As the big clean up continues in flood hit Queensland officials are stressing that most of the state is open for business and those wishing to visit should not be deterred from doing so.
The state’s major tourism destinations including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Agnes Water, 1770, Whitsundays, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are accessible and beaches, island resorts, accommodation providers, tour operators and attractions are operating as normal.
As of today (Tuesday January 18) all Queensland airports with the exception of Rockhampton, are currently open and operating normally. The Bruce Highway, the main road link from Brisbane to Cairns, is also open.
Brisbane, the Darling Downs, Southern Downs and Granite Belt and Capricorn Coast are now recovering with most routes open although there are some local road closures in some areas.
Parts of Central Queensland, Queensland’s Outback, Western Downs and the Lockyer Valley continue to be affected and access to these areas is restricted.
Officials said that anyone wishing to help could do so by travelling and visiting the state to keep business going. Tourism Australia is urging people not to cancels trips or holidays.
‘You can help Queensland recover by taking a holiday in Queensland in the areas that haven’t been affected by floodwaters, and in the affected areas once they are up and running again. If you already have a Queensland holiday booked, don’t cancel as most tourism regions and operations are now up and running,’ said a spokesman.
‘Australia, like most parts of the world, is affected by extreme weather conditions from time to time. Recent heavy rainfalls in some parts of Australia, most notably in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, have caused river levels to rise and severe localised flooding. But Australia remains open for business,’ he added.
‘The vast majority of the major international travel destinations in Australia, including Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, Melbourne and Uluru are all completely unaffected.’
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has thanked people around the world including foreign leaders and ordinary people making donations for flood victims. ‘Our embassies and high commissions around the world have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of calls from local people who have heard about the floods and were moved to convey their condolences and ask how they can assist,’ he said.
‘From the largest nations like China and the United States, to near neighbours New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, through to the smallest countries such as Timor Leste and Bhutan, the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Australians displaced and affected by the ongoing floods has touched people around the world,’ he explained.
Rudd said many Australian embassies and high commissions, together with expat communities, are organising fundraising benefits over the coming month and as part of their Australia Day celebrations.
‘Whether it is closest neighbours or the furthest reaches of the world, we have been humbled by the good will and generosity offered to our country during this difficult time,’ he added.