PUFFING Billy and Wandin Yallock Primary School were the Yarra Ranges' big winners in the state government’s budget.
The iconic stream train will gain a funding injection of $4.4 million over the next four years while Wandin Yallock Primary School will receive $2.5 million for stage two construction works which will complete the school’s refurbishments.
Minister for Bushfire Response, Peter Ryan, also announced the state government had allocated $33 million to implement recommendations from the Bushfires Royal Commission.
He said there would be $20.6 million allocated to implement the second phase of the state government’s bushfire buy-back scheme and $2 million for the development of community fire refuges in high risk areas.
Puffing Billy chief executive Eamonn Seddon welcomed the funding but said the railway was still seeking capital funding for the iconic stream train’s long-term sustainability.
‘‘It’s a good start for the railway,’’ he said. ‘‘We recognise the challenges faced by the Victorian government during the budget process and this funding will allow the railway to make a start on its infrastructure upgrade.’’
The railway originally wanted $26 million over the next five years to boost staff numbers, maintain the railway’s ageing infrastructure, and open revenue-raising assets including a cafe.
Wandin Yallock School principal Christine Shiel said the funding was ‘‘brilliant news’’.
‘‘It’s not just about buildings for us. This funding represents equity and certainty for the school’s future. It will allow us to literally rebuild the whole school around the school’s historic buildings.’’
But Yarra Ranges councillor and Eastern Transport Coalition chairwoman Samantha Dunn said she was disappointed with the lack of funding set aside for additional bus services in the shire.
The Yarra Ranges council had made a submission to the state government before the budget seeking improved bus services throughout the shire.