BLU Marlin Bistro owner Paul Harris is nearing boiling point.

From the window of his marina-based cafe, he has watched press conference after press conference during the pandemic lockdown and state election campaign.

But he said for all the talk of supporting local businesses, not once had a politician ordered a coffee from his business or ask what were the issues affecting him.

"They have had 15 press conferences and not one of them had come in and bought anything," Mr Harris said.

"We were the only place open in the whole precinct. We were open the whole time."

Cr Brett Olds with Blue Marlin Bistro owner Paul Harris finds it staggering how many politicians come to the Reef Fleet Terminal and talk up help for tourism and local business while standing right next to his cafe - but none of them has ever bought a coffee or stopped in for breakfast. Picture: Stewart McLean
Cr Brett Olds with Blue Marlin Bistro owner Paul Harris finds it staggering how many politicians come to the Reef Fleet Terminal and talk up help for tourism and local business while standing right next to his cafe - but none of them has ever bought a coffee or stopped in for breakfast. Picture: Stewart McLean

 

The small business owner and critic of the pandemic border closures said the assorted politicians who had urged travellers to spend their dollars in the Far North had not taken the time to speak to local operators on the ground, preferring instead to rub shoulders with lobby groups.

"It is all well and good to take a photograph in front of a boat that is stationary and should be in the drink," he said.

"They should go out and stand in of six shops in a row that are for lease.

"Why do we have so many lobbyists? We should just have the one group.

"United we stand, divided we fall, and we are divided and we are falling."

Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds said he had been contacted by tourism businesses who were not involved during the Premier's visit to Cairns with Tourism Minister Sterling Hinchliffe this week.

"I spoke with a few operators and they were not invited to speak with the Premier," he said.

"If you were to have a chat about agriculture you would invite the peak body and the producers, because you want to speak with the people."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week said she was "really keen" to hear from tourism operators about the impact of COVID on the Far North.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said he was in regular contact with tourism operators.

Originally published as Why cafe owner is steaming over pollies' reluctance to order


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