We're entering what is arguably the busiest time of the year for Northern Grampians Shire, which is set to be a hive of activity over the Easter long weekend.
The Stawell Easter Festival will run right across the long weekend, starting with the ever-popular Great Western Rodeo on Good Friday, Fashions on the Field at the Stawell Gift and Stawellbiz Main Street Sensation on Saturday, followed by the Off the Track Easter street party at night. The 39th Lindsay Kent Memorial Fun Run will weave its way through Stawell on Easter Sunday morning. And as always, the exciting Stuart McGregor Stawell Gold Cup will be held at the Stawell Racing Club in the afternoon.
To finish this action-packed weekend, we will crown new champions at the finals of the Stawell Gift at Central Park on Easter Monday. I encourage everyone to get to as many of these events as possible. Check out ngshire.vic.gov.au for a complete calendar of all the events happening across the shire over this weekend.
The federal budget brought some positive news, and it was great to have Wannon MP Dan Tehan in Stawell to announce $360 million towards the completion of the Western Highway duplication to Stawell, as well as $5 million towards the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory. This project is incredibly exciting given Stawell will become one of the world's most advanced locations for cutting-edge research into detecting elusive dark matter. We will continue to push for further funding for this particular project in order to make it happen. But the $5 million is a great start, and allows us to get the project under way later this year.
Personally, it was great to attend the retirement party for Grant Fiedler, who has been principal at Marnoo Primary School for the past six years. I know the parents and kids at the school have greatly appreciated the work he has put in over that time.We wish him all the best on his new adventure.
Finally, I'd like to wish all our community members a happy Easter. And, if you're travelling, drive safely.