Central Highlands Tourism | Samantha Dunn

Central Highlands Tourism

Today my member's statement is in relation to an email that Deanne Eccles sent to the Premier on 23 August.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 12:45pm
Speaker:
Samantha Dunn

Ms DUNN (Eastern Metropolitan)  — Today my member's statement is in relation to an email that Deanne Eccles sent to the Premier on 23 August. She is still waiting for a response to that. Deanne runs a small business. She is a dedicated community volunteer, a five-year committee member of Tourism Network Yarra Valley and the chairperson of the Toolangi Forest Discovery Centre. She wrote:

It was disappointing for many local businesses within the Central Highlands/Yarra Valley … to learn of taxpayers money being spent …

and —

that the Heyfield mill were and are removing our tourism product — the magnificent mountain ash forest of the Central Highlands.

I understand that …

the forestry division of —

the CFMEU and their political donations are making you and your party accountable for timber jobs. So what do we as a tourism industry need to pay to protect our product?

Deanne poses some solutions:

Let's remove the 'national' out of the 'great forest park'. Give us the land and we'll employ twice as many people as the timber industry, while implementing education programs. We'll pay the equivalent of a stumpage tax. If VicForests can lease the land, why couldn't we as Tourism Victoria? What if we found private investors or trustees who bought the land on behalf of the local communities?

For the Andrews government to take tourism seriously, we'll create a tourism union and give you political donations which exceed —

the forestry division of —

the CFMEU.

If the Andrews government is wanting new votes from the Eildon district … this coming election, then start appealing to small businesses within tourism and acknowledge the spin-offs for tradies which the industry brings.

You will start to see a new groundswell. People who have educated themselves because they've had to … they are passionate, because they love their product. They love tourism.