Communities in the electorate of Nicholls will benefit significantly from $2.1 million in funding via round three of the Federal Government’s Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program.

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the grants would help strengthen and diversify the economies of Goulburn Valley communities impacted by aspects of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Drum announced the successful organisations today:

Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Industry ($990,000): These funds will increase access to sport and recreation in Rochester and the surrounding district. This project will include enhancements to the Rochester Bowls Club, Rochester Sports Museum, and the Rochester Community Playspace.

Gargarro Botanic Garden ($813,925): Construction of a community hub and café in the garden precinct. This will operate as a social enterprise, providing employment opportunities locally and generating revenue for community initiatives.

Committee for Greater Shepparton ($300,000): A personalised support service – through a Community Connector Coordinator– to professionals and their families who move to the region.

Mr Drum said each of the projects would help the region by using local suppliers and resources, as well as through local knowledge to drive the best outcomes for the region.

“For too long our Basin communities have been hurting,” Mr Drum said.

“This important Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program is the Federal Government’s acknowledgement that taking water out of Basin communities causes tens of millions of dollars in economic damage each and every year.

“The program is designed to help reinvigorate those communities that have been hurt financially by the Basin Plan.

“This latest funding comes on top of more than $2.8 million Nicholls received in the previous round of the program.”

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, said he would announce more job-creating projects in Murray-Darling Basin communities as they were are approved.

“We are providing opportunities for Basin communities affected by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to be at the heart of decisions on how to stimulate their economies,” Mr Pitt said.

“The approved projects will create new jobs as they are delivered, as well as enduring employment opportunities, increase the capacity of communities to diversify and strengthen their local economies, and help them to manage their current and future economic challenges and changes.

“This program recognises that communities know how best to tackle the challenges they face, and what types of economic activity would support people in their own areas.

“Across the Basin, people have been dealing with the biggest water reform in Australia’s history – along with drought, demographic change, and commodity price change.

“This funding recognises the pressures that many people in Basin’s rural and regional communities are under and seeks to create new economic activity and job opportunities for those impacted.”

Almost $39 million was approved through the opening two rounds of the program.


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