JobKeeper allows N17 to re-hire staff member who is “part of the furniture”


Karlie Brady


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N17 Owner Simon Macleod was able to re-hire staff including Rosie Bouchard. Image: Karlie Brady.

Over the last couple of months, we have heard many tales of people losing their jobs across the Douglas Shire thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, so it is nice to hear when small local businesses are able to re-hire staff.

And thanks to the Government’s Jobkeeper scheme, N17 Burger Co. in Port Douglas has been able to bring back several staff members including one who helped build the business into what it is today.

- New food and craft beer for N17

Rosie Bouchard has been at N17 since day one, and owner and head chef, Simon Macleod said the day he had to tell her and other staff they no longer had a job was a tough day.

“Rosie has been a casual here since before the doors first opened, she was one of the first people to try the burgers,” he said.

“She has had a lot of input into making N17 what it is and she is part of the furniture, so letting her and the others go was quite emotional.

“Being able to bring some staff back is a weight off my shoulders and it’s nice having the gang back together.”

The timing was also perfect as the day the staff went back to work last week was also Rosie’s birthday.

Being able to afford more staff has also allowed N17 to adapt the business to the current world needs and offer a delivery service to Port Douglas.

“With the bar closed I have a bit too many staff with the reduced trade in the small takeaway shop. So one of my casuals is basically a delivery driver now and the delivery gives me access to get to people who can’t come out,” Mr Macleod said.

N17 now offers delivery Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 3pm and 5:00pm to 7:30pm.

The loss of trade is a story echoed all over the Douglas Shire’s hospitality and tourism industries.

“It’s not nice seeing Port Douglas as a complete ghost town,” Mr Macleod said.

“It should be peak season now so we have lost about 80 per cent of revenue but we are just thankful that we have been able to keep the takeaway side going.

“We are very appreciative of the fact we have customers at all and feel for those who can’t open and send our love to them.

“Hopefully soon all the businesses are able to come back,” Mr Macleod said.

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