Gippsland › Latest news › Darren Chester MP

Delays on commitment to assist with bushfire impacted Ensay and Sarsfield Recreation Reserves from Andrews Labor government

Concerns on the delayed government commitment to the bushfire impacted communities.

By news@gippsland - 9th September 2022 - Back to News

I rise to raise my concerns in relation to delays by the current government in honouring a commitment to bushfire impacted communities made prior to the May federal budget. I refer specifically to the $2.3 million for the Ensay Recreation Reserve and the $3.6 million for the Sarsfield Recreation Reserve.

Bushfire impacted communities shouldn’t need to fight again to secure much-needed funding for their facilities

Bushfire impacted communities shouldn't need to fight again to secure much-needed funding for their facilities

Provide value for taxpayers' money

I have provided the new minister, Minister McBride, with a copy of a letter from former minister Joyce which clearly stated that the 2022-23 budget would provide funding under the Community Development Grants Program to these communities.

To be clear, these commitments were not contingent upon the May election result. It is my understanding that they were both assessed to have merit and provide value for taxpayers' money well before the government entered caretaker mode.

Honouring the commitment

A failure by this new government to support both these projects would amount to an enormous breach of trust with two communities that were directly impacted by the Black Summer bushfires. The people in my community are fatigued.

They shouldn't need to fight again to secure much-needed funding for community facilities. Many of these people have had to rebuild their own homes. They've had to fix burnt assets on their own properties. They've already suffered emotionally and mentally from the devastating fires.

This ongoing uncertainty four months after we believed we'd already won the fight to secure the funding is simply retraumatising residents in my region. I urge the new minister to do the decent thing and honour the commitment of $5.9 million for Sarsfield and Ensay immediately.

Pictures from East Gippsland Shire Council Facebook page.


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