The Andrews Labor Government is helping Melbourne’s fastest growing outer suburbs build the infrastructure they need as part of the 2018/19 Growing Suburbs Fund.

The Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz joined Member for Monbulk James Merlino in Kalorama today to announce $50 million in grants that will go towards 45 new projects in growing suburbs.

The fund will contribute $8.7 million towards four projects in the Yarra Ranges, including $2 million towards the 26-kilometre Ridgewalk – a cultural and heritage walking and cycling trail to connect towns through the hills.

The Ridgewalk project will wind through the Dandenong Ranges including Upwey, Tecoma, Montrose, Ferny Creek, Sassafras, Olinda, Mount Dandenong, Kallista, Sherbrooke, Kalorama, and Upper Ferntree Gully.

The Yarra Valley Trail will also receive $2.5 million to help Yarra Ranges Council deliver stage one of the trail. The first 11.5-kilometre section will link Lilydale to Yarra Glen by creating a safe, accessible walking and cycling trail.

The Yarra Valley Trail will join up with the Warburton Rail Trail and intersect with several visitor destinations.

Another $3 million will help Yarra Ranges Shire Council deliver the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination – a mountain bike trail network centred on Warburton, in the heart of the Yarra Valley.

Esther Park Mooroolbark will receive $1.25 million for a multi-pitch synthetic soccer facility with lighting, which will cater for junior and senior competition soccer.

The Labor Government has now provided $200 million through the Growing Suburbs fund, which is improving local infrastructure like family, community and town centres, and delivering civic revitalisation projects and open space improvements.

These projects improve the amenity, liveability and resilience of local communities, and support local jobs.

Since 2015/16, the fund has supported 10 of Melbourne’s growing suburbs including Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham, and Yarra Ranges.

Together, these council areas will accommodate 46 per cent of the state’s population growth until 2031.