Climate protests impacting city’s small businesses
BATTLING Brisbane businesses have told of the devastating toll Extinction Rebellion protests have had on their livelihoods after a week of climate change action that has cost the city and taxpayers millions of dollars.
The Courier-Mail can reveal businesses and city workers, who originally supported the group and its message, are now fed up with the protests as they lose crucial customers and inconvenience work schedules, meetings and commutes.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokesman Dan Petrie said the loss of productivity in the city swelled significantly when protests occurred.
"On any given day, data from Tom Toms shows that $2.4 million is lost in productivity due to traffic and congestion - with protests of this magnitude, it swells to a loss of $3.5 million," he said.
"This goes beyond protesting - parents can't get their kids to school. There's a reputational risk … when we start to enter this realm, when losses start mounting to $20 million a month, then you're actually affecting jobs.
Several businesses on George St were disrupted by the protests multiple times during the week as activists locked themselves to boat trailers, barrels and cars, with business owners saying fewer people were now coming in.
Burger Urge manager Dorah Rei (pictured co-worker with Rish Rishi), whose restaurant is on George St, said the protests had affected the staff. "We rely hard on our staff to get here on time," she said.
"They're not bad people (protesters) - it's just inconveniencing us who are trying to get to jobs."
Frisky Goat owner Leo Moschella said the protests were ultimately costing a lot of money, particularly with the police presence.
"Overall there is a broad empathy for them but I'm concerned for the costs - there has to be better ways to do it, whether that be sending a million emails or going to government, I don't know," he said.
Bean Café and Bar Brisbane workers Jun Park and Martina McPherson said public transport was an additional frustration to an already quiet week.
"I catch a bus into the city and its affected that - it took me one hour and 20 minutes, usually it takes 30 minutes, all of the staff have been affected," Mr Park said.
"There are better ways to do it, in my personal opinion. If you want to make an effect, they should go to the government," Ms McPherson said.
"There are everyday people being affected, people who have to work and who have families to feed.
"Last month we were affected, on weekends people don't want to come out, it turns a lot of people off coming into the city. I understand and agree to an extent but there has to be a better way to do it."