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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the Omeo Mountain Bike Trails project could provide the next economic boom for Gippsland’s high country communities.

Mr Chester said the $4.5 million project had drawn significant government investment into a region where many businesses rely on tourists and passing visitor traffic, and would capitalise on growth in adventure cycling.

“It’s fantastic to see work underway on the pump track at Livingstone Park and there’s growing excitement about the whole project,” Mr Chester said.

“Drought, the summer bushfires and the pandemic have all impacted visitor numbers to this stunning region. When travel restrictions ease, we want to encourage visitors to safely return and the mountain bike trails project is all about providing more reasons for people to stay a bit longer.

“The trails will further grow the Omeo region’s reputation as a year-round destination and diversify its tourism offering, supporting our local businesses and creating long-term, sustainable jobs.

“This is an opportunity to further promote Omeo as a true adventure tourism destination.”

Construction of the pump track will be finished by Christmas, and preliminary design for the trails is now complete with work underway on the detailed designs, including the trail alignments. Site surveys will soon be undertaken.  The design concept comprises more than 100 kilometres of trails, including long descending trails, looping cross-country trails and trails for beginners.

Mr Chester said it was important to invest in new infrastructure to give people more reasons to visit Gippsland or holiday locally.

“We need further investment by all levels of government in quality infrastructure on public land like walking and bike trails, camping grounds, rest areas and other facilities to complement our natural features and grow our visitor economy,” Mr Chester said.

“We need to invest in those assets and build new infrastructure to encourage visitors to stay in our region longer and spend more money in our local businesses while they are here.

“And that’s exactly what the Omeo Mountain Bike Trails project can achieve.”

The project is being funded with $1.5 million from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund which supports job-creating infrastructure projects. East Gippsland Shire Council is also providing $1.5 million and is delivering the project. The Victorian Government is also contributing.

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