BILL Tilley is hitting the road.
The Benambra MP this week launched his mobile office, a large bus he says will see him travel more effectively to every corner of the electorate.
The bus had its first run yesterday, as Mr Tilley travelled to Beechworth to announce $257,000 in Living Libraries infrastructure funding to the Beechworth Library.
With Benambra taking in more than 9000 square kilometres — from Corryong to Rutherglen, with the new electoral boundaries taken into account — Mr Tilley said the bus was an “important tool” to allow him to work effectively.
It has been privately funded through his personal campaign funds — though Mr Tilley insisted the November election had nothing to do with its timing.
“If I could have had it years ago, I would have — that it’s at this time is just a bonus,” he said.
“I’d hoped to have it four years ago but these things cost a significant amount of money and it’s taken time to get off the ground.”
Mr Tilley said residents in the electorate weren’t always able to come to his Wodonga office to speak with him.
This would allow him and his staff to spend more time in the outer reaches of Benambra and provide a private space in which residents could air their concerns, he said.
The bus will be out this weekend during Winery Walkabout at Rutherglen, one of the new towns to join Benambra.
Meanwhile, Mr Tilley said the Living Libraries funding would help get an “incredibly worthwhile” project off the ground.
The funds will go towards relocating the library from its present Harper Avenue site to the existing Indigo Council offices in Ford Street, when the council moves to its new offices at Mayday Hills next year.
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney said the council would contribute $86,000 to the project.
“It means the Beechworth library will become a drawcard, a real community hub in the centre of the town, and we will maintain a council transaction centre at the site,” Cr Gaffney said.
The funding will be used to fit out the building with automatic doors, more accessible shelving, office space for staff, work rooms and customer service points.