Community News

Stronger, Safer (Editor's Note)

Stronger, Safer (Editor's Note)

Resilience and compassion are two themes which burn brightly in this week’s edition, from initiatives to strengthen our homes to protect our most vulnerable to showcasing the power of unity and collective action. Annual gala Shades of Women brought together women from across the Mackay Region for an inspiring evening of empowerment and support. Not only did the event celebrate the strength and achievements of women, but it also raised crucial funds to aid women and children affected by domestic

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A Chain Reaction Of Kindness

A Chain Reaction Of Kindness

‘Paying it forward’ is a good deed that not only brightens someone else’s day, it can also initiate a chain reaction of good deeds and good vibes. Stacey Read recently witnessed this at BP Rural View. “To the very kind guy that paid it forward by paying for an elderly man’s fuel today at BP northern beaches,” she wrote on Facebook. “The gentleman whose fuel you paid for would like to say a huge thank you and thank you very much for your kindness. “He was very stunned and very grateful. “Wha

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Torch Relay For Legacy Centenary

Torch Relay For Legacy Centenary

A torch relay that has made its way from Pozières, France, through London and around Australia came through Mackay last Wednesday, May 31 to mark 100 years of Legacy Australia. 23 locals, all with a connection to Legacy Australia, carried the torch throughout the town, ending in a service held at Jubilee Park. “It shows the overall admiration that the public have for the veteran community who go out in uniform and carry out their duties for the nation and sometimes don’t come home,” said Vietnam

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Salvos Lunch Launches Appeal To Help Struggling Locals

Salvos Lunch Launches Appeal To Help Struggling Locals

The Salvation Army is urging everyone to get involved in this year’s Red Shield Appeal, with funds raised locally staying local to support community services and programs in Mackay. The Mackay Corps hosted a lunch last Friday, inviting the business community to come together and hear about the work of the Salvation Army and to help invest into the community. The event is the local charity’s major fundraiser of the year, seeking contributions to assist in funding programs like welfare programs,

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June 8, 2023

Mackay Regional Council is offering significant discounts to responsible pet owners who get in early to ensure their pet’s registration was up to date.

Mayor Greg Williamson said residents who register their cats and dogs during the registration discount period in June can claim a reduction in fees ranging from 30 to 50 per cent.

“Registering your pet is an important part of being a responsible pet owner as it ensures that if your pet goes missing, we have your most up-to-date contact details so we can return your pet to you as soon as possible,” he said.

“Pet registration fees are also put towards the costs of running council’s Animal Management Centre, which provides care for lost pets.”

Council is running a photo competition for residents with registered animals to celebrate the discount period.

“We are encouraging pet owners to share photos of themselves and their pets practising responsible pet ownership,” Mayor Williamson said.

“This could be anything from taking your dog for a walk on a leash, playing in an off-leash dog park or a photo of your pet sporting a collar with a council pet registration tag.

“We will choose one winner each week and they will take home a $100 voucher from a local pet store.”

Pet owners should receive their pet registration renewal letters in the mail soon.

Please call 1300 MACKAY (622 529) for more information.

Did you know?

Council is currently running a desexing rebate where residents can claim $150 off the cost of desexing their dog and $75 off the cost of desexing their cat if they have been desexed in the last 60 days. Visit for details.

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Making Connections While Creating Opportunities

June 8, 2023

A local artist has had his work showcased with the release of a second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) unveiled by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) last week.

Launched during National Reconciliation Week, Acting Chief Executive Officer Belinda Kenny said the NQBP Reconciliation Action Plan 2023 to 2025 will further strengthen NQBP’s existing relationships with Traditional Owners in its port communities throughout Queensland.

“NQBP has been actively engaging and building relationships with the Traditional Owners of the land and sea at each of our ports over several decades,” Ms Kenny said.

“This includes the Traditional Owner groups of Juru at Abbot Point, Yuwi at Mackay and Hay Point and the Algnith and Wik Waya at Weipa.

“Our second Innovate RAP, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, extends our engagement and is a further commitment to actions that aim to lead to positive outcomes for the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within our port areas.

“We are proud of our achievements to date which have included changes to procurement policies that have led to a $1.7 million spend with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses last financial year, and also to significant employment opportunities during major projects.

