Community News

Treasure What Is Truly Precious

Treasure What Is Truly Precious

This week has been marked by the shocking and tragic events surrounding the attempted assassination of former President Donald J. Trump during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. It's a stark reminder of how life can be lost in the blink of an eye and the importance of treasuring every moment. President Trump is very fortunate to be alive, having turned his head at the precise moment needed for the bullet to only graze his ear. Tragically, a life was lost—that of a true American hero. Corey Comper

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Crafting With Compassion

Crafting With Compassion

Since 2016, Sew Create Donate Inc. in Mackay has been a dedicated group of volunteers who sew, knit and crochet handmade blankets and other essential items for those in need within the community. Their contributions have made a significant impact on the lives of individuals supported by the Neighbourhood Hub, who have expressed deep gratitude for the donations of toiletry bags and other necessities. With compassion woven into every stitch, each blanket represents countless hours of dedication

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See The Olympic Spirit LIVE On The Bluewater Quay

See The Olympic Spirit LIVE On The Bluewater Quay

Mackay is going LIVE for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special celebration site to be activated at Bluewater Quay. The activation is part of statewide celebrations where Queenslanders will gather for special events backing our Aussie athletes and marking our own ‘8-Years-To-Go’ milestone as hosts of the 2032 Games. Olympics and Paralympics LIVE events will ignite the Olympic spirit from the Gold Coast to Cairns and west to Longreach during Paris 2024. Bluewater Quay will be

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Let's #ForkCancer Together!

Let's #ForkCancer Together!

By Hannah McNamara Meet Cheree Ridolfi, a kind-hearted Mackay local with a passion for making a difference in the fight against cancer. This August, Cheree will be hosting a #ForkCancer Longest Table event to raise funds for life-changing cancer research. By hosting this event, Cheree aims to gather friends, family and community members to a fun-filled feast, all while raising crucial funds for a tangible cause. With nearly 444 Australians receiving a cancer diagnosis each day, Cheree is d

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Northern Beaches Welcomes Back First Special Constable

July 18, 2024

In 2006, a young Constable Marshall Roper was among the inaugural roster at the newly opened Mackay Northern Beaches police station. After previously serving at Mackay station, Roper dedicated the remainder of his career to the Northern Beaches and Marian police stations in the Pioneer Valley, retiring in October 2022.
This week, the Mackay Northern Beaches police station proudly welcomes him back as he embarks on his "second" career as a Special Constable. With his extensive operational experience, Roper is expected to be a significant asset to both the station and the local community.
Welcome back, Marshall.

One of the first photographs taken in 2006 at the launch of the Mackay Northern Beaches Police Station

Special Constable Marshall Roper starts the next stage of his policing career at Mackay Northern Beaches Police Station. Photos supplied

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July 18, 2024

Opinion Piece
Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox said Labor’s new mandatory emissions reporting is yet another attack on Australian farmers and will impose costly regulatory burdens.
“In a cost-of-living crisis, this reckless policy making is going to see an added cost of $2.3 billion to farmers, which will ultimately increase the cost of fresh food and produce nationally, and will be passed onto consumers at the checkout,” Mr Willcox said.
Under the new reporting requirements, farmers and businesses will have to report their indirect greenhouse gas emissions right along their supply chain that aren’t being generated by the company directly.
Mr Willcox explained that large reporting entities could pass their risk down through the supply chain, with banks factoring in farmer’s emissions data into lending decisions, or supermarkets could require farmers to report their emissions, even though farmers don’t have the science to do so.
“There are currently no standardised methods for calculating land and livestock emissions in Australia, plus there are no real alternatives available for lines used in their operations, such as fertiliser and diesel that have the same value or impact,” he said.
“This is yet another demonstration of the Government’s contempt for farmers and is punishing these hard-working Aussies, despite our farming industry already having some of the best land management practices in the world.”
Mr Willcox said the reporting requirements are going to impose significant compliance costs with accounting and recording on-farm emissions.

