Moe’s anxious wait

The protracted plan to revitalise Moe’s town centre has reached a crucial point as the state and federal governments formally consider whether they will fund the project.

Latrobe City Council will put up $5 million towards construction of a new civic hub, library, bus interchange and skate park along the George Street railway precinct.

But the state and federal governments need to contribute another $15 million for the project to be completed.

Council last week lodged a formal application with the State Government for funding from its Regional Growth Fund, to the joy of the Moe community.

“From our perspective the wheels are in motion now and hopefully there’s going to be some outcomes,” Committee for Moe president Manny Gelagotis said.

“We’re satisfied at the moment, but until we hear funding is ready or available, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

It’s not clear when the state will make a decision on the funding, but there will likely be discussions between Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Federal Regional Services Minister Catherine King about how much each tier of government is willing to put forward.

The Latrobe Valley Transition Committee last month lodged an application with the Federal Government to fund the Moe project, along with construction of a new Latrobe Community Health Service training clinic in Churchill.

It is currently preparing more information about the Moe revitalisation plan for the government’s consideration.

Transition committee member and Latrobe City Council chief executive Paul Buckley said this week, the Moe project was the “highest priority”.

The state funding application came just hours after State Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood was forced to defend the absence of the project on the state budget.

This week he again moved to reassure the Moe community the omission was in no way an indication the government wouldn’t fund the revitalisation.

“One of the reasons it was not mentioned was because the type of funding needed will come from an existing funding program,” Mr Blackwood said.

“I will get a copy of the application this week and I will then progress discussions with the Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and regional development staff to try and convince them to provide funding as soon as possible.”

The search for funding was put on hold for three months from December 2012 while Latrobe City Council conducted a review of the project.

It resolved in March to push forward with the revitalisation based on the original design, following a community campaign.