“Working directly with Aboriginal businesses we have also facilitated business development and technical capacity as well as the further development of critical skills in environmental management. “We will strive to expand on these achievements in line with our vision for reconciliation in building sustainable and meaningful partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

The RAP features original artwork Making Connections and was prepared for NQBP by artist and designer, Robert Paul, a Juru man born in Bowen.

The artwork shows NQBP’s four ports “making connections” - working with communities, and creating opportunities on country within the regions to which the ports’ trades are connected.

The different patterns within the port symbols depict many interested trading parties and show how NQBP is connecting Queensland to the world through its ports.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) RAP Working Group members launched the second NQBP Reconciliation Action Plan 2023 - 2025 during National Reconciliation Week. From L-R – NQBP’s General Manager Commercial and Maritime Services Darren Brownsey, Luke Galea, Board Director Andrea Ranson, John Clark, Debbie McDonald, Luke Sorensen, Rachel Turvey, Emilie Power and Julie Keane

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Moving The Mob Piloted In Mackay

June 8, 2023

After 11 years of unemployment Butchulla man Brian Darby is thriving in his new job at Thomas Borthwicks & Sons.

Brian secured employment after taking part in Moving the Mob, an intensive pre-placement training program created to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Mackay region.

Powered by MRAEL through IntoJobs (part of the IntoWork Group), Moving the Mob has been co-designed with First Nations Program Facilitators to provide support and assistance specific to the needs of unemployed First Nations people, in a culturally safe environment.

Previously, 46-year-old Brian struggled to keep a job for more than a week but he loves his new role as a packer at Borthwicks.

"I love it.

“At the moment, I am stacking boxes of meat onto pallets and that suits me fine. It keeps me healthy and makes me stronger. I like to do work that builds my body and keeps me fit."

Brian's favourite thing about Moving the Mob program was learning self-respect and budgeting.

"Basically, how to keep everything balanced in life. It was really good communication between everyone involved; goals were all set out and what we wanted to achieve in the course. It was a very happy-natured course."

MRAEL Business Growth Partner Jason Allen said MRAEL consulted a range of First Nations representatives when developing the program to ensure it was both culturally safe and appropriate to reflect First Nation People’s specific needs.

“Our program is not about accreditation, it's not about even employability. It's more about their story and where they are at and empowering them to get to the next stage. The program is designed to motivate, engage, and develop a personal ‘story’ of each participant so we can further develop them to gain employment.”

The program covers off on personal and employment related goal setting and skills around money management, health and wellbeing, work readiness, local labour market information and access to further accredited training based on each individual needs.

With the pilot program held in Mackay, Mr Allen said MRAEL aims to expand the program to other Queensland regions and across Australia.

“We want to launch this across Australia to help as many First Nations people as possible to reach their employment goals.

“We’re looking forward to seeing this program roll out to other First Nations communities and support their unique needs.”

The next program will run in July, with applications closing on 30th June 2023. For more information call Intojobs Mackay on 1300 115 627.

Moving the Mob participants

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June 8, 2023

Stronger, Safer, More Affordable Homes

By Amanda Wright

Quick Points

● $20 million Federal Government boost for Queensland’s Household Resilience Program.

● Builds on State Government’s $50 million of investment in the program to date.

● Up to 1,100 additional low-income homes in North and Central Queensland to be safer and more secure.

● Reduces insurance premiums by building resilience to natural disasters, especially cyclones and severe storms.

Hundreds of Mackay and Whitsundays residents will now have increased access to assistance in fortifying their homes, thanks to a much-anticipated expansion of the Household Resilience Program. This initiative, designed to support low-income homeowners in cyclone-prone coastal communities, has received a welcome funding boost that will extend its reach to even more households.

Launched by the Queensland Government in 2018, the Household Resilience Program has already proven its effectiveness by assisting over 4,300 vulnerable households in strengthening their homes built prior to 1984. By reinforcing these structures, residents can better withstand the extreme weather conditions experienced in the state.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert MP said, “Many Mackay and Whitsundays people remember only too well the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017, both of which caused major damage to older homes.

“To date, 433 households in the Mackay region have been awarded grants of up to $11,250 to cover 75 per cent of the total cost of resilience works.”

