Sara Oehlert of Blaze Cafe serves coffee to the visiting minister for small business Leeanne Enoch while Labor candidate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha and mayor Andrew Willcox look on.
Sara Oehlert of Blaze Cafe serves coffee to the visiting minister for small business Leeanne Enoch while Labor candidate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha and mayor Andrew Willcox look on. Peter Carruthers

Small business minister pledges disaster funding at Proserpine cafe

OPEN less than a week after being closed for three months in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, Blaze Cafe in Proserpine, welcomed the state minister for small business, Leeanne Enoch, this morning.

The minister was in the Whitsundays to announce the launch of a free counselling service designed to provide support to small business owners and their families affected by the cyclone.

Also announced was $2 million for the ongoing "Go Local: Keep Queensland going strong” campaign.

Many businesses in Proserpine and the wider Whitsunday region are still not trading while insurance payouts are finalised.

Ms Enoch said the 'Go Local' message will next week be backed by print, digital and radio advertising, to "let cyclone-impacted businesses know we haven't forgotten about them".

In addition to dedicated $10,000 unmatched recovery grants, whose applications are currently being assessed, Ms Enoch called on the Federal Government to match the state dollar for dollar in the allocation of Category D funding under the National Disaster Recovery and Relief Arrangements.

The state government has put up $110 million but has heard "nothing but politics from the Federal Government,” Ms Enoch said.

"Which is not helpful for anybody. We have put all that stuff aside, the most important thing we need to be doing right now is supporting communities to get back up and running.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Category D application "has been sitting in Canberra for two months, and Turnbull is inventing problems with paperwork while these communities are suffering.”

Governments at loggerheads over NDRRA funding also played out in April after the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce criticised an incomplete submission made by the State Government, mocking their inability to fill out the forms correctly.

NDRRA Category D assistance is provided to alleviate distress or damage in circumstances that are considered exceptional and usually are delivered through local government.

While in Proserpine, Ms Enoch made comment about the abandoned Department of Transport and Main Roads building on Main St.

Three months on from Cyclone Debbie the State Government is still waiting on the building's owners to sort out insurance payments.

"The plan is to come back as a full service here. But it will be about whether there is a location to do that,” she said.

"We have to wait and see what happens with the private owners and what they do next. There has been some conversations about demolishing and starting again or whether it can be repaired.”