“And with these increase costs, we will see them being passed on at the checkout, making the cost-of-living and cost-of-food crisis worse for our families,” he added.
“Our Aussie farmers are already drowning in green and red tape, and this will add even more complexity to that and unfairly increases the burden on our farming industry.
“This policy has the potential to push some farmers and small businesses out of business altogether, and there are legitimate concerns about how this data will be used, who it will be shared with, or if some industry groups might be discriminated against.
“In Australia, we can support our farmers and fulfill our international climate commitments at the same time, without creating reckless and harmful policies such as this.”

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selectability Launches New Mackay Mental Health Hub

July 18, 2024

selectability, officially opened the doors to its new Mackay Mental Health hub last Wednesday, on July 10 2024.

The newly established Mental Health Hub consolidates selectability’s services from three locations across Mackay into a larger and more adaptable space on River St.

Over 100 attendees, including local government representatives, service providers and community members gathered to explore what the new facility had to offer.

selectability General Manager of Mackay, Sue-Ellen Weedon said that delivering services from a central location would help to break down barriers for those seeking support.  

“selectability Mackay is committed to ensuring locals have access to the high-quality mental health services they deserve,” Sue-Ellen affirmed.

“Trying to navigate mental health services is daunting for many people, so having a range of services available in one facility will allow us to better respond to community need.

“It will also bring a lot of fantastic benefits for our current consumers including more activities to choose from and extended operating hours.”

selectability delivers tailored one-on-one support and group programs like the Mackay Clubhouse, which is an initiative designed to help individuals build capacity and improve their mental well-being. 

“We provide services through the NDIS and other state and federal government programs.

“You don’t need a referral - drop in and see the team, have a tour of the new Mental Health Hub and find out how we can support you,” Sue-Ellen added.

Mackay Regional Council Mayor, Greg Williamson, welcomed the opening of the new Mental Health Hub.

“It is great to have a new central location for Mackay residents to connect and access a range of vital mental wellbeing and suicide prevention services,” Cr Williamson said.

If you are in need of assistance or would like to know more about this organisation, please visit

selectability opened its doors to their newest Mental Health Hub last Wednesday, offering a wide range of new equipment and services to better mental wellbeing. Photo credit: selectability

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Reversing Opioid Overdoses With A Free Over-The-Counter Nasal Spray

July 18, 2024

If you knew that a free, over-the-counter nasal spray could save someone from an opioid overdose in just minutes, would you carry one with you?

Now accessible at most pharmacies, is Naloxone (also known as Narcan), a medicinal nasal spray used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids, with its makers claiming it can be used in a safe and harmless way, with no negative side effects.

It’s also available completely free of charge.

Naloxone offers a “quick and accessible treatment” that is designed to stabilise an individual experiencing an opioid overdose, anywhere, at any time, before further medical attention attends the scene.  

Opioids encompass a variety of drugs, including synthetic opioids like oxycodone (OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (Vicodin®), alongside substances such as codeine, morphine, heroin and numerous other illegally laced street drugs.

Major concerns have been raised specifically for those consuming high dosages, with studies suggesting that prescribed opioids contribute to a shocking amount of roughly 75 hospitalisations and two deaths per day.  

A local mother by the name of Amber Stead is determined to spread her knowledge of Naloxone throughout the community, in hopes of reducing the amount of drug overdoses in the region.  

Amber raises major concerns as a mother and says that, “People are dying needlessly without knowing that a tiny nose spray, free to all, could have saved the sons and daughters that they now mourn.”

“The new opioid hitting Australia starves the body of breath quickly so the use of Narcan can make the difference between an ambulance making it or not,” she said.

“Things have changed, drugs are so dangerous now and I just want people to know that they have an option instead of watching people die in front of them.

“I think if we can be bold enough to have a sharps container on the wall, we can be brave enough to put out a notice that you can access Narcan.”

Amber says she is happy to be a “Nanny Narcan” to speak out and publicly raise awareness about the nasal spray in areas where it may be needed most, particularly for the night life in popular clubs, pubs and parties where a simple spray up the nostril could mean the difference between life or death.

“I’m having these conversations with my grown children, so that when they go up town or to a party, they can carry it with them knowing that they could potentially save someone’s life,”  

“If you know you’re in a situation where you or someone you know is using, be drug smart and carry it with you,” Amber remarked.

