Flooding gone but so are the visitors
firstname.lastname@example.org revenue no longer covered labour and stock costs.
“Operating within those margins you can only sustain that for a short period of time before the inevitable happens,” he said.
“We need people here, enjoying Tumbulgum and everything it has to offer and spending their money here.”
General store owner Geoff Butterworth who has been operating in the area for almost a decade said the riverside town was still at the mercy of the cyclone.
“Before the floods we were doing pretty well but now we’ve dropped off less than half of what we normally take,” he said.
“Everyone is struggling paying bills, no one is actually making a profit or earning a wage, it’s terrible.”
Further south in Murwillumbah, businesses are still working on repairs.
Owner of the Riverview Hotel on Tweed Valley Way, Michael Schlederer, lost 2000 cases of beer in the floods and said his carpet and cabinetry still needed replacement. “Trade is down of course but that’s expected considering the amount of damage sustained to some properties,” he said.
Businesses in the region don’t qualify for Federal Category C funding and could be waiting months for insurance claims to be processed.
Bearded Baker Mitch Whiting said while trade had picked at his riverside cafe many traders were worried for their future.
“It’s tough to operate in those circumstances when other businesses near you aren’t doing well because ultimately your success also depends on them staying open.”
Tweed Shire councillor Pryce Allsop said apart from encouraging traders to apply for the Tweed Mayoral Flood Appeal and lobby for Category C funding, the council’s hands were tied.
“We’ve done everything we can at our level,” he said.
“We need the State and Federal governments to step in and we need businesses to help themselves as well by applying for grants.”
Scenes from the flooding that devastated Northern NSW in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. Businesses are back on their feet but trade is down by half.
Take a day trip Gold Coast, we need your support: Left to right, Tony Bruner (Smileys Lawn Mowing), Geoff Butterworth (general store), Katya Simmons (Mt Warning tours), Julie Sharpless (Birdwing cafe), Michael Simmons (Mt Warning Tours), Lee Kuhnell (House of Gabriel), Jennie Mitchell and Kym Marston (Mt Warning Tours), Mitch Whiting (The Bearded Baker). Picture: GLENN HAMPSON