MILDURA Rural City Council has completed the first step in applying for more than $28million in Federal Government funding for the first phase of its Mildura Future Ready (MFR) advocacy and funding strategy.

Council submitted its formal expression of interest to apply for a share of the $272.2million Region Growth Fund late last week, with Mildura Mayor Mar Eckel saying it will pave the way for a full application for the funding to start work on two shovel-ready MFR projects – the Mildura Motorsports and Community Precinct (Stage 1) and the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct.

Cr Eckel said that if Council’s application was successful, it would also be seeking Victorian Government funding to make both projects a reality.

“The Regional Growth Fund, which was only announced in March, has come at an ideal time for us, given we have two key MFR projects that have been fully researched with completed business cases,” he said.

“These projects, which have strong support from the community, are ready to go now.”

The Mayor highlighted the support of Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, who he said has been championing Mildura’s cause at the highest levels of government.

“We’ve been working constructively with Mr Broad on both our Building Better Regions Fund and our Regional Growth Fund applications,” Cr Eckel said. “Through this process, Mr Broad has not only provided valuable advice, but has arranged meetings with key government ministers and advisors in Canberra to ensure we’re maximising our chances of success.”

Cr Eckel said he was hopeful Council would progress to the next stage of the application process given MFR’s goals of creating jobs and growth were in line with the Federal Government’s regional funding program.

The Regional Growth Fund provides grants of $10million or more for “major transformative projects which support long-term economic growth and create jobs in regions undergoing structural adjustment.”

“Our MFR advocacy and funding strategy appears to align almost perfectly with the Fund’s objectives,” Cr Eckel said.

MFR aims to address Sunraysia’s concerning levels of social disadvantage by attracting large-scale government funding for four key initiatives – the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct, the Mildura Motorsports and Community Precinct (Stage 1), Stage 2 of the Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment and advocating for the return of passenger rail services to the region.

If Council’s application is successful, a full funding application must be submitted within three months.

“This will take us into the thick of the upcoming Victorian Government election, where we’ll be campaigning strongly for State Government funding,” Cr Eckel said. “We’ve had strong support from both Mr Broad and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp, as well as a positive relationship with current Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, and we’ll continue to work with them to achieve our goals.”

More information about MFR is available online at www.mildura.vic.gov.au/Council/Major-Projects/Mildura-Future-Ready.