A prominent Gold Coast lawyer believes a class action lawsuit isn’t the best way forward for Gold Coast businesses negatively impacted by the Commonwealth Games.
Bruce Simmonds, Litigation Director at Parker Simmonds Solicitors & Lawyers in Broadbeach, claims a State Government ex gratia payout is how local businesses should be compensated.
Following reports local restaurants, bars and shops were struggling, Games organisers admitted the initial transport messages were aggressive and have appealed for locals and visitors to make the most of all the coast has to offer.
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There are fears amongst the business community however that renewed interest could be too late.
Mr Simmonds says everyone welcomed the Games to the Gold Coast, and the anger of local businesses is not directed against Games competitors or supporters.
“The price paid by some retailers and small businesses needs to be addressed by the State Government otherwise we are in jeopardy of never getting community support for another big event like the Games.
“As was done during the Brisbane Expo by the LNP Government, people adversely affected by the Games should put together their trading figures and expenses and comparative figures from the previous year.
“They should then submit them to the Games Minister, Treasury and the Premier and ask for an ex gratia payment from the government to offset their losses,” he said.
Mr Simmonds expected Treasury would most likely have made provision for such payments and it would make more sense than a litigious Class Action.
“A class action would be complicated with no assured outcome for businesses struggling to pay bills because of the Games downturn.
“This is a case where the onus is on the Minister and Premier to do the right thing for affected Gold Coast business owners,” he said.
CEO of Tourism Gold Coast, Martin Winter said they’ve been meeting their expectations around the coast, and knew that some businesses weren’t going to do as well as others.
“One of the problems we’ve got in this city is that it’s a 70 kilometre city and we have a number of venues that are spaced along that whole length.
“If you’re not around those hub areas or the areas where we’ve got the festival running, the chance of people that come for the Games to go to those areas are pretty limited, they’ve got to really want to do that.
“Those [businesses] that are also between their accommodation and the actual event in the walking path, they’ve done incredibly well, we’ve had some fantastic stories back about those businesses that are really pumping.
“Those ones which are not around those areas are not doing as well, but that’s nothing that we didn’t expect.
“From our perspective, we’ve met all of the expectations,” he said.