Focus on insurance, fuel and electricity costs

Reducing the impacts of insurance costs, fuel prices and electricity charges on local businesses and residents are a key focus for local leaders.

The Local Leadership Committee (LLC), which includes Mayor Bob Manning, Member for Cairns Michael Healy, and Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, met for the eighth time today to respond to the coronavirus situation in Cairns.

Mr Entsch said he would be advocating for Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to engage with the Insurance Council of Australia to instigate relief measures for businesses, particularly those being mothballed during the crisis.

“Everyone seems to be stepping up now, including the banks, offering support for businesses under stress. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Insurance Council of Australia and insurance generally,” Mr Entsch said.

“It is profoundly disappointing when you find businesses are still having to pay on insurance that they are never going to access.

“Another issue raised was fuel prices; there are significant concerns about diesel prices.

“For example, diesel in Cairns is around $1.40 a litre, why is it that you buy it on the Atherton Tablelands for $1.28 (per litre), and I understand that out at Mt Garnet it was a $1.08 (per litre).”

Cr Manning reinforced the government’s message of “stay at home” and warned that if people failed to heed the advice, Council would move to close facilities.

“There is a very simply message, one that the Premier and others have been trying to get across over the past week, and that is leading into the Easter break, stay at home, stay at home, stay at home,” Cr Manning said.

“If you want to go to beaches and have parties, what the Council will do, we will move to close the beaches that we have to close.

“It is just so important that people take the stay at home message and act on it. We are moving in the right direction and nobody has the right to break that.”

Mr Healy said there would be an expansion of testing capability in Cairns as the region’s cumulative increased to 32, following an additional two confirmed cases overnight.

“We will be expanding our facilities; there will be an announcement early next week about another facility opening in the southern part of our city,” he said.

David Hudson, who is Chair of Council’s First Persons Advisory Committee, was invited to join the LLC and the Human and Social Sub-Committee.

“We appreciate his attendance today and his input, which will be very valuable as we move forward,” Mr Entsch said.

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