park.

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