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Community facilities across East Gippsland are set for a million dollar facelift, according to local MP Darren Chester.

Mr Chester said funding had been approved under the Drought Communities Program to improve water storage, upgrade town halls and a major redevelopment of the Swifts Creek swimming pool.

“The drought followed by bushfires and now the coronavirus has placed a lot of pressure on small communities across East Gippsland and it would be difficult for local hall and recreation reserve committees to raise this money by themselves,” Mr Chester said.

“I’m pleased the Federal Government is working with East Gippsland Shire Council to keep investing in our region’s future during these challenging times.

“I look forward to work starting as soon as possible on all of these projects which will deliver short-term jobs and long-term community benefits.”

Facilities to be upgraded include:

  • the Swifts Creek swimming pool, including new changerooms and footpaths
  • community halls in Cann River, Mallacoota, Lindenow, Johnsonville, Bruthen and Benambra;
  • Bendoc playground, Wairewa playground and Orbost skate park;
  • recreation reserves at Swan Reach, Swifts Creek, Bruthen, Buchan, Ensay, Lindenow, Orbost and Sarsfield where water tanks and infrastructure will be upgraded;
  • Benambra and Goongerah, where new water tanks will be installed;
  • Lucknow Recreation Reserve, where the bore water supply will be improved; and
  • recreation reserves at Ensay, Lindenow, Swifts Creek, Bruthen and Swan Reach, where existing infrastructure will be improved.

East Gippsland Shire Mayor Cr John White has welcomed the Federal Government funding and indicated work would start as soon as possible on each project.

“These projects are very important to the communities that regularly use these facilities,” Cr White said.

“This funding from the Federal Government has provided us with a valuable opportunity to undertake a number of small but valuable projects and allow the community to benefit from those improved facilities sooner.

“I’m also pleased that we have been able to upgrade and expand our network of water tanks, which is particularly important during drought and during bushfires.”

This is the second time East Gippsland Shire Council has received funding through the Drought Communities Program. The shire spent its first allocation on improvements at the East Gippsland Livestock Exchange and installing water tanks for use by the CFA for fire fighting.

Drought Communities Program funding is available to eligible councils for local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities. The program provides short-term support, including by boosting local employment and procurement, and addressing social and community needs.

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