Local MP Darren Chester is urging all Gippslanders to stand by one another and look forward to Christmas and the summer holidays with optimism.
Mr Chester said it was more important than ever for Gippslanders to support each other as they marked 12 months since the summer bushfires.
“This will be a hard time of year for some people, particularly those who lost a loved one during the fires, who fought the flames or lost livestock, their home or other property and possessions,” Mr Chester said.
“I want to encourage those who are struggling to reach out for help and for everyone to check in with their friends and family.
“As Gippslanders, we need to support one another – and that includes supporting our local traders by taking a holiday locally, buying local produce or shopping for Christmas gifts at our region’s many great local retailers.
“The tourism and hospitality sector suffered when visitors were ordered to leave East Gippsland at the end of December. Coronavirus restrictions imposed for much of the year did little to help these businesses to get back on their feet.
“We now have a chance to end this year on a more positive note by showing our support for one another and for our region.
“Please choose to take a break locally and spend these holidays in Gippsland. You will be supporting local businesses, local jobs and families just like yours.
“I will continue to do what I can to get recovery projects underway that will help our communities rebuild and get much-needed government money into Gippsland’s economy.
“Let’s make it a great Gippsland Christmas and an ever better new year.”