Cathy McGowan has expressed her deep disappointment in the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss’ decision not to honour round five of the Regional Development Australia Fund grants.
The projects affected in Indi are the Wodonga downtown redevelopment, the Rutherglen main street and the upgrades to the Wangaratta Saleyards.
“These projects are critical infrastructure that is essential for the advancement of rural communities, not only in Indi, but around Australia,” Cathy said.
Cathy said that the decision by Mr Truss will deprive communities of critical infrastructure upgrades.
“There’s been a huge amount of work from many people to get these projects up. I know the communities affected will be very upset with the Government’s decision to not honour the funding agreements”.
Over the past two months Cathy has met with representatives from all the RDAF projects, and met with Minister Truss’ office to push for their funding.
“I’d hope the Minister would choose to support these projects on their merit, rather than the date they received funding”.
Cathy pointed to the fact that although the projects were approved by the previous government, many of them had been in the pipeworks for a long time.
“Proposals to redevelop Wodonga’s downtown have been in the works since 1975, and successive governments have failed to support this redevelopment,” she said.
“Wodonga had finally organised sufficient investment from State, Federal and local sources, as well as private investment. These are serious projects with big implications for our towns - they should be above partisan politics.”
Cathy said she would continue to work with local councils on the projects.
$150 million worth of development projects were funded by Round 5, across more than 560 local shires.