Patricia O’Neill

Patricia O’Neill
CEO at Cairns Chamber of Commerce

1. Over the years what is the one thing you have come to appreciate about the city of Cairns?
Having lived in Cairns for almost 14 years I will never get tired of the natural beauty around me everyday. I have lived in many beautiful parts of the world however enjoying what Cairns has to offer, with a smaller population, means everything is more relaxed…you get the chance to take it all in.

2. The region has experienced many tough times throughout the years, but none quite like we are experiencing now. What is one message you would like to give to the people of Cairns at this uncertain time?
My key message to the people of Cairns is to remember we are a very strong and resilient community and at times like this we need to leave the experts to deal with the big issue at hand (the medical professionals and the government) we need to focus on right here, right now. We cannot swallow the elephant whole! And that is not our job. We need to:




Just the way you would if you were in a burning house. Spending energy worrying about the “what if ” will make people sicker than the virus ever would.

3. Leaders like yourself have united to fight for the region in what are unprecedented times – what role are you and your organisation playing in all of this?
My role as CEO at Cairns Chamber of Commerce is currently to link arms in particular with our state based Chamber body (CCIQ) to ensure we are enabling our members to remain informed of the day-to-day, hour-by-hour, decisions being made at a local, state and federal level of government. It is also to be a sounding board for members who can use me (along with my board) as a conduit to have their question raised and ultimately answered. In times of uncertainty, business owners still need to feel connected, therefore it is key that as a Chamber we are still able to do this albeit electronically.

4. While there are many negatives about the current situation we all find ourselves in – what is one thing you are looking forward to doing while in isolation?
During isolation I am still working at a pace however gaining back that extra 90mins in my day by not having to travel to and from the town is being spent clearing out my inbox, filing things properly. I have this task factored into the top and tail of my day!

It’s like a detox! I am also doing some significant upgrades that have been cast aside for way too long.