Kerr’s plea to change Ironman date

2020 Cairns Ironman

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The most contentious issues is the full closure of the Captain Cook Highway for almost an entire Sunday during what is hoped to be a busy September school holiday. Image: Supplied.
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The annual Cairns Ironman has once again reared its head with Port Douglas businesses set to lose out with a call to move the date, unless there is a change of heart at state government level.

The event normally held in June was postponed this year due to COVID and is now scheduled for Sunday 27 September.

This is not the first time the Ironman has impacted businesses in the town.

Mayor Michael Kerr has called for Cairns Ironman 2020 be moved from the busy school holiday period to support local businesses struggling through the impact of COVID-19.

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After an unsuccessful appeal to the event organisers, Mayor Kerr has now written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk requesting urgent support to re-schedule the event and keep the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Port Douglas open on Sunday, September 27.

Of the 77 Queensland local government areas, Douglas Shire‘s economy has been the hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions.

Mayor Kerr said many businesses were struggling to make ends meet and trying to salvage what they could from a decimated tourist season.

“The chosen date is totally inappropriate and inconsiderate of our Shire’s economic position with many business owners treating this school holiday period as a make or break situation,” he said.

“The September school holidays are one of the busiest couple of weeks in the calendar year, with the weekends the sweet spot for increased trade in the region.

“The Daintree was effectively closed for the early months of COVID-19 so businesses there will also take a big hit at a time when our tourism, accommodation and hospitality sector has been completely floored.”

Mayor Kerr also raised concerns about the dramatic increase of traffic on the already strained Kuranda and Rex Range roads and increased stress on transfer companies.

Taken aback by the statement, race director Rob Stalling told the Cairns Post they have a good working relationship with all stakeholders, including Douglas Shire Council, and had for years.

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