Rural and regional communities will have the opportunity to tap into a $30-million fund to help reinvigorate their town’s main streets under a Victorian Liberal Nationals Government.
The Liberal Nationals’ Local Shopping Strip Recovery Plan will support communities to recover and rebuild by providing grants of up to $500,000 to revive shopping strips through initiatives such as pop-up shops, art installations, outdoor dining spaces, and parks.
Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the plan would bring together small businesses and local expertise to help shape priorities and future directions, with specific grants for marketing and promotional campaigns also included under the plan.
She said main streets were an integral part of life in rural and regional areas and needed support to be able to thrive.
“Our main streets are not only a key part of our communities’ identities and histories – they are also the business and social hub of our towns, giving local people a sense of connectedness and belonging,” she said.
“However in recent years – and particularly since the COVID pandemic – there have been more and more shop fronts becoming empty as businesses struggle and are forced to close.
“We want our main streets and their businesses to continue to be a feature of our towns for many years to come, and the Local Shopping Strip Recovery Plan will give the people the chance to take a leading role in shaping what this looks like.”
This week is Main Streets of Australia Week, which celebrates what our main streets mean to our communities and encourages people to support and celebrate local businesses.
Lowan communities will join the celebrations, with West Vic Business co-ordinating an after-dark display of historical and current images that will be projected onto a building in Horsham’s Firebrace Street, while the Kaniva community have produced a walking tour that traces the development of the town’s main street.
“We know that rural and regional towns have so much to offer and that our communities are doing great things, and it’s essential that our main streets reflect this in their vibrancy and amenity,” Ms Kealy said.
“We want to support communities to recover and rebuild towards a better and brighter future, and positive and practical support through the Local Shopping Strip Recovery Plan will enable communities to do just that.”