Last year’s patchwork repairs to the Bluewater Lagoon provided a short-term solution to leaks discovered in the lining, but now the Mackay Regional Council are seeking tenders for a permanent fix.
Mayor Greg Williamson said the current tender was seeking a long-term solution that would see the facility fully resurfaced during the winter maintenance period for all three pools.
“The work that was completed last year was a quick and temporary response so we could reopen the lagoon during the busy summer period,” he said.
“This project will ensure this facility continues to serve the needs of the community well into the future and it is expected to increase the longevity of the lagoon.
“With the implementation of the ongoing scheduled maintenance program, the lagoon should continue operating to its full potential.”
The Bluewater Lagoon will be closed from June 1 until August 31, 2022, to complete this work.
The café at Bluewater Lagoon will also be closed during this time.
Applicants are encouraged to apply for the tender through the QTenders website.
Submissions will close on Tuesday, May 31, at 10am.
A twilight dream for seniors to live in their hometown of Clermont in a modernised aged care facility is being strongly advocated for federal funding reality.
Isaac Regional Council is joining forces with the Belyando Enterprise Network Inc on a project to help lobby for $2.993 million in funding for stage 1 of Monash Lodge refurbishment.
Mayor Anne Baker said aged care is a growing issue for the nation and residents prefer to remain near their hometown during their twilight years.
“Monash Lodge is a valuable aged care facility for Clermont and wider community that was founded and only made available through the generous donations and contributions by the community,” Mayor Baker said.
“The Seniors Living Project is a social innovation model that could have far reaching benefits across regional Australia.
“The proposed project would deliver much needed independent living accommodation which would enable older regional Australians to enjoy their twilight years in their hometown.”
Belyando Enterprise Network Inc’s John Burnett said the Monash Lodge internal refurbishment will include upgrading the existing 20-bed facility and to create 12 independent living units plus caretaker’s apartment for 24-hour onsite management.
“This project will create jobs during the construction phase, create more health and administrative roles but more importantly, keep residents in their hometown,” Mr Burnett said.
“The closest permanent aged care services in a non-hospital environment is either in Emerald or Mackay.”
The ageing population of Clermont continues to rise with about 25 per cent of its current population aged over 60 years old. Currently there is an undersupply of 96 allocations as of 2021 and then increasing to an undersupply of 187 places by 2036.
Mayor Baker said Council, who is the current trustee of the property, continues to work with community groups to reinvigorate Monash Lodge.
“The potential outcomes of the Clermont Seniors Living concept in occupying and renewing Monash Lodge presents as a significant cost and social benefit to the community,” Mayor Baker said.
“We have committed to an in-principle long-term lease agreement with the eligible lessee through a peppercorn rate of $1 per annum to facilitate and support these critical services within the region.”
Mayor Baker said Canberra needs to understand that regional Australia has the ability to be creative, to apply fresh thinking, to find innovative solutions to help its residents remain in their hometowns in their twilight years. Visit https://www.isaac.qld.gov.au/advocacy for more information.
Monash Lodge, Clermont
A Mackay year 12 student is well on his way to creating change in our community, getting involved in Queensland Youth Parliament as the Youth Member for Whitsunday.
Sebastian Padget is School Captain at Mackay Northern Beaches State High School and has added Youth Parliament to his repertoire of leadership experience, saying that serving as School Captain in primary school started his interest in politics.
“Even in primary school, seeing that there is the ability to create change, just sparked my interest,” Sebastian said.
“As the years have gone on I’ve got more interested in the way it runs, in the way we create change, and then this opportunity’s come up so I’ve taken it.”
He says he found balancing study, school captaincy, and Youth Parliament difficult but it has taught him a lot.
“I was thinking ‘no, this is the path I want to go down, we have to balance it,’ so that’s been really good to learn that and to learn how to do it effectively,” he said.
Sebastian travelled to Brisbane with his mentor and Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm for the Queensland Youth Parliament launch weekend in early April.
Throughout the weekend, Sebastian and the other 92 Youth Members received media advice, learnt how to write bills, and learnt how to be effective leaders in their respective communities.
