LETTERS: Call for future federal support to secure water

PROUD: Damien Sheehan takes Water Minister Lisa Neville and GWM Water's Peter Vogel on a tour of Mount Langi Ghiran. Picture: PETER PICKERING
PROUD: Damien Sheehan takes Water Minister Lisa Neville and GWM Water's Peter Vogel on a tour of Mount Langi Ghiran. Picture: PETER PICKERING

Federal support needed

I RECENTLY had the pleasure to visit a fantastic local business near Ararat – the Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard. This business produces great wines, creates jobs and builds prosperity in the region.

With a secure water supply Mount Langi will be able to expand its production, produce its quality wines irrespective of rainfall and plan for the future with more certainty.

Other East Grampians farms and businesses will also benefit from a secure water supply – in a region which is again experiencing dry conditions after the drought a couple of years ago.

It was my very enjoyable duty at Mount Langi to tell local farmers and other stakeholders that the Andrews Government’s State Budget included funding of $32 million for the East Grampians Water Supply Project.

That’s locked in, certain funding for this crucial project that we will now get on and build with Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water.

The project will build 1600 kilometres of stock and domestic pipeline and cover up to 530,000 hectares of land – delivering security of supply to as many as 1500 rural enterprises.

A magnificent investment in the future prosperity of the region.

Despite the rather sad claims from state Liberal National MPs, who as usual have been left behind, as we get on and deliver funding for this region, federal officials received the business case for this project in February.

Victorian officials have had discussions with their Commonwealth counterparts about the benefits of the project and I have written to federal minister Michael McCormack seeking Commonwealth funding.

On top of this, Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water have made representations seeking Commonwealth support to Federal Liberal National MPs Andrew Broad, Dan Tehan and David Littleproud and have scheduled a meeting with Mr McCormack later this month.

But I’m sure local farms, businesses and communities don’t want to hear about all that – they just want this project delivered.

- Lisa Neville, Police and Water Minister

Take your project pick

I’M writing to inform Stawell Times-News and Ararat Advertiser readers of an exciting new project which will allow individual communities the chance to nominate and decide on their own funding for projects.

It’s called Pick My Project and will be backed by $30 million from the Andrews Government, allowing every community the chance to benefit. 

All residents over 16, with the backing of a local organisation, school, council or community group, can submit a proposal that helps build a stronger community.

This is about putting community funding decisions back in the hands of communities by helping them come together to improve their neighbourhood. 

Ideas could include anything from sporting and recreation infrastructure, community arts projects, improvements to community facilities and the local environment. 

Projects will need to be feasible and have land-owner consent, but there will be no restrictive guidelines, meaning many local priorities that fall-between the cracks of other grant programs will be eligible for funding. 

Communities will then get to vote for the projects they think are most important, giving residents in Northern Grampians Shire the first and final say on the best way to improve their area.

We want to hear from young people, sporting clubs, community groups, schools – anyone and everyone who is active and involved in the local community.

Projects between $20,000 and $200,000 will be eligible under the program.

To register your interest, visit pickmyproject.vic.gov.au

- Jaala Pulford, Western Victoria MP