Problems raised at the Chamber AGM

Rainbow Beach Chamber of Commerce and Tourism held their annual general meeting last month to a strong and animated crowd.

State member, Tony Perrett, chaired the meeting with Mayor Glen Hartwig, Councillors Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux and Dolly Jensen, new Gympie Regional Council CEO Shane Gray and 40 local business people attended.

Hot topics discussed were tyre inflation issues, restricted camping numbers, tourism taskforce, Rainbow Beach advertising campaign, the inconsistencies of Covid restrictions, an upgrade required for the dumping and water station, signage for the industrial estate, bins at Inskip Point, viewing restrictions from the propellor platform and challenges the town has faced since March due to Covid-19.

LNP member for Gympie, Tony Perrett discussed the outrage expressed by local businesses to the reduction of camping permits in the Cooloola National Park released by the government during Covid.

He said: “There was huge frustration during the process of reopening by business owners. Local businesses missed Easter trade when most businesses easily get a fair amount of their revenue from that time of year.

“One day the Premier said they were going to open it (Cooloola) up and the next day campers were turned around.

“The government said they would not be opening the area as the region was too popular and held too great a risk. They showed their attitude to this region and the double standards when we saw rallies that attracted 30,000 people in Brisbane.”

Owners of local business The Ice Man Teewah, Rob and Martine Lokan, said only two thirds of the area was available for bookings and even at full capacity camps were seven metres apart from each other.

“The other issue is you need three permits – a driving permit and a Covid permit just to drive on the beach and then you need a camping permit to stay. What people are doing as it’s easier is getting a camping permit but not camping, so of the 600 allowed there are only 200 actually staying.

“Queen street can be packed but people can’t camp. We are not the only community being impacted by Covid but you can go to Bunnings and see 20 in one aisle, it’s double standards.”

The question of why you can go over to Fraser Island without a permit, however you need one to drive to Double Island Point or Teewah Beach, was discussed.

It was also noted that large tracts of revegetation areas were appearing at Inskip Point with many closures to the camping areas with fences and logs shutting down camping options.

The chamber committee has been gathering pledges from business owners to begin a marketing campaign using TV, radio and social media platforms, which will begin in August to market Rainbow Beach to the drive and weekend market.

The issue of the lack of facilities to reinflate 4WD tyres after beach driving since the removal of the air hoses from the underwater car wash was also a hot topic with Council saying it will take a collaborative effort by Council and State, but they would pursue.

Incoming office bearers for the coming year are President Nigel Worthington, Secretary Diana Cruikshank and Treasurer Andrew Kingsley, with Heatley Gilmore, Matt O’Connell, Fiona Worthington and Lee McCarthy on the management committee.

Please contact the chamber at rbct.secretary@gmail.com for more information.