Financial support 'essential' for impacted Limestone Coast businesses

Wednesday October 06, 2021

Media Release published by The Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell is calling for financial support for Limestone Coast businesses and tourism operators affected by the State Government’s targeted restrictions in the wake of a Mount Gambier Covid case.

Mr Bell said localised restrictions have strongly impacted businesses and tourism operators in the Mount Gambier, Grant and Wattle Range local government areas.

“These restrictions have unfortunately fallen at a time when our town is at full capacity, with school holidays, major tourism and sporting events and community shows scheduled for the week ahead,” Mr Bell said.

“Having spoken with tourism operators this week, the fall-out from the announcement has been immediate, with people cancelling accommodation and choosing to stay at home rather than head out to events and operators.”

It was announced on Monday that three local government areas, including the city of Mount Gambier, Grant and Wattle Range, will be under tight density restrictions for seven days.

The Independent MP said the region was in a precarious situation as information from SA Health remained scant and the public were still unclear about potential exposure sites.

“We’re not under stay-at-home restrictions, just density restrictions so many business owners are confused about whether to open with lesser patrons or close the doors entirely.

“The eligibility criteria on the State Government’s financial support packages must be expanded to ensure these affected businesses are able to get the help they need.”

Mr Bell said the $700,000 of State Government funding dedicated towards an Adelaide CBD promotion dubbed ‘FOMO Fridays’ would go a long way towards helping Limestone Coast businesses.

“$700,000 for a month of street parties is a fair chunk of money for just a small part of South Australia,” he said.

“I’m sure the Limestone Coast would appreciate a State Government funded street party to revitalise business opportunities too.”

Mr Bell said many operators had been taken by surprise by the announcement, which was made on Sunday afternoon on social media and came into effect immediately.

“The Premier’s Facebook page is not where people want to find out information about how their business and livelihood will be affected,” he said.

“Communication is key to combating misinformation. We need more transparency from our State Government departments moving forward.”