LORNE residents and visitors could be without fuel next month after the town’s only fuel supplier decided to close its doors.
BP Australia announced it would close its Lorne petrol station on February 15 leaving the popular tourist destination without a petrol station.
Lorne Tourism and Business Association president Chris Tutungi said losing the petrol station would impact traders who had already had a tough start to the year after the Otways fire forced the evacuation of Lorne on Christmas Day.
The bushfire, still burning uncontained, has caused a decrease in holiday trade for businesses at Lorne during the town’s busiest time of year.
“It will have an effect on tourism; we just hope that before that may occur that it can be resolved and there’s no glitch there,” Mr Tutungi said.
“It’s going to be a hindrance to the town, Aireys Inlet is our nearest petrol station and then Apollo Bay,” he said.
“The traders have already suffered enough and then to have the possibility of not having enough fuel in the town is going to hurt.”
Mr Tutungi said he was also concerned a lack of fuel could also impact the town’s emergency services during a high-risk time.
“From the emergency services point of view it would be a nightmare,” he said.
“And I would think the government would be hopefully looking at it and thinking ‘how are we going to manage our situation’.
“We have the CFA and police, SES vehicles here and ambulance so it’s got to be managed for fuel for them.
“What are you going to do? Go to Anglesea for petrol? That’s not a viable option.”
Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson said she was “extremely concerned” about the decision and the impact it could have on the community.
“Frankly, that the people of Lorne have been given just four weeks’ notice about this closure is utterly unacceptable,” Ms Henderson said.
“BP has effectively deserted the people of Lorne at the worst possible time; during the height of summer when the risk of bushfire remains high,” she said.
“The situation is so bad that the Lorne CFA is trucking in fuel from Anglesea rather than using local fuel.
“Just imagine if the engine of a CFA truck was to fail during a bushfire emergency.”