Just as a home needs a fire extinguisher, Amber, along with professional pharmacists and medical advisors suggest that Naloxone should be a normalised part of a safety plan or first aid kit that is easily accessible in all homes and venues. The small size of the nasal spray allows for convenient storage in a glovebox, handbag, or even a pocket.

Local Pharmacist Manager, Danielle Thompson from United Chemists West Mackay, says that Naloxone can save lives and is a device more locals should have on hand as a safety precaution, in case of an emergency.  

“It’s simply a nasal spray that you spray into the nose and it immediately reverses the effects of the medication, and it can be lifesaving,” Ms Thompson said.

“It’s free, it’s available to everyone, you can take two boxes at a time and it’s all confidential.”

Due to the rising issue of drug overdoses, The Government has made Naloxone free for all to access over the counter in hopes of reducing the number of deaths caused by the drug.

“There has been an increase in overdoses from people taking illegal street drugs which those drugs are being mixed with very strong opioids and there have been a number of deaths because of it,” Ms Thompson said.

“Likened to having a fire extinguisher at home – you hope you’ll never have to use it but it’s there as a safety precaution in case you do.”

While the nasal spray is said to be life-saving, medical advisors say that calling an ambulance for further medical attention is still required.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone could be in a situation that requires fast action in the current drug climate - just having one in every home would save hundreds,” Amber added.


If you require further assistance, please reach out to the following numbers:
Lifeline - 131114
Drug Arm - 0749441173
Narcotics Anonymous- 0473633066 or 1300652820
Beyond Blue- 1300224636
Nelson St Mental health – 49683893

Danielle Thompson, Pharmacist Manager from United Chemists West Mackay. Photo credit: Hannah McNamara

“Things have changed, drugs are so dangerous now and I just want people to know that they have an option instead of watching people die in front of them.

“I think if we can be bold enough to have a sharps container on the wall, we can be brave enough to put out a notice that you can access Narcan.”

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Drugs And Weapons Seized In Operation Kelly

July 18, 2024

Mackay Police have charged two people following investigations into a number of alleged drugs and weapons offences in Mackay late last week.
Around 2pm on Friday, July 12, officers executed a search warrant at a River Street unit in Mackay, where they allegedly located several firearms, including three rifles, a handgun, a homemade firearm, a taser and several rounds of ammunition.
Police also seized drug utensils, quantities of cannabis and cocaine, and cash.
The recent arrests, led by officers from the Mackay Tactical Crime Squad were executed as part of Operation Kelly, an ongoing operation aimed at targeting drug and firearm offenders in the area.
A 24-year-old Mackay man was arrested at the scene and has been charged with six counts of unlawful possession of weapons, two counts of possessing dangerous drugs, and one count each of producing dangerous drugs, possessing anything used in commission of a crime, possessing utensils, possessing tainted property, authority required to possess explosives, and assaulting a watchhouse officer.
He has been remanded in custody and is due to reappear before Mackay Magistrates Court on August 23.
A 19-year-old North Mackay woman was also arrested at the scene and has been charged with six counts of unlawful possession of weapons, two counts of possessing dangerous drugs, and one count each of producing dangerous drugs, receiving tainted property firearm/ammunition, possessing anything used in the commission of a crime, possessing utensils, and authority required to possess explosives.
She is due to reappear before Mackay Magistrates Court on August 23.
Acting Senior Sergeant Troy Hayward said the operation has brought significant charges over the past week.
“Operation Kelly has seen officers infiltrate known repeat offenders across Mackay and remove dangerous drugs and firearms from our streets.
“Illegal firearms and illicit drugs have no place in our community, and we will continue to target offenders and do everything we can to protect members of the public and keep the community safe,” Acting Senior Sergeant Hayward said.
Investigations are continuing with more arrests likely.

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Offering A Safe Space To Sleep

July 18, 2024

Sleepbus, a charitable organisation dedicated to providing safe sleeping accommodations for those experiencing homelessness is bringing its life-changing sleepbus service to the QME Exhibition this weekend.

