Relief for Injune moteliers after years of competing with work camp
MOTEL owners in Injune are relieved that they will no longer have to compete against an 80-room worker’s camp any longer.
In last week’s council meeting, Maranoa deputy mayor Geoff McMullen moved the motion for the operator FGK Group, who leased the Injune Caravan Park since 2011, to finalise their lease agreement.
All nine councillors supported the motion.
Jodie Allridge, owner of Injune Haven Motel and Geordie Russell owner of Injune Motel said it’s a big relief for permanent accommodation and food establishments in Injune to no longer have to compete with the camp for business.
“We were all getting really tired of being undercut on quotes – there is no way any of us could match the price of $115 for room and three meals that the camp was offering to xouncil to secure long term contracts,” Ms Allridge said.
“Our motel endeavours to share business in town – we use the hotel, cafe, roadhouse for meal packages – so in undercutting our quotes to secure contracts, the camp was actually taking possible business away from those little food places too.”
Cr McMullen said he understood the frustration felt by these motel owners.
“I understand their frustration but unfortunately it is called competition,” he said.
Mr Russell is adamant that council should have never allowed the camp in the first place.
“The camp was purpose-built when the oil and gas boom occurred, but once that boom ended, the camp should have gone too,” he said.
Ms Allridge echoed a similar sentiment that the company should have pulled up the dongas and opened up the space for caravans when the boom ended.
“That would have been the right thing to do for the town,” she said.
She said for years it was a big issue when dealing with council.
“The most frustrating thing was then being told by certain, previous councillors that we just needed to be ‘cheaper’, well if that is the price we needed to charge then we may as well have shut the doors,” she said.
“In fact, the Injune Stay did have to close down due to the lack of business while the camp was full.
“Another issue was hearing that council officers had often directed council work contractors to stay at the camp, instead of the motels.”
She said she hoped council would have sought a new leasee back in January when they knew FKG Group weern’t renewing their lease.
“The council CEO office knew in January that the leasee was not renewing their option – that was six months ago,” she said.
“It would have been beneficial if they put out the tender then, instead they gave the leasee a three month extension!
“We’re already a few months into tourist season and Queenslanders are getting out and travelling – it would have been great if the caravan park was already set up and ready to go rather than council still dealing with handover.”
Cr McMullen confirmed council will call for expressions of interest for either a manager or somebody wishing to lease the park.
For now, the owners are looking forward to more people visiting town.
“I’ll be happy to see more caravans staying down there again, rather than staying out at the racecourse at Possum Park,” Ms Allridge said.
“It’ll mean those travellers are located back in town and are more likely to walk around in the afternoon and spend a dollar in town.”