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Media Release April 22 2005

The East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee of Management is preparing to invite tenders for construction works after receiving official confirmation of funding through the Federal Government's Regional Partnerships Program.

Nationals Member for Gippsland Peter McGauran announced the $660,000 grant prior to the federal election last October.

The funding to extend the Rail Trail from Bairnsdale to Orbost has now been formally signed off by John Cobb, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister.

President of the Rail Trail Management Committee Andrew Sharpe said the grant would provide East Gippsland with one of the longest such trails in Australia, with significant tourism value to many local businesses.

'We are now completing details required for the committee to invite tenders for the construction works required to get the rail trail from Nowa Nowa to Orbost,' Mr Sharpe said.

'Receiving confirmation of the funding means the committee can press on with all the necessary arrangements with full confidence of achieving this long hoped for extension to our rail trail.'

Project management will be provided by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) under contract to the rail trail committee.

Preparations are also in hand to install information signs about the rail trail project at Nowa Nowa and Newmerella. Mr McGauran has been invited to officiate at the launch of the project by unveiling one of the sign boards at Newmerella, at a date yet to be fixed.

Mr McGauran said the extended rail trail would provide yet another attraction to help cement East Gippsland as a first choice destination for domestic and international tourists.

"Congratulations must go to the East Gippsland Rial Trial Committee of Management, Friend of the East Gippsland Rail Trail and local communities who have worked tirelessly to raise funds to complete this trail," Mr McGauran said.

Details about the formal launch and call for tenders can be found on the rail trail web site at the East Gippsland Rail Trail Website.

For further details etc contact; Andrew Sharpe Mob 0427 367 972 Michael Oxer (Secretary) Ph 5156 8228 0419 583 482