MAKING DO: Lake Maraboon Holiday Village assistant managers Andrew and Juanita Rodwell at the fuel bowser.
MAKING DO: Lake Maraboon Holiday Village assistant managers Andrew and Juanita Rodwell at the fuel bowser.

Small business lowers prices to support the community

A FAMILY-owned business has made an innovative move to ensure its employees keep jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Lake Maraboon Holiday Village owner John Walsh said it “severely knocked us around” when Sunwater announced the closure of its recreation areas, dams, lakes at the end of March.

Mr Walsh said the Emerald business saw a major decline in customers instantly with barely anyone venturing to the usually popular Fairbairn Dam.

“There were about 30 cars over the weekend, and they only stayed for about five minutes,” he said.

“They just drive down for some fresh air and a look and then they drive away.”

In order to ensure their staff remain employed, Mr and Mrs Walsh decided to use their equipment and brought in a load of diesel and unleaded petrol.

Priced at just 110 cents a litre for unleaded, and 120 cents a litre for diesel, Lake Maraboon Holiday Village has gained the support of the Emerald community.

“Locals have been absolutely brilliant,” Mr Walsh said.

“Reactions been fantastic. Everyone has supported us.

“There’s been about 40 cars filling up today (Friday) and then they have ordered pizzas, redclaw pies and cocktails.

“The support you get from the people in Emerald is unreal, they’re always there for you.”

In Emerald, unleaded fuel cost 135.9 cents a litre on Friday, and diesel about 143 cents. Clermont’s unleaded was cheaper at 129.7 cents and diesel at 130.5 cents.

RACQ spokeswoman, Renee Smith said regional prices do take longer to respond to changes in the price of global oil compared to south east Queensland, but despite delay, the “prices should absolutely be lower” in Central Queensland.

“At the moment the current average unleaded price in Emerald is 138.9 cents a litre.

“We would like to see the average in Central Queensland drop to 110 cents a litre.”

Ms Smith said it was fantastic that a local retailer had discounted fuel during an unprecedented global health crisis.

“It’s great to hear that one local retailer has discounted fuel to a fair price in the region to pass on savings to motorists at a time it’s needed most,” she said.

“In regional centres it’s often independent retailers that will offer the better deals, but it’s best to always shop around to find the best price.”

Mr Walsh said the business was also offering a 10 per cent discount on takeaway food to anyone who fuels up there.

“It feels great to be able to help the local people at a time like this,” Mr Walsh said.

“It’s allowing us to keep the staff that we have without letting anyone go.

“I need this staff to stay, they are the most awesome people.”

All customers who want to purchase food are encouraged to call in advance so the team can prepare the order.

“We’re just mum, dad and two kids,” Mr Walsh said.

“We’ll keep battling along and help people get through this.

“Its been hard on my family with drought, bushfires and now coronavirus, but we’ll just keep going and going.”

The Emerald father also wanted to do a public shout-out to his daughter Melanie, who is located in Yeppoon, as she is due to give birth in a few weeks and the family won’t be able to visit.