From Friday, all Queenslanders must show proof of double vaccination at cafes, restaurants and hotels
South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto

December 16, 2021

South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto has criticised people spreading misinformation about Council’s role in the COVID-19 public health directions which come into force on Friday.

On Thursday, the Mayor said some members of the community had been “confused by misinformed rhetoric” and “conflicting information”.

“Some residents now hold the view that if Council followed some other councils, then all South Burnett businesses may well be exempted from the mandates, which is patently incorrect,” Mayor Otto said.

The Mayor said Council had no active role in the enforcement of the mandates, which take effect on December 17.

“The safety and wellbeing of our community is our highest priority, and Council will continue to work with all agencies to navigate a workable path forward,” the Mayor said.

He said there had been strong feedback from the business community for clear and understandable information that met the needs of affected businesses to make the mandates work fairly.

He would like to see more “positive steps”, including collaboration with local Chambers of Commerce to offer further community workshops.

And he wished to see councillors, as community leaders, “on the ground” providing real-time support and assistance, and a team member funded within Council “to assist businesses to implement creative solutions”.

Mayor Otto also urged residents to seek advice from their healthcare professionals to make their own informed decisions about vaccinations.

At Wednesday’s General Meeting, Council ratified an amended six-point motion, first considered at last week’s Community Standing Committee:

1. That the South Burnett Regional Council will continue to support the COVID vaccination rollout throughout the region

2. That we acknowledge the rights of our residents to freedom of choice as to COVID vaccination

3. That mandated restrictions are a matter for Queensland Health and the State Government

4. That we will provide support to Queensland Health where and as we can to ensure our local hospitals and health services are prepared when the borders open

5. We will continue to support our local small businesses as we can to address the impacts of the ongoing pandemic including the impacts from the restrictions mandated by the Queensland Government, and

6. Following consultation with affected local small businesses, we write to the Premier seeking financial assistance for affected businesses and community groups, and clarity around why some businesses have had restrictions applied and not others.

The motion was passed 5-1 with Cr Scott Henschen opposed. 

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