Birdsville Races cancelled for second year in a row

Photo by Salty Dingo

Queensland’s Birdsville Races have been cancelled for the second year in a row following the continuing uncertainty caused by the Covid lockdowns and border closures.

Birdsville Races will now take place on April 10-11, 2022.

“We are now less than a month away from the event, and more than 85% of our ticket holders reside in locations that are interstate and unable to currently enter Queensland, or in lockdown or discouraged from travelling to regional Queensland,” Gary Brook, vice president of the Birdsville Race Club, told the Courier Mail.

“The fact that key staff and contractors cannot make it to Birdsville now also jeopardises our ability to stage a successful event.

“When announcing the end to the southeast Queensland lockdown on Sunday, the Queensland Premier pleaded with people not to travel to regional Queensland (and) we respect this cautionary request.”

It is the second major Queensland event forced to reschedule following the state’s latest lockdown, with the Sunshine Coast Marathon postponing a week out from the race, with new dates set for October.

The ongoing damage caused by lockdowns across many states at present has left many businesses reeling with “nothing left in the tank”.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said although Queensland has lifted its lockdown, with the exception of Cairns, the state remains in “economic lockdown” leaving many tourism businesses on the brink again.

“We’ve had two lockdowns within a month and we never recovered from the first one,” she told the Courier Mail.

“To get us through until Christmas, we need to look at a wage subsidy to help us get through until when people can move around.

“The industry is crying out for help. We are pleading with government to work together.”

Cairns has entered its second day of lockdown, with Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chairman Ken Chapman calling on the Federal Government to step up and support businesses that have been struggling since the end of JobKeeper.

“We’ve gone from 85 per cent down to 100 per cent down,” he told the ABC.

“The tourism industry is on its knees. It’s time to realise that and step up and provide some assistance.

“There are thousands and thousands of peoples’ jobs and livelihoods on the line right now.”