Re­cov­ery shows re­silient na­ture Cou­ple’s sil­ver lin­ing in Sun­corp re­sponse

Al­most 4000 trades­peo­ple al­ready as­signed, says CEO

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - WHIT­SUN­DAY COAST CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE

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.

PHOTO: JA­COB WIL­SON

LIFE­LINE: Stephen Sei­del talks with Sun­corp Group CEO Michael Cameron about the job ahead.

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