A funding windfall of $250,000 will provide a much-needed boost for Hunter Valley businesses left reeling from the summer bushfires.
Cessnock City Council received the grant under the NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund.
The purpose of the funding is to support local businesses and assist communities to overcome the economic and social impacts of the bushfires.
“The last six months has seen extreme hardship experienced by our tourism operators,” Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said.
“We’re going to continue to do all we can to support our local businesses as we now face another crisis with the spread of COVID-19.
“This funding is critical [and] we’re going to move as quickly as possible to see this funding injected into our community.
“It’s about supporting local jobs, businesses and ensuring when this is all over we are ready to welcome tourists back.”
A variety of projects are funded under the grant, including walking trails, visitor information points and signage, television episodes, Tourist Drive 33 promotion, digital tourism applications and a local buying program.
Additional funding for destination marketing and community events will be rolled out when tourists can again explore the Hunter Valley.
Wollombi Valley Chamber of Commerce President, Kylie Gemmell, said the funding could not have come at a better time for the businesses of the Wollombi Valley.
“We rely on tourism, so the devastating effect of the bushfires and now COVID-19 is being felt across our entire community,” she said.
“We are thrilled that a significant amount of funding has been allocated to the Wollombi Valley, and extremely grateful to council for their support and enthusiasm for the ideas put forward by our chamber.”