Chester flags infrastructure spend, stops short of detail

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said regional infrastructure would be a key focus in this year’s federal budget.

Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down his second budget on Tuesday night

Mr Chester, who also serves as Transport and Infrastructure Minister, said the government was investing an unprecedented amount in Gippsland infrastructure.

“The Federal Government is making a huge investment in Gippsland and its people. This includes $16.6 million to help build lasting community assets for the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Chester said.

“Infrastructure is a key focus of this year’s budget, particularly infrastructure in regional areas. I have been working hard to ensure Gippsland gets its fair share.”

He said good infrastructure was “key to a prosperous future” and it was important for the Federal Government to invest in the region’s assets following the closure of Hazelwood and uncertainty surrounding the ASH timber mill in Heyfield.

“Never before has the Federal Government invested so much money in Gippsland’s infrastructure and the resources that this region needs to thrive,” Mr Chester said.

“Spending will prioritise projects that make our towns safe and attractive places to live, work and invest.”

Mr Chester would not speculate on the details of the federal budget, but said he had been advocating for regional rail projects for a long time.

“The Federal Government is keen to support regional rail projects, including the upgrade of the Gippsland line,” he said.

“Good rail links connect our communities, support decentralisation and help those who commute from regional areas to Melbourne. “I want to get better transport infrastructure for Gippsland so local people enjoy those benefits.”