Marlo Pub skewered on bungled support criteria
The Marlo Hotel has been refused State Government financial support that was intended to keep businesses afloat over the Coronavirus lockdown period.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is appalled proprietors have been completely abandoned by this Government, after they were denied access to the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund (LVHF) last year.
Mr Bull said the hotel was sold in between lockdowns. The previous owners were receiving the LVHF support and this was documented when the new partnership agreed to the purchase.
“The new owners naturally assumed the payments would continue as normal, however due to a Government introduced technicality, they were ceased.
“For all other businesses that were accessing the fund, it continued, but due to an ownership name change at Marlo, they ceased.
“When the new owners, Guy and Dylan, reached out to my office for help, I spoke with the Minister directly seeking for this anomaly to be fixed on the basis that, like all other pubs and clubs prevented from trading, a name change should not disqualify them.
“After liaising with the Minister’s office for months, I thought it would be a straightforward process to make the adjustment to what was an unforeseen circumstance,” said Mr Bull.
“The reality is this fund was rolled out specifically to support this very type of business that was heavily impacted by a series of closures and patron caps.
“It is extremely disappointing the owners have now been formally notified they will not receive a cent of what they are eligible for. Mr Andrews can have $12 billion in cost over runs on city projects, but can’t find the money owed to a local business that has been severely affected.
“Hiding behind a technicality flaw in its own eligibility criteria is an absolute disgrace. The Government locked the businesses down, it is their responsibility to compensate for the damage inflicted and Marlo should not miss out when others received it.
“Adding insult to injury, a letter signed by the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Jobs Precinct and Regions, instead offered wellbeing and financial counselling along with business resilience mentoring as an alternative – they do not need this, they just want what they are entitled to,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Guy Wells, a co-owner of the Marlo Hotel.
Much more to do in relation to foot-and-mouth disease
While Zoos Victoria have completely closed parts of their zoos due to foot-and-mouth disease concerns, the Andrews Labor Government is pushing ahead with permitting camping on farms.
Local Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said this was a perfect example of why the State Government is not taking the agricultural sector’s biosecurity concerns seriously enough.
“Zoos Victoria has realised the potential threat, recently announcing it will be closing public pathways to some animal enclosures to lower the risk of animals coming into contact with ‘soil that could have potentially been brought in from outside the zoo grounds’,” Mr Bull said.
“But here we have the State Government opening up and actively encouraging people to camp on riversides under grazing licence, that contain large numbers of sheep and cattle with no checks and balances.
“It has taken so long for any real protections to be put in place by both federal and state governments and there is more that can be done.
“This is a disease that will have a devastating impact on livestock and livelihoods as well as proving damaging to our local economy, which is already under enormous pressure.
“Quite simply, we should be doing absolutely everything we can as a precaution. The risk is very real, but it appears the penny is not dropping with this government.
“Should we have an outbreak, God forbid, instant action is required and all infected stock will need to be quarantined at local sale yards.
“We need the State to work with local government to ensure we have the required treatment measures (like foot washes installed) when needed, as the yards will act as quarantining stations.
“I have no confidence this work is being carried out with the urgency required and our new Agriculture Minister needs to get on top of this very quickly, and I have written to her suggesting this is both urgent and critical.”