Founded on the belief that sleep changes everything, sleepbus ensures that people facing homelessness have a secure place to rest, offering a temporary refuge until they can transition to more permanent housing solutions.

‘Each sleepbus has up to 20 secure, climate controlled, individual sleep pods with a lockable door and toilet. Everyone is looked after with overnight volunteer caretakers and CCTV surveillance, we also have under bus storage for belongings, and pets are welcome to stay also’

At the heart of sleepbus is its readiness to collaborate with local authorities and emergency services, ensuring that their resources are directed where they are most needed during crises. This collaborative approach enhances the effectiveness of disaster response efforts, providing a crucial lifeline to those affected by calamities. Sleepbus RESPONSE aims to alleviate the immediate shelter needs of frontline workers and disaster victims during natural tragedies such as fires or floods.

Sleepbus is currently progressing with the development of two buses for Mackay - one standard blue service bus and a pink women-only sleepbus. Additionally, an extra bus for Sarina is in the works, with sleepbus Founder Simon Rowe stating that “the goal is to have them completed by the end of the year.’

As sleepbus prepares to showcase their service at the QME Exhibition, they are actively seeking community support in the form of donations and volunteers. These contributions are vital in sustaining and expanding their mission to provide emergency shelter and support to vulnerable populations during times of crisis.

By participating in the QME Exhibition, sleepbus aims to raise awareness and garner community backing to ensure that no one faces homelessness without a safe place to sleep.

The pink sleepbus will be on display at the QME Expo on the 23rd, 24th & 25th of July at the Mackay Showgrounds.

Simon encourages all to “Come find us and have a look, you just can’t miss it, it’ll be a bright pink bus and any interest and support will be greatly appreciated.”

Your support is crucial in helping them continue their mission. Sleepbus relies solely on public donations, as they do not receive any government grants.

To learn more about sleepbus and how you can contribute to their efforts, visit

sleepbus will display a pink women’s-only bus at this years QME expo in hopes of raising funds to continue their mission of supplying a safe space to sleep for not only the community, but Australia-wide. Images supplied

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July 18, 2024

Take a virtual look into what Mackay has to offer at the Greater Whitsunday METS Innovation Lounge at QME 2024.
Mackay Regional Council is pleased to again partner with local and state government stakeholders and industry bodies to highlight the latest in technological innovations at QME from July 23 to 25.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said virtual reality and AI technology would feature at this year’s METS Innovation Lounge.
“A feature at the stand this year will be the 360-degree 3D video, which will promote the Mackay region based on council’s Discover Mackay website, with the themes of Live, Work, Invest and Explore,” Mayor Williamson said.
“Attendees can view the video through VR headsets,” he said.
“For the first time, the Innovation Lounge will also feature an AI phone agent, which is an expert on our region.
“The AI phone agent, called Maddy, will answer questions about the region, provide information about current and future industries and even tell you where to get a cup of coffee.
“The AI phone agent, developed by local company A-Tech Industries, will demonstrate the type of technology that is available to assist small businesses in their day-to-day operations.”
Mayor Williamson said QME 2024 is on track to be the largest QME in more than a decade.
“Council is committed to supporting Prime Creative Media, who recently acquired QME, to showcase Mackay’s METS sector to a national and international audience,” Mayor Williamson said.
“We look forward to working with Prime Creative Media to deliver QME in Mackay in future years,” he said.
“The METS and mining sector is a huge contributor to our local economy, and we want to continue to shine a light on our region as the hub of mining and METS in Queensland.
“QME is a signature event on Mackay’s calendar and one that council is proud to support.”
Greater Whitsunday METS Innovation Lounge partners are Whitsunday and Isaac Regional councils, Resource Industry Network, Resources Centre of Excellence, Greater Whitsunday Alliance, Department of State Development and Infrastructure, Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water and Trade and Investment Queensland.
Visitors to the stand can also meet some of our region’s outstanding METS businesses, including MyneSight, Gricon Industries, CQG Consulting, iCutter Industries, D&T Hydraulics, Stemsafe and JCW Drafting.
The Greater Whitsunday METS Innovation Lounge can be found at stand A616 at QME at the Mackay Showgrounds.
Drop by for a coffee and a chat or visit the stand for Cocktail Hour, with cocktails from the award-winning Sarina Sugar Shed.