Sebastian says it was a great opportunity to network with other Youth Members and discuss the issues facing each of their areas.
“It was really cool to see our world views, how they’re a bit different, and the issues that we find are important,” he said.
Sebastian says Amanda’s mentorship, advice, and experience have been invaluable.
“She’s been absolutely incredible,” he said.
“We’ve had some really good conversations.”
One local issue that Sebastian is passionate about is Mackay Bucasia Road.
“Being in the Northern Beaches, we’re the major growth area of Mackay,” he said.
“We have a bit of a transport issue where we have one road linking Mackay to the Northern Beaches and if there was to be a flood, fire, cyclone, there’s going to be trouble in this area.
“Even with opportunities within Youth Parliament, I’ve been able to discuss the issue and raise it with council, discuss it with Amanda Camm, and we’ve been able to have some really cool discussions about how we create change even on a local level.”
Sebastian finishes year 12 this year and is looking to study Business and Law in Townsville next year and hopes to get as involved in the Mackay community as he possibly can.
“I’d love to serve in parliament, but I really want to get experience in the community before I look at something like that and I do believe that having a business and law degree would be quite a good combination,” he said.
“I’m really keen to see how local Mackay runs, how the organisations in local Mackay work, and how they push Mackay forward.”
Youth Member for Whitsunday Sebastian Padget is passionate about Mackay. Photo: Sam Gillespie
Sebastian with Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm at Queensland Youth Parliament Launch Week in Brisbane. Photo: supplied
Two more people lost their lives along the Bruce Highway in the Mackay and Isaac region within the past week, in what has been a horror month in highway deaths.
A 60-year-old man died following a traffic crash at Carmilla on 12 May.
Early investigations indicate at about 7.20pm, the Carmila man was the sole occupant of a car that was in the path of a bus travelling Southbound on the Bruce Highway when they collided.
Emergency crews rendered first-aid to the man, however, was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
The driver of the bus and one passenger (an employee of the bus company) were the only occupants of the bus, and they were not physically injured.
Two days later, a 53-year-old man died and a 41-year-old woman was transported to Mackay Base Hospital in a serious condition, following a single vehicle crash at Bloomsbury on 14 May.
Just after 6pm, initial investigations suggest, a Toyota Hiace travelling south along the Bruce Highway left the road and crashed into a tree, around 1km north of Midge Point Road.
The driver, a 53-year-old man, died on scene.
These tragedies follow a fatal motorcycle accident on the Bruce Highway at St Lawrence which claimed the life of a 50-year-old man on 6 May. On 18 April, a father and his teenage daughter were killed when their motorbike collided with a sedan on the Bruce Highway near Koumala.
RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted a 41-year-old woman to Townsville Hospital after a car collided with a tree near Bloomsbury. The 53 year-old driver died on scene. Image: RACQ CQ Rescue
The RSL Mackay sub-branch has donated $4,000 to The Mackay Branch of the 42nd Infantry Battalion Association.
The Mackay Branch of the 42nd Infantry Battalion Association applied for a grant for $4000 from the RSL to assist with the costs of their annual reunion dinner, coming up in August.
“That’ll go towards our dinner, keep our costs down, pay for our room rent,” said Association President Garry Edwards.
“That’ll help us probably for a couple years, I should imagine, and it should be a really good year with another good turnout this year.”
The Mackay Branch of the 42nd Infantry Battalion Association was first formed in 1946 immediately following the end of WWII.
While the 42nd Battalion was originally a Central Queensland unit, the amalgamation of units and the drawing of reinforcements from all states in WWII resulted in the formation of branches of the Association in cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Townsville, Rockhampton, and Mackay.
Due to the dwindling numbers of veterans in the other states, the Rockhampton and Mackay Branches are the only two which hold formal annual reunions.
“We’re just keeping the memory of the 42nd Infantry Battalion going,” said Garry.
Following the amalgamation of 31 RQR and 42 RQR in January 2008, membership has been extended to members of the new joint battalion.
The only personnel entitled to join the Mackay Branch of the 42nd Infantry Battalion Association are those who have given service in the 42nd Battalion or those who are currently serving members of 31/42 RQR.
