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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has obtained funding to upgrade a popular section of the East Gippsland Rail Trail as part of his $280,000 Active Gippsland initiative.

Mr Chester has secured $100,000 from the Federal Government to reseal 12 kilometres of the trail between Bairnsdale and Nicholson in urgent need of attention.

“Encouraging Gippslanders to get more active, more often is a passion of mine,” Mr Chester said. “Investing in better facilities on public land is good for tourism and the liveability of our local communities.

“The East Gippsland Rail Trail has been growing in popularity with both visitors and locals. Unfortunately, people have been avoiding this section of the trail due to the condition of its surface.

“This is an important capital works project that will boost enjoyment of the trail for all users. We want riders to enjoy cycling along the trail so they get out on their bikes more regularly. I also hope those who come from outside this area will return and encourage others to join them.

“Further investment in infrastructure like shared pathways, exercise tracks and bike trails complement Gippsland’s array of natural attractions.”

The Active Gippsland funding package comprises:
·       $100,000 to reseal East Gippsland Rail Trail between Bairnsdale and Nicholson;
·       $50,000 for the first stage of an all-abilities accessible boardwalk along Cunninghame Arm, Lakes Entrance;
·       $100,000 for outdoor fitness equipment along Loch Sport’s foreshore; and
·       $30,000 to replace two bridges at Traralgon Railway Reservoir Conservation Reserve.

Mr Chester said the funding was also an investment in the economic health of Gippsland’s towns and communities.

“It will increase the number of visitors to our towns and the length of their stay, which in turn supports local businesses,” Mr Chester said.

The Active Gippsland funding package is among a number of significant Federal Government investments secured by Mr Chester and designed to boost the visitor economy and outdoor activity.

Other projects include the Metung boardwalk ($300,000), a viewing platform at Jemmys Point ($750,000), mountain bike trails at Omeo ($1.5 million), the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail upgrade ($267,000), the Traralgon-Morwell shared pathway ($1.6 million), and the Haunted Hills Bike Park ($976,500).

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