Sorry, but no funds to Indi

NORTH East Victoria appears to have been snubbed again despite a federal government backflip on regional funding.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Warren Truss yesterday said the government would now honour funding grants to most regional projects announced under Labor before the election.

But several projects in Indi — including $5.8 million for the Wodonga city centre redevelopment, $400,000 for Wangaratta saleyards’ upgrade and almost $300,000 for the Rutherglen Main Street rejuvenation — are not likely to figure.

Those projects were announced by Labor during the Indi election campaign as being fully funded under round 5 of the Regional Development Australia Fund.

Mr Truss subsequently said the Coalition would not honour projects without signed contracts — including all those promised by Labor in Indi — as it prepared a new funding scheme to begin in 2015.

However, Mr Truss yesterday told a Coalition joint party room meeting in Canberra it would now honour 57 uncontracted projects under the rounds two, three and four of the regional fund.

It’s another blow for councils in the North East, who had renewed hope their projects could get some of the funding after Indi MP Cathy McGowan met an advisor from Mr Truss’s office last week.

The Border Mail reported at that time that the department was reviewing all projects and would make a decision on them by Christmas.

Ms McGowan said last night she was still waiting for Mr Truss to decide.

“I’ve met with Minister Truss’ office to put forward the case for the projects in Indi,” she said.

A spokesman for Sussan Ley said the Farrer MP welcomed the announcement.

“We understand all projects in this part of Farrer were already signed off,” he said.

“There are two projects outstanding in the north (of the electorate) around Broken Hill that now have the potential to proceed.

“We welcome this announcement for projects that had been held up for various reasons under the previous government.”

It is unclear how the government would fund the reinstated projects.

Mr Truss said 13 of 15 Labor-promised community infrastructure grants projects would be funded, while the former government’s roads projects would be rolled into the Coalition’s own road project strategy.

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