More than $40 million has been invested in bushfire recovery across Indi, Federal Independent Member for Indi Helen Haines has announced.
A total of 55 projects have received Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants, including improvements to evacuation facilities in Wodonga, Mansfield and Corryong, upgrades to community sporting facilities, and mental health resilience programs.
This brings the total funding to Indi for bushfire recovery to approximately $120 million, including small business grants, direct assistance in the wake of the fires and community-building projects.
“Communities in Indi were devastated by the Black Summer bushfires, and the recovery process has been hampered by the pandemic. As our communities look to the future, the grants for these projects give hope for the future,” Dr Haines said.
“I’m thrilled to see successful projects like $2.2 million for the Myrtleford Splash Park, $2 million for the Wangaratta Parklands Emergency Relief Capacity Upgrade, $1.6 million for the Hotham Water Storage Capacity Expansion and $573,000 for the Corryong Evacuation Centre, for which I wrote letters of support.
“Successful projects in Indi show how complex bushfire recovery is. Communities need infrastructure that will serve us in times of emergency. At other times, we need projects that respond to the mental health needs post-bushfire and build community resilience. Over the long term, we need infrastructure projects that boost tourism to support economic recovery.
“I look forward to seeing the difference this funding will make across Indi, helping communities heal, be better prepared for future emergencies, rebuild infrastructure and improve facilities and attractions.”
Alpine Shire received more than $10 million in projects, and Towong Shire received more than $6 million in grant funding, reflecting the two local government areas most affected by the fires.
Almost $1.9 million was awarded to projects to be undertaken in the Alpine Resorts, which were excluded from eligibility until Dr Haines advocated on their behalf to be included.
“I am glad to see these vital projects, including the Hotham Airport Offgrid Power System Upgrade at Hotham, were funded after I made sure they were not left out of the program,” Dr Haines said.
A $9.9 million project focused on young people that will run across Indi and fire-affected parts of Gippsland was the highest-value project funded in the region.
“More than anything, bushfire recovery is about people. These successful projects in Indi cover connectivity, resilience, rebuilding and community spirit. I commend our community recovery committees, local governments, businesses, and volunteer groups who have worked hard on these applications. These projects will help our communities build back better than ever before,” Dr Haines said.