Hospital funding welcomed
The Victorian Government has announced $18.7 million in funding to deliver an improved emergency department for Swan Hill District Health. The funding will provide world-class healthcare for local families and create more than a hundred new jobs during construction.
This funding is in addition to a previous commitment from the Federal Government of $30 million.
The news is a great step forward – and while it isn’t the full funding for a new hospital, this is still very positive. This will enable Stage 1 of the hospital to go ahead, providing residents in the Mallee and surrounds with a new emergency department.
Council, together with the Swan Hill Needs a New Hospital Committee, will continue to work with both the State and Federal Government with the ultimate goal of delivering a new hospital.
Minister’s announcement is good news for farmers
There was some great news for farmers recently with the Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt announcing the Water Efficiency Program (WEP) will close.
The program will instead be replaced by a water saving program that does not impact farmers’ water entitlements.
This announcement means there will be no more water buybacks to achieve the 450GL target – a great result. There will still be water efficiency projects, but these will be via off-farm projects and still achieve the same outcomes.
The end of the WEP and water buybacks is welcome news for our farming communities along the river, who were facing huge impacts under the original program. These impacts included loss of jobs, as well as the health and wellbeing of farmers, families and communities.
This result announced by the Minister is what farmers and the Murray River Group of Councils (MRGC) (of which Swan Hill Rural City is a member) were always aiming towards. That is, a balanced implementation of the Basin Plan which meant regenerating and preserving our region’s environment, while sustaining the long-term viability of our agriculture and food manufacturing industries.
The MRGC also met last week and set its advocacy priorities for the immediate future. These priorities are: water, digital connectivity, transport, tourism and renewable energy.
Within this renewable energy priority sits the Victoria to NSW Interconnector Route 7 (VNI-7) (otherwise known as the Kerang Link). This link enables the transmission of much greater quantities of renewable energy from the Mallee Renewable Energy Zone to connect to the national Grid.
Country Week to return in 2022
In some more positive news for our region, Tennis Victoria has announced that Country Week will return to Swan Hill in 2022.
This very welcome announcement follows the last-minute cancellation of this year’s Country Week after the recent snap lockdown, leaving both organisers and our local hospitality providers devastated.
The announcement follows Swan Hill Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (SHLTCC) also securing the two-week National Seniors Tennis Championships from 9 to 21 January next year.
Country Week will follow on from the seniors tennis championships, with the event to be held at the SHLTCC from 13 to 18 February.
This is fantastic news for our local businesses and I am so pleased we get to showcase our wonderful town with not just one tennis event, but two.
The recent cancellation of tennis week was felt hard in our community and I hope that these announcements can provide a bit of hope and excitement for our friends in the local hospitality industry.
Our Place detailed design work underway
Detailed design work for the Our Place building is underway, with architects working closely with consultants who specialise in construction of modern art galleries and visitor engagement to progress this detailed design work.
Soil tests have also been carried out and assessed to help the structural engineer design appropriate foundations for the new building.
Additionally, landscape design is coming together and will include a bush tucker garden, yarning circle, artwork, pathways, and new plantings providing greater access to the riverfront in a public accessible location.
Assessments are also being undertaken to understand and mitigate potential impacts on native vegetation. A site-specific Cultural Heritage Management Plan, prepared by a Heritage Advisor, has been submitted to Aboriginal Victoria for approval.
Council is currently on track for the building to start later this year.
You can find out more about the Our Place project, and view new images here.
Vote now to help name the Robinvale library
Council is seeking feedback to help finalise the new name for the Robinvale College and Community Library building.
The library naming panel has selected two potential names (from a great range of local suggestions) that the community can vote on: “Robinvale Learning and Community Hub” and “Gathering Place.”
The name with the highest votes will then need to be submitted to Geographic Names Victoria for final approval.
Voting can be completed via Council’s website.
Hard copies of voting forms are also available from the Robinvale library and the Robinvale College front office.
Voting forms must be submitted either online or to the library by 4pm, Wednesday, 24 March 2021.
For more information or if you have any questions, please call Camille Cullinan on 5036 2473.
The $2.55 million Robinvale Community Library Hub project is funded by Victorian State Government and Council. It is being managed by the Victorian Schools Building Authority and Department of Education and Training.