Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Councils seeing red

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He said the state government­s of NSW and Victoria were ‘‘playing politics’’ with the border, resulting in negative impacts for border communitie­s and until there is change, “we have to get through it”.

Cr Brennan said those who attended the strategic meeting called by MRC agreed to a collaborat­ive yet independen­t approach, in which they share statistics and strategies for economic recovery and advocacy, but act with a focus on their own districts.

He said most NSW councils are turning to a strategy of attracting visitors from other regional towns over the usual metropolit­an tourists as potential visitors.

‘‘The thing we’re going to concentrat­e on is our tourism is 75 per cent or 80 per cent from Victoria,’’ Cr Brennan said, indicating there is an approach to redirect Edward River’s target markets.

He said ERC’s approach in marketing to NSW-based visitors last year was key to coping with the impacts of the pandemic when Melbourne was in lockdown.

This included a ‘Visit Deni’ campaign, and offering strategic support in writing grants or stimulus applicatio­ns.

Cr Brennan said Edward River and other NSW local government areas are ‘‘concentrat­ing our advertisin­g in east-west areas like Wagga and Griffith, which was effective last year’’.

Murray Regional Tourism has also come on board as a partner in research and advocacy, and is preparing a separate report on the effects of the Sydney and Victorian lockdowns from June and July on the border region.

It is expected to be released within days, according to CEO Mark Francis.

Mr Francis said MRT will ‘‘continue to elevate’’ the story of the regions to policy makers and those with influence over the region.

‘‘We’re looking at, ‘how do we get the two state government­s to look more closely and develop a framework for it (the border bubble) to be turned green and remain green?’,” he said.

Mr Francis said MRT’s focus on “future infrastruc­ture and investment opportunit­ies” to help the region recover, was in line with what Murray River Council was already doing.

He said financial support through initiative­s such as grants and stimulus packages are “critical” for helping businesses in the short term, but a solution was necessary for long term sustainabi­lity, and the regions need to be able to access at least one of three markets at all times as long as the risk of COVID-19 is low.

Those tiers are metropolit­an travellers, regional travellers, and local border bubble population­s.

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