The East Gippsland region must receive immediate support to salvage something from this year’s tourist season to boost the local economy and support local businesses.
This is the message from Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who has spoken directly with the Premier’s office requesting direct cash support for affected local businesses and had discussions with local tourism groups about marketing to bring back visitors.
“Despite fire still being in some parts of the landscape, the reality is that after three years of drought and now the fires our business sector needs some real support and it needs to happen urgently,” said Mr Bull.
“Today I met with Destination Gippsland about getting advertisements in print and electronic media to highlight that locations like Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Metung, Bairnsdale and Orbost/Marlo are not directly fire impacted and are open for business.
“I am pleased to say a quick call to good friend and former Australian cricketer, Cameron White, has had him agree to offering up his services to front a campaign to promote his home region.
“The generous response from people across the state has been overwhelming. We now need to let people know that many parts of our region are safe to visit and that the best thing they can do is to come visit and stay a while.
“The State Government also has a role to play in this recovery and while the immediate focus needs to be on salvaging this summer tourist season as best we can, the support needs to go on for longer.
“We need to push this area as a winter holiday destination and sell our attractions right though until next summer and beyond.
“My discussions with Destination Gippsland today were well received and I am confident we will get something happening sooner rather than later.”
“The NSW Government is offering direct recovery grants to primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations who have been hit hard by the NSW bushfires.
“Other areas we need to look at to support businesses are cash injections for those that have been hit hard, as the reality is without direct support, they will not keep the doors open,” said Mr Bull.
“Business supports, advice and mentoring are all well and good, but these employers will close the doors without a cash injection, which could be tiered based on number of employees and loss compared to last year.
“These are the sorts of supports I want this government to explore, as well as considerations like business rate subsidies. Everything needs to be on the table for discussion.
“The Andrews Labor Government must be open to hearing from our local businesses about what they need to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
Caption: Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, pictured at Lakes Entrance where he is supporting a campaign to highlight that locations including Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Metung, Bairnsdale and Orbost/Marlo are not directly fire impacted and are open for business.