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Speech – Gold Coast Road to Recovery – Federation Chamber

15 May | '2020

I’d like to acknowledge those who are currently suffering from the effects of COVID-19 on the central Gold Coast. In the first week of this crisis, I established the Moncrieff community cabinet to work together with community leaders to ensure that trusted sources of information could be shared directly with our people in the heart of the Gold Coast. Seeing our community come together during this pandemic is, indeed, a silver lining. I was pleased that together with the Gold Coast Community Fund we delivered funding for Haveafeed, the Lynne Richardson Community Centre and the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre to ensure they could provide meals to those who need extra support at this time. In Surfers Paradise, St John’s Crisis Centre continues its wonderful work, creating emergency meal packs. I’m pleased that further funding was provided by the Morrison government’s Community Support Package. As the Prime Minister has said, we are fighting two battles: one on the health front and one with our economy. I would like to thank those on the coast who are on the front line: our healthcare workers, supermarket workers and those in essential jobs such as construction and real estate, who have kept us moving. Of course a big thank you to you, all those Gold Coasters who have abided by social distancing rules. It’s not easy, but it’s because of the sacrifices that you have made that we can now look forward to the recovery sooner than we thought.

Tourism, education, events and hospitality are all key pillars in our city. As in the rest of Australia, the blow to the Gold Coast economy has been devastating. This is why I established the City Heart Taskforce, to engage with key industry sectors to build inner city strategies as we foster the economic road to recovery. It gives me the opportunity to hear updates directly from small business, tourism, hospitality, education and real estate to ensure I can continue the fight for the good people of Moncrieff here in this place. I’ve developed a business help finder and a resource hub on my website to assist local business with all the important questions they have about the many government support programs available. It’s been inspiring to see so many small businesses adapt in these tough times, and I encourage businesses in Moncrieff to visit my website to find useful tools to help them reopen in the days ahead.

I also launched the Love Your Local campaign on my social media channels. It’s critical in the months ahead that we shop local to save jobs and businesses. I commend the government’s JobKeeper program. It’s allowed the engine room of the Gold Coast to keep operating, albeit in a lower gear. Additionally, I was very pleased that the Morrison Government delivered a funding lifeline to our theme parks to assist with operational costs for wildlife care. It’s $1,000 a week to feed just one of the many dolphins at Sea World. This will assist them greatly with their animals. There’s also now a permanent boarding station to welcome international superyachts at Southport Yacht Club a soon as our borders open and the new berth is built. This is a huge vote of confidence in our city.

I was pleased to be able to deliver these boosts for the tourism industry moving into the future. We still don’t have a clear picture of what the post-COVID-19 Gold Coast will look like, but I’m here for one purpose and that’s to keep fighting for the people of the central Gold Coast. There’s still a long way to go before we recover from this crisis, but together we will get through it and we will rebuild the heart of our beautiful city.

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