Covering more than 41,000 square kilometres, the Gippsland region is a vast area of south-eastern Victoria stretching to the border with New South Wales.

This unspoilt landscape supports countless beaches, mountains, lakes and other natural wonders, but also has many growing industries. According to the 2011 Australian census, the population of Gippsland was around 255,000 – unpinned by the outward growth of Melbourne and other Victorian centres.

Based on a report published by the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, economic growth in the Gippsland region has matched regional Victoria in recent years, but has slipped behind the rest of the state.

However, this doesn't mean that infrastructure improvements and developments are any less important in this part of the state. In fact, over recent months, a number of important announcements have been made that aim to set the Gippsland region up for the future.

West Sale Airport upgrade

In late November, Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford and Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan outlined plans to upgrade West Sale Airport. While this airport is public, it is mostly used by the Department of Defence as an alternative airport to its base at East Sale.

West Sale Airport will become a hub for the Department of Defence.West Sale Airport will become a hub for the Department of Defence.

To support the growing number of military aircraft, extensive upgrades are required at West Sale Airport. This includes resurfacing and lengthening work to bring the runway up to international military standards. The aim is for the Department of Defence Pilot Training System (AIR5428) Project to take place at the airport – vital for pilot candidate screening, selection and ongoing training.

The $5.95 million project will also create over 500 new full time jobs as well as being a massive boost to the local economy when completed in December 2018.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing explained that the upgrading work will enhance the region.

"Gippsland is such a great place to live, work and do business – we're partnering with communities throughout the region to build better infrastructure that makes the most of our potential."

Water infrastructure – a priority

Gippsland was also included in a major announcement during October in relation to water infrastructure. As not only the Gippsland population continues to grow, but also Victoria as a whole, there is a real demand to look after and protect valuable water sources.

Minister for Water Lisa Neville explained that the Water for Victoria framework was all about developing smarter water management structures, improving the water grid as a whole and better supporting local communities.

"Water is critical to our health and well-being, the environment and the Victorian economy," she said.

"As we deal with issues around climate change and population growth, we need to make sure our water management is prepared to meet these challenges now and for future generations."

Water is a vital resource, no matter the location.Water is a vital resource, no matter the location.

Outlined as part of the Victorian Budget 2016/17, a total of $537 million has been allocated to water-related projects over the next four years. This includes $30 million to expand the South Gippsland water grid, $222 million to improve waterways and catchments, and $25 million to address flood and emergency systems.

Water is arguably one of the most important assets for any community, and with the state population set to double by 2051 – increasing the pressure on local catchments – now is certainly the time to improve this infrastructure for the future.

How can Bluey support economic growth?

Gippsland is a great example of regional Australia, supported by industries and small communities. For these centres to continue to grow, all development for the future needs to be done right.

No matter the size or scope of your civil engineering project, the team at Bluey Technologies can provide the products, services and resources to make it a success. For more information about where we can add value to your project, reach out to us today.

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