By Mitchell Clarke
Cardinia Shire Council has welcomed a Federal funding boost of $1.7 million to bring forward vital community projects.
The funding announcement forms part of a $1.8 billion package aimed at supporting local jobs and businesses by boosting the local Cardinia economy, which has taken a hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than $7 million alone will be distributed across seven councils in Melbourne’s southeast, with funding allocations calculated by road length and population.
Cardinia Shire Council was allocated $1,691,139, while the Casey City Council is set to receive $1,633,695 and the City of Greater Dandenong will get $1,017,807.
Cardinia Shire Council mayor Jeff Springfield said the council welcomed the announcement.
“The $1.69 million in funding will assist council to more promptly progress some of our shovel ready projects and bring forward the delivery of additional projects into the coming financial year,” Cr Springfield said.
“Complementing existing council budgets and any other relevant grant funding received for the various projects, this funding will assist council to continue delivering on our commitment to providing accessible, safe and durable local infrastructure and facilities for the benefit and enjoyment of our community.”
According to the Federal Government, the money should be used to make improvements to road projects, such as constructing bridges and tunnels, improving street lightening or building heavy vehicle facilities.
The cash can also be put towards new bike and walking paths or picnic shelters and barbecue facilities at local parks.
The Gazette asked the council what specific projects the money would be go towards, but no decisions have yet been made.
“Council is currently reviewing and considering which of our upcoming projects are eligible to be funded by this stimulus package,” Cardinia Shire Council’s infrastructure and environment general manager Peter Benazic said.
“We will prioritise those that are primed for fast-tracked delivery.”
Federal La Trobe MP Jason Wood said accelerating local infrastructure projects was important for supporting jobs and the local economy in the Cardinia Shire.
“Every single job we support makes a huge difference in our local communities, now and as we navigate out of the Coronavirus pandemic,” Mr Wood said.
“Not only will this package support jobs, construction businesses and the economy across La Trobe, it will improve our local roads and provide for new and upgraded amenities to help communities stay connected.
“I will be working closely with councils to make sure projects get under way to support jobs and businesses as soon as possible.”
Program guidelines have been provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.