Not enough is being done by State and Federal Governments to assist East Gippsland businesses impacted by the fires and the mass evacuation that took place in the peak holiday period.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said “our businesses need direct support and to date the response from the State Government to business has been underwhelming and the Federal supports have missed the mark.”
“Interest free loans, tax concessions, business mentoring and the like just won’t cut it this time around, our businesses need direct financial assistance.
“Over recent days I have had several businesses, some that’ve been around for decades, advise they will be closing the doors after three years of drought and now this, if they don’t get help.
“Imagine if for a month we told all of Victoria they could not go to Chadstone Shopping Centre and blocked the roads – how do you reckon they would be going?
“Well that is what has happened to us from an economic perspective. It’s unique and it needs special concessions made.
“We need the promotional campaigns that are underway, but we need to have the businesses still in existence for when the visitors start coming back.
“The Federal Government, support is welcome, but needs to go further than $50,000 to businesses directly impacted (burnt) and interest free loans to others. There is no cash support for those that have been financially decimated, and loans have to be paid back.
“The State needs to announce something with some substance as it has said nothing at all to date in relation to direct financial support,” said Mr Bull.
“Not every business in the region has copped it, a select few have done okay, so it can have criteria, but we need help for the hardest hit.
“Over recent weeks I have had numerous examples of hardship, including:
- A tourist business that took over $125,000 last January, compared to a little over $2,000 this year and is on its knees.
- An accommodation house that is down $100,00 on bookings for the January -April period due to cancellations.
- A freight company that has simply been unable to operate due to the highway closure for the past month.
“These are just three of a large range of examples that could be provided.
“Both Federal and State Governments need to come to the party, and quickly,” said Mr Bull.