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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says state and federal government bureaucrats need to demonstrate a greater sense of urgency to fund bushfire recovery projects. 

Mr Chester said the East Gippsland community was increasingly frustrated with long delays in announcing projects that would assist with local economic and community recovery. 

“It’s been nine months since the bushfires and four months since promises were made that local economic recovery projects would be funded, but there hasn’t been a single dollar committed to a project in East Gippsland,” Mr Chester said. 

“The bureaucratic delays are frustrating the proponents of worthwhile projects that could provide short term economic stimulus and long term jobs, particularly in the visitor economy. 

“We should be using this period of time where travel restrictions are in place to get stuck into improving our tourism product, but instead we have no decisions being made on economic recovery projects. 

“I’ve raised my concerns directly with the ministers and bureaucrats involved but the lack of action is frustrating locals and delaying the social and economic recovery from the bushfires.” 

Mr Chester said he had provided a long list of worthwhile projects which had community support and received no indication from the bureaucracy on when decisions would be reached.  

He nominated the East Gippsland Rail Trail, Metung Hot Springs, Mallacoota Abalone Co-op, Mallacoota Skate Park and Mallacoota Golf Club as five projects that were well-advanced and worthy of immediate support. 

“We need to give the community some hope and confidence that governments will support our region’s economic recovery and that starts by actually announcing projects that will be funded,” Mr Chester said. 

“East Gippsland went into last summer’s bushfires with some structural economic issues caused by drought and State Government cuts to our traditional industries. The fires and coronavirus have added to the problem and we need to see the promised money flowing into local economic recovery projects as a matter of urgency.” 

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