VIC BUDGET: Benalla scores budget hat-trick

Andrew, Thomas and Ken Bertalli celebrate the funding news. Picture: KYLIE ESLER
Andrew, Thomas and Ken Bertalli celebrate the funding news. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

A BAKERY, an airport and a school were big winners from funding announcements for Benalla yesterday.

Benalla P-12 College will receive $5 million from the Victorian budget to be handed down on Tuesday.

Benalla MP Bill Sykes said it would go towards the development of the school’s new masterplan and building stage one.

Bertalli’s Alpine Breads will receive $75,000 towards the purchase of a $450,000 packaging line, that the old-established family bakery says will create six new jobs.

Another $110,000 will go toward the development of the Benalla airport masterplan, ahead of the city hosting the 2017 World Gliding Championships.

The bakery and airport grants will come from the “Putting Locals First” regional growth fund.

Dr Sykes, who was joined by Deputy Premier Peter Ryan for the announcements, said the three projects reflected a range of commitments to regional Victoria.

College principal Barbara O’Brien said the funding announcement had come as “a bit of a surprise”.

“We hadn’t received any indication we’d get anything in the budget,” she said.

“But this announcement means we can commence stage one and we’re very excited about it.”

The city’s schools merged and began operating as one from the start of last year, across four different campuses.

That will be reduced to three during stage one with the building of new classrooms for students in years 10-12 on the Faithfull Street campus.

Over at Bertalli’s, the new packaging will increase the shelf life of products making them more attractive to bigger suppliers like Coles and Woolworths.

Dr Sykes called the bakery a “regional success story” that already employed 20 local staff.

Meanwhile, Benalla Council will complete the Benalla airport masterplan.

It is deemed a high priority for the city ahead of the pre-World Gliding Championships in December 2015 and the world championships two years later.