Mansfield Courier

$3.865 MILLION

- By EMMA OLIVER

FRIDAY saw more great news for Mansfield Autism Statewide Services, with the announceme­nt of more federal funding for MASS’s Operation Gamechange­r. Among other important things this will help expand their equine program, much to the delight of students like Lily Davis.

Friday saw the announceme­nt of federal funding for MASS’s Operation Gamechange­r of $3.865 million

IN great news for Mansfield Autism Statewide Services, Friday saw the announceme­nt of federal funding for MASS’s Operation Gamechange­r.

“We are so thrilled to hear of our funding success under the Building Better Regions Fund, securing $3.865 million towards the plan,” said Simone Reeves, MASS chief executive officer.

“The funding will contribute to the Operation Gamechange­r Project Retreat which will feature 12 three bedroom, self-contained, accessible cabins, as well as a couple of eight bedroom, self-contained, accessible cabins with ensuites and a conference, training and dining centre.”

The organisati­on has previously received $1.35 million in joint federal and state funding under the Local Economic Recovery Program for stage one of their Project Retreat, and this next round of funding will contribute significan­tly towards the build with individual cabins costing around $450,000 each.

“Project Retreat means we can hold our family camps on-farm, provide additional respite and be the centre for our vocational training,” Ms Reeves said.

“Our families will be able to return for holidays, something they rarely get to do and be supported throughout their stay.

“Importantl­y, we will continue to generate new jobs for our local economy - on top of our already existing staff of 130 - in a stable, year round industry while providing services for the many families we have on our wait lists.

“Early interventi­on is critical for optimum life outcomes, so expanding our capacity is essential.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the funding support and for the very many who have helped us make our strong case to government.

“Our letters of support section was a mile long.”

A total of $9.2 million was allocated to five projects in North East Victoria, under round five of the Building Better Regions Fund.

In the electorate of Indi, Mansfield Autism received funding for their Operation Gamechange­r Project Retreat, Rutherglen for a 48 kilometre wine-walk-cycle trail and Mount Hotham for improved disability access to the alpine gateway.

Funding was also allocated to a project targeting media and messaging for volunteers in the region titled Finding Our Voice, as well as growing emerging leadership programs in regional Victoria.

Nationals Senate leader and Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the government’s investment will deliver better facilities and economic opportunit­ies for the region.

“We are backing these projects so local residents have the facilities for the future, while creating jobs to boost economic recovery,” Senator McKenzie said.

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 ?? ?? BIG PLANS: MASS director Simone Reeves explains the vision for the Project Retreat to Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, at the 100 acre farm on Ogilvies Road.
BIG PLANS: MASS director Simone Reeves explains the vision for the Project Retreat to Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, at the 100 acre farm on Ogilvies Road.

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