After a resounding by-election win on 3 December, The Hon Barnaby Joyce held his victory party at the Southgate Inn in Tamworth, showing his continued support for regional hotels. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was also present.
The by-election was held after Joyce was caught up in the dual citizenship fiasco that has plagued MPs over the last few months, with Joyce being found to also hold citizenship in New Zealand. That citizenship has now been renounced.
Raised in Tamworth, the leader of the Nationals party has always supported regional hotels in the area, according to The Pub Group Tamworth’s Craig Power.
Power and his Pub Group business partner Jarod Douglas are the longest-serving publicans in the region, and own five hotels within the area. Power was happy to have Southgate Inn host the party, saying that Joyce has been a long-time supporter and patron.
“Barnaby’s support for the local area has continually been strong – he has visited our hotels many times as a customer and for presentation purposes. He even ran a yabby race at The Pub’s [another Pub Group venue] fishing club event last year.”
Having Joyce in the position of deputy prime minister has also increased visitation by the Prime Minister to the area, with Turnbull attending the Tamworth races for Melbourne Cup Day in November.
Power said the byelection function was good for business, with 250 people attending.
“Not only did their supporters enjoy it but our regular crowd and customers enjoyed the increased activity and excitement.”
While elated with the business boost and the support for regional hotels, Power would love for the government to focus on key issues that are putting a strain on the viability of small regional hospitality businesses – namely, alcohol excise increases and the problem-riddled CDS scheme in New South Wales.
“Personally I think they should be reviewing the twice yearly excise increases on alcohol which were introduced in 1983. With other increases in electricity and the container deposit scheme of late, it places massive stress on small businesses to maintain gross profits and ultimately affects employment and growth.”
Joyce reaffirmed his support and representation of the people of the New England at the Southgate Inn function.
“We’re looking forward to going straight back into bat to serve you. We’re going back to work tomorrow.”