Re-opening of our National Park tourist areas and other visitor locations – like Cape Conran and the partially opened Buchan Caves Reserve – need to be fast-tracked by the State Government and timelines provided to communities.
Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, said that while some areas required more work than others, it needed to be a strong focus of Government in the coming weeks and the local business sector holds the same view.
“The remainder of the summer and Easter in particular will be critical for our region. Take Cape Conran for instance, where access to the boat ramp is open, but popular areas such as Salmon Rocks (that requires a stair rebuild) and East Cape (the area’s most popular swimming beach) remain closed with Easter approaching.
“The Cape Conran Coastal Park camping ground is also closed and what is causing concern in the business community is that there are no timelines being given publicly for when these locations or the Park will re-open.
“I am advised the public cannot even book a camp site for next summer at Cape Conran on the Parks website.”
Marlo Hotel publican, Russell Bates, said the re-opening of these locations was critical.
“When areas like East Cape and Salmon Rocks open, I put on more staff, it is a simple as that. These are locations that attract large numbers of visitors.
“We also need to know what is going on with the Park itself. We know cabins were burnt as were the camping areas and it would be good to have a timeline for re-opening and also some detail on what will be rebuilt,” said Mr Bates.
Mr Bull said a number of the business community in the Orbost / Marlo area are seeking such details.
“I have written to the Minister asking Parks to provide timelines for the forecast opening of each of the public areas that have been fire impacted in the region to be made public.
“On top of this, it would be good to have the specifics on the works that will be undertaken and whether facilities will be rebuilt to an improved level.
“In relation to Cape Conran, there is a great opportunity to improve the facilities that were destroyed by fire into something not just aesthetically and environmentally appropriate, but really special.
“This is something I would strongly encourage and have suggested to the Minister,” he said.