With the Central Highlands reopening to tourists, Great Lake Hotel publican Kaylee Hattinger said the best way to help the fire recovery effort is to buy local.
“There’s a lot of little businesses up here,” she said.
“Shops, guides, Bronte shops, Bothwell shops, towns down the Deloraine end - they rely on people coming through and they haven’t been getting them. This is supposed to be the busiest time of the year.
“Support your local business. Not just us, support your local businesses where you are, because they employ Tasmanians who spend money in Tasmania. Keep jobs here. Not one person can keep us going, but we, as a whole, can support local businesses and keep our kids in Tasmania and our men and women employed.”
Many Tasmanian businesses sent free food up the mountains to support emergency workers, including Banjo’s Bakery Longford, Longford IGA, Young’s Vegie Shed, Hillwood Berries, and Huon Aquaculture, with the goods ferried up by friends and family, the Central Highlands Council, and the SES.
Ms Hattinger also made a plea for kindness, after receiving “nasty” comments while unexpectedly housing and feeding more than a hundred bodies for a month.
“We’re trying not to take things personally, but after this long, when we’ve been so emotionally invested in this and we’ve given our heart, and we care about these people that are out there – when somebody comes gives us a kick, we need to have a cup of tea and have a few tears,” she said.
“And then the next day somebody will do something super nice.”
But she stressed the comments had not come from volunteers themselves.
“The TFS don’t care, as long as they’ve got a bed,” she said.