Works to revitalise and improve safety within the Lakes Entrance town centre have been completed as the popular East Gippsland destination prepares to welcome thousands of summer tourists. The suite of upgrades improve access and make it safer for pedestrians,...


Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester (left) with Abi Wills and Matt Kennedy from Envite Environment at Nowa Nowa where a rare species of callistemon is being mapped and protected. The Boggy Creek Bottlebrush is a rare species found on rock-bars in a limited...


Men’s sheds in Gippsland have received a much-needed boost with funding from the Federal Government’s National Shed Development Programme (NSDP). Local MP Darren Chester said five local men’s sheds would share in over $17,500 of funding. “Men’s sheds are an integral...


Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is urging all levels of government to work together and fund the redevelopment of the Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium in Morwell. Mr Chester recently met with members of the local soccer community, to inspect...


Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester officially opened the Haunted Hills Bike Park on Saturday. Mr Chester secured $976,950 for the bike park through the Federal Government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Package. “The project has delivered 13.5 kilometres of...


Local MP Darren Chester has expressed his frustration at the lack of progress on priority road projects in East Gippsland. Mr Chester has written to State Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll asking for an update on when work will start on projects that have...


Pictured: Ross Jackson, local military author with Michael Page, Gippsland Veterans Welfare Centre presented Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester with a copy of Ross’s book Empty Tomb – The story of the Sale and District Cenotaph 1924-1949.  The people of Sale...


Small businesses in East Gippsland will have access to services to help grow and sustain their businesses through the LaunchME program. Local MP Darren Chester said $1 million was being invested to support small business growth as part of the region’s bushfire...


Work will finally start on upgrading a dangerous intersection in Traralgon after years of lobbying and frustration by local residents. Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said State and Federal funding had been secured to upgrade the Bank Street intersection...


A flood study of Morwell and surrounding areas will be undertaken thanks to Federal Government funding. Local MP Darren Chester said Latrobe City Council had received $26,000 of funding through the Risk and Resilience Grants Program. “We have seen the devastation a...



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Good explanation of Tonga situation as it unfolded. Sobering thought that volcanic activity could continue to create problems for months. Thoughts are with threatened local communities and those who are sent to assist in the days that follow. Take care & stay safe. #lovegippsland
Been wild & stormy across Gippsland over the past 24 hours... not sure I’ve seen so many lightning strikes caught on iPhones by residents from Lakes Entrance to Sale. Thankfully it’s so green & wet, there’s no fires this time! Stay safe everyone. #lovegippsland DarrenChesterMP photo
Behind the scenes at AGL Loy Yang Traralgon International is local tennis legend ‘Whoofa’ restringing dozens of racquets for some of the best juniors in the world. Fantastic regional event showcasing tomorrow’s stars. Well worth watching a few matches! @KellieOc #lovegippsland DarrenChesterMP photo

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Darren Chester MP

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Darren Chester MP
Darren Chester MPMonday, January 17th, 2022 at 1:38am
How do we stay positive, optimistic, and hopeful for the future of Gippsland when just about everything about our world has been turned upside down during the pandemic?

The simple answer is it’s not going to be easy, and it’s tempting to just give up and say it’s all too hard.

I’m certainly not going to give you glib advice and urge everyone to toughen up, channel the ANZAC spirit, or just count your blessings and remember those who are worse off.

Because right now it’s hard for a lot of people in our community. The economic uncertainty on top of the health-related restrictions are eroding people’s confidence and making it difficult to see the pathway forward.

On top of the drought, bushfires, flooding and storms, our resilience has been tested by this pandemic and it’s only human to feel disappointed and frustrated by the things we have had to postpone, or missed out on completely.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett wrote an article this week reflecting on the fact that we had high hopes for 2022, but it hasn’t started well for many people.

It is hard to remain optimistic with shops and businesses closing because they can’t secure staff, exhausted health workers, and worries about whether schools can open safely as planned. This is not what we all wanted for 2022.

