9 June 2023

Haines announces Alpine areas finally eligible for federal infrastructure funding

Alpine areas will finally be eligible for a major federal infrastructure grant after successful advocacy from Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines.

Dr Haines said that the Alpine Resorts Victoria Board has now been listed as an eligible organisation under the $600 million Growing Regions Program, the Government’s major investment vehicle for regional Australia, replacing the former government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

The Alpine Resort Victoria Board functions like a Local Government authority for designated zones for the six alpine resorts at Falls Creek, Mount Baw Baw, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, Mount Stirling and Lake Mountain. Five of these six alpine resorts are within the electorate of Indi, with Mount Baw Baw being the exception.

“The Alpine Resort Victoria Board operates in much the same way as local governments and for too long they have not been treated as such when it comes to federal funding programs that they should be eligible for,” Dr Haines said.

“I fought hard for this change under the previous government, to two different ministers, and I am proud that this has finally changed.

“As an Independent Member of Parliament, I have worked constructively with governments of both major parties to ensure investment can flow to Indi and that the resort areas are treated the same as other parts of Indi.”

Dr Haines wrote to Infrastructure Minister Catherine King in May and the Minister’s office confirmed on Monday the Alpine Resorts would be treated in the same way under the grant guidelines as other similar entities such as the Lord Howe Island Board and the Outback Communities Authority.

“Our Alpine areas are major tourism drivers for Victoria and a significant contributor to the regional economy of Indi,” Dr Haines said.

“There are many worthy infrastructure projects which should be eligible for funding consideration under the Growing Regions Fund. These include Mt Hotham Business, Visitor and Community Centre and the the Falls Creek Recreation and Events Centre.”

The resorts contribute $2.5 billion in economic output, employing over 10,100 people and attracting over 1.3 million visitors in 2019. Visitation generates 9 per cent of all regional visitor economy jobs and visitor spend in Victoria, and 28 per cent of all tourist visitors to the High Country.

The Growing Regions Program provides grants of between $500,000 and $15 million to local government entities and not-for-profit organisations, for capital works projects that deliver community and economic infrastructure projects across regional and rural Australia.

The program is open competitive with grants awarded on a merit basis. Expressions of Interest open on July 5.

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