UPDATE: The co-owner of a Horsham construction company has criticised the National Party's promise to commit $1.65 million to upgrading the Wimmera River through Horsham if re-elected on Saturday.
Andrea Cross, of Shane & Andrea Cross Builders, said the river needed to be more infrastructure than the cafe, boardwalk and artworks the Nationals' commitment will fund.
"There needs to be a tourism and community precinct, with room for more businesses near the river," she said.
"Any investment in the region is a great thing, but $1.65 million is really only a drop in the ocean. Knowing the cost of building infrastructure, that amount doesn't build what we need, though it would be good seed funding."
Mrs Cross is also an executive committee member of Business Horsham and the Horsham Agricultural Society. Business Horsham delegated its comment to the Mail-Times on the announcement to Mrs Cross.
"The announcement of the funding is reliant on the National Party being elected in Mallee and the return of the Coalition government at a federal level. Both of those are uncertain at this point in time," she said.
Mrs Cross is also campaigning for independent candidate Ray Kingston at this election.
EARLIER: The National Party will fund upgrades to the Wimmera River foreshore worth $1.65 million if re-elected at the Federal Election on Saturday.
New trees will be planted and a cafe, riverfront boardwalk and jetty, artwork and cultural interpretation features, signs and new lighting will be established during stage one of the project.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack made the announcement, alongside the party's candidate for Mallee, Anne Webster, at Horsham Angling Club on Monday morning.
"The river makes the Wimmera exactly what it is, and we need to make sure Horsham has a beautiful area to attract visitors, he said.
"When you revitalise a river precinct like Swan Hill and Mildura have, you get visitors to stay and create business opportunities."
Mr McCormack said the money would also upgrade Firebrace Street.
"New trees will be planted to provide more shade for pedestrians and parked cars, better lighting, better provision for cyclists, signage and streetscaping," Mr McCormack said.
The Deputy Prime Minister travelled to Horsham after announcing $32 million for the East Grampians pipeline in Ararat on Sunday. He said the Mallee electorate had not missed out on its share of federal funding by virtue of the fact it has been a safe seat.
"If that electorate was held by a Labor member and an important location, we would be happy to invest. We want to take the politics out of it," he said.
Mr McCormack said Saturday's election would be "transformational".
"This is a once-in-a-generation election at which people have a really clear choice: Who do you trust to continue to deliver for regional Australia? I trust the Nationals," he said.
Horsham Rural City mayor Mark Radford said the most important project would be getting a cafe on the river.
"It's been talked about for a long time, so I think it will be the landmark project, and there are plans for many things between the showgrounds and the pedestrian bridge, even upgrading the angling club showrooms and the (Sawyer Park) sound shell" he said.
"Since the opening of the bridge, it's amazing the number of people who are coming to walk and cycle along the river bank, and that's only going to increase."
Mallee National Party members, Business Horsham members and other Mallee candidates, Liberal Serge Petrovich and independent Ray Kingston, attended Monday's announcement.
Mr Petrovich was a late arrival because he was delayed by traffic.
Mr Kingston said the announcement was proof that money could be secured for Mallee when the seat had to be fought for.
"It's a great project. I think highlighting it is important, irrespective of whether it gets up in the context of this election," he said.
"I think I'll take a little bit of credit for the fact we've had so many ministerial visits to the seat at this election."
Mr McCormack said his party would work constructively with any independents who won seats off the Nationals at the election.
"All members of parliament deserve respect for being elected," he said.
"The true test of being a leader is being able to get on with people, and I've got good relationships with parliamentarians on all sides of politics."
Hart: Labor's national policies to have impact in Mallee
Labor candidate for Mallee Carole Hart says the Wimmera would see the benefits of infrastructure programs it wanted to roll out nationwide.
Commenting on the perceived lack of funding announcements for the Wimmera on Thursday, Ms Hart said her party had infrastructure plans that took in all of Australia.
"Our plans are not just for one particular area," she said.
"Examples are the money going into cancer and renewables, talking about addressing issues on climate change. Looking at our hospitals money going to emergency services to cut waiting times. The Wimmera will absolutely see their share of these projects."
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