THE Andrews Labor Government may send some – or all – of Echuca’s leading entertainment venues to the wall because of the Premier’s refusal to help protect the town’s local economy.
On Monday Moama Bowling Club, the Border Inn, Moama RSL and Rich River Golf Club will be allowed to reopen.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said venues such as The Workies have not earned a cent for the past nine weeks.
“And will now have to sit idly by and watch their customers flood across the river to spend their money in NSW clubs and pubs,” he said.
“The Workies has written to me this week, mortified at being thrown under the bus by our government.
“Workies general manager Erin Langman told me even if she also got the go-ahead for Monday her club (and every other venue in Echuca) would still be at a significant disadvantage because NSW can have 50 people per area and Victorians just 20,” he said.
Ms Langman explained her club has had no income for almost nine weeks; meaning it has had to “seek assurances and support from our bank about ensuring our future”.
“They have been supportive and have extended financial support; however, the longer the prevention of allowing gaming continues, the longer we will take to get back on our feet financially and the longer it will be before can start to support community groups again,” she added.
“I have heard we may not be able to open our gaming services until mid-July which gives the NSW venues a head-start on us by six weeks – this is simply unfair.
“Our club needs to be reopened without delay,” Ms Langman added.
Mr Walsh said she was right; and what she said applied to so many venues; “venues which are the community heartbeat of Echuca”.
“It’s hard enough competing on a level playing field at the best of times; but when your own government is selling you out it becomes impossible,” he said.