OPEN UP: Banana Shire business operators want the State Government to look at moving forward the ban on intrastate and interstate travel.
OPEN UP: Banana Shire business operators want the State Government to look at moving forward the ban on intrastate and interstate travel.

‘We need to get this country moving and making money again’

AS the call to open Queensland’s borders amplifies, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) along with Chambers across Queensland reiterate calls to open travel to support local businesses.

The State Government announced in its roadmap to easing restrictions that phase three is due to commence on July 10, and that is when further state-based and interstate travel is due to commence.

Callide Dawson Chamber of Commerce president Steve Bates said that the State Government should consider moving the date forward for further interstate and intrastate travel.

“From this time on we normally receive an influx of southern state visitors looking to play and stay in Queensland to enjoy our warmer winters,” Mr Bates said.

“Sadly, for this year this will not happen, many Banana Shire businesses will suffer immensely because of this.

“Some companies that need to travel for clients will suffer for sure.”

Mr Bates added that the tourism industry has been decimated by the bans in place.

“Mining companies and sub – contracting mining workers are finding it tough to organise work schedules from interstate,” Mr Bates said.

“On a more regional level, within all states, businesses like petrol stations, caravan parks, bush retreats, national parks, cafes, barbers/hairdressers, hotels, motels, RSL’s, lawn bowls, golf clubs etc. have all been affected by the bans on interstate travel.

“We can’t wait around forever.

“We need to get this country moving and making money again. “

Sun Valley Motel owner Leon Christiansen said that the hotel’s occupancy rate right now is barely 18 per cent and it needs to be 50 per cent in order to survive.

“July 10 is ridiculous, there are barely issues within large centres nevertheless Biloela, let’s just get back to work, ” Mr Christiansen said.

“The flow on issues will be much worse than the virus.

“It’s absolutely time for the State Government to consider moving that date forward, stop ruining people’s lives and businesses.”

CCIQ’s general manager of advocacy and policy Amanda Rohan stated that businesses are becoming more frustrated due to ongoing low COVID-19 numbers, and a July 10 easing of travel restrictions could be too little too late.

“The government has an opportunity here to be agile and responsive by managing health advice with economic recovery and consider bringing forward that travel date, and detailing how far people will be able to travel,” Ms Rohan said.

“Travel is essential to the livelihoods of many Queenslanders and the state’s economic recovery, the immediate issue of reconsidering travel restrictions is of utmost importance.

This week the CCIQ-Suncorp Pulse Survey showed business confidence is at an, and Ms Rohan said easing travel restrictions will provide a much-needed boost to Queensland’s struggling businesses.

“We realise it’s a step-by-step process, and the health and safety of everyone must always be a priority, but we have seen businesses adhere to rules and implement strategies to keep their staff and the public safe,” Ms Rohan said.

“They can do it, but we need to start giving them the opportunity to operate.

“We want to avoid a second wave of business closures, as it will be detrimental to employment rates and long-term economic recovery.”

As it stands as a part of stage one travel restrictions, only Queensland residents can travel within Queensland.

Residents in outback areas like the Banana Shire can travel up to 500 kilometres within outback areas for recreational travel or a daytrip.

150 kilometres for residents outside outback areas.