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Construction and tourism jobs will be created in East Gippsland following the announcement of $1.5 million by Federal MP Darren Chester.

Mr Chester today announced the Federal Government will contribute half the cost to build 81 kilometres of mountain bike trails near Omeo.

Mr Chester worked closely with East Gippsland Shire Council to achieve the funding and said the $3 million mountain bike trail project would create long-term jobs in the region.

“The mountain bike trails will help to turn historic Omeo into a year-round attraction for visitors, particularly those seeking adventure,” Mr Chester said.

“Already, the town receives a big boost in visitor numbers during the snow season. The mountain bike trails will enable the town to lure more people into the high country throughout the year to experience the natural beauty of the region.

“More visitors will increase demand on local businesses, particularly those in hospitality, and will lead to new enterprises to meet the specific needs of riders, creating more jobs.

“I visited Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails in Tasmania last year and saw it was now generating $30 million for the visitor economy in the state. I believe Omeo and Gippsland will be able to see similar returns.”

The funding will go towards the first stage of the Omeo Mountain Bike Destination Project, which comprises design and construction of the first seven mountain bike trails and associated infrastructure. It also involves detailed track design for stage two.

The project is being funded under the Building Better Regions Fund, which supports the creation of jobs in regional areas, drives economic growth and builds stronger regional communities.

Mr Chester said it was important to invest in new infrastructure to give people new reasons to visit Gippsland or holiday locally.

“We need to invest in those assets and build new infrastructure to encourage visitors to stay in our region longer and spend more money in our local businesses while they are here,” Mr Chester said.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the project will deliver significant economic and social benefits to the community.

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