Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac Councils talk about Queensland’s COVID vaccine mandates

Three Central and Northern Queensland councils have doubled their stance against COVID-19 vaccine mandates to be introduced by the state government next month.

From 17 December, unvaccinated Queensland residents will not be allowed in hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs, clubs and cafes, stadiums, theme parks, nightclubs, cinemas and much more.

The Whitsunday Regional Council put forward a proposal calling on the government to “take into account” the concerns of elements of the business community, while the Mackay Regional Council asked the government to “quickly provide information and clarity” on mandates.

The moves come after the Livingston Shire Council in Yeppoon called on the government to reconsider mandates last week.

A failed draft of the Whitsunday proposal, proposed by Mayor Andrew Willcox, called on the state to “reconsider [the decision] to impose restrictions on unvaccinated people, ”but it was quickly challenged by Deputy Mayor Mike Brunker.

“You’re trying to hijack this, and you’re completely changed it,” Cr Brunker said.

A middle-aged man stands in front of the sea and looks serious.
Andrew Willcox tried to change the Whitsunday movement.(Facebook)

Cr Willcox is the Liberal National Party’s candidate for Dawson in the next federal election, replacing George Christensen as the party’s candidate.

“That is not the case,” Cr Willcox replied.

“I stand up for the community.

The final proposal, adopted unanimously, noted that there was “confusion about the practical functioning of the mandate provisions” and called on the Prime Minister to “take into account the concerns of business”.

It also acknowledged that the council had received feedback “for and against the roll-out of vaccine mandates”.

During the debate on the proposal, Councilor Jan Clifford spoke about how a hospitality operator would lose 150 employees once the mandate was introduced.

“They lose their jobs a week before Christmas and have no hope of finding another,” she said.

“This is awful.

A group of protesters are standing on grass.
Members of protest groups spoke at the Mackay council meeting, while others raised their voices outside.(ABC Tropical North: Tobi Loftus)

Councilor criticizes ‘offensive’ behavior

At the Mackay meeting, about 40 people from business groups who opposed mandates protested, as well as some anti-vaccination groups outside the council chambers.

Five members of these different groups spoke at the council meeting, most of whom spoke about the effects their business would face because of the mandate, although false claims about the vaccine were also made to the council.

Councilor Martin Bella said claims from people that mandates would lead to an increase in suicide were “offensive”.

“Using suicide to advance your own agenda, I think, is unscrupulous,” he said.

“Apartheid – you hear that term used all the time, but it’s not something like apartheid.

“[Referring to it as] Nazism, the measure we have taken, is to protect the vulnerable.

Cr Bella said they were concerned that the vaccines were “experimental” because the process happened quickly, were wrong.

“It’s like renovating a house – if you renovate one day a week and your funds are limited, it can take you 10 years,” he said.

“If, on the other hand, you work seven days a week, the funds are unlimited, as well as the ability to procure materials, you might be able to get it done in three months.

“There are a large number of people out there, people with compromised immune systems.

“People who express their desire for maximum freedoms, maximum choices, actually limit these people in the limited choices they already have.”

A man is sitting at the head of a table in council chambers
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the lack of information about the vaccine led to unrest in the community. (ABC Tropical North: Tobi Loftus)

The cheers from protesters outside the council chamber were heard as city council members unanimously adopted the proposal, which called on the state government to provide more clarity on the mandate.

“The lack of information is causing unrest in our community,” said Mayor Greg Williamson.

Third council adopts proposals

The Isaac Regional Council also adopted a proposal today calling for more clarity and information about the vaccine mandate.

It was modeled after the proposal from the Mackay Regional Council.

“While we respect that there is a personal choice, the Isaac Regional Council has always been pro-vaccination and will continue to support Mackay Hospital and the Health Service in encouraging residents to be vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities,” said Mayor Anne Baker. as part of her mayoral report.

The council also noted that the majority of city council members were fully vaccinated, except for one.

They have received their first dose.

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