24 February 2024

'They don't care less': Bloomfield business faces closure after pleas fall on deaf ears

| Cape York Weekly
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The proprietors of Bloomfield business The Shak, Loretta Skorin and Scott Law, say they will be forced to close the doors next month due to what they describe as State Government disinterest in regional disaster recoveries. Photo: Supplied.

The exasperated owners of a new Bloomfield business say they are preparing to walk away from their dream amid claims the State Government has lost interest in the region’s disaster recovery to focus on those in more electorate-heavy areas.

After opening The Shak in November 2023, proprietors Scott Law and Loretta Skorin told Cape York Weekly they have been left with no option but to lock the doors in March before the combination of a rent spike and lack of business cripples them financially.

“We’ve paid rent until the end of the month,” Mr Law said.

“We’re basically running a dark kitchen and feeding some of the [disaster recovery] workers, and doing a couple of nights.

“As of March, our rental basically triples; we’ve signed the lease.”

While acknowledging the historic lack of tourism-based trade during the wet season, Mr Law said the road closure caused by flood damage and a lack of support from the State Government in their business recovery attempts had been “a double kick in the guts” to the couple’s plan to bounce back.

“We found this new place in November, and with wet season coming on, we were originally going to close from December first and not reopen until reopen until March; we’re a tourist business,” he explained.

“We took 27 bucks in three days, so there’s no point trying to trade with the road being all but closed to [everyone except] local traffic and essential workers.”

Mr Law said the new business was unable to meet the eligibility requirements of the State Government’s Tourism Recovery Assistance Grant, and took aim at Premier Steven Miles for his selective “fly-in, fly-out” tour of the region’s recovery efforts.

“Cook Shire Council said he was coming in [to The Shak] for lunch for 12 people, and then came and said he was running late,” he said angrily.

“I thought it would be a chance to sit down and have a chat with him, but there ended up being just three of them, and they ended up ordering two toasties and a burger.

“Because we’re still trading, we couldn’t just close the doors and chase him.”

Mr Law said he believed the region had effectively been abandoned by Premier Miles, his government, and the mainstream media, with the focus shifting to subsequent natural disasters in more populated areas, like the Gold Coast and Townsville.

“It’s FNQ – Forgotten North Queensland,” he laughed cynically.

“They don’t care about us; they don’t care less.

“We don’t have enough members in Parliament for anyone to give a shit about us up here.”

The Department of Premier and Cabinet did not respond to requests from Cape York Weekly for an interview with Premier Miles, nor did it respond to questions emailed to his media team on 14 February, 2024.

Mr Law said the lack of response was unsurprising, but that he believed any intervention now would be a case of too little, too late.

“We’ve got to leave,” he said.

“We can’t stay up here anymore.

“We have to walk away from everything.”

Scott Law and Loretta Skorin had a clear message for Premier Steven Miles, but say they were not given a chance to convey it to him in person. Photo: Supplied.

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