SPEECH

Today I raise a glass to the people championing a vision for north-east Victoria, to put the Prosecco Road redevelopment on the map.

Yesterday, the plans were tabled at the Rural City of Wangaratta Council, outlining the many and varied benefits to flow from this proposal. The Victorian government kickstarted works last year, and momentum continues to grow for this game-changing regional development.

The families of the King Valley pioneered prosecco: Dal Zotto, Brown Brothers, Chrismont, Pizzini and Sam Miranda are among the masters of Australian prosecco. Their world-class wines are mainstays at special occasions across the country. Yet the King Valley remains a hidden gem, and more’s the pity. It’s too good a secret to keep bottled up.

It’s not just about wine either. For cycle tourism, the opportunities are huge. Widening the Wangaratta-Whitfield Road will open up Pedal 2 Prosecco beyond the hard-core cellar-door and lycra-clad enthusiasts to a whole new market.

We know that domestic tourism will be a major part in our economic recovery, and we want the Prosecco Road ready to go, for lockdown-weary Melburnians and Sydneysiders, for romantic escapes, for meditative retreats—and hey, for a girls’ getaway weekend. Imagine if there were a regional activation fund to do just this.

I’ve taken the case to the Treasurer, and I’m looking forward to meeting the minister for tourism in the coming weeks. Let’s discuss it over a glass of King Valley bubbles. Opportunity is bubbling over like a glass of sparkling.

Read Haines calls on Joyce to visit North East to hear communities’ Inland Rail concerns