The State Government has been called on to ease restrictions which are hurting Cooloola Coast businesses.
Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, said restrictions on travel distances, camping, and access to National Parks has provided little to no relief for struggling businesses.
The fanfare about lifting restrictions which had limited day trip travel to a 50 km radius and the partial lifting of restrictions for access to National Parks had provided little to no relief.
After I wrote to the Premier and the Environment Minister to reconsider the measures the government announced extending the day drive restriction to a 150 km radius.
Residents have done a terrific job adhering to rules; however, it puts enormous pressure on many businesses.
Local businesses in Rainbow Beach tell me they are experiencing more than a 90% decline in revenue, with one reporting a 97% decline.
Those that had to completely close would have received no income at all, a 100% decline.
These businesses have been proactive and accessed Federal government assistance, however the relaxation of State Government restrictions hadn’t given them any relief.
The only people who were able to go to Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove and surrounds have been those who already live there.
Rainbow Beach is the gateway to Fraser Island and many businesses are directly linked to the island, which has been shut.
It is a 100% tourist-based economy which relies totally on the drive tourist market.
Business activity has stopped, and many are severely stressed.
They are bearing the brunt of an unworkable Brisbane centric solution which is damaging to Cooloola Coast businesses.
A 50 km radius might have worked in Brisbane, but it was impractical and got you nowhere.
Gympie locals couldn’t travel to the Cooloola Coast which was deemed to be too far away.
They couldn’t go there to fish, camp, drive on the beach, go to a shop, or even just to see and smell the ocean.
Practical common sense should be applied to these types of decisions.
That’s why the LNP Opposition announced in our Roadmap to Recovery to allow travel up to 250 km.
The Government made locals wait almost another two weeks after that to reluctantly allow that limit to extend to 150 kilometres.
The lifting of restrictions to access national parks have also been fruitless.
They delivered nothing.
The closure of camping and visits to the Great Sandy National Park and Cooloola Recreation Area also reduces any source of income for local businesses.
It makes sense to consider relaxing rules to allow limited camping which can be closely monitored and enforced by QPWS officers.