During the recent bushfire events in the Sarabah and Beechmont areas, one thing that really stood out was the generosity of our local businesses.
So many local business people put aside their own priorities and contributed out of their own business to take care of those in need.
A number of cafes and restaurants provided food, hotels opened their rooms to accommodate people who were stranded and the hardware store helped coordinate and make sure there was fodder for displaced animals at the height of this and is continuing to play a part in helping that process.
These are all examples of our local businesses playing a really active part (and of course these are just the tip of the iceberg).
I want to particularly acknowledge Keer Moriarty from the Canungra Times for helping ensure the accuracy and timeliness of communication across the affected community during this crisis.
Open for business
One large challenge rising from this event has been drops in visitation across the region. Whilst our focus during the height of this event was keeping people safe, the profile of media coverage has caused some confusion outside the region and that has negatively impacted many of our businesses.
We’ve been working hard to address this through the development of strategic marketing campaigns to clearly articulate to all our visitors that the Scenic Rim is open for business.
The State Government is providing significant resources both to assist specific operators such as Binna Burra Lodge and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and more broadly for the economic recovery of the region.
We’re receiving expertise and financial support to spread the word that most of the region remained unaffected and we want everyone to come experience the great food, great people and great environment of the Scenic Rim.
Support at all levels
Visits such as that by the Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Linda continue to raise our profile in a positive way and help reassure the hurting community that they are not forgotten.
Our State and Federal Governments have demonstrated their support by activating certain relief funding and through visits from the Acting Premier, Premier, Minister for State Development, Emergency Services Minister, the Prime Minister and his wife Jenny, the Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Minister and of course our local State and Federal members.
As well as this, the Speaker of the House, Premier of Queensland and Leader of the Opposition will soon host a fundraising reception to support bushfire-affected regions like ours. This will be a further opportunity for us to showcase our region to a grateful and open audience.
All of this support, along with some empathetic coverage from many media outlets, has given us current and planned opportunities to market, promote and celebrate our region.
In closing, I would like to specifically thank and bring to your attention the efforts particularly of Cr Nigel Waistell and Cr Virginia West for their support to the Council team in the disaster management response and on the ground with the affected communities.
The way our business community and our community in general has banded together through this crisis goes to the heart of the strength of spirit we possess here in the Scenic Rim.