GRANT funding for the first stage of the Great Southern Rail Trail extension has been awarded by the Victorian Government.

South Gippsland Shire Council had already factored the $500,000 into its draft 2020/21 budget.

The money will be go towards bridge and trail works between Korumburra and Leongatha. Rail removal works have been completed in this section. A grant application seeking funding for the completion of the Korumburra to Nyora section has also been submitted.

Dominique and Geoff Cox of Cowes rode from Leongatha to Foster along the rail trail on Saturday and were happy to hear the trail would be extended to Korumburra. Mm132020

The rail trail extension is one of 35 projects to be funded under the Victorian Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund.

South Gippsland Shire’s chair administrator Julie Eisenbise welcomed the announcement.

“The Great Southern Rail Trail is a great asset for South Gippsland. Not only does it bring economic benefits to our region through tourism, it also connects many local communities and provides significant health and wellbeing opportunities,” Ms Eisenbise said.

“The extension of the trail between two of our largest townships will be a welcome addition to an already popular attraction.”

Wellington Shire Council was also successful with their funding application to complete a 21km missing link in the Rail Trail between Welshpool and Alberton.

The funding announcement was made by the Member for Easter Victoria, Jane Garrett who emphasised the importance of investing in regional Victoria to support the state’s recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

“While we can’t fully enjoy our halls and parks and other community facilities right now, it’s important that we continue investing in them and create jobs,” said Ms. Garrett.

“The Great Southern Rail Trail is an impressive walking and cycling trail though some of Victoria’s most diverse and beautiful scenery. We hope that soon we will be able to welcome visitors back to our region to discover it for themselves,” Ms Eisenbise said.