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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says $4 million in funding for rest area upgrades will add to the overtaking lanes and other safety improvements already underway on the Princes Highway.

Four rest areas at Newmerella, Cann River, Genoa and Lakes Entrance slipway will get an overhaul, thanks to funding from the Federal Government announced by Mr Chester.

Mr Chester said the projects were part of more than $30 million for highway and associated works to boost productivity, improve road safety and support jobs in the visitor economy.

“We will be working closely with East Gippsland Shire Council and the community to identify priority works at these four key sites along the highway which are critical for safety and the local economies,” Mr Chester said.

“The full scope of the projects will be developed in the coming weeks with work to start as soon as possible at each location.

“We endeavoured to secure matching State Government funding but unfortunately that hasn’t happened and we just want to get on with the job. The Federal Government will partner with East Gippsland Shire Council and the local community to get as much work done as possible as we invest in the future of the region.

“As a Federal Government, we are keen to support local jobs and stimulate the economy with an infrastructure investment program that stretches across Australia.

“These East Gippsland projects will build on the work we have already funded on the Princes Highway East, which are already delivering safety and productivity outcomes.”

Mr Chester said the funding would help deliver his plan to boost tourism numbers in the future.

“We need to activate the Princes Highway as more than a transport corridor,” Mr Chester said.

“Our government has already contributed to the construction of six new overtaking lanes between Lakes Entrance and the New South Wales border and record funding for the duplication between Traralgon and Sale, which makes it easier to reach East Gippsland.

“Now we have to give visitors a reason to stop, stay and appreciate everything our region has to offer. With this funding, we will be able to improve safety and deliver infrastructure which makes our region more attractive for locals and visitors alike.”

The Federal Government funding package also includes $9.7 million for the McEachern St, Bairnsdale intersection and associated safety upgrades, and $5 million to replace the Bullock Island bridge and associated works.

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