Grampians meeting: opposition slams government for 'abandoning' the region

THE State Opposition has criticised the Victorian Government for having failed to attend a parliamentary committee meeting on the future of the Grampians.

The environment and natural resources committee is inquiring into heritage tourism and eco-tourism in the Grampians. It met yesterday in Halls Gap.

Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development Jacinta Allan said no government MPs were at yesterday's meeting.

"The Napthine government has given up on the Grampians and abandoned regional Victoria," she said.

Liberal Member for Western Victoria David Koch said he was extremely disappointed with Labor's 'disrespect' for bipartisan work of the parliamentary committee.

"I think it's outrageous to try to gain political mileage at this price," he said.

He said the committee's visit to Halls Gap was to help regional Victorians overcome travel issues, which could have prevented them from attending the committee if it sat in Melbourne.

He said suggestions the committee's visit to Halls Gap was to focus on fire damage were incorrect, adding that fires were '100 miles away' from the reference of the committee.

Mr Koch said he would endeavour to continue the bipartisan work of the committee.

He said a prior commitment meant he was unable to attend the meeting, but it was the first committee meeting he had missed in three and a half years.

The Nationals' newly minted Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government Tim Bull and Liberal Member for Mordialloc Lorraine Wreford were also absent.

Because of Mr Bull's ministerial duties he is now ineligible to sit on the committee.

The only MPs who attended the meeting were the ALP's Member for Dandenong John Pandazopolous and Member for Macedon Jo Duncan.

Mr Pandazopoulos said it was up to the government to explain their absence from yesterday's meeting.

"It's a bit odd," he said.

He said the meeting showed the cohesive nature of tourism stakeholders in the region.

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