Cash aims to bring tourists to fire areas

Bushfire-affected East Gippsland will get $8.5 million in cash to draw tourists and create jobs.
Bushfire-affected East Gippsland will get $8.5 million in cash to draw tourists and create jobs.

Bushfire-ravaged Victorian communities will get an $8.5 million cash lifeline to bring back tourists and jobs.

The state government is pumping the cash into projects across East Gippsland and northeast Victoria to help the areas rebuild after the summer's devastating fires.

About 1.6 million hectares of Victoria has been razed since November.

Emergency Victoria said on Thursday there were no significant fires going anywhere in the state after the Snowy complex fire in East Gippsland was declared contained.

"We are doing lots now, and will certainly have to do much more ... to get tourists back in here, so we can get income, jobs and the prosperity we want for every community," Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.

The premier made the announcement at East Gippsland's Buchan Caves, which remain partially closed to tourists because of fire damage.

The package includes $2 million to rebuild the campground at Buchan Caves and develop a master plan for the reserve.

It is one of the projects supported under the Bushfire Tourism and Business Fund.

Victoria Tourism Industry Council Felicia Mariani said the cash package would take the financial and regulatory pressure off companies in fire-affected areas.

It comes as Labor hosts its caucus meeting in the East Gippsland town of Lakes Entrance to show that even a short stay in communities recovering from the fires can help prop up local business.

The state government has assigned more than $270 million so far to bushfire recovery in the wake of the summer's disaster..

Australian Associated Press