Rural Councils Victoria, which represents rural communities across the state, is calling on the Victorian Government to include popular rural tourist destinations in the extension of the outdoor dining scheme.
RCV Chair Mary-Ann Brown said: “No rural areas were included in the recent announcement of an extension of the popular outdoor dining areas for restaurants, pubs and cafes across Victoria.”
“The government itself says that of the 22 councils receiving funding, 13 are in metropolitan Melbourne, five are interface or peri-urban and four are regional.”
“From the recent announcement it seems that the government is suggesting that there is a likely demand for outdoor dining in Bannockburn, Moe and Bacchus Marsh, which are eligible for support, but not tourist hotspots such as Port Fairy, Apollo Bay, Daylesford, Mansfield and Beechworth.”
“Rural Councils Victoria are happy to work with the government and departmental officials when they are designing or extending such schemes to ensure that the schemes are both effective and targetted.
“It is a pity that Victorians who travel to popular rural areas may miss out on the best tourist experience possible when we could have helped the government and the department design a better, more targetted scheme,” Cr Brown said.
“It is our understanding that some of the councils that initially received funding for their areas have been unable to spend that money, while rural areas are missing out.”
“RCV believes that people who visit popular tourist hotspots in rural Victoria deserve the same support as those visiting other areas.
“It is also the case that metropolitan and regional councils are often better placed financially to provide support to businesses than smaller rural councils.