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13 October 2021
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Great Western community leaders have welcomed federal and local government funding that will enable major work on a tourism project designed to boost economic growth in the wine village.
Great Western Future Committee secretary Anthony Kumnick said members were ‘ecstatic’ to learn Great Western Wine and Heritage Cycle Trail would receive $212,500 from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.
“Northern Grampians Shire Council submitted the application on our behalf and are matching the funding in their budget, so we have more than $400,000 to complete the next phase of the trail,” he said.
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The cycle trail and $331,000 for accessible family change rooms at Horsham Aquatic Centre were among key projects funded in a $6.9-million slice for the Mallee electorate.
Mr Kumnick said funding opportunities such as the Building Better Regions Fund were vital for developing community assets, including ones that catered to residents and tourists alike.
“The cycling trail has been identified in our 2014-24 plan as something we would like to have in the community and we’ve been trying to get it up and running and pushing for it for about four years now,” he said.
“Great Western has a great wine base – we have some outstanding wines and some of the oldest vines in the world.”
The trail creates an opportunity for users to explore and learn more about the historic wine region and connects cellar doors at major wineries.
“At present the trail uses existing infrastructure, but the latest funding will enable us to create a path from Best’s, through the township of Great Western to Seppelt,” Mr Kumnick said.
“People will be able to walk or cycle the path between the two.”
He said project leaders would look at how to link Grampians Estate to the path at a later date, depending on the final route of a planned Western Highway bypass of the town.
“At the moment it’s a bit hard because it’s all up in the air,” he said.
Mr Kumnick said the Federal Government also funded an earlier phase of the project, resulting in signs at the town’s three major wineries and in memorial park.
“The council, which is a joint partner, has also previously given funding for 18 interpretive signs at historically significant points around Great Western,” he said.
“The next phase is building infrastructure, which the council will complete, hopefully by the middle of next year.
“We’d like to say a big thank-you to the community and Northern Grampians Shire for getting behind the project and the Federal Government for providing the money – it’s great to see them investing in small communities.”
Horsham Rural City mayor Robyn Gulline also thanked the government for its investment in her municipality, which will result in building extensions to the indoor pool hall on the Hamilton Street side of the aquatic centre. The upgrade will involve two family rooms and two accessible change rooms, to enable people with disabilities to access both indoor and outdoor pools. There will also be an undercover outdoor function space.
“In conjunction with the $384,000 we have allocated in the budget for 2021-2022, the $331,000 Federal Government allocation gives us the funding we need to see the project come to fruition,” Cr Gulline said.
Horsham Aquatic Centre was constructed in 2007 and Cr Gulline said the new change rooms would modernise the building to better meet the community’s needs.
“Contemporary leisure facilities now offer more than just a place to swim, they are a destination, a place to gather and socialise,” she said.
Cr Gulline said the project would go to tender before the end of this year and was scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2022.
Member for Mallee Anne Webster said under round five of the fund, the government had committed almost $300-million to support 295 projects across regional Australia, which would create an estimated 9900 jobs during the project period.
Among other winners in the southern part of the electorate were: Wimmera Development Association, $96,000 for a Building Migration Pathways to Support Regional Growth project; St Arnaud and District Historical Society, $33,900 for St Arnaud Mining History Discovery Trail; Northern Grampians Shire Council, $33,000 for a St Arnaud pool cover and shade upgrade; and Buloke Shire Council, $142,699 for Wycheproof Saleyards upgrades.
In the northern part of the electorate, Mallee Family Care received $4.9-million for a Building Better Care for Mallee Communities project and Mildura Rural City Council will use $1.15-million towards a ‘Mallee – Back on Track’ project.
Dr Webster said the latest funding round took the government’s support through the Building Better Regions Fund to $1.38-billion, including $37.3-million for 33 Mallee projects.
The entire October 13, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!