The first project to be delivered under the Albury-Wodonga Regional Deal will be improvements to tracks and trails along both sides of the Murray River.
Deal partners, the federal, NSW and Victorian governments and Albury and Wodonga councils will announce on Wednesday close to $1 million towards the project involving new artworks and sculptures by local Aboriginal artists.
The Yindyamarra sculpture walk in Albury will also be re-aligned and a Gateway Island river walk and cultural trail will be created in Wodonga.
Confirmation of the initial project comes ahead of the formal signing of the Regional Deal some time this year following a statement of intent being signed-off last year.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the "tracks and trails" project demonstrated deal outcomes could be achieved while negotiations on other matters continued.
"This project will directly create jobs in addition to delivering a valuable community asset that contributes to the economic development, tourism and liveability of the region," he said.
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Federal Regional Development Assistant Minister Nola Marino said she was pleased with the progress made to date to identify a range of key community priorities.
"The tracks and trails project demonstrates the commitment of deal partners to get on with the job of delivering for the Albury-Wodonga community while deal negotiations continue," Ms Marino said.
"Through the deal, which is on track to be signed in 2021, we will see a range of projects emerge to improve infrastructure, support business and tourism investment, and improve education and health outcomes.
"We will see greater alignment across the border to further bring the Albury-Wodonga community together."
When you were hoping for huge announcement for health, training & research and you get this: Murray River tracks and trails boost under Regional Deal https://t.co/CcHu5KYhFp via @bordermail@david_johnston5#auspol@sussanley@helenhainesindi@M_McCormackMP#alburywodongapic.twitter.com/nRvV2GZ5Fo— Dr Craig Underhill (@CraigUnderhill) May 4, 2021
The creation of a state-of-the-art hospital servicing Albury-Wodonga and the wider region has been linked to the Regional Deal.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the deal would also enable new businesses and industries to develop in the region.
"The Regional Deal provides a chance to encourage new businesses to set up shop across the region that will enable Albury-Wodonga to be at the forefront of innovation and development," he said.
Victorian Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the region was already home to some key industries.
"A Regional Deal will support new infrastructure that helps business to grow, create local jobs and ensure that Albury-Wodonga continues to deliver world-class opportunities for residents and visitors alike."
The "tracks and trails" project will be built in stages.
The Regional Deal was announced in the lead-up to the last federal election by Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie, who is based in Wodonga.
An initial $3.2 million was provided by the federal government to undertake strategic planning work.and six community-led reference groups.
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