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Great Southern Rail Trail to be extended with $6 million funding from Regional Infrastructure Fund
Boosting tourism while creating jobs for the locals through the Gippsland track and trails project.
The One Gippsland alliance has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas to extend the Great Southern Rail Trail with $6 million in funding through the Regional Infrastructure Fund - Stimulus Round.
The Gippsland Tracks and Trail Project is the region's integrated plan to bring the various tracks and trails throughout Gippsland together into an internationally acclaimed tourist attraction
Coordinated regional effort
The funding will deliver an extension of the Great Southern Rail Trail from Welshpool to Alberton, creating a continuous trail of 99 kilometres from Leongatha to Yarram. In a coordinated regional effort, South Gippsland and Wellington Shire Councils submitted a joint application for funding, which was supported by One Gippsland through ongoing state and federal advocacy.
The Great Southern Rail Trail is an integral part of the Gippsland Tracks and Trails coordinated plan to connect the 475 kilometres of existing rail trail corridors throughout Gippsland, to create an internationally acclaimed tourist attraction.
Growing regional tourism
This investment is in addition to the $2 million in funding announced by the Member for Gippsland the Hon Darren Chester MP for the East Gippsland Rail Trail. Tourism attracts more than 7 million visitors per year to the region, worth over $1.1 billion annually, employing more than 13,000 people. Projections indicate that the sector could grow regional tourism to contribute $1.5 billion annually but to achieve this Gippsland will need to attract an additional 270,000 visitor nights each year.
Essential to the economic recovery
Chair of One Gippsland Cr Brett Tessari said "The hard work of One Gippsland has been realised with the State Government providing major support for this project. As a key industry for Gippsland, tourism investment is essential to our economic recovery from the effects of COVID, bushfires, storms, flooding and drought. This announcement is a big step in the right direction, after some very challenging years of natural disasters and economic shocks."
Boost to Gippsland
In a further boost to Gippsland jobs and innovation, the One Gippsland alliance has welcomed additional State Government announcements made in recent days including:
Four businesses across Gippsland will share in more than $2.3 million in grants through the Victorian Timber Innovation Fund:
- Heyfield's Australian Sustainable Hardwoods: $1.6 million to install a new manufacturing line to manufacture engineered plantation floorboards
- Radial Timber in Yarram: $397,000 to introduce a small log line and experiment with processing plantation timber
- Longwarry Sawmill: $26,000 to use recycled and reclaimed timber to make new timber products
- Brunts Harvesting in Orbost: $40,000 to undertake a feasibility study for transition to plantation harvesting
Opening of the $30 million GovHub in Morwell, which will house 300 workers from the Victorian Public Service including 200 new roles, and provide a long-term annual boost of $15 million to the local economy. Federation University's Morwell Innovation Centre has welcomed it's first major tenants with Alinta Energy recruiting 125 new roles as it transitions it's offshore operations to the centre.
One Gippsland thanks the Government for this investment and will continue to champion the interests of our region and our people through improvements in liveability, connectivity and productivity.
Pictures from One Gippsland website.
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