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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the restoration of the historic Snowy River railway trestle bridge is an essential part of plans to boost the visitor economy of East Gippsland.

Mr Chester met with community leaders who will manage the State Government’s $3.5 million grant and thanked them for their efforts.

“It has taken several years to lobby all levels of government to recognise the importance of this heritage asset that was being demolished by neglect,” Mr Chester said.

“When you combine the impact of this project with the money we have secured to upgrade the East Gippsland Rail Trail, redevelop Forest Park, Sailor’s Grave brewing development, and link Marlo-Cape Conran with a shared pathway, there’s good reason for optimism about the future.

“I’m continuing to work closely with local community leaders on the next priorities for funding which will make a difference and secure long-term jobs.”

Mr Chester said he had supported the community efforts to save the trestle bridge because it would become an iconic part of the town’s future.

“The opportunity to walk and cycle above the flood plains will draw people to our region and encourage them to explore everything else we have to offer,” Mr Chester said.

“It’s going to be a difficult and costly job to complete but the long-term benefits will be enormous and I’m keen to see the project start once the full scope of works is finalised.”

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