Those interested in learning more about the Association are asked to contact Garry on 0400 242 779.
L-R Shane Edge, Garry Edwards, David Ward, Ken Higgins, Nichole Hood, and Liz Ward
Global micromobility company Beam will launch up to 300 e-scooters in Mackay following the successful tender application with Mackay Regional Council, with operations to commence in June.
The app-based e-scooters will be available in the Mackay City Centre, Waterfront, Bluewater Trail, Caneland Central precinct, Mackay Harbour, North Mackay, Mackay Base Hospital and Botanic Gardens. Beam’s service will feature affordable pay-as-you-go rates, with every ride covered by Beam’s personal accident insurance.
Mayor Greg Williamson said e-scooters would provide a fantastic transport option for residents and tourists to get out and about, exploring our region in a safe, convenient, and fun way.
“For visitors staying in the Mackay CBD without a car, or locals simply wanting to explore as much of the city as they can in a short period of time, an e-scooter is going to be a tremendous option,” Mayor Williamson said.
“The e-scooters may also provide assistance in easing parking congestion in certain areas like the Base Hospital precinct for workers or people attending events at the Botanic Gardens,” he said.
Beam’s General Manager (ANZ) Tom Cooper said the company is thrilled to be piloting Mackay’s first shared e-mobility trial.
“We look forward to partnering with the Mackay Regional Council to bring our safe, affordable and sustainable e-scooters to both residents and visitors,” Mr Cooper said.
“As micromobility becomes more commonplace in Australia, we believe its usage will only continue to increase exponentially, with more citizens engaging on the streets and leaving their cars behind.
“As we look forward to expanding our footprint, we are also committed to developing collaborative partnerships with local community members, small businesses and organisations, and engage in discussions around the safe operation of e-scooters to ensure the safety of both riders, pedestrians and other road users.”
Each e-scooter comes with a helmet, which must be worn, and safety rules must be followed, such as following vehicle laws, maintaining a safe distance between riders and pedestrians, and not riding under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
The e-scooters can reach a maximum of 20kmh. However, speeds will be limited in certain locations for safety reasons. These “slow zones" are set by agreed stakeholders and managed by geofencing.
Mackay businesses can now apply to be part of Beam’s free Booster program.
The Beam offering will include:
•Beam’s Saturn e-scooter fleet: Featuring tip-resistant dual-kickstands, triple electric and mechanical brakes, a bluetooth-locked helmet, and swappable batteries
•Beam Booster for Retail Support: Beam’s Booster platform utilises a blend of GPS-technology, in-app notifications and partner incentives to help stimulate economic activity at the local community level. Participation is free, with applications now open for local businesses via www.ridebeam.com/anz/booster
•Virtual Docking for Cleaner Streets: At Beam, we believe that the future of micromobility is docked rather than dockless. But a docked system does not require hardware racks fitted on the pavements. Fixed parking docks can be created virtually, using technology and GPS to direct riders to appropriate parking spots through a combination of guidance, incentives, and disincentives.
•Climate Neutral Operations for A Greener City: Beam is the only operator in ANZ to be Certified Climate Neutral, and has recently announced a pledge to go Carbon Negative by 2025. Beam is committed to continuing to lead the industry in sustainability, adopting technological advances to reduce its environmental impact.
Beam is the largest and safest micromobility operator in Asia Pacific, with operations in Australia spanning capital cities such as Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, and regional cities and towns including Port Douglas, Magnetic Island and Townsville.
The app-based e-scooters will be available in the Mackay City Centre, Waterfront, Bluewater Trail, Caneland Central precinct, Mackay Harbour, North Mackay, Mackay Base Hospital and Botanic Gardens.
Up to 300 purple Beam scooters will arrive in Mackay next month as an e-scooter trial was approved by the Mackay Regional Council last week. Images Supplied: Beam
500 people in teams of two rolled into the Mackay Showgrounds last Friday in what is lovingly referred to as a ‘shitbox’, a car worth less than $1,000. While it looks like bogan heaven, these cars drove from Wollongong to Mackay for a cause, to raise money for the Cancer Council.
