Australian bushfires: Bushfire affected Southern Highlands reopens for business
The bushfire affected Southern Highlands has reopened for business after bushfires burnt through the region.
From south of Warragamba, Picton, and Wingello to the towns of Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale, people are being urged to visit.
The decision to re-open follows determinations from NSW Police, NSW Rural Fire Service, Transport for NSW and local councils.
Other towns in the state, that have seen bushfires roar through them are also looking for tourists to return.
It comes as the Federal Government pledged $76 million to revive Australia’s tourism industry.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australian tourism was facing “its biggest challenge in living memory” with the industry believed to have lost “hundreds of millions of dollars” from the bushfire crisis.
“One in 13 Australian jobs rely on tourism and hospitality, so our $76 million investment is an urgent injection to help all those hotels, restaurants and cafes and tour operators get back on their feet,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“This is about getting more visitors to help keep local businesses alive and protect local jobs right across the country and especially in those areas so directly devastated such as Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills, the Blue Mountains and right along the New South Wales coast and East Gippsland in Victoria.”
One of the goals of the new funding is to change the world’s perception of Australia, with the Australian Tourism Industry Council telling the ABC this week the international perception was that “the whole country’s on fire”.
NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said tourism was one of the best ways to promote economic recovery and revive small businesses.
“But the best thing you can do to support a bushfire-affected town is show up with an empty stomach and a full wallet,” he said.
“The Southern Highlands has long been a favourite for traditional day trippers and motoring enthusiasts and I encourage everyone to go inject some cash into the local economy, sample a few pies, and thank the local emergency services.”
State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, said much-needed tourism could help businesses get back on their feet following the fires.
“This area was hit hard by recent bushfires and now that the threat has been abated, we want to see people come together and spend some cash to help kickstart the local economy,” Mr Worboys said.
“Plan a day trip with friends and family and see the sights but remember to drive to the conditions and obey the road rules.
“We are also reminding visitors to observe any road closures and respect the privacy of those who have lost homes by avoiding fire-affected areas.” he said.
Originally published as Plea from bushfire ravaged towns