Communities across the North East will have a brighter start to 2021, with the announcement of $2.7 million in bushfire recovery funding for six local projects, said Helen Haines MP.

The Independent Federal Member for Indi today welcomed the first tranche of almost $69 million that will flow into bushfire-affected communities in Victoria under the Local Economic Recovery program.

“One year ago, our region was in the grip of terrifying bushfires. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery has been slower and harder than it should’ve been,” Dr Haines said.

“But with this funding starting to flow in earnest, our communities can really start to heal and rebuild, and that’s a fantastic point of optimism to ring in the New Year.”

The largest single project in the North East will install locally-owned renewable energy generation and storage units on key community buildings across the Upper Murray.

The $800,000 project, known as the Place-Based Power Plan spearheaded by Upper Murray Incorporated, aims to protect against power outages and to reduce local power prices.

“Last summer, we saw the devastating impact of an insecure power supply when towns like Corryong and Walwa were cut off from power for almost a week in the midst of the fires. That should never happen again,” Dr Haines said.

“I know that the Upper Murray bushfire recovery committee has been working on its Power Plan all year, and I am so pleased it has been recognised with this significant injection of funds.

“When I launched Indi’s Local Power Plan in September, this is precisely the type of project I wanted to see take off. Today is a huge win for the local community and a demonstration that investing in locally-owned renewables is essential for building bushfire resilience.

“The Upper Murray project joins a growing list of local communities that have received funding in recent months to develop locally-owned renewables, including the Bright Art Gallery, Myrtleford Bowls Club, Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital and Corryong College.

“There is rising recognition in Indi that renewables are good for the regions, and it is welcome to see Governments of all stripes putting proper investment behind our communities.”

The other five successful projects under the current round of bushfire recovery funding include upgrades to the Walwa Memorial Hall,  Towong Soldiers Memorial Hall, Corryong Tennis Hub, Kergunyah Hall and Alpine Nature Experience at Mt Hotham.

Applications for the second round of funding close on March 15. Eligible projects unsuccessful in round one will be automatically rolled over for consideration in round two.

Round two will distribute $14.6 million.


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