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Victoria funding for regional economies

East Gippsland and North East Victoria will receive $24.5 million for water works to help regional economies recover from bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Victorian budget investment of $44 million to waterway health in the state. 

The Victorian Government will also be investing a further $19.5 million into a raft of other water initiatives, including management of water flows, contamination and compliance. 

The $24.5 recovery package will fund works at eight sites including the Mitchell, mid-Goulburn, Hopkins, Mitta Mitta and the lower Wimmera rivers, the Murray and Loddon system, Kings Billabong, and Corner Inlet and its tributaries. 

Under these works, $7.5 million will support community-led projects designed to boost the health of the Gippsland Lakes and $5 million will be committed to improving Victoria’s Ramsar wetlands. 

Acting Minister for Water Richard Wynne said investing in waterway health in Victoria is crucial to the state’s economic health.

“An investment in our waterways is an investment in the future of our state — we cannot take these gifts from nature for granted. We must continue to protect them in every way we can,” he said. 

“Victoria’s waterways drive eco-tourism, support farmers and underpin local economies. By protecting our waterways, we’re supporting local communities, their quality of life and their livelihoods.” 

As part of the $19.5 million allocated to community and waterway health, the budget provides $8.4 million to help manage water flows in irrigation districts and boost projects that deliver water infrastructure in order to support local farmers and local communities. 

Further funding of $8.5 million will be committed to help manage contaminated groundwater in Bendigo and support work on a long-term solution for Bendigo’s historic mining industry. 

An investment of $2.5 has been committed to strengthening compliance and enforcement regarding water-theft, which will support a zero-tolerance approach. 

This year’s $44 million waterway investment strategy is intended to build on the $224 million announced last year, which was aimed at protecting Victorian waterways with better management and monitoring, including pest control, revegetation projects and site coordination.