Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the community campaign to restore the historic Snowy River railway trestle bridge is a major step closer following the State Government’s announcement of a $3.5 million grant.
Mr Chester has supported the community’s efforts to fix the bridge to make it an iconic feature of the East Gippsland Rail Trail.
“This is a huge win for the Orbost and district community and I want to thank everyone involved in undertaking the preliminary work and helping me to advocate for this funding,” Mr Chester said.
“We still need additional funding to upgrade the rail trail and complete associated works around the trestle bridge and I will be helping the community secure that money from the state and federal governments’ bushfire recovery funds.”
Mr Chester said restoring the historic bridge would deliver economic, social and cultural benefits for locals and visitors.
“Ever since the trains stopped running to Orbost, the bridge has effectively been slowly demolishing itself through neglect and it would be tragic to lose such a significant link to our past,” Mr Chester said.
“If we could manage to build such an impressive bridge as a nation during World War One, surely we can afford to fix it in 2020?
“We need to keep diversifying our regional economy to create jobs and a stronger, positive economic outlook for Orbost and Far East Gippsland.
“The bridge restoration and rail trail revitalisation will combine to boost our visitor economy and improve the liveability of our region for local residents.”