James Freeman who founded Box Rallies (Shitbox and Mystery Box Rally) after losing both of his parents to cancer within 12 months of each other said, “Shitbox Rally is not a race, but a reward for fundraising efforts. This is a chance to explore Australia, drawing teams from around the country to help achieve the extraordinary.”
250 cars took roads less travelled to explore the outback in an epic week-long journey traversing 3,600km of rough roads. There were diversions due to the deluge, but race organisers quickly penned a new route to ensure participants had safe passage despite heavy rain and flooding.
With more than $30 million raised since the rallies began, there was a $2 million goal for this rally, which was surpassed by the time the teams reached Charleville with the total already hitting $2.2 million with more to come.
With the race finishing locally in Mackay, not only did the local tourism industry get a boost, but St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) became the beneficiaries of thousands of dollars’ worth of barely used eskies, camping mats, shoes, chairs tents and other ancillary items that competitors donated after the journey. Councillor Laurence Bonaventura, a former Shitbox Rally participant himself, was on hand at the finish line to help Vinnies volunteers with gathering the donations.
Cr Bonaventura also donated a hamper to the Shitbox Rally on behalf of the Mackay Regional Council to be gifted to one of the Rally’s award winners at the presentations held at the Eimeo Hotel.
A truckload of donations was made to Vinnies at the end of the Shitbox Rally. L-R: Terry and Ann Hilder, Kerry and Laurence Bonaventura. Photos: Amanda Wright
Daisy Hinschen (née Andersen) was born on October 8, 1900. At age 21, she married Richard John (“Whitty”) Hinschen, a member of a local family. After a short time up north, the Hinschens settled on their cane farm at Hamilton Plains just over the present site of Shepherd’s Bridge.
Daisy and Whitty had no children but took a very active part in many different community organisations. They were known for their consideration towards young people and it was not unusual to see Whitty drive his car to transport the bride and groom to church while Daisy capably handled the wedding catering. As the years passed, Daisy’s renown for her catering and organising ability ensured that hardly a function was held in Proserpine without her being at the hub of things. Practically every wedding was an “Aunty Daisy” wedding and as such was sure to be trouble-free.
When guests arrived for the reception - usually at the Diggers Hall or the Showgrounds Pavilion - the meal of cold meat and salad would already be laid out on the tables. Ever popular wine trifle of home-made cake and custard with fruit salad were standard desserts - the fruit salad freshly cut that morning and mixed in a baby bath!
Families and friends were always on hand to help set up tables and chairs for the reception and would arrive with a beautiful array of cakes and sweet tarts for after-dinner coffee. At a time when toasts and reply speeches were the ‘norm’, Aunty Daisy was often asked to respond on behalf of ‘the ladies’ and this she would capably do before briskly returning to her domain - the kitchen. Daisy’s night’s work was not complete until everything was back ‘ship-shape’.
When her husband, Whitty, died on 3rd May 1953, Daisy threw herself further into community work. For over forty years, Daisy’s voluntary work was spread over the Ambulance Committee for thirty-two years (in 1959, she received a Meritorious Award for her ambulance work); the Hospital Auxiliary; the Queensland Country Women’s Association and the North Queensland Society for Crippled Children of which she was the local secretary. She was an active member of the local branch of the RSL Auxiliary and in 1968, the RSL awarded her a Gold Badge and Life Membership. And yet, in the midst of all this, she still found time to enjoy a relaxing game of bowls.
The Proserpine Shire had been the exclusive domain of men for nearly seventy years when Daisy became the first woman candidate to contest the elections in the shire’s history held on April 29, 1961. She was one of three candidates for the town division and was beaten into third place by just a handful of votes, Messrs FW (Dick) Dray and BJ Lewis being elected. It would be another eighteen years before the first woman, Eileen Watson, was elected to council.
Aunty Daisy retained her interest in social and community work throughout her life so it did not come as a surprise that, in June 1969, the Governor, Sir Alan Mansfield presented her with an MBE for her many years of community service.
Daisy died on 21st January 1975 and is buried in Proserpine Cemetery.
