Disgruntled business owners have criticized Annastacia Palaszczuk’s claim that business is « back to normal » and urged her to visit the regions of Queensland where some are « bleeding out ».
A fiery woman Palaszczuk on Tuesday doubled her claim that the majority of businesses in Queensland are almost « back to normal » after COVID-19.
« I was up on the Sunshine Coast last week and I’m going to tell you what you couldn’t get in a cafe or restaurant, » she said.
« Everyone is in the world pandemic, there is no international tourism right now – there will be no international tourism for the considerable future. »
Ms. Palaszczuk’s comments enraged the Cairns Chamber of Commerce President Sally Mlikota, who says many businesses are « bleeding out » in the tourist city.
« There is a very big difference between the Southeast Market and Far North Queensland, » she said.
« Maybe we need to get some of these politicians from Southeast Queensland to the far north.
« Walk the streets of Cairns and see how the massive reduction in tourism has affected the city. »
Adam Hinks, who runs his family-run charter company Aquascene on Magnetic Island, said tourism companies are « facing a difficult time ».
« Now comes the difficult time with the end of the (summer) season, the support ends and now this hard time is until Easter and that is traditionally always difficult, » he said.
« I think it all depends on how many acorns people hid this time around. So the next few months will show the weak links in the chain. »
Mr Hinks said while the Townsville area’s tourism operators managed to stay afloat, his business was still underperforming and he feared the combination of flooding and coronavirus restrictions could make things worse.
« Overall, Townsville has done reasonably well. I think you will find that we weathered the storm as a region, but it could have been a lot worse, » said Hinks.
« I’m worried about La Nina up here and that little lockdown horror that could slow down the movement of tourists in Queensland. »
The Greater Brisbane weekend lockdown caused some businesses to shut down and deprived many casual workers of much-needed income after the holiday season.
Jake Wood, 29, who works behind the bar at White Lies Brewing in Sumner, southwest Brisbane, said he lost about 20 hours of casual work during the weekend snap.
« I knew this could happen … but it still hurts to lose a piece of work, » he said.
« I had to think about finding a second job, but it’s not easy to find a job right now. »
Mr Wood said the government had responded well to the UK’s exposure to exposure but called for more action to be taken to support casual workers.
« If this happened in the middle of the event season, there would be a lot more people with a lot less work, » he said.
« The first thing we need to look at is why the job seeker continues to drop while so many people are still out of work due to COVID. »
Brett Mickelberg, spokesman for Opposition Business and Employment, said Ms. Palaszczuk’s claim that Queensland is back to normal is « non-contact » and called for clear decisions to protect companies that employ casual workers.
« All workers and small businesses want clear and consistent decisions and the best quarantine procedures in the world to keep harmful outbreaks from happening again, » he said.
Amanda Rohan, general manager of industry and advocacy for the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was difficult to apply a comprehensive test of the profitability of the Queensland business.
« Being able to open up and operate doesn’t mean the majority of companies are back in a position they were in before the COVID pandemic, » she said.
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