Congratulations to civic leaders throughout North Queensland for their preparations for possible severe weather over the remaining summer period. The good work done by the civic leaders is certainly assisted by wall-to-wall coverage by the media.

There cannot be too many Northerners who are not aware of the possibility of severe weather and the need to take the necessary precautions.

However, I do issue a plea to the media and civic leaders.

While it is very important to make people aware, the wall-to-wall coverage does deter tourists and would-be visitors to North Queensland and this has an impact on local businesses and therefore future employment.

I would urge civic leaders and the media to include in their warnings comments about how well the North is prepared, HOW we are experienced in dealing with these regular natural events that have been occurring since the beginning of our recorded history.

We do need to let people know that while its important to be prepared, the North does not shut down because of the possibility of a severe weather event.

I think it important to make people aware this is a natural phenomenon and that we are well prepared to deal with it.

The rain is so very important to the North and keeps it in its lush green tropical condition and is therefore something we must have every year.

The occasional cyclone does cause distress to those directly impacted and we have to be ready and prepared to help those in need.

But no amount of media or publicity will prevent the cyclone and Im sure that the coverage given so far has allowed people to be as prepared as we can be.

I raised the same warning before Cyclone Yasi and my warnings were prescient. Whilst the Cardwell to Mission Beach and Tully areas were severely impacted, the rest of the North barely suffered but cancellation of tourism bookings andflights and the pausing of business dealings did have an impact on the wider North Queensland economy and it is this effect we should avoid if possible.

The Northern media have a responsibility to lead the way with their southern counterparts whose often inaccurate and highly sensational reporting of natural calamities makes things much worse for the Northern economy.

Nothing should ever stop us being prepared and well-informed but its important that we do include in our warning advice to the rest of the world that this is something the North takes in its stride.

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