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Unlocking Decarbonisation Opportunities

July 18, 2024

Decarbonisation Accelerated project has partnered with the Queensland Mining & Engineering and Exhibition (QME) to facilitate a one-day program focused on Mining and METS on Wednesday July 24.

This event is set to bring together leading minds and key stakeholders to explore real-world examples of decarbonisation challenges and opportunities across the mining industry and its supply chains.

The program will facilitate the exchange of ideas, innovations and strategies to drive the decarbonisation agenda forward. With a focus on actionable insights and collaborative approaches, the program is designed to empower industry leaders to make significant strides in reducing carbon footprints.

Greater Whitsunday Alliance Chief Executive Officer Ms Kylie Porter said the key message of the QME Decarbonisation Accelerated Program is to encourage the mining supply chain to embrace decarbonisation as an opportunity to transform and remain competitive.

“Session themes will focus on circular economy, post-mining land use, and decarbonisation leadership to help delegates understand the scale of decarbonisation opportunity.”

Ms Porter said attendees will see industry leaders share their ‘why’ and strategies for reducing carbon emissions.

“Across the Greater Whitsunday region, mining is the largest exporter, generating regional exports estimated at $43.475 billion and it is also the largest employment sector supporting more than 18,000 jobs.

“Decarbonisation is high on the agenda of both mining companies and government priorities, and businesses need to be prepared for the changing landscape,” Ms Porter said

Some of the event highlights include keynote addresses from BHP Vice President Climate Graham Winkelman; renowned environmentalist and post mining land revival specialist Dr Peter Whitbread and circular economy company, COREO CEO Ashleigh Morris.

Resources Centre of Excellence Chief Executive Officer Mr Steven Boxall said decarbonisation cuts right through the Australian resources sector.

“As an epicentre of mining activity, the Greater Whitsunday region will play a significant leadership role in paving a way to a low carbon future in mining.

“The program provides an opportunity for QME delegates to learn from industry leaders in mining and its supply chain about navigating the complexities of this once-in-a-lifetime industry shift.”

“That’s why we see the QME Decarbonisation Accelerated Program as a significant component of QME 2024 and we look forward to helping facilitate these important discussions in our region,” Mr Boxall said. The full day program features three sessions,

Leadership in Action: Embedding Decarbonisation across the Resources Value Chain; Beyond Extraction: Innovations in Post-Mining Land Revival and Circular Horizons : Redefining value chains for sustainable mining.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network while engaging with video content showcasing advancements in decarbonisation efforts.

By registering for this FREE event, you will enjoy a suite of showcases and conversations on global mining decarbonisation, while enjoying morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments throughout the day.

What: Unlocking Decarbonisation Opportunities : QME and Decarbonisation Accelerated Project join forces
When: Wednesday, July 24th, 2024, 10:15am - 3:30pm
Where: 500 Pavilion, Level 1, Mackay Showgrounds, Milton Street
To Register: Visit the Decarbonisation Accelerated website

Discover the Path to Sustainable Mining at QME's Decarbonisation Accelerated event on July 24th at Mackay Showgrounds

