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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has challenged Gippslanders to create a mini economic boom this Christmas.

The local MP also warned of the pitfalls of online shopping, expressing concern some Gippslanders could be in for a nasty surprise when they receive their credit card bills in January.

“With the Australian dollar dropping, people buying presents online from overseas might find it is more expensive than they think,” Mr Chester said.

“For example, buying a bottle of perfume for $100 in the United States might sound good, but it will actually cost you closer to AU$117 – and that’s before the postage and handling costs.

“It isn’t such a bargain anymore when the extra costs are added on to the final amount.”

According to the Australian Retail Association, Victorians are expected to spend $11.1 billion dollars in pre-Christmas sales, with the largest proportion going on food and produce.

Mr Chester said he wanted more of that figure being spent in our regional communities.

“Gippsland has some of the best fresh produce in Australia, so Christmas is a perfect time to support our local butchers, bakers and grocers,” Mr Chester said.

“And while the department stores in Melbourne might look an attractive option for last-minute Christmas shopping, the petrol costs and traffic jams really aren’t worth the trouble when you can get the same product from a Gippsland retailer.”

Mr Chester said shopping closer to home had multiple benefits, including the creation of local jobs.

“Our small businesses are big supporters of local sporting clubs and community groups through sponsorship and donations, so by doing our gift and food shopping in Gippsland we are making sure this continues,” he said.

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