Tradies board ferries bound for the Whitsunday Islands to continue reconstruction after Cyclone Debbie.
Tradies board ferries bound for the Whitsunday Islands to continue reconstruction after Cyclone Debbie. Cameron Laird

Sail-in, Sail-out: Tradies flock to Whitsunday jobs

AN ARMY of tradies is being ferried in and out of the cyclone-ravaged Whitsundays as the popular tourist destination doubles down on its rebuilding efforts.

At least two boatloads of contracted labourers depart the Port of Airlie Harbour at 6.30am each day and return at 5pm as part of the post-Cyclone Debbie effort.

The category-four cyclone cut a swath through Hamilton Island when it hit the Whitsundays on March 28 and destroyed privately owned homes and luxury resorts.

Painter Brian Fleming said the rebuilding effort was at full strength.

"It was quite a shock when we initially went back to the island, but it's all full strength here trying to get it back to what it was," he said.

"It's pretty much being cleaned up around us, trucks loading up debris and taking it away.

"The doors are going back in, the gardens are being cleaned up. It's starting to look like a resort again."

The Airlie Beach-based tradesman has worked on Hamilton Island for more than a decade and said it could take up to 12 months for all damage to be repaired.

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan praised the work of the tradesmen and said it was important to get the tourism destination back operating.

"It's quite amazing to see all these men and women on the tools, crossing the Whitsundays Passage twice a day in rebuilding our much vaunted tourist industry in the Whitsundays," he said.

"The work that they are undertaking is uplifting."

Hamilton Island reopened a week after Cyclone Debbie hit, and luxury resort Qualia is expected to reopen from July 1.

News Corp Australia

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