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Sarsfield community ecstatic after Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce funds new community hall, playground and other infrastructure from Community Development Grants Program

The East Gippsland community of Sarsfield celebrates the announcement of receiving funds under the Community Development Grants Program to construct new infrastructures.

By news@gippsland - 25th March 2022 - Back to News

The East Gippsland community of Sarsfield, which was badly impacted by the Black Summer bushfires, is celebrating today following an announcement from the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce that they will receive funds under the Community Development Grants Program to construct a new community hall, playground and other infrastructure. "We are incredibly grateful to Darren Chester, our local MP, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to achieve this result." said Simon Hof, President of the Sarsfield Community Association.

Simon Hof and Darren Chester (local East Gippsland MP) presenting the Sarsfield Community Hall Development Plans

Simon Hof and Darren Chester (local East Gippsland MP) presenting the Sarsfield Community Hall Development Plans

Achieving support and funding

Mr Hof also said, "We know that East Gippsland Shire Council and Bushfire Recovery Victoria staff were also busy advocating for us and the other affected communities, and we can't thank them enough for their support. Most importantly, we want to thank the entire community, who sent many messages of support. It was awesome to see so many people advocating for us on an individual level."

Simon expressed concern for other bushfire impacted communities, who haven't yet been approved for funding. "We are really concerned for our friends in areas such as Buchan and Wairewa, who have been struggling to find funds for vital bushfire recovery projects. We want them to know that we'll keep fighting for them to have the support that they so desperately need."

Complaint submitted

Sarsfield has submitted a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grants process, which saw a number of communities deemed to be ineligible for funding due to their facilities being managed by volunteer committees for the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Simon explained that this has been a very difficult time for the Sarsfield community. "We're grateful for this announcement, but this funding situation simply should never have happened. The grants process has further traumatised a community which still has a long way to go on our recovery journey. We want to make sure this never happens to anyone else, so we're eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Ombudsman's process."

Moving on with new infrastructures

Mr Hof said, "We're delighted that we can now move on with building our new hall, which will enable our community to come together for essential recovery activities, and we want to express our thanks to everyone who has stood by us and supported our hardworking volunteers and community members."

"We're looking forward to moving on to the next stage, and it will be great to celebrate this outcome with our friends from the neighbouring community of Clifton Creek at our annual friendly cricket match 'the Sandhill Ashes' on Sunday 3 April." Mr Hof concluded.

Pictures from Sarsfield Community Association website.


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