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Sugar Crush Challenge

July 18, 2024

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay
With a delayed start to the crush, it is imperative that mills now settle down to a strong and consistent crush rate.
We should be far ahead of current percentages of the crop processed, which is still markedly below 10% in Mackay and Plane Creek. There are growers in both milling areas who, at the time of writing, have not been able to cut. This is plainly unacceptable. The season start has been dogged by poor weather, industrial action and continuous mill breakdowns.
Many growers have a large percentage their crop of forward priced. That means, they have a commitment to getting their crop away, and contractual arrangements mean that they carry all the risk should they not have their full 2024 crop harvested.
Prices are reasonable, but down by several hundred AUD a tonne compared to the dizzying highs of 2023. That reasonable price should continue on a trend of world supply not meeting consumer demand. World sugar prices are driven by a variety of factors, including stock and money markets, weather influences, crop health, government policies and reserve bank actions, to name but a few. But on the whole, the primary drivers are the sugarcane crops of the big three sugar producing countries: Brazil, India and Thailand.
Brazil’s crop estimate this year has been reduced. Although harvest has progressed well, there is a reduced CCS and cane supply, impacted by dry conditions. Nonetheless, to give a sense of scale, at the start of July, Brazil’s season to date has seen 189 million tonnes of cane crushed of an estimated 605 million, with 49.38% going to sugar, and the remainder to ethanol production. Brazil’s government maintains fuel security for the nation by subsidising and setting an adjustable quota on ethanol production.
In contrast, Australia’s annual production is around 4 million tonnes of raw sugar from 35 million tonnes of cane. Despite our smaller production levels, Australia remains an attractive market because of our stable supply chain and stronger sustainability credentials than many other sugar-producing nations.
India is now into its growing season, with the monsoon having a late onset this year. Rainfall is improving in most cane growing areas, but there is a reduced production estimate for 2024/25 at 34.5Mt of cane. The country retains the bulk of its sugar for domestic use and has been increasing its ethanol production.
Thailand has had some years of drought, which had led to growers exchanging cane production for the more drought-resilient cassava. This year, there has been improved rainfall which, combined with a still buoyant sugar price versus a declining cassava price, may entice growers there to return more land to sugarcane production.
Growers continue to contend with high cost of production, largely driven by high fuel and fertiliser costs, but with many other influencers in the mix- such as insurance, rates and land costs. And the many sundries of small business.
People see the big numbers associated with the world sugar price, but the way growers market their sugar can mean that growers are not necessarily receiving that very high price for sugar. Growers maintain an approximate two-thirds interest in the sugar produced from their cane. This is called Grower Economic Interest (GEI). Of that, the grower can forward price a good percentage of their crop up to three years out.
Forward pricing offers security in a fluctuating market that does have some deep troughs. We only have to go back to as recently as 2020 and the influence of Covid 19 to see the price drop to $AU355/tonne of sugar, to the GFC of 2008 to see around $200, and a range of troughs associated with drought years and economic events. In the early to mid-80’s we saw years of low prices, bottoming at a cataclysmic $77.85/tonne in June 1985.
So, being aware of our cost of production, growers will lock in good prices that sit above that. It might mean missing the super peaks of the market, but equally, hopefully avoiding those price troughs. It offers good security for the business cash flow in the long-term.
But it does all depend on the millers successfully processing the crop.

Growers retain an economic interest in their sugar as it moves to market. Photo credit: Kirili Lamb

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Farmers Urged To Reach Out For Help

July 18, 2024

A rural charity is encouraging farmers to reach out for assistance this Farm Safety Week.  

“This year’s Farm Safety Week theme is 'in safe hands',” Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said.  

“Rural Aid’s mission is to stand with farmers when they need it most.” 

“We’re encouraging farmers to register with Rural Aid, so that our organisation and its passionate donors, can support farmers’ wellbeing and safety with a hand-up.” 

Rural Aid’s range of assistance measures help farmers improve their lives and businesses before, during and after disaster events – be it drought, bushfire or flood.  

“Rural Aid’s mental health and wellbeing team do a fantastic job of heading on-farm to chat with primary producers, at no cost to the farmer," Mr Warlters said. 

“Our financial, water and fodder assistance provides urgent relief for farmers in need. 

“And our Farm Recovery Events supply farmers with a team of volunteers, ready to tackle farming jobs post-disaster,” Mr Warlters said. 

Rural Aid’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager, Myf Pitcher, said it takes strength to reach out for help.  

“We want farmers to treat themselves as their most precious business asset and be open to receiving help with their busy workload,” Ms Pitcher said.  

“One conversation at the right time with the right person can change everything”. 

“More than 18,000 primary producers are “in safe hands”, already registered with Rural Aid,” Ms Pitcher said.  

“Registering with Rural Aid means we can support farmers when they need it, now or in the future, and it helps us support rural communities as well.” 

“Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to see how we can help.” 

To register with Rural Aid, visit or call 1300 327 624. 

