Businesses close on Australia Day

IT’S one of the busiest days on the Capricorn Coast, but some business owners still chose to close.

Australia Day brings thousands of people to the beach – this year was no different.

But trouble makers have spoiled the day from being profitable for about 70% of retailers along Yeppoon’s main street.

Member of the Capricorn Coast Business Alliance (CCBA) Gary Kerr yesterday said some businesses did not open this year because of incidents in previous years and those that did had negative experiences they could have done without.

Mr Kerr said the group recognised something had to be done. He said extensive damage, public drunkenness, theft and even clogged toilets were some of the issues business owners again faced this year, and the Great Australia Day Beach Party was no longer a safe, family celebration.

Members of the group this week spoke to business owners in the main street, and Mr Kerr said all reported to have been impacted to some extent. "Whether it was on the bad end of things, like theft and general nuisance, to restrictions to trade due to the volumes of people," he said. "We would like to see how we can turn that around from a business point of view so it becomes one of the best trading days."

Mr Kerr said the group planned to meet the event organisers, Rockhampton Regional Council, police and the Capricorn Coast Liquor Accord to "stamp out the hooligans."

"We are not trying to stop this event, we are trying to turn it around so it becomes a real positive thing for everyone," he said.

"Given the pretty tight circumstances around the local economy our retailers are doing it tough. To deny them a really positive trading day, we need to look at that."

Chairman of Capricorn Coast Community Events, Bill Ludwig, said the group would meet with the CCBA and look for ways traders could take greater advantage of crowds.

"There is opportunity for traders to take greater advantage by putting on some activities further down the main street," he said.


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