The Regional Development Minister has offered to do no more than meet existing election commitments in response to calls for an economic stimulus package for Lakes Entrance following the Gippsland Lakes commercial fishing licences buyout.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he had written to the Minister seeking a funding boost for Lakes Entrance that matched, on an appropriate scale, the initiatives that the government put in place for displaced power industry workers in the Latrobe Valley following the Hazelwood closure.
“There is increasing concern among local businesses about the extent of the economic hit from the compulsory buyout of the 10 Gippsland Lakes fishing licences which will directly impact the Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Co-operative and transport companies and will have other knock-on effects in the community,” Mr Bull said.
“But all the Minister is offering for Lakes Entrance is what has already been announced, a cafe on Bullock Island, which the Liberal Nationals committed to several weeks before it was matched by Labor in the lead up to last year’s State election.
“The Andrews Government has shown it has little concern for the fishing families directly affected by the buyout and has dished up a feeble re-announcement of an existing commitment, thinking that this is good enough.
“Our economic resilience is suffering from years of drought so it’s no wonder people are concerned about the added impact of the fishing industry being wound down.
“If the government is genuinely concerned about helping us to overcome the added economic disruption caused by the licences buyout, it has to do more than offer a few crumbs.
“There’s a lot of opportunities the government could invest in that would help restore local confidence, starting with the list that the East Gippsland Shire is currently promoting.”