Confidence Destroyed In Shutdown Madness


Confidence Destroyed In Shutdown Madness

Kevin Byrne
Executive Officer
Enterprise North

There is one thing our regional communities crave at all times ― a degree of certainty and not brazen promises that are broken on a whim. For the past year we have seen a constant struggle between those pragmatists who continue advocating for a containment regime of Covid management versus the politically expedient regime of Covid elimination and “keeping everyone safe”. Some have long argued that the first responsibility of governments is to effectively manage ALL aspects of community continuity/survival including aspects of social resilience, the economy, employment and of course ensuring our health systems are adequately resourced among other things. Unfortunately there have been too few voices.

Right on queue we saw only weeks ago the ridiculous spectacle of Paul Murray Live on Sky imploring Aussies to travel north in front of a masked and socially distanced Cairns audience, when there has been no evidence of community transmission here in 12 months and because a couple of cases were active in Brisbane. In addition, and most disgracefully and callously, we are still being deprived visiting rights in our hospitals, aged care homes and other social restrictions for another two weeks. One particular instance I know is of a mother who has been in Townsville comforting a desperately ill son who is to undergo a bone marrow transplant being told she cannot see him so go home. She is back in Cairns and will return when these senseless restrictions are lifted.

On the table are reports, a calculator and a card with the word RESILIENCE on it. Business concept

Our streets, restaurants, shops, public places and offices are filled with anonymous masks when there is just no case for this when we are 2000km socially distanced from Brisbane HQ. That is the social side and what about the economic side, with the immediate hit to the struggling tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors. Truth matters here, and undertakings twice in two months that we had seen the end of lockdowns, were broken overnight because of health overreach. The net result of this is our confidence in our contact tracing systems, as well as our current ability to manage hotel quarantine is shattered, resulting in a lack of confidence that Queensland can pursue a containment strategy which is essential for our long-term economic revival and survival. Business and industry advocacy groups have a duty to advocate robustly for a reset here and demand governments pursue the containment strategy within agreed rules to allow some certainty in planning regional recovery.

Our individual and community strength lies in our resilience and an innate ability to recover, repivot and get on with it. Governments need to recognise and respect this and play their part by not meddling unnecessarily, keeping their word, investing in infrastructure that focuses on growing community needs and creating the environment that encourages business investment to create growth alongside job opportunities.