Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan was in Bendigo today to officially open the $3.1 million Bendigo Tram Depot and Museum redevelopment.
Mr Ryan said the exciting redevelopment project significantly improved the work environment and tourism potential of Australia's oldest operating tram depot.
"Bendigo's iconic trams are central to the city's identity and the depot, museum and workshop form a major Victorian and international tourism attraction," Mr Ryan said.
"Tram restoration work at the depot includes helping those as far away as Christchurch and San Francisco, as well as the wedding present tram for Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark.
"Bendigo Tramways are also now maintaining Melbourne's iconic W-class trams as part of an $8 million restoration program though the Victorian Government."
Mr Ryan said redevelopment works had also enabled the growth of local employment and training.
"An essential part of this project is the partnership with Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE and the associated training and learning opportunities available to local students," Mr Ryan said.
"With the improved depot, workshop and spraybooth facilities, additional training opportunities have been developed that will ensure local people are taught valuable skills associated with restoring trams, that are also transferable throughout the region."
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Government contributed $1.5 million towards the $3.1 million redevelopment project, with additional support from the Commonwealth and the City of Greater Bendigo.
"The Victorian Coalition Government constantly aims to create new opportunities for economic growth in regional towns," Mr Ryan said.
"That is the aim of our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which supports the continued economic development of regional Victoria by investing in infrastructure and services that improve growth and prosperity in regional and rural communities."