Infrastructure ‘win’


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STATE Budget funding to spearhead two key Victorian infrastructure projects has been welcomed as a “major win” for Gippsland industries.

This week the State Government announced $294 million would be spent next in the next two financial years to complete planning for the first stage of the East West (road) Link – connecting the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway.

The tolled public-private project was set to cost between $6 to $8 billion and State Member for Morwell Russell Northe said yesterday the State Government would deliver the project, though a $1.5 billion contribution from the Federal Government would also be required.

The East West Link would enable local freight to bypass Melbourne, reducing costs for regional exporters, Mr Northe said.

Committee for Gippsland chief executive Mary Aldred said the budget announcement was a coup for “Gippsland’s manufacturing and transport sectors” and would bring with it “significant time efficiencies in getting Gippsland’s goods to market”. She said the State Government’s pre-budget announcement of $110 million for the Port of Hastings was also welcomed by C4G and represented “significant export opportunities for our region”.