One notable outcome of the program is the reduction in insurance premiums for participants. Recent data revealed that approved works achieved an average reduction of 10.3 per cent, demonstrating the program's success in mitigating risk and enhancing overall household resilience.

This is good news for locals, like Mackay homeowner Audrey Wardrop who said the program has been a “real Godsend”.

“I knew the old roof needed to go – but getting the money when you’re on a pension is difficult.

“Now at least I can go to bed and sleep and not have to worry when I hear the wind.

“It meant I didn’t have to worry about tradesmen turning up or all the other pieces that go with a major bit of work like this.

“It really was wonderful, and I am so happy and so grateful.”

The new funding injection of $20 million from the Federal Government will enable the program's extension for up to three years, providing an opportunity for more families to benefit. It is estimated that this additional funding will facilitate resilience works for approximately 1,100 more homes.

Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers said that building more resilient homes is the key to building stronger communities in north Queensland.

“This boost will help more people to put protections in place to limit the damage when storm season rolls around,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Disaster response and recovery is important but if we can make homes more resilient and resistant to the kind of wild weather which has become more frequent in these parts in recent years, Queenslanders will be much better off.”

Eligible works covered by the program encompass a range of vital upgrades and replacements, including roof, garage door, and house frame enhancements. Additionally, measures such as roof structural strengthening using external over-batten tiedowns, as well as window protection installations like cyclone shutters or screens, are part of the program's offerings.

Low-income Queenslanders who own older homes located within a 50-kilometer radius of the coast, spanning from Bundaberg north to the Northern Territory border, are encouraged to explore the opportunity and consider applying while funding remains available.

Mick De Brenni, Energy, Renewables, Hydrogen Minister and Public Works and Procurement Minister, local resident Audrey Wardrop and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert MP

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New GM To Tackle Areas Of Demand For Mental Health

June 8, 2023

Leading mental wellbeing and suicide prevention not-for-profit charity, selectability, has welcomed a new General Manager, service development to support its continued expansion in regional Queensland.

The new General Manager, Matt Kinnane was appointed to create and develop multiple new services to meet the diverse mental wellbeing and suicide prevention needs of regional Queenslanders.

CEO, Debra Burden said the rapid growth of the company prompted the move, which required a dedicated industry expert.

“We are delighted to welcome Matt to the executive team,” Mrs Burden said.

“Matt’s proven track record in disability across North Queensland leaves him well-placed to drive the expansion of our services.

“The new services will address areas of demand and unmet need across our footprint.

“Services like social housing are particularly important with the current housing crisis leaving many of our consumers homeless or in insecure housing.”

Matt Kinnane said he was delighted to join the selectability team to lead the development of new services.

“selectability has seen substantial growth in the last 12 months, so I am looking forward to working with a strong workforce to improve the wellbeing of our consumers,” Mr Kinnane said.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to apply my skills and experience to deliver new services to the individuals and communities that need them most.

“I have been a part of this sector for a long time, and I am passionate about creating opportunities for those in regional and remote areas, ensuring they have access to high quality support locally.”

Mr Kinnane brings over two decades of strong leadership to the selectability executive team, including extensive experience in finance, social services, and disability.

General Manager for Service Development Matt Kinnane

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NQBP Community Fund To Boost Port Communities

June 8, 2023

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) launched its 2023-24 Community Fund today, Friday June 9.

A total of $60,000 in funding is available for initiatives across NQBP’s port communities of Hay Point, Mackay, Abbot Point (Bowen), and Weipa.

NQBP Acting Chief Executive Officer Belinda Kenny said the annual NQBP Community Fund supports local groups and organisations in delivering valuable initiatives that make a real difference in their communities.

“NQBP values the importance of giving back to the communities in which it operates and has proudly provided more than $1 million in community sponsorships and donations over the last decade,” Ms Kenny said.

“The NQBP Community Fund provides funding opportunities for community events, programs and activities that benefit our communities and promote the goals of NQBP.

“Last year, the NQBP Community Fund supported nine community initiatives including sailing experiences and barista courses for persons with disabilities, science and technology school projects/education, and more.

“We’re proud to see the NQBP Community Fund at work within our port communities, with each initiative promoting our values of Excellence, Unity, Respect, and Integrity.”

Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society president, Brian Osborn, said the sponsorship received via the 2022-23 NQBP Community Fund has enabled the volunteer group to complete a Conservation Management Plan for the historic lighthouse located at the Mackay Marina.  

“With NQBP’s support, we have been able to obtain expert advice on the nature and extent of works required to repair and maintain the Pine Islet Lighthouse and preserve the iconic structure’s heritage values,” Mr Osborn said.

“The Lighthouse is almost 140 years old and is a key piece of the local maritime history, so it is wonderful, and quite fitting, to have the local port authority (NQBP) supporting the Lighthouse’s preservation.”

NQBP is a Queensland Government-owned corporation responsible for the ports of Hay Point, Mackay, Abbot Point and Weipa in far north Queensland.

The NQBP Community Fund is open to non-profit groups and organisations, and registered charities, and seeks to support events, programs and activities that align with NQBP’s vision to be a global leader in the sustainable facilitation of port trade and its values of Excellence, Unity, Respect and Integrity.

Applications that identify a community or environmental need, and are consistent with or promote the principles of diversity and inclusion are encouraged.  

Applications for this year’s NQBP Community Fund close on 10 July 2023.

For further details or to apply visit

Proud 2022-23 NQBP Community Fund sponsorship recipients Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society volunteers Stephen Wallace and Brian Osborne standing alongside the iconic Pine Islet Lighthouse

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Teacher Turns Heart Attack Into IT Career

June 8, 2023

Shaun Killian is obsessed with studying, reading, improving his knowledge and using it to help others.

A teacher for most of his life, Shaun ran into health complications that altered his path and led him to a career in web design, starting his business WEBsmall Website Design in 2021.

Shaun started teaching in Collinsville in 1991 and spent most of his teaching career as a Tech Coordinator.

“As schools got more and more invested in technology, I remained as Computer Coordinator in many schools and was comfortable teaching teachers about it as well as teaching kids,” he said.

Shaun’s long career as a teacher came to an end in 2012 when he had a heart attack in front of his year 7 class at a Sarina primary school.

He waited four years for a heart transplant and used this time to spread his wings and expand his knowledge.

“I was constantly studying and reading research about effective teaching, and I turned it into user-friendly advice based on research in a blog, so I learned how to do everything myself,” he said.

Shaun underwent a heart transplant in 2016 but it wasn’t without complications, ultimately spending 495 days in hospital and losing both of his legs.

After six months of focussing on his health back in Mackay, he decided he wanted to capitalise on over 15 years’ experience in websites and embark on a new career.

“I started helping friends and colleagues with websites and working on a few more of my own,” he said.

“The thing I get from work is helping people, whether it’s helping kids learn or helping small businesses grow, and it was a way I could help people given my physical circumstances.”

WEBsmall Website Design assists small businesses to launch or grow their online presence, offering more than just a website.

“I actually want to help them and to do that, I need to understand the business, the business owners, what they need from a website and give them advice as if their business is my business,” Shaun said.

Whether it’s launching a new website or improving a current one and increasing clicks, Shaun loves to see people and businesses succeed.

Visit to find out more.

Shaun Killian learning to use prosthetic legs after losing his following a heart attack. Photo supplied

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Local Boilermaker Stars In National Sugar Campaign

June 8, 2023

A local third-year apprentice boilermaker from Mackay Sugar’s Marian Mill is one of the faces of a new digital campaign launched by the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) to highlight the training and apprenticeship opportunities available throughout regional Queensland and the sugar milling industry’s significant economic and social contributions to the state.    

Maddy McConaghy is one of eight apprentices from Queensland sugar mills to feature in the campaign, which coincides with the start of the annual sugarcane crushing season in Queensland. Ms McConaghy said the apprenticeship was providing her with the opportunity to learn new skills and maintain her work-life balance.

“I learn lots of new skills and I get to be home every night,” she said.

“Each day brings new tasks. Lots of mill repairs, fabricating new pipes, and getting to use a big range of welding equipment.

“Everybody works really well together and it's a great work-life balance.”

ASMC Chief Executive Officer Rachele Sheard said the sugar industry is the lifeblood of many regional communities along the Queensland coastline, supporting over 19,000 jobs and injecting close to $3.8 billion directly and indirectly into the state economy.