With so many organisations now calling for an ever-decreasing number of volunteers, our town could well do with more of the likes of “Aunty Daisy”.
Story and photo courtesy Proserpine Historical Museum and “A Slice of History” by Delys Jeppeson.
Aunty Daisy Hinschen
St Catherine’s Catholic College kicked off the annual Under Eight’s Week celebrations on Tuesday as the first to host their day in the region.
Schools across the Whitsundays will follow suit in the coming weeks, hosting their own iterations of the under eight party.
St Cath’s community celebration was no-holds-barred with its arts and crafts, outdoor hands-on play, community group stalls and more in their Mercy Playground on the school’s Primary Campus.
Open to the community, the event was a success for the local school, hosting massive crowds of kids from day care, school, and playgroups – as well as parents.
The schoolyard was brimming with marquees and kids, each hosting activities to enjoy like face painting and play.
There were toy instruments, arts, and crafts, and all backed by SES Whitsundays and Proserpine emergency services.
Those local services, like the fire department, Proserpine Police, and Aviation Fire Rescue, each brought emergency vehicles for the kids to sit behind the wheels.
For parents and kids there was the opportunity to enjoy a free sausage sizzle, as well as some delicious fruit from Woolworths.
School Communication and Publications officer Aimee Mitchell said the day had been amazing.
“To see all of our community have an amazing time at our Under Eight’s is always the best part of the day,” Ms Mitchell said.
Under eight’s celebrated being under eight on Tuesday at Proserpine’s St Cath’s Catholic College
Plenty of wacky outfits and kids were treated to a silly morning
The petting zoo was a massive success
A little Michelangelo at St Cath’s Under Eight Day
Photographs: Declan Durrant
A New Coastal Connection
A brand-new walking track is on the way to the region and set to link two towns in Cape Gloucester pending approvals from Queensland Government.
Whitsunday Regional Council have commenced the process with the State Government to construct a walking track between the coastal towns of Dingo beach and Hydeaway Bay.
Initially to be constructed as an earth walking track, there is the possibility of converting the new route to a sealed path which could be used as a cycleway.
The alignment of the walkway has already been flagged and Council are now awaiting approval from the Queensland Government.
Whitsunday Regional Council Acting Mayor Mike Brunker said the walking track would be a great addition to the Cape Gloucester area.
“This track will provide a welcome connection between these two beautiful towns and add an extra activity for visitors in the area,” the Acting Mayor said.
“The walkway will offer breathtaking views of the azure bays and offer magnificent vistas over Gloucester and Saddleback Island.
“This is just another way we can discover the hidden gems in our backyard.”
Acting Mayor Brunker said that state approval can take some time; however, the council are confident that approval can be achieved this year.
Council will apply for a grant to construct the track once the required approval has been granted.
The scenic beauty of Hydeaway Bay
This week Whitsunday Regional Council completed a decade of its feral pig culling program in the region.
The council’s Whitsunday Aerial Feral Animal Control Program has been successfully running for ten years to quell the major impacts of feral pig populations on environmental and agricultural systems.
Feral pigs are estimated to cause $12.6 million dollars’ worth of damage each year in the Whitsunday region alone.
Conducting over 130 flights, the program has seen the removal of almost 12,300 feral pigs, with council conducting 20 to 35 flights per year.
The local council’s efforts have seen them earn national plaudits, with the program selected as a case study for the National Feral Pig Action Plan.
The local scale program has an operating budget of up to $170,000 per year and has been active across five local government areas.
Whitsunday Regional Council Manager of Natural Resource Management Scott Hardy said the program has worked alongside 80 land managers and up to 19 organisations.
“We’ve worked with Mackay, Isaac, Charters Towers and the Burdekin with great results in removing the pigs in neighbouring shires as well as our own,” Mr Hardy said.
“I have to commend council worker Bren Fuller on his work in this as our staff member up in the helicopter doing the hard work.”
Although it may seem unsavoury to some, the program has a state government backing, enforced as part of the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 in which local governments have a role in coordinating the control and reduction of restricted and prohibited pest animals.
“There may be a small number of people who may dislike the euthanising of animals,” Mr Hardy said.
