THE federal government’s 2021 budget has wrapped the Gippsland region in enough winter warmth to accelerate our region’s revival and sustain us through coming seasons, federal MP for Monash, Russell Broadbent, said last week.

“After a long, hard year of lockdowns and hardship due to the effects of the pandemic, the federal government has recognised the sacrifices made by regional and rural Australians,” Mr Broadbent said.

“Gippsland will benefit from much-needed funding boosts to be pumped into roads, rail, agriculture, business, tourism and aged care.

“In particular, I warmly welcome the commitment of $630.2 million to enable better access to quality aged care services in regional, rural and remote areas, and a focus on improved access for people with special needs and those of Indigenous backgrounds.”

Mr Broadbent said he had long championed the need for governments to address deficits in the aged care sector.

The $17.7 billion committed over five years to create new home care spots and meet skills shortages, amongst other initiatives, was a good start to address challenges in the sector as an ageing population escalates pressure for services, he said.

The government’s ongoing efforts to improve roads and regional connectivity would greatly assist commuters and businesses and boost employment and business opportunities, he said.

“An extra $203.4 million for the Monash Roads Upgrade Project and additional $307 million for the Pakenham Roads Upgrade project will significantly ease congestion and create much-needed regional jobs,” he said.

“The government estimates the injection of funds into regional and rural Victoria will create up to 3000 jobs over the forward estimates. As we work our way out of the pandemic-induced recession, every job and every dollar spent in our region supports our community.

“I’ll do everything I can as the local federal representative to ensure the money is spent as promised.”

Mayor

One Gippsland chair and Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari said the budget would assist our region to be healthier, more prosperous and connected.

“In addition to the projects committed for Gippsland, we also welcome the broader funding committed across, health, education, digital connectivity and food and fibre (agriculture) in the budget.

“One Gippsland will be working with the government to ensure the Gippsland region receives a fair slice of the pie.”

Committee for Gippsland

Committee for Gippsland CEO, Jane Oakley said funding announced into roads, infrastructure and telecommunications programs was welcomed investment that would benefit not only local industry and community, but also visitors to the region.

“$10 million towards the Mallacoota-Genoa Road improvements, $380 million Pakenham roads upgrades, and $51 million towards Princes Highway East, between Rosedale and the New South Wales border, will have significant benefits to the region in terms of road safety and freight efficiencies,” Ms Oakley said.

“Importantly, these priorities align with those identified by the Gippsland Regional Plan Leadership Group to the federal government as part of our recent submission, advocating for a more connected region by targeted investment.”