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Ryan opens Great Southern Rail Trail extension

Sunday, 25 August 2013
Cyclists, runners and walkers turned out in force to test themselves on the newest section of the Great Southern Rail Trail, an 8.6km section of trail linking Foster and Toora.
 
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan was on hand today to officially open the new section of trail and wave off competitors who were competing for prizes including first cyclist, runner and walker to complete the trail between Foster’s Station Park and Toora’s Sagasser Park.
 
Mr Ryan said the Foster to Toora section completed stage one of the $2.9 million three stage Great Southern Rail Trail Extension project, which received $2 million in funding support from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
 
“The Foster to Toora section involved the construction of 8.6kms of trail, including the installation of four bridges and associated infrastructure such as signage, seating, bike parking and safety crossings,” Mr Ryan said.
 
“This is the first stage of a total of 18.5kms worth of extensions to the Great Southern Rail Trail that will link Foster to Welshpool.
 
“Stage two of the project, which involves an extension from Toora to Agnes will begin later this year, with stage three from Agnes to Welshpool to begin next year.”
 
Mr Ryan said the Great South Rail Trail, which starts in Leongatha, is a fantastic asset for the South Gippsland region. 
 
“Once complete, this extension is expected to generate around $5.5 million from increased tourism for the region over a three year period,” Mr Ryan said.
 
“Extending the rail trail has been a high priority for the South Gippsland Shire Council and the Committee of Management for many years, and we are now one step closer towards the completion of this important project.”
 
Through initiatives such as the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government is working in partnership with local councils, community groups and associations to drive new 
growth and investment opportunities in regional communities.
 
“In just over two years, the Regional Growth Fund has supported almost 1,200 projects throughout regional and rural Victoria, leveraging more than $1.4 billion in total investment.
   
“This includes a number of important projects throughout South Gippsland including $2 million to develop Port Anthony, $2.5 million to assist South Gippsland Shire carry out various infrastructure improvement projects, and $282,000 towards the redevelopment of three public halls in the Corner Inlet region.”
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