STAWELL - Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Wayne Rice has welcomed the federal government's announcement that it will provide $50,000 in financial support for the Stawell Gold Mine Future Possibilities Feasibility study.
Cr Rice said two recent trips to Canberra where he had lobbied the federal government for support had paid off.
"This is a really good outcome, we went to Canberra to lobby for this kind of support and it has paid off," he said.
Cr Rice travelled to Canberra in June as part of the Central Highlands group of eight local governments.
Cr Rice and other councillors met with key independents, to push for projects, proposals and initiatives that will stimulate the regional economy, create jobs, increase connectivity and safety, and attract a greater level of federal funding for the region.
He returned later that month to receive the national award for excellence for the Stawell Steps project where he again took the chance to lobby behind the scenes for funding.
The $50,000 in funding comes on top of the $110,000 provided by the state government and the combined $90,000 by Northern Grampians Shire Council and Stawell Gold Mines.
"We need to be working as a council, as a community to finding alternatives for the mine site," Cr Rice said.
"This is job creation, not just in the short term but sustainable jobs for the long term."
Cr Rice met for the first time recently with representatives from the Northern Grampians Shire Council, Tourism Victoria, Stawell Gold Mines, the Stawell Residents Association and technical reference group for the proposed Big Hill Enhanced Development Project to discuss options for the site once it eventually closes.
Cr Rice said a number of ideas about the future use of the site have been floated and he wants to hear more.
"We've had suggestions for an underground mine training centre or an underground rescue mine training centre," he said.
"People have also suggested an underground motel or walking paths."
Cr Rice said the next stage in the process was building a business case to take to the federal government for more funding in the future.
"We'll be looking at the opportunities to explore and get the right answer to get the jobs and grow the population, that is what we really need to do," he said.
"Later on when we know what we're going to do we'll go back to the government to look for more serious money.
"Anyone who has an idea, no matter how 'out there' you think it could be make contact with us, get in touch and let us know."
The minister for regional services, local communities and territories Catherine King informed the council of the funding last week.
The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport will provide the financial assistance to explore options for future use of the mine site and economic development for the region.
The announcement of the funding came just days after Northern Grampians Shire Council vowed to continue lobbying government at both state and federal level for financial support.
Councillors said they were concerned that Geelong had received almost instantaneous financial support in the wake of the Ford closure but Stawell had received nothing to compensate for the mine closure which had been known was coming for some time.