Backpackers and Stranded Travellers – They’re Part of Our Community Too

Published on Friday, 27 March 2020 at 11:49:00 AM

The City of Busselton has strongly reiterated the Premiers’ directive for people not to undertake unnecessary travel and to cancel holiday plans to regional Western Australia. It is imperative that people obey this directive if we are to kerb the spread of the Coronavirus across the State. It is also important to note that regional health resources, including those here in the City of Busselton, are simply not set-up to cope with a major influx of people.

Given the high likelihood that intrastate border controls impacting the South West region will be in place soon, the City is urging travellers to return to their place of principal residence now.

Accommodation in local caravan parks has tightened up with some private caravan parks closing completely and others cancelling all bookings other than on compassionate grounds. At the City owned Busselton Jetty Tourist Park all bookings from Perth and surrounds up until the end of April are being cancelled and the park is only operating at reduced occupancy to cater for permanent residents and those already in the region who need to remain for compassionate grounds.

Mayor Grant Henley said that while those travellers with a principal place of residence should return now, there are some, including our community of backpackers, who may through no fault of their own, find themselves legitimately stranded.

“Backpackers are part of our community – they are here working to support our local economy and while we do urge them to return home if possible, the reality is that for many this is just not possible now. The last thing we want is a community of backpackers sleeping rough across the district because we didn’t respond to their situation practically and with compassion – we’re better than that.

Our priority is stopping people coming in, not rejecting backpackers or travellers who are already here and simply may not have a home to go to or the means to get there in this time of crisis. We are urging community members to open up vacant tourist accommodation not to people from outside the district but to those who are here already and legitimately need accommodation while we weather this storm. This is the approach the City of

Busselton will be taking with those people who become stranded because this what we hope communities across Australia and the world would do for our residents in a similar predicament. Where we have the capacity to support these people we will and I hope the community and other Local Governments take the City of Busselton’s lead.”

The Objectives outlined in this media release are aligned to Key Goal Area 1 in the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (Review 2019): Our community is welcoming, friendly and healthy.

Media enquiries can be directed to the City’s Public Relations Coordinator, Meredith Dixon on 97810446 or meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au

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