Labor MP for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford has called on Victorian Tourism Minister Louise Asher to provide tangible support to struggling tourism operators in the State

“Local communities like Halls Gap and Stawell are crying out for assistance to get visitors back into their towns” Ms Pulford said.

Ms Asher is yet to visit the Grampians after the January fires. “If the Minister bothered to
meet with affected businesses she would know that what is needed is a campaign to get the Grampians up and running again” Ms Pulford said.

Only two weeks before the Grampians bushfire the Minister said “Regional Victoria has a greater reliance on the tourism sector than Melbourne, contributing 13.9 per cent of regional Victoria’s total Gross Regional Product.”  

Ms Asher now needs to match her rhetoric with funding.

Ms Pulford noted that tourism provides 8,500 direct and indirect jobs in the Grampians; and that while Victoria is suffering one of the most rapid increases in unemployment since the depression Ms Asher is sitting on her hands, while tourism jobs are in jeopardy.

“What locals have told me is that instead of spending half a million dollars talking down our Paramedics with full page newspaper ads, the Napthine Government should be spending that money telling Victorians that the Grampians are open for business” Ms Pulford said.

Or perhaps even just coming to visit would be a good start.