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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has nominated six strategic projects which should receive bushfire recovery funding as soon as possible to boost local jobs.

Mr Chester said the long delays in announcing funding for regional economic recovery projects was frustrating for East Gippsland community members who had developed excellent job-creating initiatives that warranted State and Federal Government support.

“There’s a total of $68.6 million available in Victoria and we need to instil a greater sense of urgency in the bureaucracy to recommend grants for approval by the Ministers, as soon as possible,” Mr Chester said.

“Federal Government funding for regional economic recovery projects was announced more than six months ago and the community has developed some great ideas but we are still waiting for the money to flow.

“The State Government has agreed to match the funding and some smaller local projects were announced two weeks ago but it’s time to get things moving on the larger projects.”

Mr Chester said projects such as the East Gippsland Rail Trail; Metung Hot Springs; Paynesville-Raymond Island koala centre; Krautungalung boardwalk in Lakes Entrance; Orbost Forest Park; and the Mallacoota Abalone Co-operative were all regionally significant and should receive a funding allocation.

“I’ve written letters of support for all of these projects because they will help to transform our regional economy by investing in our traditional strengths and reducing the seasonality of the tourism season,” Mr Chester said.

“It’s more than 12 months since the bushfires had a severe impact on the regional economy and it’s projects like these that will create jobs during construction and deliver long-term and sustainable business opportunities for the local community.”

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