People wanting to help the bushfire recovery effort should spend their time and money in Gippsland this long weekend.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the most useful thing people could do was to support local businesses.
“Many people have asked me how they can help our region to get back on its feet,” Mr Chester said. “The answer is simple: come and explore Gippsland with your family and friends this long weekend.
“The relief and recovery effort is significant and will continue for some time to come.
“There are still some road closures and areas that remain inaccessible as important recovery work continues, but the majority of Gippsland is open for business – all it needs now is customers.
“There is so much to see and do in Gippsland. I want to urge everyone to get out and enjoy our beautiful part of Victoria this long weekend.”
Mr Chester said the impact of the fires was being felt right across the region.
“Many businesses that were not directly impacted by the flames have been badly affected by the huge decline in visitor numbers at what is normally the busiest time of year,” Mr Chester said.
“All levels of government need to work together to maximise local job opportunities, cut red tape and find the funds to deliver the recovery and new infrastructure we need.
“As a community, we have an important role to play, too. We need to get out and support our struggling local businesses.
“I am encouraging people from across Gippsland and beyond to spend a couple of nights in Gippsland or take a few day trips.
“Visit our shops, restaurants and attractions; stay in our hotels, motels, caravan parks and camping grounds. Stock up on the produce for which our region is known, fill your petrol tank and spend some dollars.
“What Gippsland needs right now is you.”