Around 500 children and their families attended Saturday’s All Abilities Playground opening in Bairnsdale by State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said the new state-of-the-art playground at Davison Oval in Bairnsdale would accommodate people with special needs and provide a much needed place to stop for travellers through the region.
“Almost 10 years ago parents of children with special needs and regional disability service providers recognised a lack of specialised playgrounds in Bairnsdale and East Gippsland more generally,” Mr Bull said.
“Today we open a facility that has come to fruition through the hard work of many local community members and organisations.
“The Victorian Coalition committed to contribute $500,000 towards the abilities playground in Bairnsdale in the lead up to the 2010 Victorian Election.
“The Coalition Government has delivered on this commitment and with strong inputs from east Gippsland Shire and significant community fundraising – families can now enjoy a safe, fun and adventurous playground which will provide for people of all abilities.
“The playground design has a strong emphasis upon creating an experience for people with special needs, but it is open for the enjoyment of all.
“It is also strongly focused on families with the development of a barbeque area, a stylish pathway to link up the playground components and soft-fall rubber in relevant areas to protect playmakers.
“It includes an access road, parking and new public conveniences.”
Mr Bull said the playground was also unique because it incorporated key themes of East Gippsland, including a timber mill and a shipwreck.
“Projects like these provide joy to local communities and energise business and volunteer groups,” Mr Bull said.
“It will also become a popular tourist stopover point, which will contribute to the overall social and economic growth of the district.”
Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan welcomed completion of the project and said the Coalition Government was proud to invest $950,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in the playground, with the East Gippsland Shire Council contributing $600,000 and the East Gippsland All Abilities Playground Committee well in excess of $100,000. “The Regional Growth Fund is supporting local government and community groups to invest in community-led projects that may otherwise have not come to fruition,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Regional Growth Fund is driving jobs and investment growth and delivering vital new infrastructure to regional and rural Victorian communities. “Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $360 million to support over 1,240 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging almost $1.5 billion in total investment.”
Mr Ryan said across East Gippsland Shire the Regional Growth Fund had provided more than $10 million for 56 projects, leveraging almost $30 million of total investment.