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Labor turns its back on half price tickets to Avalon and our region

The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie is one of many small tourism and hospitality businesses which will reap the benefits of the Morrison Government’s $1.2 billion aviation and tourism support package.

Some 22 per cent of visitors to the Chocolaterie ordinarily come from interstate.

After a very difficult year, owners Ian and Leanne Neeland believe the support package will be very positive when half-price tickets to Avalon commence on 1 April.

Ian Neeland said that “anything that can be done to attract more people to the region is really welcome”.

“Almost 22% of our customers pre-COVID were from interstate and now there’s virtually none, they need confidence to travel and perhaps this package can be helpful”.

Like so many businesses, the Chocolaterie has been hit very hard by the continuing lockdowns and restrictions in Victoria. The most recent snap five day lockdown in February cost the business $300,000.

Passenger arrivals to Avalon Airport fell over 72 per cent in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Our region’s tourism sector employs some 17,000 people and contributes $981 million to the local economy.

The support package has prompted a 75 per cent increase in the number of Australians searching for domestic holidays online.

I am deeply concerned about Labor’s attack on our support package which shows, once again, that Richard Marles and Libby Coker have failed to stand up for our region.

In asserting this package is too focused on marginal seats, Labor continues to put politics ahead of the Corio and Corangamite electorates.

With the majority of workers at Avalon Airport from the Corio and Lalor electorates, and with so many businesses dependant on tourists coming to our region, Labor’s failure to back half price tickets to Avalon shows a reckless disregard for our region’s economic recovery.

I call on as many Australians as possible to holiday in our region, eat in our restaurants, sample our wineries, spend up big and of course visit wonderful tourist attractions like the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie.

14 March 2021

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