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The hard-working volunteers behind the Meerlieu Community Hall have been awarded a significant government grant to help them secure the hall’s important place at the centre of their community into the future.

The hall’s committee of management is among groups and organisations affected by drought across Australia to receive funding to help bring more money into their communities and ease the burden on volunteers.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the funding, administered under the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together program, was designed to stimulate and support regional communities.

“Gippsland has battled drought for many years now and it has affected all of us throughout the region in one way or another,” Mr Chester said.

“These grants are designed to keep money flowing through shops and suppliers and create jobs for communities that are suffering from the impact of drought.

“Meerlieu Community Hall will receive more than $17,000 to develop designs and other documentation to support the hall committee’s work as it determines how the building will be used into the future and the enhancements that will need to be made to the structure.”

Heyfield RSL Sub-Branch also secured funding through this latest round of the Tackling Tough Times Together program. The sub-branch will receive $10,000 towards re-cladding its Davis Street building, which is expected to cost just over $25,000.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the latest funding came at a critical moment in regional Australia’s economic recovery.

“Regional communities are tough and they’re strong – our people have seen the challenges of drought, bushfires, floods and now a global pandemic and they are rallying,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Drought is only truly broken after 18 to 24 months of sustained good rainfall and we know so many communities have not yet had that.

“That’s why we committed $15 million for the Tackling Tough Times Together program, supporting hundreds of projects run by local groups in drought-affected regional communities.

“The Federal Government is backing regional Australia every step of the way to ensure communities bounce back stronger than ever.”

More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found at www.frrr.org.au/grants/TTTT

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