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Weekly production figures Wilmar Sugar Plane Creek Mill Week 2, Week ending 13 July 2024

July 18, 2024

This week
Season to date
Cane crushed
Average bin weight
Cane variety performance for region
Plane Creek Mill processed just over 51,000 tonnes of cane for the week, bringing the season total to more than 90,000 tonnes.
Throughput was disrupted on Sunday and again on Friday due to powerhouse issues. The factory experienced a blackout on both occasions.
A planned 18-hour maintenance stop is scheduled for Thursday, 18 July.
Average weekly CCS came in at 12.73 units, and bin weight improved from the previous week.
The highest CCS sample of 15.50 units was from a rake of Q232 4R from the Dawlish productivity district.
Motorists are reminded to take care around our cane rail network.
Please approach all crossings with caution and always give way to cane trains.

Lindsay Wheeler
Cane Supply Manager
Plane Creek Region

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Hopes Of Fair Work Commission Mediation For Wilmar

July 18, 2024

Unions negotiating a new enterprise agreement with Wilmar Sugar and Renewables are consulting with members on a company suggestion that the parties accept an invitation from the Fair Work Commission for the assistance of a Commissioner in resolving issues remaining in dispute.
The invitation for assistance was extended by a Commission Vice President after a hearing of the Full Bench in Sydney earlier this month (5 July).
During last week’s talks between the company and union representatives, the company put forward the suggestion of taking up the Commission’s offer in order to move on from the continuing stalemate.
A company spokesman said: “We have been willing from the beginning to explore all options to reach a fair and reasonable outcome acceptable to all parties, and we have welcomed the Commission’s assistance in the past.
“We hope that union members agree with us that the Commission’s invitation is an opportunity to move forward.”
Company and union representatives discussed a number of options to close the gap between their positions. However, progress was limited to log items and not the key issue of the increase in wages employees might receive.
The discussion between the company and union representatives had been proposed by Wilmar before the Full Bench hearing.

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Holidays, Hockey, And Heartfelt Moments

July 18, 2024

Well, just like that, my holidays have come to an end. I’m back on air on Monday, and I will tell you now, I am a little excited!
Sure, the last two weeks have been great. Sleeping in, movies, running training, hockey, weddings, fitness, and fun! All in the space of 14 days, I sure have packed a lot in.
Do you get up to a lot when you have a break? When you take holidays from work, do you hit the road, or relax at home in the garden? I hope you do, as it’s one of those things we all take for granted, but if we don’t do it, when will we?
During the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the fortune to get out of bed after 6 instead of just after 4. Let me tell you, it was a blessing. Sure, the alarm was turned off, but I still woke up at the same time but didn’t get out from the sheets. To me, that was special. Well needed, I reckon.
It certainly allowed me more time to go for a morning jog or fitness session with Steve Eden to get the day started, all while the sunrise was happening. I reckon it’s the best time of the day, especially along the Pioneer River. How good is it!
I’ve had the chance to catch up with my kids, head to the movies (you must see Fly Me to the Moon, it’s brilliant), and I’ve checked out the magical Cape Hillsborough and walked up to the various lookouts to see the whales and turtles. It’s just so good too.
Eungella is another place that looks so beautiful this winter too. Head up and see the elusive platypus at Broken River. If you can’t see them, just wait. Don’t rush away.
There’s been plenty of fun stuff happening these last two weeks. I’ve had some painting work done on the car (not my fault), I’ve walked Bucasia Beach a few times and tried to outrun two Labradors (they won), and I’ve also played a few games of hockey, one of which I nearly scored a goal in. Unfortunately, my hockey stick didn’t want to play the same game as me, so I missed and fell over. I’m sure the vision of the incident is on Kayo somewhere for a laugh too.
The big event of my holidays was the wedding of two special friends of mine, Emma and Andrew. They tied the knot Saturday last week at Greenmount Homestead in a beautiful ceremony that had hockey sticks, lolly rings, tears, and Harley Davidson motorcades. It was truly a special day to witness, plus being asked to be their emcee was the icing on the cake. I was honoured to be asked, and let me tell you, these two gorgeous people are just made for each other. The love they show for each other just shows that love still exists and is strong in these two. To Andrew and Emma, thank you for asking me, and here’s cheers to your lives together.
Well, I’m off to warm my rings and get ready for all the fun on 4MK from Monday morning. I hope I remember the password to the computer, remember to take out my hockey mouth guard, and I really hope I know where I left the coffee pot! I’ll need it!

