The Victorian Government has been urged to release findings of the regional tourism review to help the north-west tourism industry recover from the economic downturn created by COVID-19.

Member for Mildura Ali Cupper used an adjournment speech in Victorian Parliament recently to request Minister for Tourism Martin Pakula release findings from the review.

Ms Cupper said during the consultation process in 2019, the Outback Vic brand was pitched for the first time.

“While many people associate north-west Victoria with the Murray River, there is so much more that our region has to offer, and capitalising on and utilising the unique imagery associated with the outback could go a long way to attracting more domestic tourists as well as international visitors once our borders open again,” she told parliament.

“The regional tourism review discussion paper was released in late 2019, with the consultation findings due for release last year. This was understandably delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there has never been a more important time to capitalise on tourism opportunities for our region.
“Our tourism operators have been suffering for months due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, but mostly, especially in our area, because of snap closures of state borders.”

Ms Cupper said government investment in consultation, branding, design and creation of digital assets, as well as ongoing operation funding, could make Outback Vic a reality.

“An ‘Outback Vic’ brand and dedicated tourism board would highlight the potential of the southern Mallee particularly, and connect the Mallee desert to the south-west New South Wales outback via Mildura,” she said.

Ms Cupper has pitched for the government to fund a World War 2 aviation training and Kittyhawk museum at Mildura Airport in this year’s budget. She told parliament the museum and war history trail – also including the Lake Boga Catalina museum and war museum at Nhill – would be an important part of Outback Vic.