Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has accepted an invitation from The Nationals WA MP Ian Blayney to meet concerned Geraldton and Mid West tourism operators, accommodation providers and small business owners.
Mr Blayney, the Member for Geraldton, said the aftermath of Australia-wide bushfires, floods and drought and the growing impact of the COVID-19 virus have resulted in a sudden drop in visitor numbers.
“While the effect is felt greatest in tourism, there are ripples right across the region’s economy,” he said.
“Having spoken to local operators and accommodation managers over the past few weeks, it is clear they are finding business more difficult than usual, particularly those focused on the Chinese market.
“By setting up this forum the Deputy Prime Minister can hear about those effects directly from local residents and consider ways the Federal Government can assist during these tough times.”
The tourism, hospitality, accommodation and small business forum will be held on Wednesday February 19 from 10am at The Geraldton Club.
Mr Blayney said Mr McCormack will also get to see some of the great business success stories in the city.
“Geraldton has a lot to offer and I’m pleased the Deputy Prime Minister will meet some of the Mid West’s most dedicated individuals who continue to provide a significant contribution to our local community despite unrest in the economy,” Mr Blayney said.
Mr McCormack has made several visits to the Mid West and said he was eager to return so he could speak with small businesses and see the progress of Federal Government projects.
“It has been a very difficult few months right across the country and I know the hard-working community of Geraldton are doing it tough,” Mr McCormack said.
“From my previous visits to Geraldton I have seen how important tourism is to the city. I’m looking forward to seeing what locals think can be done to ensure the industry not only survives, but thrives.”
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies welcomed Mr McCormack’s trip to the Mid West and said the Deputy Prime Minister has a strong interest in issues across the State.
“Geraldton is a growing regional community and we look forward to discussing with Mr McCormack how we can ensure the city continues to flourish despite the lack of focus on its development by the State Labor Government,” Ms Davies said.