Gippsland South The Nationals Gippsland Danny O'Brien COVID-19 Coronavirus recovery Gippslanders

Locals supporting locals must be the plan

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says the Andrews Labor Government must allow Gippslanders to support their own local businesses as part of an exit plan from the second wave of COVID-19.  

Mr O’Brien said the government’s decision to outline a specific regional roadmap for recovery was a good step, but must allow more local businesses to resume to create jobs across Gippsland.  

“It is correct that we need a separate plan from Melbourne, which will take longer to recover and enjoy more relaxed restrictions given its higher number of COVID-19 cases,” Mr O’Brien said.  

“In Gippsland, most of our shires have very low, or even zero, active cases and as the trend continues down, we need the Government to allow our businesses to slowly reopen in a COVID safe manner.   

“That means giving pubs, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses the opportunity to reopen and serve their customers as was proposed back in June.  

“There are thousands of other businesses that will benefit from a gradual relaxation of the rules allowing them to re-employ staff and boost job creation across the region.”  

Mr O’Brien said this did not mean re-opening to tourists from Melbourne or elsewhere any time soon.  

“We have a good story to tell in Gippsland and we need to keep it that way, especially with September school holidays coming up.  

“I’m glad the Premier wants to “jealously guard” the low numbers we have in Gippsland and I encourage the Government to strengthen its enforcement of boundaries between city and country as restrictions are relaxed.   

“While we love having our Melbourne friends visit and stay in our region, that’s not something we can do just yet.  

“However, giving locals the opportunity to support local businesses and local tourism operators when it is safe to do so, will be in step in the right direction.”  

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