SHOP LOCAL: Cr John Collins urged Whitsunday residents to shop local and save small businesses in the region.
SHOP LOCAL: Cr John Collins urged Whitsunday residents to shop local and save small businesses in the region. Matthew Newton

Councillor urges Whitsunday residents to 'shop local'

COUNCILLOR John Collins has urged Whitsunday residents to shop local in a bid to help small businesses "feeling the pinch” following a steep drop in sugar prices last month.

On September 27, the Indian Government announced its intention to drop five million tonnes of subsidised sugar on the global market sending sugar prices plummeting to a decade-low overnight.

Cr Collins said the price drop will impact Proserpine cane farmers, but the flow-on effect will impact local businesses in town and even employment opportunities.

"This price drop has a big impact on our region. There is a big flow on affect through the whole town. It's not just the farmers, it's their employees, their suppliers, it's the families of these people that will all be impacted by this sugar price decrease,” Cr Collins said.

"It's as simple as a farmer looking at purchasing a piece of equipment. The drop in the income might make them reconsider purchasing it. In this case the company that sells the equipment will miss out on the sale which in turn makes him think twice about employing an extra person.”

"There's a lot of farm supply businesses in Proserpine that rely on the farmers and their suppliers to help keep their business going.

"These businesses employ a lot of local people. If they miss out on any future sales, it could make them think twice about their spendings and in turn the number of employees.”

Cr Collins said that like any business, there are good and bad times for local cane farmers, but was optimistic that the challenge would be overcome with a little help from the locals.

"A lot of local businesses have been through tough times. It really does hurt at times. It's times like this that all businesses and locals need to rally and support local businesses,” he said.

"It's a lot of these local businesses that support our school fetes, sporting clubs, volunteer organisations and also many fund-raising events in our towns.

"They are a pretty resilient bunch, I'm sure that they will get through it.”

Cr Collins said a number of council projects would boost employment in the Whitsunday region including the Proserpine Main Street upgrade and the upgrade of recreational facilities and planned camping area at Lake Proserpine.

He said council is still looking at various sites for a RV stop in Proserpine.

"This will be wonderful for our whole region, not just Proserpine,” Cr Collins said.