MORE than $20 million will be spent on south-west projects as the state government looks to kick-start the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Dan Andrews announced a $2.7 billion works package on Monday, which includes $11.3 million to fund upgrades at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve and $4.5 million to deliver the Twelve Apostles Timboon to Port Campbell Trail project.
The cash boost for Tower Hill includes works to improve visitor facilities, cultural experiences, lookouts and trails.
In Portland there will be $3 million towards the Portland Foreshore Redevelopment and $1.2 million for the Portland Bay Wharf Extension.
The state government said the projects were selected because they could begin as soon as possible, meaning shovels in the ground within a matter of weeks and months.
The Standard understands there will also be funding provided for road maintenance and resurfacing on the Hamilton Highway and social housing properties.
A government spokeswoman said it would upgrade and undertaking maintenance on 23,000 social and public housing properties across Victoria, including in the south-west.
Western Victoria MP Gayle Tierney said the new projects across the region would begin within a matter of weeks and months.
"From upgrading Portland Foreshore infrastructure and facilities at Tower Hill, to new projects for our tourist destinations, this package will create jobs for our local tradies and so many others - and support local businesses across Western Victoria," she said. The government said the statewide package would create 3700 direct jobs for construction workers, painters, plasterers, gardeners, engineers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, maintenance workers and administration staff.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said the upgrades to the Tower Hill facilities were long overdue and it came after long-term lobbying to the government.
"It's one of our key tourist gems, but it's needed some work to make it less of a diamond in the rough," she said.
"I hope this money will go towards helping control the weeds and update the infrastructure on the walking tracks, which local groups have been calling for 20 years as well as making much needed upgrades to the toilet and visitor centre facilities."
Ms Britnell said the funding for projects in Portland was a great reflection on the Glenelg Shire who had worked hard to lobby all levels of government for their key projects.
"It will provide the city with a fantastic foreshore area that will compliment the new all abilities play space brilliantly and help attract visitors."
But Ms Britnell said it was disappointing the Princes Highway upgrade had been ignored.
"There is money on the table from the federal government, more than 8000 people signed my petition which called for that funding to be matched and the Princes Highway West alliance have plan ready to go," she said.
"But the state government is refusing to come to the party and provide money to upgrade it's asset.
"It makes no sense that this project is being completely ignored - it ticks all the boxes, but the Labor Government just don't seem interested. What will it take to get that project funded?"