Multi-million dollar tourism & jobs package

North East Victoria will solidify its reputation as a world-class cycling destination with Jaclyn Symes MLC securing $12million in the State Budget to deliver major trail extensions and improvements, iconic art and visitor-attractions along the trail, as well as a marketing campaign to attract even more visitors.

Today in Beechworth, Ms Symes joined tourism operators, businesses and North East Victorian local government representatives to announce the $12 million in funding off the back of the Andrews Labor Government's 2017-18 Budget, delivered this week.

Ms Symes said the funding secured in the Budget gives the green light to a project that has been in development for a number of years and is an agreed priority for the region's economic growth.

Ms Symes said she had worked very closely with Tourism North East, local councils and the Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford to secure the funding in this year's budget.

"This is a massive win for tourism, business growth and employment opportunities for communities in the North East," Ms Symes said.

"After a devastating week for workers in Kiewa, it is great to have some good news and $12million of investment in the North East that will create new business opportunities and jobs.

"Today we can celebrate the delivery of investment ready, high impact tourism projects that will help drive visitation to country Victoria, create jobs and boost the economy.

"This massive funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government will cement Victoria's North East as one of the world's premier destinations for cycle tourism."

The project's business case and master plan was supported by the Government's Regional Tourism and Infrastructure Fund which has identified initiatives to activate business along the trail so that the local economies benefits from the growing number of visitors to the trail network.

These initiatives include:

  • Extending the Murray to Mountains trail from Beechworth to Yackandandah
  • Trail enhancements such as better signage, community hubs, and digital interpretations
  • "Wow factor" art projects and tourist attractions to entice people to visit things only discoverable by the trail
  • A comprehensive branding and marketing campaign to increase awareness
  • A cycle hub to cater for all cyclist needs
  • Support private sector activation in and around the trail and surrounding towns.

The new sections of trail will traverse historic gold mining sites, aboriginal sites and beautiful scenery.

Unique viewing platforms will be constructed to allow visitors to experience the natural environment in a different way.

It is anticipated the project will bring more than 260,000 visitors to the region, opening up new business opportunities and creating jobs within local communities.

"Local businesses also stand to benefit from the project by getting involved in pop-up events and attractions at the new community hubs along the trail," Ms Symes said.

"The business case and concept design for the project has been completed and the master plan is approaching completion, meaning the project can kick off this year.

"The Andrews Labor Government last year provided $205,000 supporting cycling projects in the North East to enhance and extend existing trails and create new links between the Murray to Mountains and High Country Rail Trails.

"Through the promotion of cycling in the High Country, the project will ensure that the benefits the $12 million investment and past investments achieve the greatest possible economic impact for North East Victoria."