Federal government turnaround on regional development

A $500,000 upgrade of the Elmore event site will go ahead after the federal government had a change of heart over 57 regional development projects.

Regional Development Minister Warren Truss has announced the government will honour all projects approved under stages two, three and four of Labor's $2.4 billion Regional Development Australia Fund.

Before the Federal election, Mr Truss had said the Coalition would not commit to projects if contracts had not been signed calling them "just a Labor Party election promise".

However Mr Truss has now announced that all 57 uncontracted projects will be honoured if they can secure contracts within six months.

Elmore Field Days administrator Sue Doyle has welcomed the news.

“We are very excited but also quite shocked,” she said.

“All the signs had been pointing to it not being possible and we had resigned ourselves to that but now we are very excited and grateful to the regional representatives who have been lobbying on our behalf and working tirelessly to convince the federal government that regional Australia needs their input.

“We can now go ahead with our plans for a new toilet and shower block, and an open sided building where we can house portable stables so we can attract major events that will bring multi-millions in spending to the region.”

However it is not all good news.

Projects approved under stage five - of which there are more than 100 in Victoria - are still expected to be axed.

This includes $5.2 million for the Bendigo Tennis Centre, and $1 million for the botanic gardens masterplan development.

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