The long-awaited delivery of the first stage of the Bullock Island master plan will be possible with $6.5 million from the Federal Government and East Gippsland Shire Council, according to Gippsland MP Darren Chester.
Mr Chester secured $5 million from the Federal Government to build a new access bridge and associated infrastructure improvements while the shire has committed $1.5 million to Bullock Island works.
“This is our best chance in 25 years to finally get some significant improvements to Bullock Island and I want to congratulate the East Gippsland Shire Council for making this project a priority after years of neglect by the State Government,” Mr Chester said.
“The bridge replacement is estimated to cost $3 million, which will leave us with $3.5 million for the first stage of works on the island.
“Discussions have started on the scope of works that will be possible and it will complement the LEFCOL redevelopment and new cafe project which is expected to start this year.
“Bullock Island has been talked about for decades as an asset for locals and visitors and it’s great to see work will finally start at this iconic location.
“The Federal Government will partner with the shire, LEFCOL and the local community to get as much work done as possible.”
Mr Chester said the Bullock Island bridge replacement had been identified as a priority by the shire because the existing bridge was in danger of failing and requiring load limits which would restrict the commercial fishing sector.
“Building a new bridge is an important step towards realising the vision for this area set out in the Bullock Island master plan to redevelop the island for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors,” Mr Chester said.
“Since the shire has taken over as land manager on the island, we are in a better position to secure grants from the Federal Government and improve facilities.
“Eventually, I would like to see a ‘Friends of Bullock Island’ community group re-established to help care for the island.
“There’s a lot of work we could do with community action days to complement the infrastructure upgrades and landscaping proposed in the master plan.