Fund gives Benalla a $43m boost

Bill Sykes
Bill Sykes

THE Benalla electorate has had a $43 million windfall since the election of the present government in 2010.

More than 100 projects throughout the electorate have been funded by the Regional Growth Fund, which last week passed a total of $1.5 billion in money distributed to regional and rural Victoria.

Member for Benalla Bill Sykes said the money in his electorate had been used for infrastructure upgrades, tourism events and promotions and helping local businesses to expand and create wealth and jobs.

“There are very few communities in the electorate that have not benefited in some way from support through the fund,” Dr Sykes said.

“This includes major centres such as Benalla, Mansfield, Bright and Euroa and smaller localities like Swanpool, Tatong, Winton, Eildon, Thornton, Fawcett, Murchison, Euroa, Violet Town, Nagambie, Boho, Yarck, Maindample, Tolmie, Harrietville, Mount Beauty, Myrtleford, Whitfield and Edi Upper.”

Dr Sykes said the Mt Buffalo chalet had received $3.5 million from the fund, along with $4.5 million insurance money.

Some of the other major contributions have been $1 million for the Harrietville to Bright rail trail, $1 million for the Benalla library, $900,000 for the Benalla swimming pool and $500,000 for a community centre at Whitfield.

“The fund has provided a great boost for communities and has meant that community-led projects have been able to be realised, which may not otherwise have become reality,” Dr Sykes said.

“The investment to date in regional and rural Victoria through the fund is an important milestone.

“This is just a start and there are many more opportunities open to communities to apply for funding for local projects.”

Dr Sykes said locals knew what was best for their communities and it made sense for them to put forward projects which were important to them.

The Economic Infrastructure Program, one component of the Regional Growth Fund, has provided almost $161 million to 81 major infrastructure projects, creating 3416 construction jobs and delivering 4666 direct jobs.