The Bonang Road will finally be fully sealed after years of campaigning by local residents, business owners and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
Mr Chester has confirmed the Federal Budget will include an additional $7 million to seal 12 kilometres of the road between Goongerah and Bonang.
It brings the total Federal Government commitment to the project to $9 million, while the State Government has refused to fund any of the works.
Mr Chester said he was ecstatic that his colleague, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack, had decided to provide additional funding for the project.
“This is a great win for the community which has fought so hard over many years to secure the money needed to seal this last section of the Bonang Road,” Mr Chester said.
“We had already committed $2 million and I had lobbied the State Government to match that funding without success. This extra funding will finish the job.
“Upgrading the road will improve safety for locals and visitors, reduce the maintenance costs, and help to build the tourism industry by encouraging more people to use this important link to the Snowy River high country.
“I want to thank the Orbost Chamber of Commerce and local residents who have supported my efforts to secure funding for the Bonang Road and I look forward to work starting as soon as possible.”
The Federal Government will now liaise with Regional Roads Victoria to reach a funding agreement for the project.
Work is anticipated to start before the end of this year and take more than 12 months to complete.
Mr Chester said the road was severely compromised during last summer’s bushfires, highlighting the need for a major funding investment.
“During the bushfires, the road was out of action for weeks,” Mr Chester said.
“This project will help to improve the resilience of one of the major arterial roads in East Gippsland.
“The budget funding will create jobs during construction and also improve the long-term economic prospects for the region.”