Pressure is mounting for the Federal Government to expand their Tourism Aviation Network Support (TANS) Program to more regional Victorian destinations.
Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp has written to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development, Michael McCormack urging him and the Government to extend the scheme to Northern Victorian airports – including Mildura, Bendigo and Albury/Wodonga airports under the $1.2 billion program.
Mr Gepp said that northern Victoria boasts rich cultural, natural and historical tourism attractions and experiences.
“From the silo art trail, the historic Central Goldfields, the beautiful Alpine region, to the mighty Murray River – and everything in between,” he said.
Following a call from Victorian Minister for Tourism Martin Pakula, Victoria’s 11 Regional Tourism Boards have also strongly urged the Government to amend the program to include Albury, Bendigo and Mildura, along with Tullamarine airports.
So far, Avalon airport is the only regional airport included under the scheme.
“Regional Victoria has been severely impacted by drought, bushfires and the pandemic – with border closures and a drop in interstate and international tourism significantly impacting our regional tourism industry,” Mr Gepp said.
“With the end of Jobkeeper at the end of this month, this scheme will fall short on supporting and sustaining these regions after March 28. For this scheme to be meaningful, I strongly urge the Federal Government to stop playing politics and add these destinations to the list.
“It is absolutely outrageous that they have ignored these regional tourism destinations.
“This is a very good scheme, however the ‘tyranny of distance’ to Northern Victorian destinations, especially Mildura – means that Northern Victorian communities will miss out on the benefits that this scheme aims to address.”