Thumbs up for Moe revitalisation project

Candidates from the three major parties for the federal seat of McMillan have voiced their support for completion of stage two of Moe’s town revitalisation project.

In response to a question from The Express, The Greens’ Donna Lancaster, Labor’s Chris Buckingham and sitting Liberal member Russell Broadbent spoke in favour of the project, but stopped short of pledging specific funding.

It comes after Latrobe City Council voted on Monday night to write to all of the McMillan candidates seeking a commitment to fully fund the second stage of the project if elected.

The current indicative cost of stage two is $8 million and includes changes to car parking, a connection from the rail precinct to the Moe-Yallourn rail trail, a pedestrian shared zone at the intersection of George and Moore streets, bus interchange and youth precinct including skate park. 

“We’ve got a new building, it’d be nice to finish it off,” Latrobe City deputy mayor Sharon Gibson, who moved the council motion, said.

Stage one of the project – a new library and service centre on George Street – is set to open on Monday.

The $14 million project was jointly funded by Latrobe City Council and the state and federal governments.

But this time around, council appears to be calling on the Federal Government to pay the entire cost of stage two.

“Moe’s been overlooked for a long time, so I think it’s only right and fitting that they get the attention,” Cr Gibson said.

She said rate capping made it difficult for council to invest in capital projects.

Mr Broadbent, whose government contributed $7.5 million to stage one of the project, said he would “back this project to the hilt” and support and advocate for council’s application for stage two federal funding under the Building Better Regions Fund.

“The Moe Rail Precinct was a great example of all three levels of government working together for the community,” Mr Broadbent said.

Mr Buckingham said he would work with the Moe community to “secure the funding we need to get the job done”.

“It will take a team effort and contributions from federal, state and local government,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Most importantly, the community needs to be properly consulted before there is any formal commitment made.”

Ms Lancaster said part of The Greens’ ‘Renew Australia Policy’ included assisting towns to transition and revitalise through job creation.

“Through smart spending of federal money, The Infrastucture Bank would help fund projects such as this, with funds to help build bus interchanges, better cycling paths and projects that will create jobs going forward,” Ms Lancaster said.

Liberal Democrats candidate Jim McDonald said he regretfully could not offer any funding for the project.

“As the only candidate in this election who is genuinely concerned about the state of our budget, I am not promising any funding for any project,” Mr McDonald said.

Rise Up Australia Party candidate Norman Baker said he did not have enough information about the project to make a statement.

Australian Christians candidate Kathleen Ipsen, Animal Justice Party candidate Jennifer McAdam and Family First Party candidate Nathan Harding did not respond to The Express.