“The sugar manufacturing sector is part of the economic fabric of regional Queensland communities and offers attractive and skilled career pathways,” Ms Sheard said.

“This campaign puts a face to our apprentices and highlights the important role the factories play in providing training and career opportunities, financial security and a great lifestyle in regional Queensland.

The Sugar Milling Apprentice campaign will be promoted through social media, industry events and partnerships, and also profiles apprentices from Tully Sugar, Wilmar Sugar’s Victoria Mill (Ingham) and Pioneer Mill (Brandon), Mackay Sugar, and Isis Central Sugar (Bundaberg Region).

Ms Sheard said she hopes the campaign will help raise awareness of the important role the sugar industry plays in Queensland’s economy and inspire more young people to pursue apprenticeships in the industry.

“Having diversified sources of employment and investment has never been more important for our regional communities, who without the agriculture sector, would have been severely impacted during the pandemic.

“Not only do our sugar factories offer rewarding career pathways and financial security to regional Queenslanders and their communities locally, but we are a progressive, future-focused sector that will make a significant contribution to our state’s renewable energy agenda over the next decade.”

Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, endorsed the Sugar Milling Apprenticeship campaign, highlighting the importance of securing the next generation of skilled workers.

“The sugar industry is so important for Australia, and we need the next generation of skilled workers to support it into the future,” he said.

“An apprenticeship in the sugar sector can lead to a rewarding, secure and well-paid job in a vital Australian industry.”

Maddy McConaghy

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Plane Creek Productivity Celebrated

June 8, 2023

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

The Plane Creek milling area covers a lot of country- the coastal strip from around Alligator Creek all the way down to Flaggy Rock and on to Clairview, and that country takes in a lot of productive cane growing land, along with many very good farmers.

Just over a week ago, the cane-growing community came together to celebrate the Plane Creek Productivity Services Productivity Awards, celebrating the achievements of growers in the 2022 harvest.

The top performer and winner of the Arthur Gardner Shield for Best Producer for the Season, Koumala grower Mark Sant, pulled in a very high 18.75 tonnes of sugar per hectare. That’s a massive 33% above the average for the Koumala zone.

Productivity is one of the most important parts of farming- it drives profitability, but celebrating the growers who can really produce a great crop is important. The Productivity Awards Highlight those top achievers, for the benefit of their fellow growers. For sure, no-one gets into growing cane to win awards, but there is a lot to learn from growers with high productivity achieved within sustainable systems.

It makes you think, as a farmer: what can I learn and do better myself? How can I achieve results like that also? As an industry, we are trying to produce more but with less inputs. If someone is achieving good results sustainably, then there is something to learn there, it gives us something to take note of, and aspire to. It’s the start of a conversation between growers about how we can improve productivity.

The PCPSL Productivity Awards are an important event for the milling area’s growers- it’s always a great family night, with a strong community spirit, and this year’s event was no exception. This year, the Awards were held in Carmila, giving Carmila State School P&C a fundraising opportunity in providing a BBQ dinner for around 150 people who attend.

Every year, the event is held, in turn, in Koumala, Carmila or Sarina, with the state schools of each town benefitting through that fundraising activity. CANEGROWERS Mackay joins other sponsors in supporting the awards, and congratulates all award recipients. We also congratulate the PCPSL team, who wade through productivity records to determine the district's top producers.

If the Mackay Regional community is keen to see some great cane- don’t forget to take a look at the Show Cane competition displays as we come into Ag Show season- and we encourage all our growers to think about entering some samples of their best cane at the Pioneer Valley, Mackay and Sarina Shows this year.

