By Dion Teasdale
UPPER Yarra communities are to share in a $10 million State Government funding program aimed at rebuilding and renewing Victorian towns.
Millgrove, Warburton and Yarra Junction have been selected for inclusion in the community building and renewal program over the next four years.
Acting Minister for Victorian Communities, Candy Broad, took time out from the Victorian Parliamentary Labor Party conference, held in Warburton last week, to make the announcement.
Ms Broad said the $10 million Community Building Initiative would fund 19 community renewal programs in 102 small Victorian towns, including the three in the Upper Yarra.
“This initiative helps communities tap into the skills and resources of their town to manage and adapt to change and empowers people to tell governments at all levels how their communities can be strengthened,” she said. “This is not a ‘top down’ approach. It’s about communities working out their own needs and developing solutions to turn around their fortunes.”
Gembrook MP Tammy Lobato said initial funding for the Upper Yarra Community Building Initiative amounted to $110,580, which would allow for a facilitator to be employed for two years by the Upper Yarra Community House (UYCH).
She said the facilitator would work closely with community groups, including the Millgrove Residents Action Group (MRAG), Bridge 3799, Upper Yarra Community Voice (UYCV) and the Shire of Yarra Ranges to identify projects to improve the levels of health, well-being and employment in the area.
“The Upper Yarra area is over-represented in indicators of disadvantage, including youth homelessness, unemployment, early school-leaving, crime and child abuse notifications,” Ms Lobato said.
“This renewal project is a fantastic positive step forward for these communities, that will help them take control of their futures and work out their own needs as well as the solutions that are required.”
Ms Lobato said $3 million was being committed in the first round of funding, including $110,850 for the Upper Yarra Community House program.
“This renewal program, along with the 18 others, will then be funded with a further $7 million in order to enable those solutions to be realised into practical projects,” she said.
“So not only is initial funding being provided to work out exactly what the communities want, further funding will then be targeted to enable the identified initiatives to be realised.”
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By Dion Teasdale