Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis MP today in Parliament called for the government to consider compensation for local tourism operators and accommodation providers impacted by last Friday’s snap decision by the Education Department to ban school water activities due to perceived rising numbers of sharks.
“The acclaimed Port Vincent Aquatic Centre and Port Vincent caravan park and camp operators report facing losses in the tens of thousands of dollars from cancelled excursions scheduled for next week and deserve to be compensated”, Mr Ellis said.
“In raising the question in the chamber today I have ensured all government members are aware of the impact of this knee jerk reaction which I understand is currently under review and may ultimately be overturned”.
However, Mr Ellis concedes the damage may already be done with schools with bookings for scheduled water activities reportedly likely to cancel such activities in any case even if the ban is lifted, such has been the heightened public outcry due to the string of recent shark attacks and the Education Department’s response.
“It is hoped the ban decision will be revisited and that schools that had been due to attend water camps next week at Port Vincent will do so as the ramifications for operators are considerable and include preparations already purchased and staff wages obligations”, Mr Ellis said.
“I understand that the safety of children is of paramount importance but in hindsight it is clear more thought needed to go into the impact and consequences of this decision.
“I have had further discussions with the Minister for Education so he is aware of the impact of the department’s actions and I will continue to work for monetary compensation for local operators caught up in this situation through no fault of their own” Mr Ellis said.