Wilsons Promontory National Park’s revitalisation plans and straightening the South Gippsland Highway at Grassy Spur are among projects identified on this year’s South Gippsland Shire Council advocacy list for State and Federal funding.
The shire’s three-member administration panel adopted 10 “priority” projects to actively lobby the two higher tiers of government for during 2021/2022 at the virtual open ordinary council meeting held on Wednesday July 21, 2021.
Among the other eight projects is the South Gippsland Urban Water Strategy, Stage Two of the Leongatha Heavy Vehicle Alternative Route, and realigning the South Gippsland Highway at Coal Creek near Korumburra.
The shire is also backing the Great Southern Rail Trail Railway Precincts redevelopment at Leongatha and Korumburra stations, along with the Gippsland Tracks and Trails Project endorsed by Destination Gippsland and the other Gippsland region municipalities as well as South Gippsland.
The shire has thrown its support behind improving the Bass Highway between Leongatha and Anderson, realigning the Srzelecki Highway at Crightons Hill between Leongatha and Mirboo North, and Korumburra’s Commercial Street streetscaping.
South Gippsland Shire’s administration panel chair Julie Eisenbise said “these are all important projects for our region.
“It has been standard procedure for Council to seek funding opportunities where possible to assist with the completion of these projects, and this has not changed,” she said.
“As always, we look forward to working with our State and Federal counterparts to get these projects fully funded and able to come to fruition for the benefit of our community.”
A statement issued by the shire said that “for a project to be chosen for advocacy, Council looks at the local significance, [and] how it will enhance economic prosperity and liveability across our region.
“In a change to previous years, Council decided to include Strategic Roads for Advocacy as part of Council’s overall Priority Projects,” the statement continued.
“Many of these projects have been slated for advocacy before, but due to the size of the project, they have been listed once more on Council’s list of projects for advocacy.
“You may also notice that in 2021/22, the list includes some projects that are not solely the responsibility of Council, such as the Wilsons Promontory Revitalisation Project,” the statement said.
“This year, Council has adopted Priority Projects that will be pursued with other partners, acknowledging the significant importance to our Shire.”
Wilsons Prom Project
A report in the shire’s July 21, 2021 minutes describes the Wilsons Prom Revitalisation Project as “a current priority project endorsed by One Gippsland, which seeks to deliver a superior visitor experience while reducing the environmental impacts associated with traditional visitation.
“The Victorian Government has already invested $21 million towards this project, however, an additional funding amount of $8 million is required for it to be fully realised,” the report said.
Key aspects of the “shovel-ready” Wilsons Prom project are a 10-kilometre vermin-proof fence to protect the Prom as a 50,000-hectare biodiversity sanctuary, a new visitor centre and environmentally-sensitive visitor accommodation near the national park’s northern boundary at Yanakie, improved parking and visitor transport, and an all-accessible wildlife track.
The shire report stated that “due to the significant impact of the [Wilsons Prom] project and as a priority project of One Gippsland, it is recommended that this project be listed as a Council Priority Project for Advocacy in 2021/22.”
Grassy Spur Realignment
The shire has called for the second half of the South Gippsland Highway Grassy Spur bends realignment project between Foster and Stony Creek to be funded for some years.
The shire report stated that “the South Gippsland Highway is the main arterial route through South Gippsland Shire and part of the Sydney to Melbourne Touring Route” and that “works on this section of road about 15 years ago removed some bends but others remain, which are electronically sign posted and speed restricted.”
The report goes on to state that “with improvements to the highway at other locations, this area will become the most difficult section of the highway and limit further economic expansion.
“The [Grassy Spur] section of road is a key connector to the southern districts of South Gippsland Shire including Wilsons Promontory National Park, Corner Inlet, and towns such as Foster and Toora” and that “this project is in the preliminary stages with Regional Roads Victoria.”
The report recommended that the Grassy Spur realignment continues as a shire priority project.
Urban Water Strategy
The South Gippsland Urban Water Strategy is a 50-year plan developed by South Gippsland Water outlining the actions required to manage demand for, and ensure sufficient supplies of, drinking water across their service region.
The shire report said, “the Urban Water Strategy is revisited every five years in response to the constantly changing outlook in the supply of, and demand for, water” and that the 2017 … Strategy is being reviewed and redeveloped in 2021.”
The report recommended that the project be included as a priority “due to the importance of adequate water supplies to support the growth and prosperity of the municipality.”
Details of the other South Gippsland Shire Council 2021/2022 Priority Projects may be found on the shire’s website at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au under the Your Council and Council Meetings buttons. Look for the July 21, 2021 Minutes, Item 3.1.