‘Pure money grab’: Good Samaritan stands up for fined pub
A TOOWOOMBA man has called on the public to help fundraise enough money to save a southwest pub from closing down after he heard a $6672 fine was handed to the Federal Hotel publican for breaching COVID-19 rules.
Cody Gibson has never visited the pub but said he was "utterly shocked and disappointed" when he heard the only pub in Wallumbilla, a small town home to less than 400 people, received such a hefty fine.
Two days after setting up a Gofundme page close to $1500 has already been raised for the licensed venue 300km west of Toowoomba.
Mr Gibson said he believes the fines dished out to southwest publicans was purely a "money grab".
"What they have done is pure entrapment," Mr Gibson claimed.
"It's so wrong that there's thousands of people protesting in the streets of Brisbane, yet 10 people go have lunch in a small town pub, then come back and hand over a $6600 fine.
"I was shocked when I heard it, I can't believe it."
The Federal Hotel was one of four pubs fined when police officers conducted a COVID-19 restriction blitz across southwest Queensland.
The Commonwealth Hotel and Royal on Ninety-Nine in Roma and the Injune Hotel also received infringement notices for failing to comply with Public Health Directions.
Mr Gibson has never actually had a beer at the Federal Hotel, but his family members claim it's one of the best country pubs.
"They say they always get a good feed, beers always cold and there's decent showers," he said.
"They say it's one of the best pubs they've been to."
He hopes the fundraiser will allow police officers to understand what these country pubs mean to a small community.
"I hope they see the reaction from the community and the amount we can hopefully raise," Mr Gibson said.
"Their sole purpose was to revenue raise.
"I know it's hard to go around and fine every protester, but those people were walking around and gathering with thousands of people, then these officers come into a small pub and hand over a $6600 fine.
"The way I look at it - it's about supporting our locals.
"And I just wanted to show Sam and the employees we're here to help.
"People all over Queensland have donated - it's just snow flaked, even small amounts from $10 to $200 are a massive help.
"The Australian culture is to help out and support our local businesses and towns."