COMMUNITY members gathered at the Mareeba Bowls Club last Thursday for the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce’s business lunch.
The guest speaker at the lunch was Member for Cook Cynthia Lui, who in her speech noted the funding commitments she has made to the electorate along with addressing her decision to move her Electorate Office from Mareeba to Cairns.
The floor was then opened up to members of the public to ask Ms Lui questions or raise any concerns they have pertaining to the electorate.
The questions and comments were overwhelmingly in relation to Ms Lui’s office closure, which prompted healthy yet at times heated discussion.
Ms Lui said the purpose of her speaking at the lunch was mostly to clear the air about the office relocation.
“Today was a great opportunity for community members to ask me questions about the office move face to face, and I appreciate what everyone had to say,” she said.
“I’ve always been a direct person, so that motivated me to come and hear the public’s questions and concerns, as I know a lot has been said in the media and within the community with regards to my relocation.
“I’m open to and encourage conversations with any members of the public as I know there is going to be a lot said right up until I move and beyond, however we have to ensure those conversations are done in a respectful manner.”
Mareeba Chamber of Commerce President Joe Moro said the organisation is appreciative of Ms Lui’s appearance at the lunch.
“The luncheon was a chance for Cynthia to highlight some of the great work she’s done in the community in the last 12 months,” he said.
“On top of that, obviously the office move has been a hot topic here in Mareeba recently, so that was always going to come up.
“As an organisation, we’re of the strong view that the office should remain in Mareeba, and hopefully some of the valid points raised from the businesspeople here today can make Ms Lui reconsider her decision.”
Mr Moro said although the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce is opposed to her office relocation, Ms Lui deserves to be commended for her work as the Member for Cook.
“Cynthia has been willing to engage with the Chamber and the business community during her time as the Member which has been extremely beneficial to the community,” he said.
“What first comes to my mind is her work in helping secure funding for the Mossman Mill; even though that is in the Douglas Shire it is an important outcome for a lot of sugar growers on the Tablelands, so she’s worthy of recognition for that.”
With community members passionately voicing their opposition to the office closure in Mareeba, it appears it will remain a point of contention for a long period of time.
Caption: COMMUNITY CONCERNS: Member for Cook Cynthia Lui was a guest speaker at the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce’s business lunch last Thursday where she answered questions in relation to her Mareeba office closure.