With the Victorian State Budget set to be announced on Tuesday, May 23, Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has outlined some of the high priority projects requiring funding in Heathcote.
Some of the projects Ms Cleeland hopes to see included in the budget for Heathcote include:
– $15 million for a co-located site for the SES and CFA
– Funding to upgrade the RSL
– An investment in tourism to promote the region
Ms Cleeland made an election commitment to build a new joint facility, after extensive consultation with volunteers, which was backed by the government after community and the Nationals advocacy.
“The CFA and SES in Heathcote have a great relationship, but both of their stations have serious problems,” Ms Cleeland said.
“For the CFA, there are concerns around diesel particulates, incredibly outdated facilities that see female members changing down the road at the bowls club and hoses being cleaned on the main road.
“The SES shed sits within a flood zone, and they are often battling water at their door during storms when they are turning out and trying to support our community.
“This was evident when Heathcote was substantially impacted during the October floods.”
The Heathcote CFA had previously attempted to raise their concerns with relevant Government ministers but were ignored until The Nationals committed to funding a new co-located site with the SES.
“Heathcote’s local upper house MP, the Minister for Emergency Services, had official correspondence on her desk in March of last year outlining the CFA team’s concerns, but it was never responded to,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The Nationals made a commitment to fund a co-located site for the CFA and SES, which finally kicked the government into action, and the commitment was matched.”
Ms Cleeland urged the Treasurer to put money on the table and fulfil their promise in this year’s budget.
“Their facilities are simply not up to scratch, and they need this funding on paper in May,” she said.
The Heathcote RSL is another significant part of the local community, however the facilities at their hall require upgrades to better serve the several organisations and community groups that use it.
Upgrades are needed to improve the storage facilities, providing the RSL hall with more space to act as an essential community hub for so many residents.
“The RSL upgrades would be an inexpensive investment for the State Government to include in the upcoming budget,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The Nationals made a commitment to fund upgrades to the hall, which sadly was not matched by the Labor Government.
“The hall already serves as a meeting place for many of Heathcote’s amazing community groups, but these facilities could be improved with just minor investment.”
Tourism remains an important part of Heathcote’s local economy, with fantastic wineries, dining experiences, markets, and community festivals bringing several visitors to town.
Ms Cleeland said investment from the Government was important to maintain and improve this local industry.
“Heathcote has so many reasons for people to visit – including their food, wines, exciting events, and stunning natural attractions,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Many of these attractions do however require further support and investment from the Government to best serve the region. With the budget approaching, it would be great to see funds put into regional towns like Heathcote.”
The Victorian State Budget will be announced on Tuesday, May 23 with hopes that Heathcote’s major projects will receive the funding they deserve.