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The Moyne and Warrnambool Shire councils have been successful in obtaining funding of $850,000 from the Victorian State Government to begin construction of the 33km Port Fairy to Warrnambool rail trail.

Click here for more information on the proposed rail trail including map.

A Victorian state government press release provides more details about the funding.

FROM THE MINISTER FOR STATE & REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

DATE: Friday, October 13, 2006

PORT FAIRY TO WARRNAMBOOL RAIL TRAIL ON TRACK

A new $2.2 million rail trail linking Port Fairy and Warrnambool will offer another major tourist attraction in the State’s south west region and boost tourist numbers, Minister for State and Regional Development, John Brumby, said today.

During a visit to Port Fairy today, Mr Brumby said the new trail would be built with the help of an $850,000 Bracks Government Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)grant.

“The Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail is the first project to be announced as part of the Bracks Government’s $8 million Provincial Pathways Program,” Mr Brumby said.

“This project will build on the strengths of the Great Ocean Road, which is internationally recognized and renowned as a significant tourism destination.

“It will provide another attraction and dimension to the whole tourist experience, becoming a major drawcard along the Shipwreck Coast.”

Mr Brumby said the project involved the construction of a 37-kilometre trail from central Port Fairy to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and Warrnambool Visitor Information Centre.

The scenic trail – to be built along a disused rail corridor between Port Fairy, Koroit and Illowa – will be used for walking and cycling and will and continue along the road reserve into Warrnambool.

Works will include the construction of the trail and trailheads along with a new boardwalk, repair and reconstruction of bridges and the installation of a highway underpass, along with fencing, screening, drainage and revegetation.

Mr Brumby said the trail would increase the range of activities for visitors to the area.

“The trail is expected to attract an estimated 60,000 users each year, who will inject almost $1.4 million into the local economy,” he said.

“For backpackers particularly, this project has the potential to change visiting patterns from predominantly day trips to overnight and longer stays.”

Mr Brumby said Moyne Shire and Warrnambool City councils would each contribute significant funds for the project with construction due to start in the middle of next year and be completed with in two years.

The Provincial Pathways Program is part of Moving Forward, the Government’s $502 million action plan to make Provincial Victoria the best place to live, work, invest.