Business Freedom Group challenges State Government’s mandate


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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A meeting set for Thursday is looking to gauge how the community feels about the government’s recent mandates on small business and unvaccinated employees and patrons.
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The battle lines have been drawn as sections of the Douglas Shire community prepares to challenge the Queensland State Government’s December 17 deadline when only the double vaccinated can enter public locations and their work place.

A group calling itself Douglas Shire Business Freedom, will be staging a meeting at the Community Centre on Thursday at 6:30pm and will be focusing on non-discrimination and the freedom to choose whatever your view.

They also posted the following on Facebook:

“PUBLIC MEETING: to discuss the upcoming deadline of December 17 – ‘Australian Apartheid Day’. This is about non-discrimination and the freedom to choose whatever your view.

NO GOVERNMENT has the right to remove fundamental freedoms – freedoms that have been paid for in blood. Business owners in our Shire and many others have been through 19 months of hell. Business owners are not Palachooks Police. Segregation and discrimination is a step too far.”

In what has been criticised in many circles, Queenslanders will be faced with the following come December 17, or earlier:

  • Unvaccinated Queenslanders will be able to book accommodation after December 17, but not enter cafes, bars or restaurants.
  • Hotel operators say they will refuse bookings because the government restrictions will be too hard to police.
  • Queensland will only permit fully vaccinated interstate travellers from entering the state when the border opens.
  • Many businesses have already indicated that their staff must be fully vaccinated, but if not, they will not be eligible to work.


Community feedback

A spokesperson for Thursday’s meeting said they were looking to gauge how the community feels about the government’s mandate.

“We also want to replicate the stance taken by Capricorn Coast (shire of Livingstone).

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll says many believe the State Government's new restrictions are somewhat blurred.

"Questions are being raised, such as, an accommodation facility might have a restaurant on-site.

“Yet the accommodation portion of that building as we know is exempt from mandatory vaccinations, yet the restaurant is not, all of those people are coming to the same reception,” said Ms Carroll.

The spokesperson added they would like to see the Douglas Shire Council re-consider what the Queensland Government has mandated.

Main speaker

Former Douglas Shire councillor Rod Davis, who was Port Douglas’ resisting councillor in the 2008 amalgamation, will be the main speaker.

And in another development, Councillor Peter McKeown will be putting forward a motion regarding the State Government’s mandate at Tuesday’s Open Council meeting in Mossman.

“The essence of my motion will highlight that small businesses will not be able to operate after December 17. More than 30 businesses across the shire have contacted me and said because of the mandate concerning unvaccinated employees, they will no longer be unable to offer good service because of staff shortages.

“I want to challenge this. But I am not getting into the debate whether you should or not get vaccinated. That’s a personal choice,” said Clr McKeown, who said he would attend Thursday’s meeting as an observer.    


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