2022 Season Plane Creek Productivity Award Winners


Plane Creek: Paul McDougall (12.24 TSH)

Dawlish: Manuel Muscat (15.82 TSH)

Main Line: Alan McFadzen (13.74 TSH)

Cliftonville: Jake Galea (13.97 TSH)

Yukan: Phillip Borg (15.46 TSH)

Koumala: Mark Sant (18.75 TSH)

Bolingbroke: Trevor Sleeman (13.79 TSH)

Turnors Paddock: John, Anne and Rob Hand (15.18 TSH)

Mt Christian: Fred and Janelle Axiak (16.60 TSH)

Ilbilbie: Joe Quattromani (15.21 TSH)

West Hill: Rodney Hindle (12.78 TSH)

Carmila West: Rodney Hindle (13.93 TSH)

Carmila: Russell and Chris Thompson (12.11 TSH)


Arthur Gardner Shield - Best Producer of the Season:  Mark Sant (18.75 TSH)

Best Producer over Five Years: Phillip Borg (15.46 TSH)

Cane Growing Excellence Award: Mark Sant (18.75 TSH)

Highest Average Rel. CCS by Farm: George Sammut (13.9CCS)

Next Generation Grower: Sam and Nick Axiak

Best Harvesting Group: Troy Steindl

Jim Pedersen Sustainable Management Award: Colin Bourke

CANEGROWERS Mackay Chairman Kevin Borg and PCPSL Chair Mal Langdon present the Cane Growing Excellence Award to Mark Sant and daughter Selena

From left, Wilmar Sugar Marketing Angus McKerrow Mal Langdon present Best Producer over Five Years, Phillip Borg with grandsons Ben Jack and Chris

From left NQ Farmshed's  Wayne Berginey PCPSL Chairman Mal Langdon congratulate Main Line zone winner Alan McFadzen

Kevin Borg presents the CANEGROWERS Mackay Next Generation Grower award, won by Sam (and Nick, absent) Axiak

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Family Fun Day

June 8, 2023
Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Hundreds of families enjoyed a Sunday filled with family fun last weekend, with all proceeds donated to Mackay Hospital Foundation and local hospitals.

Presented by sponsors Gardian, Daly Bay, BMA, Mount Pleasant Shopping Centre and S.H. Tait & Co.

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Rolling Towards Glory

June 8, 2023

Sarina Ladies showcased their skills and determination in the finals of the Open singles and B Singles, delivering an exhilarating display of bowling prowess. In a tightly contested battle, Bertha Archer emerged victorious in the Open category, overcoming Sudi Blinco with a nail-biting score of 25-22. Meanwhile, Robyn Large claimed the title in the B Singles, triumphing over Ros Way with an impressive score of 25-9.

With these individual victories under their belts, the spotlight now shifts to the upcoming rinks games, where the ladies will compete as teams, vying for the ultimate triumph. As the tournament progresses in the following weeks, anticipation runs high to witness which team will emerge as the ultimate champion.

Ros Way and Robyn Large

Sudi Blinco and Bertha Archer

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Helping Locals Achieve Financial Goals

June 8, 2023

It's not every day that you come across individuals who go above and beyond to help others. Today, we shine the spotlight on Kylie Schulze, a remarkable individual who has been a vital team member of Community Bank Sarina Bendigo Bank for the past eight years.

In her role as a Customer Relationship Officer, Kylie's primary focus is personal lending, including personal loans and credit cards. What sets her apart is her genuine passion for assisting clients to achieve their goals, whether it's purchasing a car, and especially young people purchasing their first car, taking a well-deserved holiday, or undertaking home renovations.

“I understand that these moments are significant milestones in people's lives, and I take great pride in being able to help those dreams become reality.”

With over 20 years in banking, Kylie provides valuable insights, ensuring clients make informed financial decisions that align with their goals and aspirations. She cherishes the opportunity to get to know her clients and to be a part of their financial journey. For Kylie, it's about people, not just about transactions and numbers.

“I enjoy forming meaningful connections and making a positive impact on the lives of those around me.”

Outside of work, Kylie values her weekends as a time to unwind and spend quality time with her family. She also enjoys getting to know the Sarina community and supporting different local organisations.

“The Sarina Men’s Shed has been a favourite community group of mine for many years. They provide a safe and supportive environment for men to come together, share skills, and foster friendships. It’s a true asset to the community.”

We extend our gratitude to Kylie for her unwavering dedication, professionalism, and heartfelt commitment to helping her clients achieve their dreams. We are very fortunate to have her as a part of our team at Community Bank Sarina.

Contact Kylie at our branch on (07) 4943 2634 for a genuine approach to personal lending.

