Busi­ness left in the dark af­ter Deb­bie

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Dane Lilling­stone dane.lilling­stone@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

DAY­DREAM Is­land worker An­thony No­bilia was per­fectly happy as the di­rec­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy in the busi­ness Is­land Photos, but af­ter not be­ing able to get back to work fol­low­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie, he’s afraid he’s been left to slip through the cracks.

Mr No­bilia be­gan with Is­land Photos seven years ago but his busi­ness has come to an abrupt halt af­ter Day­dream Is­land an­nounced they would be clos­ing un­til June 2018.

Af­ter ap­ply­ing for a num­ber of cy­clone-re­lated gov­ern­ment grants and loans to help the busi­ness re­cover, Mr No­bilia re­alised there was noth­ing avail­able to him.

“We don’t fit one par­tic­u­lar part of cri­te­ria for the $25,000 grant... we didn’t get it sim­ply be­cause we are not re­pair­ing, there is no phys­i­cal dam­age (to the store). How­ever we are re-vis­it­ing that be­cause some of our equip­ment now doesn’t work,” he said.

He was also un­suc­cess­ful with the $100,000 dis­counted rate loan to re-es­tab­lish a busi­ness on the main­land.

Mr No­bilia said he un­der­stood there were set rules for the grants and loans, but he be­lieved there should be some sup­port avail­able to peo­ple who had their busi­nesses af­fected by the cy­clone.

“I’m hop­ing to high­light our predica­ment so that the gov­ern­ment un­der­stands... and pos­si­bly comes out with a grant that does help peo­ple in our sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“The gov­ern­ment was claim­ing to be there and help­ing all these peo­ple - but they weren’t there for us at all.”

With­out a clear an­swer on whether he’ll be op­er­ate on Day­dream Is­land again, Mr No­bilia said he was still hope­ful of a pos­i­tive out­come.

Mr No­bilia said Whit­sun­day coun­cil­lor Ron Pet­ter­son had been a big help in­ves­ti­gat­ing grants.

THE adren­a­line has worn off and re­al­ity is set­ting in and the re­al­ity is tough.

Too busy – or not busy enough. Need­ing more staff but can’t find them?

From need­ing to cut staff hours to cash­flow is­sues, from too much or too lit­tle trade as well as in­surance is­sues and sup­ply is­sues. The list goes on.

The Whitsundays are open for busi­ness, but there seem to be bot­tle­necks at nearly ev­ery stage of the re­cov­ery process.

Cer­tainly in Air­lie, more than 30 busi­nesses re­main closed, in­clud­ing some ma­jor traders.

The La­goon is not ex­pected to re­open un­til Au­gust and tourist num­bers are down dra­mat­i­cally - and Proser­pine is far­ing no bet­ter.

Now the clean-up is over and the ini­tial flurry of works are done, the mo­men­tum seems to have been lost through in­surance de­lays, ma­te­rial sup­ply de­lays and lo­gis­tics is­sues as

PHOTO: DANE LILLING­STONE

NO HELP: Di­rec­tor of Is­land Photos An­thony No­bilia said there were no grants avail­able to him de­spite no longer be­ing able to work due to the cy­clone.

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