However, Kennett wrote that we cannot shut down our lives, and stop making plans for the future. We have to believe that better days are coming.

“We must believe that collectively, together we will emerge with a greater respect for what we had. A slightly different society. Maybe some major challenges to address and overcome and from which to learn and improve. We must believe in our capacity as a society to overcome the disruptions to our lives today, to rebuild, and to look after those who are less fortunate.”

There’s an old saying that ‘if you believe you can, or believe you can’t, either way you are right’.

It’s up to the hopeful, optimistic, confident and more fortunate amongst us to lend a helping hand right now to those who may be struggling physically, mentally or financially. We have to believe in ourselves and each other as Gippslanders.

This is a time for the leaders in our communities to work together and demonstrate a belief in the future of Gippsland and its people. We do that by practical action - by simply getting stuff done in our community.

For me, as an elected representative, that means working with State and Local Government, and our community, to deliver the projects that we’ve been promised. It means focusing on the things that matter in people’s lives - jobs, schools, health services, aged care, childcare, transport, telecommunications etc - and not becoming distracted by irrelevant issues.

For you, it means doing your best as a student, employee or business owner to achieve your full potential. Maybe it means volunteering to join a community group or sporting organisation and becoming involved in something that interests you?

Or it might mean taking simple action to make your community a better place by picking up a bag of rubbish in your street, mowing the lawns for an elderly neighbour or talking positively to a young family member about the future.

We might find that when we are feeling overwhelmed by global events and everything seems too hard, just taking simple and practical action locally, and getting stuff done in our own community, can give us the belief we need to keep going.

It’s hard to be optimistic and hopeful when the challenges seem huge but every day I see Gippslanders doing their little bit to make a difference in their own way. I take enormous comfort from the strength of others, and the knowledge that previous generations have overcome incredible adversity to build the community I love today.

We all need to be believe we can do it together.

Best wishes to everyone for the year ahead. And remember to be kind and take care of yourself, and the people you love.

Never give up… and maybe stop to smell the roses too!

Melina Bath

Darren Chester MP
Darren Chester MPSunday, January 16th, 2022 at 8:09pm
Getting stuff done...

Terrific to see the crews from Cranes Ashphalting are hard at work on the biggest upgrade of the East Gippsland Rail Trail in more than 30 years. And trail users were already out on the weekend trying out the improved surface!

I worked with the volunteer committee to secure a $2 million Federal Government grant, on top of the $1.5 million received under the local economic recovery program, from the Black Summer bushfires.

It’s been a challenge for decades to secure enough funding to upgrade the rail trail which has the potential to be an iconic attraction for our region.

Ever since rail services ended in 1987 and the track infrastructure was removed in 1994, we have struggled to get the funding required to upgrade and maintain this 100 kilometre trail from Bairnsdale to Orbost.

This funding will enable significant capital works on projects like resurfacing the roughest sections, improving drainage, replacing bridges, and sealing approaches to towns, which carry the most cycling and pedestrian traffic.

Boosting the overall rail trail experience will support the visitor economy and encourage locals to enjoy a more active lifestyle.

Thanks to everyone involved in this exciting project.

Darren Chester MP
Darren Chester MPSunday, January 16th, 2022 at 7:36am
I welcome the unanimous decision of the Federal Court in relation to Novak Djokovic.

Three Federal Court judges upheld a decision made on Friday by the Immigration Minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.

The media is reporting the decision likely means that Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, will remain in detention in Melbourne until he is deported.

A deportation order usually also includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia. It remains to be seen whether that applies in this case.

The Minister cancelled the visa on the grounds that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”

Hopefully now, the focus of the Australian Open will switch from the Federal Court to Centre Court… the game is bigger than any single player and I’m looking forward to the action, especially if Ash Barty can progress to the second week!

Pix credit: Getty Images

About Darren

Darren Chester was elected to Federal Parliament as the Member for Gippsland on June 26, 2008.


Gippsland is one of the most diverse regions in Australia and our community is dispersed across 33,000 square kilometres.

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