After tabling a proposal from Hinterland Tourism and a fistful of letters of support in Parliament, Member for Glass House Andrew Powell has made an impassioned speech calling on the Premier to save Queensland’s wedding industry.
“Since the beginning of the COVID restrictions, I have received emotional emails from brides, grooms, wedding planners and venue holders, distressed that they had to postpone or cancel wedding day plans,” said Mr Powell.
“Of course, they understood that the wedding restrictions were a necessary sacrifice needed to save lives. However, with the infection rate in Queensland at an average of one person or less per day and only a dozen active cases, it’s time to plan for a re-opening of the industry.”
In the Glass House electorate, the wedding industry contributes approximately $55 million annually to the economy. Across the state, it’s closer to $700 million.
“Glass House is home to some of the most coveted wedding destinations – destinations like Weddings at Tiffany’s, Flaxton Gardens, Ocean View Estate and Hinterland Weddings, just to name a few.”
“Thanks in part to the sacrifice couples have made for their big day, as well as the efforts of our frontline health workers and diligent Queenslanders, the worst of COVID has passed.”
“We must remain vigilant and prepared, but it’s also time for us to give Queensland couples the opportunity to reschedule their weddings and allow them more than a handful of guests.”
To mitigate the risk of COVID, Hinterland Tourism have proposed a carefully considered six-point plan so that they can realistically begin to take bookings of around 100 guests from mid-July.
The plan commits to the following:
1. The venue will be closed to the public during the private wedding function
2. All guests’ names and contact details must be provided to the venue seven days before the event
3. The venue will keep that list on file for future reference
4. Guests will be encouraged to download and have the COVIDSafe app active
5. Each guest will have their temperature taken at the venue on arrival
6. Standard COVID hygiene protocols will be followed with respect to hand sanitising and hard surface cleaning
Hinterland Tourism Sunshine Coast President Mrs Kerry Brown says the current four-square metre rule is simply not viable for most wedding venues.
“We are seeking a relaxation of this rule considering wedding events are closed to public and invited guests can be easily traced and tracked to contain an outbreak. It is extremely distressing for our couples many who have been planning their special day for two years and more” said Mrs Brown.
“Sadly, the Government’s current Roadmap to Recovery has not considered that, with the implementation of a plan like this, wedding venues could function safely with little risk to the community” continued Mr Powell.
“I am calling on the Premier to work with the wedding industry to give financial certainty to the operators and hope to brides and grooms across the state.”
“There is no reason for us to keep this industry in the dark if this six point plan is followed,” concluded Mr Powell.
Note: If you’d like to view Andrew’s full speech please see – http://tv.parliament.qld.gov.au/?reference=0Mba20200521_141828
Ends 21 May 2020