O’Brien goes into bat for local businesses

Gippsland tourism and hospitality venues will need state government financial support, despite the easing of lockdown restrictions starting tonight.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien is going into bat for those businesses for whom the lifting of some restrictions means little, but who are worried they’ll lose access to vital financial support.

“In Parliament last night I asked the Minister for Industry Support and Recovery to ensure that regional businesses are not disadvantaged by the lifting of lockdown in regional areas where it means little change to the dire circumstances their business is facing.

“I am talking here particularly about tourism and hospitality businesses.  For many accommodation providers, the lifting of lockdown in the regions will make almost no difference to their bookings because they rely significantly on corporate, business or international visitors from Melbourne, interstate or overseas.

“Some of those in tourism destinations may at least receive some bookings from regional visitors, but it will still be minimal.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, has called on the State Government to continue providing support for local tourism and hospitality businesses, such as local cafes, many of which will see few benefits from the lifting of lockdown.

“I have had a number from my electorate contact me with their concern that when the restrictions lift, they may lose access to government financial support but will be no better off in terms of incoming revenue.  These businesses must continue to get support.”

Mr O’Brien said the hospitality restrictions were ridiculous and would hurt pubs, clubs, restaurants and other businesses doing it very tough.

“The restrictions announced by the Premier will do little to assist many hospitality businesses for whom it will not be viable to open with the limit of just 10 patrons indoors and 20 outdoors.

“Some of these businesses are limping through with takeaway and will have been devastated that the announcement won’t allow them to return to anything like a profitable trade.

“There will be many other businesses and sectors in similar circumstances.

“I acknowledge the Minister has foreshadowed further announcements with respect to these businesses including that the Covid19 Disaster payment will still be available to staff who have lost work due to restrictions, even if lockdown is lifted.

“But the Government must be prepared to continue to provide meaningful financial support for these businesses, for whom the lifting of lockdown in regional areas provides little to no comfort,” Mr O’Brien concluded.

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