People of Port, where the bloody hell were you!
FINALLY. Port Douglas has been handed an honest and true assessment of its current economic situation and a vision for its future in a report published by the students from the Melbourne Business School program who were here for four days in February.
The report was presented by project leader Professor Selwyn D’souza at the community hall where an invitation was extended to the entire community and published in the Gazette and 140 personal invitations were sent out to people who had closely participated in the program.
But where were the people of Port Douglas? Where were you all?
Apart from members of the steering committee, Val Schier, Julia Leu and a couple of concerned tourists (yes, even tourists are showing concern) there was only a handful of about 40 people who bothered to turn up and who were obviously the only ones to give a damn.
People of Port Douglas - is that the best you can do?
If you are a business owner or selfemployed, you owed it to yourself and your business to have been there.
If you are an employee of a small business, you owed it to yourself and your family to have been there.
If you are retired and sitting back enjoying the lifestyle here in paradise, then good on you, you deserve it - but you owed it to your community to have been there.
And if you couldn’t get there yourself due to previous commitments, then you should have taken the time to either reschedule or sent a representative in your place. You missed out big time. You missed out on hearing what is really happening to our town and why it is happening.
It should be noted that this project was undertaken by MBA students as part of their curriculum and was not a commercially-funded report (students paid $3000 each) which meant, for once, there were no political or hidden agendas, just the hard, cold facts about a town in crisis and what we, as a community, need to do to get our town back on track.
With it came a simple message, loud and clear.
We, the residents of Port Douglas must first accept what is happening within our community and come together as “one voice with one vision” so that we can begin working together towards putting our town back on the tourism map.
If we cannot stand united, then we will fall farther and farther into decline as different groups lobby for different causes.
Already I can hear people moaning and groaning about “working together” and to some degree I agree.
There is so much division in the town that it seems near on impossible that we can somehow all unite and become one big happy family.
I don’t believe there is one person in Port who is sitting on the fence and who doesn’t give a flying cockatoo when it comes to issues such as amalgamation/ the lagoon/tourism/coconut trees - need I go on?
We all have strong passionate opinions on issues such as these and sadly, our opinions are all divided.
Sadder still, we are all so easily influenced by people who sit in so-called high positions but who obviously live in Ga Ga land if they think Port Douglas is “doing okay”.
Port Douglas is definitely not doing okay.
Just ask any business owner in town and they will tell you that this is the toughest time they have ever had to go through, believe me, I know, I’m one of them.
We no longer have a high season and a low season.
Has anyone noticed that our “high season” is shorter and more like a moderate season and that our low season is lasting longer?
Those facts, coupled with high rents equals the inevitable - Port Douglas is no longer a sustainable environment to run a small business, let alone a profitable one.
We have to take control and rebuild our town.
Every single person in Port Douglas owes it to themselves and the community to read this report and to try and find some small way to contribute to bringing us together as “one voice with one vision”. Our future and the future of our town depends upon it.