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This article was published on Wednesday, 10 May, 2023. The information contained within may be out of date or inaccurate. News articles and media releases older than 60 days are archived for future reference.

Federal Budget funding for Greater Shepparton region supports vulnerable community members

Last night’s Federal Budget focused on supporting people rather than large infrastructure projects, potentially leaving funding for the Goulburn Valley Highway (Shepparton) Bypass as an unknown.

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Councillor Shane Sali, said the Bypass remains the top priority for the region but is hopeful that some of the other measures announced will assist the community recover from two years of COVID, a major flood event and several storm events.

“Once funded, the Shepparton Bypass will transform the region’s freight capacity and improve safety for drivers and visitors to the region through diversion of significant volumes of heavy vehicle movement from Shepparton and Mooroopna’s CBD,” he said.

“The 90 day review of the Infrastructure Investment Program announced by
The Hon Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government will hopefully provide a better outcome for the Bypass. Council is continuing to advocate hard for funding of this long-awaited project.”

Cr Sali said funding had previously been provided by both the State and Federal governments and Council was continuing to work towards seeing this project established.

“If we do not receive funding as a result of this review then it could be at least a decade before it will be in front of the Federal Government again. This would be a step back in ensuring the economy of our region can continue to prosper with our large freight and logistics industries,” he said.

Despite this, Cr Sali said it was pleasing to see the Federal Government focus on some initiatives that support the most vulnerable in the community. He acknowledged the $4 billion of funding for mental health, disability, domestic violence and homelessness services which he said was a move in the right direction.

“Single parents, which make up 11.1 per cent of Greater Shepparton’s population, will be provided with expanded criteria for eligibility for payments. Young people, who are the future of our region, will also be supported with an increase in Austudy and Youth Allowance which will help them continue their studies or look for work,” he said.

“The support for Indigenous communities is good to see, with over three per cent of Greater Shepparton’s community being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The $1.9 billion to improve economic opportunities, health and housing support for Aboriginal people is a good step forward.”

Cr Sali said one of the real positives for Greater Shepparton’s horticulture industry was the strengthening of Australia’s biosecurity measures.

“This is important to help protect our region from threats of disease and pests that could ruin our livelihoods. Horticulture is the backbone of Greater Shepparton,” he said.

“We are known as the food bowl of Australia and therefore it is important that measures are in place to ensure its continued growth and economic prosperity.”

Cr Sali said the increases to the child care subsidy, a wage rise for aged care workers and energy bill relief measures would further assist the community, along with the increase in bulk billing consultations with higher incentives in regional and rural areas.

“Hopefully this attracts more doctors to practice in regional areas and provides much needed resources for local clinics, including to help ease the pressure off GV Health’s Emergency Department,” he said.

“It is also promising to see the announcement of low interest loans for households wanting to improve their energy efficiency, with this initiative sure to assist many residents. Council already manage the Environmental Upgrade Agreements for commercial properties so it will be interesting to see how this scheme for households will be managed.

“Greater Shepparton is a resilient community and we have been tested to the limit over the last three years. Council is pleased to see a focus in the Federal Budget on caring for the community however we would have liked to have seen some infrastructure support for much needed projects.”


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