Thursday, May 30, 2024

Cairns stands up storm recovery subcommittees

Cairns Regional Council’s Local Disaster Committee has stood up four recovery subcommittees covering economic, environment, human and social and infrastructure to facilitate a coordinated approach to community recovery.

It is the first time all four subcommittees have been activated simultaneously, which acknowledges the scale of the impact left by Tropical Cyclone Jasper, the Council said in a statement today.

The Economic Recovery Sub-Committee (ERS-C) met for the first time yesterday and faces the task of restoring tourism and economic activity to normal levels.

“These committees will help promote a coordinated approach by all three levels of government working alongside industry to support initiatives to assist the region’s economic and social recovery following this significant event,” said Recovery Committee chair, Councillor Rhonda Coghlan.

“Recovery from a significant event such as this requires a collaborative approach, acknowledging the need for economic resilience, as well as supporting the wellbeing and health of the community.

“With much of the severely affected areas in Cairns located in the northern beaches, I have invited the Member for Barron Craig Crawford to be a part of the local Recovery Group Team.

“This will ensure strong collaboration to achieve the best results for the community.”

Cr Coghlan said the flooding event had already had a significant impact on the region’s businesses.

“We understand that the tourism and hospitality industry estimates about 1600 jobs and $300 million in revenue has been lost in the region through lost bookings and cancellations,” she said.

“We know that the tourism and hospitality industry employs about one in five people in the region’s workforce, and we have businesses who have not traded since mid-December.

“But it’s not just about tourism. The aim of the Economic Recovery Sub-Committee is to develop an economic recovery plan to ensure all of our business sectors are supported and can bounce back from the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

“And our first meeting showed that before we look to long-term recovery, what we need right now are for existing grant funding packages to be made available to all businesses; the released of income hardship support packages for all business operators unable to trade for more than seven days; and importantly we need people to visit Tropical North Queensland – we are open for business.

“We welcome the announcement today of a $5m package, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, to entice visitors to the region through discounted flights and accommodation packages.

“This multimillion-dollar tourism campaign is a great step to helping the tourism industry recover.”

Cr Coghlan said responding to the health and wellbeing of the community were equally important.

“The Human and Social Recovery Sub-Committee (HSRC) brings together the regions key government agencies and not-for-profit organisations from the social services sector with a focus on supporting peoples mental and physical wellbeing as well as strengthening community social resilience.”

“We know that the trauma from events of this scale can have far reaching and lasting impacts so ensuring that the community has access to wellbeing support is just as important as having food to eat, a roof over your head and power to homes”

“I am happy to announce that this morning the first generators were delivered to Kamerunga Villas, and the job of connecting to homes will begin today.

“Good progress is being made and I understand that the majority of residents will have power restored over the next day,” she said.

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