I have a good story to tell. On the occasion of meeting a constituent at Foster and making the meeting place Prom Country Lodge, I had the pleasure of meeting the owners, Kim and Victor Bradshaw. In the outcome of the discussion that I had with them, they had a terrific story to tell. Having made their investment in a rundown Prom Country Lodge, these two set about renovating the facilities and creating a really comfortable, five-star, welcoming place to stay on the Prom Coast. They’ve now become leaders in local tourism.
They made the journey from Melbourne after leaving Rhodesia and South Africa 20 years ago. Their South African heritage is evident in the accommodation and the standard of it. Victor’s dream since arriving in Foster
during 2015 was to upgrade Prom Country Lodge and to create a pleasing experience for each of the guests. They’ve done this in spades.
They now directly employ 15 people, with their 29 rooms welcoming many people from the Prom Coast. But 70 per cent of them are international visitors. Of course, they’re visiting Wilsons Promontory; the Great Southern Rail Trail from Leongatha to Welshpool; Agnes Falls, Victoria’s highest single-span waterfall; and Port Welshpool, home of the Long Jetty, which is currently under redevelopment courtesy of this government. There are also the local beaches, Sandy Point, Waratah and Venus Bay—fantastic places to go.
But they had the inspiration to take what was a rundown, older-style motel and turn it into something unique. They’ve even given people the option of another place to have dinner in Foster, where at night-time they only had the pub. Don’t get me wrong—the pub is great! But it’s pub food, and this is quite an upgrade on that at Cafe Max Foster.
I love to tell this story because small business in my electorate is so important to me and tourism is so important for what we’re doing in South Gippsland. We can see these people take an idea, push it and make it work, and then grow it to the point where they are actually employing chefs full-time and supplying breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whilst we were there—we happened to be there at lunchtime and we didn’t have time to eat, of course, to do the business that we all do as local members—it was important to see the number of people in the restaurant and the busyness of the place. I have to say this was the first time I’d been there, and I’ve been the member down there for a long time. So I went in and experienced this, and now I know that what’s happening in South Gippsland is good for Foster, the Prom, the international visitors and the people who work at Barry Beach—the contractors who go down there. They need somewhere to stay and they need this type of accommodation. They need to get there and back and they need to have the proper provisions, otherwise we don’t get the engineers and workers that we need down there at Barry Beach to fulfil those contracts.
So they have a place to stay and we have somewhere we can be proud of. It’s people like Kim and Victor who make these things happen. Businesses don’t just happen without leadership. There has to be some leadership in a community to make things happen. Now there are 15 people getting work in that place, and that’s gold to our community. Those are 15 jobs pouring their money into the local schools, football clubs, tennis clubs and cricket clubs. That money gets spent within the community by locals who work there and who are contributing through the enterprise of these two people.
Mr Speaker, you know I’m from small business. You know my background. You know it all very well. I get so excited when I see people doing really well in business—when they’re working hard and paying taxes, and all the people around them are paying taxes and making a huge contribution to their community, to tourism, to the activities around the place. That makes everything else better. Their standards are up, so everybody else’s standards rise to the occasion. These people lift people up. They are lifters, not leaners, and they’ve made a great contribution to Australia since their arrival.