Lakes Entrance will benefit from a multi-million dollar Federal Government investment in projects to improve the Princes Highway including the first stage of works on Bullock Island.
Local MP Darren Chester has secured $9 million for local projects that will boost productivity, improve safety and support the visitor economy.
Key projects to be undertaken include $5 million to replace the Bullock Island bridge and associated infrastructure improvements, along with $4 million to upgrade rest areas at the slipway site in Lakes Entrance, Newmerella, Cann River and Genoa.
“This funding was announced in the Federal election campaign last year and will boost safety while also improving the visitor economy, which has been badly impacted by drought, bushfires and the coronavirus,” Mr Chester said.
“We endeavoured to secure matching State Government funding but unfortunately that hasn’t happened and we just want to get on with the job. The Federal Government will partner with East Gippsland Shire Council and the local community to get as much work done as possible as we invest in the future of this region.
“As a Federal Government, we are keen to support local jobs and stimulate the economy with an infrastructure investment program that stretches across Australia.
“These East Gippsland projects will build on the work we have already funded on the Princes Highway East which are already delivering safety and productivity outcomes.”
Mr Chester said the funding would help deliver his plan to boost tourism numbers in the future.
“We need to activate the Princes Highway as more than a transport corridor,” Mr Chester said.
“Our government has already contributed to the construction of six new overtaking lanes between Lakes Entrance and the New South Wales border and record funding for the duplication between Traralgon and Sale, which makes it easier to reach East Gippsland.
“We have to give visitors more reasons to stop, stay and appreciate everything our region has to offer.
“With this funding, we will be able to improve safety and deliver infrastructure which makes our region more attractive for locals and visitors alike.”
The Federal Government will seek to secure funding contributions from East Gippsland Shire Council and other sources as it delivers the following projects:
- McEachern St, Bairnsdale intersection and associated safety upgrades: $9.7 million
- Bullock Island bridge replacement and associated works: $5 million, and
- redevelopment of four rest areas along the Princes Highway at the Lakes Entrance slipway, Newmerella, Cann River and Genoa: $4 million.
Mr Chester said the Bullock Island project was a major breakthrough after years of planning and discussions about improving the island.
“Securing access with a new bridge to replace the existing structure, which is in danger of failing, is the first step and the shire has also committed $1.5 million to the first stage of the Bullock Island master plan,” Mr Chester said.
“After years of talking about Bullock Island, the shire is taking control of land management and we are finally seeing some work on the ground.
“I’m looking forward to working with key stakeholders on the island in consultation with the community to get as much work done as possible with this funding.”