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The Clunes area will receive $890,000 over the next four years to identify and implement local solutions to social disadvantage facing Clunes, Talbot and Creswick, Member for Western Region David O'Brien said today.
"The Clunes ‘cluster' is one of nine small towns to share the Victorian Coalition Government's $9.4 million Advancing Country Towns investment. This provides funding to pilot innovative grassroots programs that will tackle local disadvantages," Mr O'Brien said.
"The Coalition Government's Advancing Country Towns program addresses a range of challenges facing country towns including changing population patterns, ageing populations, and migration of young people to larger regional centres and cities."
"All nine communities have identified specific local issues inhibiting their community such as early childhood development, education and economic participation, including business development and industry support."
Possible projects covered by the initiative would include supporting initiatives that link people with employment opportunities, providing re-training to meet skills gaps, and identifying infrastructure needs in the community.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said many small country towns across Victoria were experiencing changes to their population and economy, and adaptation issues faced by industries vulnerable to environment and economic change.
Mr Ryan said the nine communities would be encouraged to shape local solutions and build their capacity to make informed decisions and set their own local priorities.
"Although significant investment has been made in these towns by successive governments, entrenched problems remain and have been compounded in some places by natural disasters, industry restructuring or demographic change," Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said Victoria's Advancing Country Towns program would sit alongside the Coalition Government's $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to deliver quality of life, new opportunities and increased prosperity across regional Victoria.
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