LETTER: Nature is the solution to rural Victoria’s woes

Rural Victoria is in trouble. 

Recent Australian Taxation Office data shows five of the top 10 poorest postcodes in the country are in rural Victoria, including around traditional “duck shooting” towns. 

Meanwhile across Australia, tourism is contributing more to the economy than agriculture (including agriculture, forestry and fishing). 

It employs one in 20 Australians, supports one in eight businesses and for the third year in a row, has enjoyed a growth rate better than the national average. (Source: Tourism Satellite Account).

Nature-based tourism, which is growing faster than all other forms of tourism combined, saw a whopping 48.2 million tourist visits in Australia in 2016.

The solution to rural Victoria’s woes is in our nature.

Latest data shows record participation in visits to nature parks (up 14 per cent to 11.2 million), indigenous culture sites (up 22 per cent to 465,000) and bush walking (up 14 per cent to 11.8 million), with nature tourists spending on average 50 per cent more than other tourists (Source: Tourism Research Australia).

We need to do more to arrest rural Victoria’s demise around the state and ensure it is “the place to be”.

Let’s see which party can “get it done”.

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