Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, said struggling Cooloola Coast businesses received little relief from eased restrictions on travel distances, camping, and access to National Parks.
They’ve been hit hard, and it will be a long road to recovery.
Residents have been terrific at adhering to rules; however, businesses are severely stressed.
Rainbow Beach businesses tell me they’ve experienced more than 90% decline in revenue, one reported a 97% decline.
Those that completely closed would have received no income, a 100% decline.
Its tourist-based economy relies totally on the drive tourist market missed the most rewarding Easter and long weekend periods.
Businesses have proactively accessed Federal government assistance; however, the relaxation of State Government restrictions haven’t helped.
First, we had the 50 km travel rule which might have worked in Brisbane.
The only people who could go to Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove were those who already live there.
Gympie locals couldn’t go there to fish, camp, drive on the beach, shop, or just to see and smell the ocean – it was deemed too far away.
As the gateway to Fraser Island many Rainbow Beach businesses are directly linked to it.
The island was shut, then opened for only day trips, but no camping.
Using practical common sense, the LNP’s Roadmap to Recovery allowed travel up to 250 km.
After I wrote to the Premier and the Environment Minister about this mess the government reluctantly announced an extension to a 150 km radius.
It then made locals wait another two weeks before it came into effect.
The lifting of restrictions to access national parks have been fruitless.
The closure of camping and visits to the Great Sandy National Park and Cooloola Recreation Area reduces income sources for local businesses.
Instead of waiting until the middle of June it makes sense to lift camping restrictions which can be closely monitored by QPWS officers.