Cooktown, Queensland
Cooktown, Queensland

‘Open us up or we’ll go broke’: Cape York struggles under lockout

CAPE York residents and businesses are furious and feeling neglected following the decision to keep the region closed despite the rest of Queensland opening up.

While further restrictions were eased across the state from noon yesterday, Cape York remains "locked down" with entry and quarantine restrictions still in place.

 

Cape York remains “locked down” with entry and quarantine restrictions still in place, despite the rest of Queensland reopening.
Cape York remains “locked down” with entry and quarantine restrictions still in place, despite the rest of Queensland reopening.

 

The Queensland Government announced on Sunday it had worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in remote communities to agree on a three-stage plan to safely ease restrictions in Federal Government-designated biosecurity areas.

But, it seems that the Cook Shire has been left out completely with no estimated reopening date.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said it was very disappointing considering Cape York had recorded zero COVID-19 cases.

 

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott says it’s time to open up Cape York to visitors. Photo: BRIAN CASSEY
Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott says it’s time to open up Cape York to visitors. Photo: BRIAN CASSEY

 

 

He said tourism-based businesses were really struggling and it was time to open up Cape York and start stimulating economic activity.

"Cook Shire takes up 80 per cent of Cape York, we're not just talking about Cooktown, and we take that role and responsibility very seriously," he said.

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"The risk has shifted from a COVID-19 health one, to a social, emotional, mental and economic waiting, very much so.

"Those tourist type accommodation places and tourism businesses are really suffering badly and we need either support from the State Government, or we need to get those borders open so people can start to come here."

Cooktown Caravan Park owner Leslyn Auchterlonie has pushed to get visitors back into the park.
Cooktown Caravan Park owner Leslyn Auchterlonie has pushed to get visitors back into the park.

Cooktown Caravan Park co-owner and operator Leslyn Auchterlonie said she had repaid thousands of dollars in prepaid accommodation and deposits to guests due to Cape York remaining closed.

"Open us up otherwise we're going to go broke," she said.

"I'm 100 per cent tourism and so are most of the people in town.

"June and July are big months for us, but we're really holding out and hoping just another month please, that's all we can bear."

Originally published as 'Open us up or we'll go broke': Cape York business struggling under biosecurity lockouts


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