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Four community halls in East Gippsland will be upgraded to better prepare for future natural disasters, thanks to Local Economic Recovery Funding announced today.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said $1.08 million had been allocated to East Gippsland and would address some of the issues that locals are facing as they recover from the bushfires and help to improve community facilities.

“Our public halls and recreation reserves were essential pieces of infrastructure during the bushfires but also in the weeks and months after,” Mr Chester said.

“These facilities were used as evacuation centres, donation centres, a home base for firefighting crews and more.

“It is essential that we upgrade these facilities now so we are better equipped and prepared for future emergency events.”

Mr Chester said the federal and state government funding would go towards improvements and upgrades such as ember proofing, electrical upgrades, satellite communication and WIFI upgrades.

“These works will happen right across East Gippsland including Wairewa Hall, Genoa Public Hall, Clifton Creek Community Public Hall and Ensay Memorial Hall.” Mr Chester said.

“While this is a great kick start to these projects, there is still plenty of work to complete.

“I will continue to work with the community to identify community projects and ensure we have the necessary infrastructure in place.”

Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud said the coronavirus had made bushfire recovery that much harder, but bushfire-affected communities had not been forgotten.

“It’s not an easy road, but these bushfire recovery projects are a sign that things are moving forward,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Governments have set aside $68.6 million in bushfire funding for Local Economic Recovery projects in Victoria to help communities get back on their feet, so this announcement will be the first of many.”

The Local Economic Recovery Program is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments through Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

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