Gippsland South The Nationals Tourism bushfire economy

Rest of Gippsland still open for business

The rest of Gippsland is still open for business according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien who is pleading with media and tourists to understand that Gippsland is a big place and only part of it is affected by fire.

Mr O’Brien was commenting after being contacted by a number of constituents in South Gippsland concerned that they were losing business due to the fire threat in East Gippsland.

“South and West Gippsland including almost all of the Wellington Shire are not affected by the fire and well and truly open for business,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s heart-breaking, knowing how much economic and physical damage that East Gippsland is receiving, to think that some of the tourism industry in places not affected by fire is also being impacted.

“For example, South Gippsland is several hundred kilometres away from the nearest fire front and yet I have businesses in my electorate reporting that they have had cancellations due to fires.

“I strongly urge tourists, especially those from Melbourne and interstate to check with their destination if they are unsure about safety and continue to come and enjoy time in our region while spending much-needed tourist dollars.

“It’s also incumbent on media, particularly metropolitan media, and those commenting on social media to make it clear where the fires are and that Gippsland is not one single location, but an area that stretches all the way from the outskirts of Melbourne to Mallacoota.”

Mr O’Brien said Gippsland had had its fair share of economic challenges in recent years and didn’t need any further unnecessary pain.

“Most of our region is well and truly open for business and its this peak summer period when many of our tourist businesses make the money that helps them survive through the colder months.

“While there have been some benefits for South and West Gippsland from the fires with some tourists relocating, there are other concerning reports of cancellations.

“The 90 Mile Beach from Loch Sport to Woodside is open, our wonderful Corner Inlet and Wilson’s Promontory areas are open and of course the beautiful rolling hills of South Gippsland and its culinary delights are all still available.

“We need to get this message out and ensure that visitors know they can still enjoy the delights of Gippsland.”

Mr O’Brien reminded all people in Gippsland and those intending to visit to keep a watch on www.emergency.vic.gov.au to ensure that they are kept up to date on current bushfire and other emergency warnings.

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