“[But] relatively small council contributions towards the Program are yielding measurable benefits to the agricultural sector and the Whitsunday environment.”
Studies state that, environmentally, feral pigs damage waterways, soil, and ground cover, as well as impacting native species through predation and the carrying of diseases.
Feral pigs are a Queensland bane, but Whitsunday Regional Council have made inroads in their ten-year culling program
The pre-existing signage was removed and damaged during the airport expansion in 2019 and due to Covid budget restrictions, was not replaced until now.
“We haven’t had an arrival sign for quite some time and that was due to Covid and costs around operations,” said Chief operating Officer Aviation and Tourism Craig Turner.
“So now that we are back on track, we’ve taken it to Council and got a great sign which shows the new branding and also has three images which reflect the destination – and we will have those as part of the arrival experience.”
The new signage comes following negative community feedback on the matter and Council now view signage as a critical part in presenting the Whitsundays to arriving passengers.
An artist’s impression of the new airside signage
Election Breakdown and Meeting wrap
This weekend, Australia goes to the polls after a bitterly fought campaign on both sides that dipped into the farcical more than once. Neither leader looks good.
And although the transgender debate grabbed a lot of headlines, the real issues concerning the Dawson electorate have been identified in a recent survey. The survey highlights the vast dichotomies in a region that relies so heavily on mining, agriculture and tourism. Often the attitudes of residents in different regions will be at odds to each other.
Interestingly, for an electorate that tends to lean strongly towards the LNP, Scomo barely edges out Albo as preferred Prime Minister. The accelerating rise in cost of living is the major concern, China is being perceived as a growing problem and trust in politics is at an absolute zero.
Attitude to climate change was a surprise with twice as many voting to abandon Net Zero by 2050 compared to committing to it. On the security and trade front – China in the South Pacific is the biggest concern although expanding international trade is also a key issue. When it comes to COVID, 80 per cent felt that maintaining health protections and economic recovery from COVID was more important than removing mandates.
On the social front, healthcare is the biggest concern, whilst the biggest issues in the cost of living rise was petrol and groceries. Affordable housing was predictably a strong concern.
When it comes to Economic Policy, the preference was to expand manufacturing supported by regional investment in infrastructure. The skills shortage is a huge barrier to growth.
Focussing on the future, the Chamber event on Thursday, May 12, hosted Rob Cocco from Regional Development Australia (MIW) and WRC Economic Development Manager, Gary Warrener. Rob detailed the economic road map developed for greater Whitsundays which was developed in consultation with local stakeholders. Number one enabler for growth in the region was the need to improve transport infrastructure.
Garry Warrener explained his role within council and discussed several diverse projects and investment opportunities WRC is trying to attract to the region. A genuinely proactive approach to underpinning the economic success of the Whitsundays.
Contributed with thanks to Whitsunday Coast Chamber President Allan Milostic.
General Manager Bowen Gumlu Growers Association Ry Collins, Megan Taylor from Kapow Interactive, Rob Cocco from Regional Development Australia (MIW) and Councillor Jan Clifford
Whitsunday Coast Chamber President Allan Milostic and WRC Economic Development Manager, Gary Warrener
The Chamber of Commerce meeting last week
My concern, being the owner of a fairly large cleaning company, are the amount of displaced people that I’ve seen in the last two years, but especially the last six to eight months. There’s a real crisis for housing for people on low income. The cost of everything else has gone up, and it’s gone up exponentially.
I’ve heard of people living in cars. The government needs to do either or: address affordable housing, rentals especially, or the price of living in this country. They need to address the homelessness situation because it’s out of control.
What the government can do is increase the minimum wage. Pensioners I know are travelling alright, but we’re still paying high rents and we need a bit more. They need to help the homeless, too. Once upon a time it was preferable to buy than rent and now people can’t afford to buy, let alone to rent.
Give people a subsidy of some sort – a genuine one for people who really need it, or places that can be turned into emergency housing. You can’t blame the landlords, they’re in it for the money too and following the markets.
