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Gutwein has not done enough to support East Coast community

  • Premier needs to visit communities to see first hand the effects of road closure
  • Support package for community does not go nearly far enough
  • No support for workers who have lost their jobs, limited support for wider community

Premier Peter Gutwein must do more to support the East Coast communities impacted by the closure of the Tasman Highway near Orford.

Acting Labor Leader Anita Dow said the Premier had been missing in action on the devastating effects of the highway closure and had failed to announce a support package for the wider community.

“Yesterday the Government announced a support package to assist businesses, however this package does not go nearly far enough and fails to support workers who have lost their jobs and the wider community,” Ms Dow said.

“Residents of these communities have seen their travel time increase to unworkable levels and they deserve compensation for that. Workers who have lost their jobs will not receive any support, while businesses won’t have the support to keep staff on.”

Ms Dow said Labor was also concerned that the hardship grants announced may not be enough and that the Government should consider a 2nd tranche of support grants as required.

“The Government need to provide flexible support – not just a one-off payment and this support must flow quickly with turnover down 75 per cent for some businesses.

“I will be on the East Coast tomorrow meeting with affected communities and businesses and I call on Premier Gutwein as Minister for Tourism to do the same.

“The Premier must consider what more can be done to help the struggling communities.

“In the past when there have been significant economic shocks to regional areas the government has established a task force made up of key representatives from the community, local government and the State government to plan and respond to the challenge at hand.

“Labor calls on the government to look at the viability of such a task force on the East Coast, with a goal of coordinating and assisting with the response to the road closure, economic and social recovery post COVID and ongoing support once the Tasman Highway reopens.

“The support announced on Tuesday was an important first step, but it will not solve all of the challenges currently facing our East Coast Communities.”

Anita Dow MP  
Acting Labor Leader