An economic development body in the central west is encouraging people to stop putting off their vaccinations in the wake of Longreach’s COVID-19 near miss last weekend.
The Remote Area Planning and Development board (RAPAD) congratulates the Central West Hospital Health Service, State Emergency Service, Queensland Police, Longreach Regional Council staff and private contractors for their work to carry out COIVD testing since Thursday.
RAPAD Chairman Cr Tony Rayner says the region also wants to pay tribute to the community for stepping up so quickly to get tested after it became known a flight attendant, who worked on the Brisbane to Longreach route, had tested positive to the Delta strain of COVID19.
“After stringent testing and contact tracing over the last few days we can be confident that so far the central west remains COVID free,” Councillor Rayner said.
But the regions local governments are reminding the community not to be complacent and for locals to continue to attend vaccination clinics.
Queensland Health statistics show about 61 per cent of eligible Central West residents have received at least a first dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine and more than half of those are fully vaccinated.
“While the region currently has no cases, we have not come out of this near miss unharmed, the business community has been hit, particularly the tourism industry which has been experiencing mass cancellations and a downturn since
the connection to a confirmed COVID case became known a few days ago.”
“The tourism industry is particularly important and vulnerable industry, with more Australians taking the opportunity to holiday domestically the visitation rates continue to grow – it is a prime time to visit Outback Queensland,” he said.
Preliminary figures from the Central West Queensland Tourism Data Collection and Analysis project show despite interruptions to the industry during shut down periods last year the industry made economic gains outside traditional
The soon to be released report has also found the value of the industry has been under reported by up to 30% in some regions.
“Our economy has taken a hit from this scare, so we need to make sure everyone in community is protecting both their health and our economy by getting vaccinated, practicing exemplary hygiene, getting tested if unwell and using
QR codes to track movements,” Councillor Rayner said.
The RAPAD area covers a total area of 396 609 km² - or almost quarter (22.9 per cent) of the land area of Queensland.
RAPAD councils are Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council and Winton Shire Council.