Following the Fitzroy river flooding event (post TC Debbie) in Rockhampton earlier this month, a business survey conducted by Capricorn Enterprise to its Members has revealed that the one thing that must be done better in future events is Correct Media Reporting, suggesting sensationalist reporting did more damage to businesses than the actual flood waters and media outlets need to be held to account.

Survey recipients also stated that the Airport closure has had huge financial impacts on all businesses.

90% of survey respondents stated that they were able to trade during the Fitzroy River flood with 100% of respondents stating they suffered income loss during the event. 80% of survey respondents were Capricorn Coast (Yeppoon/Emu Park/Great Keppel Island) businesses and 20% Rockhampton businesses.

During the two week period from 27th March to 9th April, 25% of businesses surveyed lost between $50,000 to $200,000 in revenue, with 50% suffering losses of between $10,000 and $50,000 dollars, and another 25% of businesses surveyed losing up to $10,000 in trade.

Businesses surveyed stated that the two main reasons for loss of trade/financial hardship was due to cancellation of flights due to the closure of the Rockhampton Airport and media mis-information and/or sensationalism.

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll said “these results accurately reflect the public comments made by Capricorn Enterprise during the event as our peak holiday season was greatly affected by both southern media sensationalism and closure of the Rockhampton airport.”

One business stated in the survey “Media needs to be controlled with the negative dramatization they portray to the rest of the country , which has a long term effect on all businesses.”

Another business stated “Council needs to be proactive, citing that businesses are still operating – don’t cry for funding until towards the end of the event.”

Ms Carroll said “not surprisingly, additional marketing is the major request from our Members following the Fitzroy River flood, which is why Capricorn Enterprise is working closely with our operators to participate in a whole of state $2 (two) Million dollar Tourism and Events Queensland campaign during April/May in key markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Regional Queensland.”

Ms Carroll said “Studio 10 (channel 10 network) was the only prime time breakfast program that helped us get the correct message out on Friday 7th April 2017 to a national audience, with their 4 minute story then being viewed on Facebook 118,000 times with 1,424 shares and 100 affirmative comments.”

“Channel 7’s Sunrise stated on air that they would return to our destination to deliver a positive news story and we will keep them to that promise. My comment demanding factual reporting on the Sunrise Facebook page on Saturday 1st April received over 100,000 (one hundred thousand) Likes, 267 shares and over 100 affirmative comments. When is mainstream metropolitan media going to listen to the people?

Mary Carroll I Chief Executive Officer
Capricorn Enterprise

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