Community events in Moyne Shire have missed out on special bushfire recovery funding after the region failed to be declared under Commonwealth and statedisaster arrangements.
Victoria's Minister for Tourism and Major Events Martin Pakula announced on Thursday that a dedicated bushfire recovery funding round was accepting applications from event organisers who could demonstrate how they would attract visitors from outside their region.
Mr Pakula said the fund was open to events in 15 local government areas declared under Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
South-west shires declared under the arrangements included Glenelg and Southern Grampians but not Moyne, despite the 6400-hectare Budj Bim-Condah fire affecting significant areas of the shire's national park.
It's a disappointing result for the shire which is set to host a number of popular events this year, including Music in the Vines Festival at Macarthur on February 29.
The one-day music festival held at Macarthur's Suffoir Winery started in 2016 and has drawn crowds of more than 500 people.
Winery owner Pieter Badenhorst said it was difficult to understand why Moyne was overlooked.
"Suffoir was particularity impacted (by the Budj Bim fire) as most of our customers do come from Melbourne," he said.
"There was a lot of communication during the time of the fires that told people to stay away from the area and we have had basically no visitors due to that.
"The park is expected to remain closed for the next four months and our numbers are currently half of what we normally see. Most of our earnings come from the summer holidays and this year a lot of that has been wiped out.
"The smoke could also have caused a significant loss in essentially our whole 2020 grape harvest."
Music in the Vines event manager Hugh McFarlane said the government's failure to include Moyne in the recovery efforts would impact "every event in this region".
"It's not just Music in the Vines that will be impacted but every event that usually draws a tourist crowd," he said.
"It's disappointing the way they've assessed who is eligible for funding. I'd say we missed out because the Budj Bim fire was contained within the National Park, which is world heritage (listed), so we didn't lose any private land or wildlife.
"But we had 300-plus people trying to contain it inside that park, which is now closed. I've spoken to people who live nearby and tourists can be seen driving away as soon as they see the 'closed' sign.
"We've had people attend Music in the Vines who have camped for two or three night at Budji Bim and now they can't."
It's not the first time Moyne Shire has been forgotten in bushfire recovery efforts after the region was left out of a list of shires eligible for a $75,000 Federal Government grant for affected producers.
Moyne Shire mayor Daniel Meade said council officers successfully advocated to be added to that list in January.
"We are hopeful that we can have the same result with this events funding," he said.
"We are disappointed to be overlooked but will be advocating strongly to state representatives be included in the list.
"Moyne has worked with our fire-affected rate payers to this point and we will continue to work with them in their recovery, but we also need to help events like Music in the Vines which would be a perfect fit for this community to recover from the fires and get together for a locally, based volunteer-run event."
The state government has been contacted for comment.
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