• Cumberland Yacht Charters celebrate their award. (L-R) Steve Owen, Charlie Preen, Terry Kemp, Sharon McNally, Mercedes Ireland, Bec Tarver.
    Cumberland Yacht Charters celebrate their award. (L-R) Steve Owen, Charlie Preen, Terry Kemp, Sharon McNally, Mercedes Ireland, Bec Tarver.
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Last week we highlighted the absurdity of allowing bareboat charters in Queensland for day trips, but not allowing the charterers to stay out over night. You can read the original article here. It highlights how award-winning Cumberland Charter Yachts, which operates in the Whitsundays, has nearly $250,000 in bookings, but the boats lie idle.

Cumberland Director and General Manager, Sharon McNally, wrote to the Premier, asking for the situation to be addressed. She received a response, signed by the Director-General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, spouting all the usual platitudes, elegantly dressed in bureaucrat-speak, reiterating that overnight charters are not permitted.

"On 8 May 2020, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier and Minister for Trade, released Queensland’s three stage roadmap to a COVID-safe recovery allowing more travel, more activities and larger gatherings. This can be accessed on the Queensland Government website at www.covid19.qld.gov.au and click on ‘Roadmap to Easing Restrictions’. New Directions have also been released taking effect from 11.59pm on 15 May 2020.

"Queensland Health has advised that overnight voyages and stays on bareboats for recreation purposes are not currently permitted, consistent with the position on land. I appreciate this is not the position you wanted to receive but I hope you can understand that all decisions are being made based on the expert health advice."

"I guess 'No' means 'No' after all. For now we will just have to accept that’s the stance the Queensland Government is taking and live with the decision. Clearly they don’t fully understand our product,” says defeated Director Sharon McNally,

"Our small business usually supports 15- 20 jobs but at the moment I only have two full time staff and everyone eligible is on Job Keeper. Our business injects over a million dollars each year to our local economy, by way of local Nominal Gross Regional Product (GRP)

"We know our clients spend an additional $900.00 per charter on food and drinks which further supports our suppliers and local businesses," said Sharon. "Our boat owners are mum and dad owners, who had a dream to go cruising and sail the world one day.

"The Whitsundays is a tourism town, without my business operating the whole town suffers!

"That said, our boat owners have been amazing, they have engaged our suppliers to keep them ticking over, anyone who knows boats knows they always need attention. Right now we have the whole fleet available for maintenance."

Sharon is mindful of the future.

"We need to ensure everyone supporting us comes out the other side and the whole town thrives. When we do get back to work we anticipate high domestic demand so we are going to be relying on our suppliers to keep up with the additional workload.

"My staff too, we have shared many a tear and a few wines over the past 60+ days, wondering how they can manage bills and mortgages, questioning, when will we get back to work?

"Our team are long standing staff members, highly skilled and highly valued, we are a family,

"I couldn't be prouder of the team that stand beside me day after day, they are such an exceptional bunch, I'm truly humbled by their support and generosity.

"Once the pandemic has passed, CCY will have a bloody big Covid party and celebrate our brilliant team, owners and suppliers, I think the drinks are on me though," joked Sharon, "It’s my very small way to say a huge thanks to my awesome crew.

"Maybe we will even Invite Anastasia along to meet the team and see what we do here in Regional QLD.”

- Roger McMillan, editor.

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