Mildura Rural City Council has progressed a major step forward in its Mildura Future Ready (MFR) advocacy and funding strategy, securing $10 million in Federal Government funding.
Council's successful application for the Building Better Regions (BBR) funding will pave the way for final planning and work to start on the long awaited Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct (MSRSP).
Mildura Mayor Mark Eckel said the successful funding application vindicated MFR and Council's approach to tackling the region's concerning social and economic indicators.
"This is an exciting time for our region and I'd like to thank our Federal Member Andrew Broad for his advice and work in advocating for MFR at the highest levels of government in Canberra," Cr Eckel said.
"It's through our combined and persistent advocacy for this critical funding, as well as having high-quality projects and a well thought-out funding strategy, that we've been able to prove to the government that MFR and its initiatives will make a real difference to our region, and the evidence is our successful BBR application."
Cr Eckel said work would now start on refining plans for the MSRSP.
“We aim to maximise the money we have available to ensure the best outcomes for our community and this project,” he said.
Cr Eckel stressed that while funding had now been secured for one of the two shovel-ready projects under MFR - the other being the Mildura Motorsports and Community Precinct - it would not impact on progressing the motorsport precinct.
"This is very much about sequencing rather than priorities, which is an important distinction to make," he said.
"MFR was never about getting everything done in 12 months. It's about seizing opportunities as they arise to make all four projects in the MFR suite of initiatives a reality, and we certainly haven't lost sight of that.
"In the case of the motorsport precinct, this Federal funding really sharpens the focus now on the Victorian Government and its contribution, which is a requirement, along with private funding to start this project.
"We're already looking ahead to the next rounds of Federal funding opportunities for the motorsport precinct, however at this point, Victorian Government funding is very much the missing piece of the puzzle for MFR.
"We've been working with the current State Government for many months to secure funding for MFR, including spending valuable time with Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford earlier this year visiting key MFR sites and were buoyed by her support for the initiative, and we'll continue talks with her and her colleagues."
"We'll continue to work with the State Government in the lead-up to the Victorian Election in a bid to make our region, and MFR, a key election issue."
Features of the MSRSP will include at least four indoor courts, change rooms, a café/kiosk, with eventual flexibility to host major indoor events, featuring a 3000-seat capacity for conventions, performances and other functions.