Mayor humbled by governor’s pledge of crisis support
JUST because state officials aren’t visiting, it doesn’t mean the support is not there — or at least that’s the sentiment Southern Downs mayor Vic Pennisi wants to spread following his conversation on Wednesday with Governor of Queensland, Honourable Paul de Jersey AC.
The pair conducted a video conference to discuss the region’s recovery from drought, bushfires and now, coronavirus.
“The governor has always been interested in the status quo of the region … it’s pretty humbling to have the governor call and be interested, genuinely interested, in where we’re at,” Cr Pennisi said.
“The governor holds a different sort of office — it’s not political — but it’s the moral support I will take away.”
With tourism bookings coming through “fast and furious”, while chatting to the governor, Cr Pennisi stressed that drought was still the forefront worry for many in the region.
“We certainly spoke about the drought, and that even though bushfires were long time ago people are still dealing with what happened back then and that drought has kicked back in,” he said.
“Sure, we got a little bit of relief, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty.
“The state and federal governments have acknowledged we’re doing it tough and both have come to the party to give us some relief.
“We’re not in this alone — that’s the messaging we talked about.”
Heading forward, Cr Pennisi would continue to gauge local opinion on the draft budget, with hopes a second stage of coronavirus recovery would be based on public submission — continuing his mission statement to open communication for all levels.
“I’m keen to hear from people, not just businesses, on how we can best help them,” he said.
“All that information will plug into what stage two recovery looks like.
“I will continue to stress that communication between grassroots organisations and us is open and that is my style, I always encourage input — good, bad or ugly — because in my view, that’s the best way to get a handle on the sentiment of people.”