THE Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath is encouraging Gippslanders to come together, support jobs and help grow the local economy by shopping and travelling locally following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

“Drought, bushfire and COVID-19 have delivered Gippsland a triple whammy blow, and local small businesses have sadly faced the brunt of the economic downturn,” said Ms Bath.

“With school holidays just around the corner, I am calling on Gippslanders to come together and spend their hard-earned money locally and support jobs in our community.

“This campaign is all about locals supporting locals.

“Gippsland’s tourism, hospitality and personal services sectors have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19 restrictions; as they begin reopening it would be wonderful to see a wave of local support.

“Small businesses provide us with local jobs and in addition, they regularly support our causes and clubs through generous donations, now it’s time to offer them a helping hand by way of our patronage.”

Ms Bath said Gippsland was a wonderfully diverse and dynamic region blessed with great food and fibre producers, a dynamic and exciting hospitality sector and bountiful natural attractions.

“From the high country right through to our coastal towns, Gippsland has it all!

“Small businesses are the backbone of our country communities and the heart of our regional economy.

“While the easing of restrictions does not go far enough for our pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants, it’s important to do everything we can to get Gippsland back to work and back in business.

“With your help and a strong resolve, our small towns and regional centres will prosper again.

“These holidays, I am encouraging Gippslanders to play and enjoy the best of our own backyards – enjoy day trips, indulge in personal care, book a local holiday and experience our local food and wine.

“There is no denying it’s been a tough year, however, discovering and celebrating the beauty of Gippsland will help get small businesses safely get back on their feet.”