The Palaszczuk Government has announced an additional $2.3 million package to support port businesses across the far north as it deals with the impact of coronavirus.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said supporting businesses meant supporting jobs.
“Tourism, resources and seafood is a big employer in Far North Queensland. That why it’s important we support these businesses and these jobs,” the Premier said.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the announcement would provide rental relief for the region’s tourism, resource and seafood sectors; and is in addition to the $3 million package announced in February for operators at the Cairns Marina as part of the response to COVID-19.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s focus is on protecting Queenslanders’ health, protecting Queensland businesses and Queensland jobs,” Ms Trad said.
“Our government has been working closely with Ports North to monitor the impact the virus is having on operators and the flow-on to businesses downstream.
“It’s clear these businesses are now feeling a significant the impact, which is why the Palaszczuk Government has moved to support Ports North in providing this additional fee relief package which will see all property tenants receive rebates for a six month period, beginning April 1.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said in addition, previously announced rebates for commercial tourism and reef operators would also be extended by a further two months to September 30, 2020.
“More than $3 billion in support measures has been made available by the Palaszczuk Government for Queensland businesses and workers,” Mr Bailey said.
“The government is talking to industry groups and businesses every day to understand the challenges they are facing.
“The initial package extended support to tourism and reef businesses who operated from the Cairns Port. This announcement extends that support to businesses operating out of the industrial and freight cargo areas plus cafes and restaurants in the Harbour Lights area and hotels.
Member for Cairns Michael Healey said this new offer of assistance was timely and much welcomed by the industry.
“The Palaszczuk Government is listening to the regions and is acting to protect Cairns jobs through this difficult period,” Mr Healy said.
“Many of the businesses that lease port land have seen a sharp downturn in exports, while retailers and restaurants along the boardwalk and at our hotels like Shangri-La and Hilton have closed their doors as we fight coronavirus.
“It’s another shot in the arm that will help local seafood exporters, cafés and restaurants on the boardwalk and small businesses who call our far north ports home with the immediate pain.
Ports North Chairman, Russell Beer said, “due to the uncertain nature of when the economic impacts of the virus will finish, and acknowledging that it will take some months for our tenants to generate sufficient cash flow in their businesses Ports North will introduce an additional measure of extending payment terms from 30 to 90 days.”
Ports North will be engaging directly with impacted tenants over the coming weeks regarding the details of the new relief package.