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Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester have challenged local leaders to identify spending priorities along the Princes Highway corridor.

East Gippsland’s mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell, Wellington Shire’s mayor Cr Alan Hall and mayor Cr Graeme Middlemiss from Latrobe City were among the leaders to meet with Mr McCormack and Mr Chester this week.

Mr Chester has secured $60 million from the Federal Government to improve road safety and upgrade visitor facilities along the highway corridor from Rosedale to the New South Wales border.

Mr Chester said funding would be used to tackle hazards along the 326 kilometre section of the Princes Highway.

“This is also a chance to upgrade our streetscapes and visitor facilities along what is a popular tourist route across Gippsland, including improved safety measures for pedestrians in towns that the highway passes,” Mr Chester said.

“This funding will also be used to develop more heavy vehicle parking and rest areas at key locations to encourage the travelling public to take a break and stay longer in Gippsland.

“This meeting was a chance for the responsible minister to hear local views about how we can best use this money for the benefit of our region by boosting safety and making the Princes Highway an even more attractive route for visitors to help support our small towns.”

This year’s Federal Budget included a $1 billion down-payment on upgrades to be identified through the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy.

The Federal Government has committed the money to deliver improvements along the whole length of the Princes Highway, which is an important link between three states and allows freight to be moved from key agricultural areas to major cities and ports.

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