Government bushfire response ‘pathetic’

Government bushfire response ‘pathetic’

10 January 2007

published by

Australia — The Victorian Government’s response to the state’sbushfire crisis was pathetic and had underestimated the impact on the tourismindustry, the Nationals said today.

Nationals Victorian Leader Peter Ryan said hundreds of smallbusiness operators in Gippsland and the northeast had seen their tourism-relatedincome slashed because of the fires.

He is calling for a coordinated recovery plan to help revivebusinesses crippled by the bushfires, which have burned more than 900,000ha.

“The Government has a high level of responsibility to help regionalcommunities recover from these fires which started on crown land,” Mr Ryansaid.

He said government ministers would have been “falling over themselves”to help if the disaster occurred in the suburbs.

“But the response so far from the Bracks government has been patheticand many business operators are facing uncertain futures,” Mr Ryan said.

“Extra funding is going to be required for marketing regional areasalong with developing regional events, compensating local government andrebuilding tourism-related infrastructure.”

The Government last week announced financial assistance for tourism responsegroups in the northeast and Gippsland to help revive the tourist trade.

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