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Deputy Prime Minister visits Shepparton

By Morgan Dyer

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack toured Shepparton yesterday to check in on Federal Government investments and familiarise himself with issues affecting the region.

His first call of business was at the Doyles Rd roadworks to inspect the progress of Shepparton’s Alternative Freight Route.

The government invested $10 million to help build two roundabouts along New and Old Dookie Rd, which are designed to improve the safety and efficiency of the area.

Mr McCormack also visited the new Shepparton Art Museum site to see the progress of the government’s $15 million investment in stage one of the build.

Having been at the turning of the sod earlier in April, Mr McCormack was overwhelmed by the progress being made.

“My goodness Damian (Member for Nicholls Damian Drum), you really get on with the work when you get the funding allocated,” Mr McCormack said.

“SAM is going to be internationally acclaimed.

“It's going to attract people from all over the world to see the greatest private collection of indigenous art anywhere in Australia.”

Mr McCormack praised the council, Mr Drum and local workers for “getting in and getting the job done”.

“Of the millions of dollars being spent here much of it is (going to) local contractors, much of it provides for local jobs, much of it is local procurement,” Mr McCormack said.

The minister, however, could not commit to funding stage two of the museum.

“We've already committed $15 million and of course we are working towards this; let's get this stage done first and then we’ll see what happens after that,” he said.

Students from Shepparton's La Trobe University campus were also visited by the minister, who committed $5 million to the extension of the centre in April.

“The best opportunity for young people is to be able to study in regional areas because often they stay in regional areas,” Mr McCormack said.

“We want people to have a reason to stay in cities such as Shepparton; it’s a fantastic community.”

Most of the National Party members were in town as part of an annual co-ordinated blitz to familiarise themselves with local issues.

A party meeting was expected to be held in Nagambie today.

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