Community Bank Sarina Bendigo Bank is proud to support the local community. L-R: Ted Malone, Charmaine Matsen, Sheryl Brown, Karen May, Ann Fordyce, Kylie Schulze and Josie Dahtler

Kylie Schulze

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Editor's Note

June 8, 2023

Hi Everyone,

The housing crisis is something we have been covering fairly regularly for the past few years and a subject I feel passionate about including in the paper.

It seems like we have all either directly experienced or know someone who has been directly impacted by the issue.

This week I met a young 17-year-old couple who have a seven-month-old baby daughter.

Despite having a child so young, these two individuals are determined to create a good life for their little family.

And while some youth get a bad rap for doing nothing to help themselves, simply waiting for a hand-out instead, these two are the opposite.

They are willing to do the hard work, they have savings, they just needed someone to give them the opportunity.

Incredibly, one local family did, and you can read the full story on page 10.

There are many reasons for the current housing crisis – a sudden increase in population creating a stock shortage, investors choosing to sell instead of rent, rental prices rising due to demand – but one of the main issues, in my opinion, is the amount of short-term accommodation we have in the area.

As Councillor Clive Bauman stated in Wednesday’s Council meeting – “there are no three-bedroom houses for rent in Cannonvale but there are 116 short term rentals with three bedrooms”.

It seems like housing for our community has been gradually replaced by holiday accommodation and while families are looking for homes, others are sitting vacant until the next holiday booking comes along.

One in three people in the Whitsundays work in tourism and, if we do not have homes for our workers, we may soon have no hospitality staff to serve our visitors.


Quote of the Week: “Be realistic: Plan for a miracle” (Osho)

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Porters Mitre 10 Mackay Constructs Triumph As Store Of The Year

June 8, 2023

Porters Mitre 10 Mackay proudly emerged as the triumphant victor of the hardware realm, crowned as 'Store of the Year' at the prestigious National Timber & Hardware Awards. This monumental accomplishment, awarded to the Mackay City Store in the Retail Store over 2500 sqm category, pays homage to their unwavering commitment to store standards and operational excellence.

Nestled at the heart of Mackay's thriving CBD, Porters Mitre 10 Mackay stands tall as the flagship store of the Porters Group. With an impressive array of offerings, including a bustling café, an expansive garden centre, and the distinction of being Mackay's sole Weber Specialist Dealer, Porters reigns supreme as the local community's go-to destination for all things hardware.

Hayden Cargill, CEO of the Porters Group, expressed heartfelt gratitude for this momentous feat and acknowledged the unwavering support of the local community. Cargill stated, "Taking out Hardware Store of the Year at the recent National Timber & Hardware Awards means a lot to our team and the Porters Family. Without the continuous support for our local community, we wouldn't be able to achieve such high recognition at a national level."

"I am incredibly proud of our entire team; it is a true testament to their hard work and dedication. It is an honour to be recognized as one of the best hardware businesses in the country."

L-R: David Little (National Timber and Hardware Association CEO), Hayden Cargill (Porters Group CEO) and Casey Blyton (Porters Group Retail Manager)

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Fishing For Free

June 8, 2023

When a grandmother took to social media to ask the local community if there was someone willing to teach her grandson to fish while they were on holiday, she was overwhelmed by the kind response from people willing to help.

Last week, while visiting Arlie Beach on a cruise ship, her 12-year-old grandson met with Brent Stephenson who took the time to teach him to fish, tie knots and other valuable lessons.

Brent runs weekly free fishing clinics for kids of any age and any background, giving some that may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn the skill, access to the sport.

This all began when he moved to the area with his partner, and she encouraged him to donate his fishing gear to Proserpine Youth Space.

When he attended the centre, he realised that his calling was more than donating a few rods, it was to help kids learn to fish.

Since then, Brent has started running regular clinics, passing on knowledge and skills to the younger generation.

“Fishing has helped me a lot in life, it is my happy place,” said Brent.

“I hope that by helping kids learn to fish it will help them whenever they feel lost in life.”

If you are interested in attending one of the fishing clinics, simply come to New Beach in Airlie Beach at 3.30pm on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

Go to Mudskippa’s Whitsunday Fishing Clinics on Facebook to check the time as often days rotate.

Brent also runs a fishing apparel business called Mudskippa and donates 5 per cent from each sale back into the free fishing clinics.

Brent Stephenson runs weekly free fishing clinics at New Beach. Photo supplied

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