Budget funds needed for Corner Inlet projects

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has called on the Labor Government to back improvements to boating facilities in Corner Inlet in the coming State Budget.

Mr O'Brien said dredging of the channel leading to the Toora boat ramp and the redevelopment of the Port Welshpool Long Jetty would both attract tourists to the region and were important pieces of job-supporting infrastructure.

"I recently wrote to the Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, seeking confirmation that the State Government’s $5 million commitment to the Long Jetty remained on the table.  This money was delivered by my predecessor, Peter Ryan, and needs to be guaranteed so this project can get off the ground.

“That money is there in the Budget so Labor need do nothing further - other than guarantee that it will not raid it for city projects. 

“South Gippsland Shire also has $1 million set aside and we are currently waiting to see if the Federal Government will commit funds through the National Stronger Regions program.  I have written to Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, supporting that application and am advised by his office that announcements on the first round for that program will be made next month.

“This saga has dragged on for too long now so it is important that Labor guarantees the funding from the State Government.”

Mr O’Brien has also called on Labor to back dredging of the Toora boat ramp channel.

“At the moment there is only a small window of opportunity around high tide during which fishermen and other boat users can access Corner Inlet because of the channel.

"Dredging of the channel and associated works would allow better access and therefore increase the number of fishermen and other users travelling to Toora and the Prom Coast area.  That would be good news for local businesses and tourism operators.”

Mr O'Brien said boat ramp facilities at Port Welshpool were already stretched, particularly on long weekends and other peak periods and making Toora more accessible would alleviate the pressure.

"The cost of dredging is around $750,000 but such an investment would make a significant difference to Toora and surrounds.

"Completing these two projects will be a boon for the Corner Inlet area and I urge the Government to provide the necessary support for them.  I will continue to stand up for these and other important projects in South Gippsland," Mr O'Brien concluded.

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