‘Charity starts at home’: Call to save marinas
WHITSUNDAY MP Jason Costigan has called on the State Government to intervene to stop private marinas "haemorrhaging" cash.
The North Queensland First leader said marinas along the coast urgently needed assistance, as tourism and commercial fisheries were hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Costigan said he had contacted Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk a month ago to explain how Airlie Beach marina businesses were struggling.
"The sense of urgency that was conveyed to me was clear," he said.
In February, the State Government offered a $3.67 million fee relief package to Cairns Marina businesses, offering temporary rebates to its tourism and commercial operators.
"They've moved heaven and earth to help people in Cairns," Mr Costigan said.
"(But the private marinas) have been told 'you can starve, you can rot'."
Mr Costigan said he would support a push for all privately owned marinas, including Whitsunday and Mackay enterprises, to be given State Government support.
"I realise it's not a bottomless pit," he said.
"(But) if the government was going to bail out Virgin … these people need to be considered before we help foreign nationals.
"Charity starts at home."
But Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said landholders and tenants were already able to access $400 million in land tax relief.
"This is a bucket of money marinas can access and pass onto tenants," she said.
"It's for people who have commercial buildings, theirs just happens to be at sea."
She said 75 parcels of land in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions had applied to the funding, which would knock 25 per cent off their land tax bill.
Employment and Small Business Minister Shannon Fentiman said the coronavirus crisis had created many complications for commercial landlords and tenants.
"We have established a Queensland Small Business Commissioner who will be a single point of contact for small businesses handling leasing disputes which will result in time, money and resource savings for business owners and government," she said.