CQUniversity Professor John Rolfe says residents of Gladstone can help their own economic revival.
CQUniversity Professor John Rolfe says residents of Gladstone can help their own economic revival.

How you can help revive Gladstone’s economy after COVID

REVIVING the economy of the Gladstone region out of it’s COVID induced slump is all in the hands of locals says a CQ University economist.

Health restrictions have crippled the region’s economy for the past three months, but there are great positive chances of a resurgence.

CQ University economist Professor John Rolfe said the easing of restrictions to allow intrastate travel can breathe new life into the region’s economy.

“With the announcement of unlimited travel and stays for residents, Queensland is an advantageous position to inject some cash flow into the local economy from local visitors,” he said.

“The Winter months are prime travel seasons due to the mild weather in the sunshine state. “Opening travel within the State is a first step to reviving local businesses, with future relaxation of interstate travel likely to generate much larger impacts.”

According to the GADPL the Gladstone region has lost tens of millions of dollars in tourism during the lockdown.

Prof Rolfe said now we can’t travel overseas, locals should take advantage of good deals on offer to see Central Queensland.

“Relaxing travel restrictions will support the reopening of countless businesses including pubs, restaurants, gyms and select movie theatres, providing avenues for visitors to inject funds back into these businesses who would usually rely on international visitors,” he said.

“As cash flow improves, this will rebuild the services sector of the economy.”

While intrastate travel is just the first step, Prof Rolfe called for the Queensland borders to be reopened.

“Maintaining the border closures is damaging to the Queensland economy,” he said.

“It would be much better to open the borders and manage the remaining COVID-19 risks through social distancing, and contact tracing than by such draconian conditions.”

GADPL CEO Gus Stedman said the tourism body was caught by surprise by the easing of restrictions.

“In saying that we are delighted for the restrictions to be lifted sooner rather than later,” he said.

“Gladstone city has created some amazing public amenities like East Shores, Spinnaker Park and Toondoon Botanical Gardens that are truly world class.

“Please get out and enjoy the great outdoors as we have a lot to be proud of in the region.

The easing of restrictions is a win for both businesses and customers.

“Businesses will benefit from the ability to serve more customers and the consumer will have more choice,” Mr Stedman said.

“The economic losses in the region have been in the millions and the lifting of restrictions will help some people return to work and inject more cash into the local economy.”

Mr Stedman said the safety of the community was a top priority, and opening state borders came second.

“GAPDL would prefer borders to be open however we have maintained all along that we would be guided by the health experts on these matters,” he said.

“I support the lifting of restrictions as the strategy has been around containment and I believe we are well positioned in Queensland to manage the virus in Queensland.”

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