‘We are in limbo’: Family’s struggle over border bubble

A FAMILY business hit hard by last year's bushfires has been forced to lay off staff because of the border bubble troubles.

Corcoran Contracting, a Canungra network installation firm run by Luke Corcoran, has put off five staff in the past month as it hasn't be able to cross the border to get to jobs in northern NSW.

The communications contractors usually work in the rural areas of the Northern Rivers just outside of the COVID-19 border bubble installing internet and cables for homes.

But Mr Corcoran said he feared he may have to wind up altogether as jobs on the Queensland side of the border were scarce.

"Work has slowed down because we can't get to a lot of it, we are in limbo," he said.

"We can't get to ongoing work in Lismore as we don't qualify for an exemption. Instead, I would have to pay for my guys to stay there and then cover them while they are also in two-week quarantine. You just can't carry that cost or afford to have them away that long.

"It has basically shut me down to be without 70 per cent of my work."


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Mr Corcoran said JobKeeper had been a big help, but "it doesn't last forever".

"I find it most frustrating that you are told you can apply for an exemption but it is just to cover up for the fact they are going to tell you 'no' later on and won't be doing anything about it."

Mr Corcoran said he would like options put in place for rural contractors to traverse the borders given they could come and go without being in contact with anyone.

"We work in spots where you don't see a single person. I am happy to even bring my own fuel down with me so we don't even stop if that is what it takes."

Luke has had to put off 5 workers because of the QLD border bubble. Picture: Jerad Williams
Luke has had to put off 5 workers because of the QLD border bubble. Picture: Jerad Williams

A father of one with another on the way, Mr Corcoran said he needed a solution soon.

"Reality for me is I am contemplating finishing up and giving the boys as much notice as they need until they have another job, but until then I can't just throw away perfectly good blokes," he said.

"I am not here to cry on my sleeve, this is for other people in the same boat - lots of people are hurting. Surely there is some solution."


Originally published as 'We are in limbo': Family's struggle over border bubble