Businesses close to the border between New South Wales and Queensland are rejoicing today at the prospect of getting back to normal and shaking off the “shackles” of border restrictions.
Builders, hotels and other accommodation providers are rushing to catch-up, with many reporting the loss of many millions of dollars because of tight border restrictions and curbs on movement between the two states.
One Gold Coast builder has described his “absolute relief” that he can finally access multi-million-dollar projects in New South Wales as a result of the latest easing of Queensland’s border restrictions.
For Sanctuary 28 director Don Cotterill, this has restored access to big-money builds in Byron Bay, subcontractors and supplies.
“The shackles are off now, it’s a massive relief and a weight off my shoulders,” he said.
“We have got a $4.2 million house at Wategos Beach to start, we have got several housing jobs in and around the Byron area all around the $1.2 million to $1.5 million mark,” Mr Cotterill said..
“My biggest issue was that I had a job at Myocum and I had a kitchen half installed, air-conditioning half installed.
“Those were Gold Coast contractors and those jobs have gone to an absolute crawl.”
Master Builders Gold Coast regional manager John Duncalfe said others in the industry had faced financial ruin and a rollercoaster of emotions.
“I actually had some builders crying, that’s how much relief there is,” he said.
“The financial stress they were under was just immense.”
Extra supplies ordered by eager hotels
Tourism operators have been slowly clawing back the millions of dollars lost during the pandemic with Queensland’s “Good to Go” campaign.
Like the building industry, accommodation providers are salivating at increasing access to southern markets.
Managers of the Coolangatta Sands Hotel have ordered in extra supplies to cope with anticipated demand.
Some nights have already been booked-out, a relief after a six-month shutdown for bathroom renovations.
“Very excited, very eager, hopefully it brings a lot more people over the border,” Crystal Cuff, general manager of the Coolangatta Sands Hotel said.
“Obviously the first day is going to be a bit hectic, but it’ll settle and we’re really looking forward to it.
“It should be good, solid trade. Hopefully all the way through for the long weekend.”
The nearby Pink Hotel sits just metres from the Griffith Street checkpoint on the Queensland-NSW border, where increased traffic has disrupted business.
“(It has) sort of caused a bit of havoc. Any sort of changes or anything — people sort of steer clear of the area,” co-owner Samuel Diklich said.
“We have been holding up and we’ve got a pretty funky hotel.
“The tide’s starting to turn getting back to normal.”
In the northern NSW town of Knockrow the owner of The Macadamia Castle, Tony Gilding, said the extension of the border bubble was a bonus for the Ballina Shire tourism business.
He said the lack of international travel had resulted in more NSW visitors to the region, but he welcomed the return of Queensland dollars.
“We’re excited about it,” he said.
“We’re excited to have some of our Queensland friends come down and visit and drop some Queensland economy dollars into the NSW economy.
“And also it gives us the opportunity to engage a little bit more with that area of Queensland where we might have friends and relatives.”