The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival and Corryong community are a step closer to a state-of-the-art events centre to call their own, after the Victorian government committed $800,000 towards the $2.4 million project.
Towong Council has been advocating for the Upper Murray Events Centre to be built at the Corryong Recreation Reserve and allocated $600,000 of its own funding in the council budget.
The federal government also committed $800,000 and community groups chipped in with money and in-kind support.
Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes announced the Victorian government's contribution yesterday.
"The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival is the cornerstone event of the Upper Murray region, attracting more than 20,000 visitors each year. It injects over $2.2 million into Corryong and the broader region," she said.
"The community asked for the new Upper Murray Events Centre. I have been working with the Towong Shire for some time to ensure the project could become a reality and provide a wonderful asset for Corryong."
The centre would also host Federal Football Netball Club and Corryong's Football Netball Club, Neighbourhood Centre, Historic Machinery Club, Draft Club, Men's Shed, Agricultural Pastoral Society, Lions Club and Rotary Club.
Towong mayor David Wortmann said he was "absolutely delighted" with the funding, which would give the festival a boost and help the struggling football netball club. "We were hanging out for that state contribution because it is such a big project, but so important to the community which is isolated out there," he said.
Demolition has already begun at the site and the council is hopeful the centre can be built in time for the next festival in April 2020.
Meanwhile Ms Symes has defended the government's decision to scrap the $1 billion regional fund in Monday's budget, telling Parliament yesterday that the new $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program "really covers everything from transport and country roads to TAFEs".
MP Tim McCurdy was critical of the change, saying "it is going to hurt the people of the Ovens Valley as this fund was dedicated to supporting country businesses and important community projects".