Embracing southerners who move north is everyone's business
Tropic Now columnists Rob and Vic Cuda have made many friends who moved to Cairns for work. They just hope our business community is doing the same.
Living in Far North Queensland has its fair share of good points however it also comes with a number of challenges.
Making friends that stay here for more than a couple of years is one of those challenges!
Over the last few years we have befriended many Southerners that have moved to our region in the pursuit of employment opportunities.
As a community we should be grateful that people see our region as one full of opportunity however we should also be concerned that we are sending them back just as quickly as they arrive.
The story is a familiar one for us over the last few years.
That is, a Southerner moves to the North to take up a challenging position, usually taking their spouse and family with them.
When our paths cross we lay out our Far North Queensland hospitality and make them feel as welcome as we can.
Some of these Southerners - or Mexicans as some locals may call them - have become our very best friends.
These people usually have proven their worth in a Southern capital and are hardworking. Deciding to pack up and move to Cairns is testament to their commitment to their profession.
The challenges they encounter when they get here lies not in their ability, not in missing their family and friends back down South, and not in fitting in with the wider community.
Usually it revolves around them fitting in with the business community.
The business community seams to look at Southerners who move to Cairns with disdain rather than welcoming new blood and new ideas.
Generally these people are younger and have difficulty establishing relationships with the gentry of the business community here in Cairns.
They are often shunned because they either don’t know the history of people in Cairns and relationships that exist here and they struggle with grasping the fact everyone knowing everyone in a place like Cairns.
If a newcomer makes the smallest of mistakes or suggests a new way of doing things, discrediting rumours are spread like wild fire within and there is rarely a second chance.
It is rather disappointing. The business community then complains that our economic growth is flat and without population growth our region's outlook is dismal.
They also complain that it is difficult to source good staff. Our message to the business community is clear: give the Southerners a fair go, in particular the younger ones who bring with them the ideas that have made them successful in the South.
As for us we have made some great friends who have sadly had to move back down South.
We’re confident that they spread the message that the Far North is a great place to live, but not so confidant they spread the message it is a great place to work.
Hopefully in the future as a business community we can be more welcoming, open minded and accepting of new people and different ideas.