Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing the article Government Grant for Passing Clouds last week.

The article is about a recent announcement from our local MP for Macedon (also state Minister for Health) Mary-Anne Thomas.  She said that the ALP state government is funding the family-run Passing Clouds Winery in Musk with a grant of $169K for the expansion of their business.

I found the article to be rather troubling, in fact deeply disturbing.  WHY and WHEN do governments – either at local, state or federal levels – direct taxpayer funds to a private business for their expansion?  We are all used to hearing about government grants to public institutions such as hospitals or schools or community services. That is considered normal procedure by all of us.

But WHY, pray tell, is the Passing Clouds Winery getting a huge wad of cash from the ALP state government, less than two months before the state election on 26 November, when so many locals and Aussies in general are being hard hit by inflation and rising costs of living?  What can possibly be the logic or common sense behind this grant to a privately-owned business?

For me, this story raises huge and troubling questions about the integrity of not only Mary-Anne Thomas as our local MP, but about the leadership of Premier Daniel Andrews as well.  I remain confused and disturbed about why a private business would be getting such a huge wad of cash, raised by the taxpayers of this state, when so many persons are hurting financially.

Ms. Thomas, would you care to answer these important questions?

Zachary Casper
Daylesford / Glenlyon

Editor’s Note: The Wombat Post Asked Mary-Anne Thomas, State Member for Macedon to comment. She said

‘Tourism is vital to the economic and social fabric of the Daylesford Macedon Ranges, as visitors to our region create jobs and opportunities for locals.

Successful local business Passing Clouds was awarded a grant through the Regional Tourism Investment Fund,  as part of our government’s commitment to support tourism businesses and communities impacted by Covid.

The fund was open to private sector proponents, local and state government entities, incorporated and not-for-profit associations. The Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions assessed all applicants was delivered against objectives including co-investment, employment, and visitation numbers.’

Passing Clouds  provides a unique food and wine experience and our government is proud to support their commitment to innovation and job creation.’