Nats MPs go in to bat for RSLs

Gippsland Nationals MPs are calling on the State Government to provide relief to Gippsland RSL clubs.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said RSLs were one of many hospitality businesses currently suffering and the loss of income had an impact on veterans throughout the region.

Mr O’Brien says the government needs to provide relief from some fees and provide more opportunity for RSLs to serve their customers.

“I am raising with the government concern that the industry oversight contractor Intralot continues to charge RSLs for monitoring of their gaming machines even though they haven’t been able to operate since March.

“We recently met with the Leongatha RSL Club which has been getting a $1,200 bill per month from Intralot for monitoring of its gaming machines, even though they have been switched off.

“This case will be repeated across the region and the government should be providing relief to venues across the state for these unfair charges.”

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said RSLs were among many hospitality venues that were unfairly restricted from operating.

“Most RSLs have large dining areas and a number of different areas within their venues.

“That they are restricted to just ten people per area and only two areas is a significant restriction on their business and makes little sense form a COVIDSafe perspective.  Some have even chosen not to re-open.

“At the very least these venues should be able to open with 20 people per area with as many areas as they have in their venue, as they were able to back in June.

“We have heard from many RSLs about their concerns. With little income coming in at the moment it has a drastic impact on the services that they can provide to local veterans and that has an impact on those veterans’ mental health. The RSL is a focal point for many people in our community, particularly veterans and provides a social outlet for many who are alone or incapacitated.

“It’s important the government recognises the impact of its restrictions, particularly in regional areas like Gippsland where we have no cases and allows our businesses to reopen in a safe manner.”

Gippsland Nationals MPs, Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien and Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath with Anne Davies and Travis Strybosch from Leongatha RSL.

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