Everything is going up. Do we really need to pay a thousand dollars on a car registration, that much money in rates? You just about need to have a high-income job to continue to exist. Those big bills that people don’t want and are not looking forward to each year.
I’m paying $1,600 dollars each year in rates; where’s that money go? Why am I paying that much money? Everything is a thousand dollars: rego on a six-cylinder car. It won’t be long that, if you don’t have a high-end job, you won’t be able to afford a motor car. Surely, they can do something to change it.
Kirsten Robson and Zoe Bowley
Zoe: More support in terms of buying your first home. Helping people get into the housing market. They need more support. Property prices are so ridiculous that its scary to think: what’s the next generation going to experience if we’re struggling?
Kirsten: If we struggled so hard to get in, how are they ever going to do it? We’ve managed to buy our first homes, but it wasn’t easy. It’s been a big issue for everyone, I think. Some people aren’t even able to afford rent, so how can they think about starting their lives?
Living in a rural mining town doesn’t mean we are all rich coal miners. Something needs to be done about the constant rises in fuel, groceries and rent. The increase in community members seeking emergency food relief and food vouchers has hit an all-time high. Our community hub is struggling to keep up with the demand. There needs to be rent and mortgage rate caps for owner occupiers. Every goods and service that we need to survive and thrive should be taken out of the control of people who only see a means to augment their own wealth.
As the tourism industry in Bowen relies so heavily on the drive market, the price of petrol is certainly a major issue. The fuel excise was reduced by the Federal Government at the end of March but only for six months. The rate was reduced to 22.1 cents per litre but motorists are still paying more than 40 cents per litre for fuel than they were this time last year. I believe a continued reduction in fuel excise would be welcomed by tourists and locals.
Cost of living; that’s a big one. A good question – it’s hard and the position [the government are] in, what the hell can they really do about it? It’s worldwide, that’s the problem. Federal Government can’t really do anything about some of the things that would affect it. The state government is the bigger problem than federal with their charges like rates and registration. We should have one government, that’s it, we have too many!
There are a few things they control but not the things that count. It’s been too late for too long. We’re in big trouble.
I actually don’t have an answer; it’s a great question. If you push the minimum wage up it may get worse – people will charge more for other things. It’s a tough position because what do you do? House prices, rent, groceries are going up, but why are they going up? Is it because of the whole Covid situation and extra money in circulation pushing the prices of everything up? How do you fix something that’s already been done? Raise interest rates and make money harder to get? That may just make it worse too. It all may just be something that we can’t undo.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese ventured to the Great Barrier Reef on the election trail last week to pledge a further $194.5 million in funds for the natural wonder.
Mr Albanese’s prospective government had already committed $163 million to restoration and protection of the reef in November last year at Coral Sea Marina and announced on Friday last week an additional $194.5 million on a visit to Cairns.
The announcement arrived at a salient time for the reef as it suffered its sixth mass bleaching event (read our coverage on page 14).
The additional funds are promised to be used in programs including working with farmers on land management practices, $85 million for reef restoration projects, ad research into thermal-tolerant corals in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
“Seeing the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef is a highlight for so many Australians,” Albanese said.
“But parents and grandparents are worried their children will not be able to see this incredible natural wonder for themselves.
“That’s why it’s so important we act on climate change and species protection – to protect the reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on it.”
For the Whitsundays, Mr Albanese has promised expansion of the Crown of Thorns culling programs to protect tourism sites.
The program reduces crown-of-thorns starfish numbers down to threshold levels that promote coral growth and recovery.
Labor have promised an investment of almost $1.2 billion in reef preservation and restoration by 2030.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the announcement from her party-mate.
“It’s clear Anthony Albanese will work in real partnership with our government, landholders, experts, industry, traditional owners and reef communities,” she said.
Scientist reports have identified that the reef would need almost $1 billion annually in support to recover.
In May, Liberal MP and Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley defended the Coalition’s management of the reef, calling it “gold standard”.
Ms Ley said the reef was the best managed in the world.
Labor Candidate for Leichhardt Elida Faith, Anthony Albanese and Labor Senator for the ACT Katy Gallagher who all travelled out to the reef with on Friday