Albany Advertiser

MPs urged to see shut shopfronts

- Michael Traill

Shadow treasurer Dean Nalder has urged government MPs to travel through the Great Southern and Wheatbelt to see the closed store fronts in towns along the Great Southern Highway.

The Bateman MP made the comments during parliament­ary discussion­s last week surroundin­g the impact COVID-19 could have on regional economies.

“The McGowan Government has a poor track record when it comes to looking after people in the bush,” Mr Nalder, pictured, said.

“If members have not been there, I encourage them to drive down Great Southern Highway and look at how many small businesses and shopfronts are closed.

“They should drive through Narrogin and have a look. It is a concern, and the Premier is not doing anything about it for the people out there in regional WA.

Mr Nalder told the State’s Lower House farmers in the region had grown anxious about how the pandemic would affect their supply chain.

“If the Premier is worried about our economy, the agricultur­al sector delivers a lot for WA, but I have not heard him saying that the Government is really concerned about the supply chain,” he said. “Can farmers get their fertiliser? “Can they get their diesel? “Can they get the chemicals to ensure that these things are going ahead?” Premier Mark McGowan responded by saying it was “tragic” what was happening to small and medium businesses across the country, and highlighte­d stimulus packages released by his Government.

He said there was only so much government­s could do during the COVID-19 crisis, but there was no point bankruptin­g the State, saying the WA Government would need to be called upon to boost industry once the crisis was over.

The Premier also moved to denounce Perth residents who “ransacked” regional supermarke­ts.

“I condemn people who leave the city to go and ransack supermarke­ts in regional towns, just as I condemn people who go into supermarke­ts in the city, wherever they are from, and ransack those supermarke­ts as well,” he said.

“This is a shocking, un-Australian thing to do, and I have never seen it happen before in my lifetime.”

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