Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says he’s determined to secure the money required to restore the historic Snowy River railway trestle bridge ‘come hell or high water’.
Mr Chester has welcomed the release of the Economic and Social Assessment which indicates it would cost up to $3.5 million to restore the bridge as part of a plan to rejuvenate the East Gippsland Rail Trail (EGRT).
“It’s an excellent report and it forecasts positive economic, social and cultural benefits in return for restoring the bridge to a condition that locals and visitors can enjoy,” Mr Chester said.
“In the context of government decisions which have decimated local jobs in East Gippsland, the money required to restore the bridge is not a huge amount.
“I’m determined to work with all levels of government to get this project up and running as a matter of urgency.
“I was able to secure record funding for Princes Highway upgrades because I wouldn’t take no for an answer. It’s the same situation here and we need to demand the money for our region to help create jobs and stimulate a positive economic outlook for Orbost and the broader East Gippsland region.”
Mr Chester said he had already raised the issue with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and would be seeking a major Commonwealth contribution to the project.
“The State Government owns the asset and has allowed it to fall into disrepair so we should be demanding money from Premier Dan Andrews,” Mr Chester said.
“If I can get some Federal funding on the table, maybe we can embarrass the State Government into pulling its weight.”