Grants driving tourism boost

Pictured are LVA's Karen Cain, Berry Street's Jane Barr and Rebecca Ottery, Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford, Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN's Lisa Price and Mountain Top Experience's Ron Camier. photographs anne simmons

Pictured are LVA's Karen Cain, Berry Street's Jane Barr and Rebecca Ottery, Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford, Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN's Lisa Price and Mountain Top Experience's Ron Camier. photographs anne simmons

A Morwell-based transport company will now be able to drive larger numbers of tourists up Mount Baw Baw's steep and icy terrains thanks to a state government Regional Skills Fund grant.

Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford visited Mountain Top Experience on Thursday, April 12 where she announced $9200 funding for the business to deliver hazardous area training for its own bus drivers and drivers from other companies.

Mountain Top Experience director Ron Camier said his company had developed a driving course following many years of learning to negotiate the alpine conditions.

"Mount Baw Baw is the steepest access road of any alpine resort in Australia and I believe the third steepest in the world. When you get snow and ice on that road it is quite hazardous," Mr Camier said.

Mr Camier was an engineer in the brown coal industry until the privatisation of the State Electricity Commission forced him to reconsider his career path.

"A lot of my colleagues left the area ... often they went as consultants on short-term contracts and it wasn't a very nice lifestyle living out of a suitcase," he said.

"I just decided I didn't want to do that."

Mountain Top Experience's Ron Camier Hobby is pictured with Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford.

Mountain Top Experience's Ron Camier Hobby is pictured with Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford.

Ms Pulford said Mr Camier's success story of turning a passion into a business during what was a "very big period of upheaval" for the community was a wonderful expression for the desire for people in regional Victoria to have a strong quality of life in their home community.

"We want people to be able to choose where they live, have a job or a successful business and pay off their homes," Ms Pulford said.

She said the state government saw regional tourism as a great source of future jobs growth.

"The demand that's coming in from international visitors, interstate and intrastate visitors is great and is growing greatly," Ms Pulford said.

"The nature-based part of tourism is growing as fast of any part of that [industry] and that's a global trend."

The minister announced further grants for Berry Street, which received $322,110 towards its Broadening Horizons project, which offers secondary students hands-on experience in local industries with a workforce shortage.

Baw Baw Latrobe Learning and Employment Network received $52,000 towards the STEM Sisters project, which exists to help build opportunities for year 10 girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Learn more about the Regional Skills Fund at rdv.vic.gov.au or contact the Latrobe Valley Authority.

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