South-west councils will receive $17.4 million for road works and community projects under a Federal Government cash splash while there's fresh hope an impasse over Princes Highway upgrades could end.
The federal government on Friday announced a $1.8 billion boost to councils in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Moyne Shire Council will receive $2.717m, Corangamite $2.285m, Glenelg $2.273m, Southern Grampians $1.985m, Colac Otway $1.703m and Warrnambool $425,024.
Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the investment would support local jobs and businesses and boost economies struggling under the impacts of COVID-19.
He said the package included a new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program and bringing forward $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant payments.
The new program is based on the successful Roads to Recovery program and allow councils to deliver priority projects with a focus on upgrades and maintenance to local roads and community infrastructure.
The federal education minister said the $17.4 million for the region did not include any funding for duplication of the Princes Highway west of Warrnambool.
"It's for councils and local roads," he said.
"I am continuing to strongly advocate and push for duplication of the Princes Highway west.
"I hope that in coming weeks we will achieve a breakthrough in terms of that project."
Mr Tehan said local government, like all levels of government, had felt the enormous impact of coronavirus.
"We understand the value of local government, especially to regional areas, and there has been significant lobbying by MPs for a relief package for local government," he said.
Mr Tehan said accelerating local infrastructure projects was important for supporting jobs and the local economy in Wannon.
"Every single job we support makes a huge difference in our local communities, now and as we navigate out of the coronavirus pandemic," he said.
"Not only will this package support jobs, construction businesses and the economy across Wannon, it will improve our local roads and provide for new and upgraded amenities to help communities stay connected.
"I will be working closely with councils to make sure projects get under way to support jobs and businesses as soon as possible."
Local road projects to be delivered under the program include but are not limited to constructing or improving bridges and tunnels, street lighting, and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas.
A broad range of community infrastructure projects will be eligible including new or upgraded bicycle and walking paths, community facilities, and picnic shelters and barbecue facilities at parks.
Guidelines for the program will be provided directly to local governments by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
Other western Victorian funding includes Ararat Rural City Council $1,461,358, Golden Plains $1,333,655, Northern Grampians $1,857,984 and Pyrenees $1,394,921.
Listen to the latest episode of our weekly episode The Booletin and Beyond:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.