Recovery shows resilient nature Couple’s silver lining in Suncorp response
Almost 4000 tradespeople already assigned, says CEO
TROPICAL Cyclone Debbie hit a lot of our members hard and the challenges may seem insurmountable, however help and assistance is available – you are not alone.
Now is the time to send the message the Whitsundays are still here and our piece of paradise still stands head and shoulders above almost anywhere on earth.
The chamber (particularly Judy Porter) has been working closely alongside key stakeholders in the region to co-ordinate disaster planning and make sure everyone is aware of the support and assistance available in the aftermath.
Together with Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner, we met with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Queensland Leader of the Opposition, Tim Nicholls, and drove home the message that while our local businesses need government financial assistance, it is crucial to promote the area as “open for business”.
Surveys have been circulated by email, and on foot, to as many businesses as possible to assist in reassessing the region to Category C funding options (meaning we get grants not loans) and we continue to meet weekly with the council’s sub-group for economic recovery to determine a effective long-term economic plan.
Whitsunday and Proserpine Chambers will combine next Thursday 5.30pm at Proserpine Entertainment Centre to present an industry forum with key note speakers across a range of government and financial departments.
The forum will offer businesses the chance to gain assistance, support and information.
Invited speakers include banks, QRAA, the council, Telstra, CCIQ, ATO, Fairwork Ombudsman, Tourism Whitsundays and QWH&S.
The way businesses, trades and the community have pulled together is amazing and shows the strength of character in the region. ALMOST two weeks ago, Cannonvale couple Stephen and Julie Seidel watched as their life possessions were literally floating out the door.
Everything from pictures, passports, birth certificates and tax returns were destroyed as a result of severe flooding which occurred the night after Cyclone Debbie struck the coast.
However, Mr Seidel said a silver lining emerged after call to Suncorp the following morning.
“When you go through this and wake up in the morning and see the devastation you think what do we do? We are isolated, no-one can get in or out, who do we ring? there is no power, no water no sewerage no nothing,” he said.
“We got on the phone and were told don’t worry about it, we have you covered and a builder turns up that day and starts organising things for you.
“To have someone watching your back from day one is so good, rather than waiting for paper work and having someone out weeks later.”
Mr Seidel said it was his first insurance claim he had to make with Suncorp and he couldn’t be more impressed.
While the family home is being dried, cleaned and repaired, Mr Seidel said he and Julie would be likely to return home in five to six weeks.
Suncorp Group CEO Michael Cameron said flood damage claims were surprisingly more common than cyclone-related issues.
“We pride ourselves on being there when people need us most and as an organisation this is where we really rise to that occasion and be there to support people during very difficult times,” he said.
Mr Cameron said 14,000 claims had been lodged to Suncorp since Cyclone Debbie hit and just under 4000 currently had tradespeople assigned.
LIFELINE: Stephen Seidel talks with Suncorp Group CEO Michael Cameron about the job ahead.