You can join Rob Kidd from 5am weekday mornings on 4MK 1026 AM in Mackay and Proserpine, 91.5FM in Airlie Beach or just ask your smart speaker to play 4MK on iHeartRadio!

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July 18, 2024

The Artspace Mackay team has returned to our regional gallery and is excited to be rolling out workshops, programs and activities once more.
Closed for refurbishments since late 2023, the facility now boasts new flooring, walls and a state-of-the-art climate control system, which will ensure it remains a AAA-rated, international standard gallery space long into the future.
Kicking off at 1pm, Friday, July 19, will be Conversations with Art, a free and enjoyable discussion led by Artspace staff about works and images from gallery and museum collections.
Then, on Tuesday, July 23, Artspace Mackay’s ever-popular toddlers’ program, BMA Kidspace, will return to the gallery.   

BMA Kidspace gives children up to five years of age a chance to explore and have fun with art in a climate of co-operative learning.
The free program includes two drop-in art sessions, from 10am to 11.30am and 12.15pm to 2pm, and free live music entertainment, from 11.30am to 12.15pm.
For the older kids – those aged eight to 12 – Kids Art Club (term 3) starts in the gallery from July 27.
The term includes six weeks of Saturday art classes led by local artist Traci Lietzke, running from 10am to noon. Book your child’s spot today at
Finally, at 5.30pm on Thursday, August 1, Artspace Mackay is offering a special event – an art talk by Susi Muddiman OAM.
Susi Muddiman is the Gold Coast Home of the Arts (HOTA) Gallery and Visual Arts Director.
She is in town to judge Mackay Show Association’s renowned Woollam Art on Show Awards and has agreed to appear at Artspace Mackay to give a talk about star pieces in HOTA’s exciting art collection.
Friday, August 9, Artspace will reopen its gallery doors with an exciting suite of exhibitions celebrating the very best of Australian contemporary art... proppaNOW: OCCURRENT AFFAIR; Dias Prabu: RELENTLINES - Through the Window of the Past; and Lisa Ashcroft: The Wall - Scientific Reef Repeat.
To take part in any of these programs and activities – other than BMA Kidspace, which is a drop-in activity – head to and secure your spot.

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Diabetes Program Offers Peace Of Mind To Parents

July 18, 2024

Life changed significantly for 11-year-old Callum Brown when he was diagnosed with diabetes; but a new program is helping kids like him feel supported at school and giving their parents peace of mind.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) is one of two pilot sites outside of Brisbane to run the Diabetes in Schools program, an information and training program designed to help schools better support students with Type 1 diabetes.
Callum, a Year 6 Emmanuel Catholic College student, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age nine after serious complications put him in a coma in the intensive care unit at Mackay Base Hospital.
During National Diabetes Week (14 to 20 July), Callum’s mum Jordan Martin recalled his diagnosis in November 2022, describing it as “traumatic and very stressful”.
“Managing his diabetes now is a 24/7 job and it impacts everything Callum does from what he eats to the sports he plays as well as the other activities he can participate in at school,” Jordan said.
“As parents, it’s scary to send your child to school and hand over his care to someone else. It’s very important that Callum is healthy and supported both at home and at school so he can achieve and enjoy school like any other child.”
The program provides access to a range of tools, resources, information and support as well as face-to-face practical training by qualified health professionals including Mackay HHS diabetes educator Yolanda Gibbons.
The program eased the anxiety of families in knowing that a range of staff at their child’s school were trained and knew what to do and how to help when needed, Yolanda said.
“We currently have 105 diabetic patients aged from one to 20 across the Mackay HHS requiring different levels of support, but this particular program focuses on children attending primary and high school,” she said.
“All school staff can be trained across a range of topics including administering insulin, what to do if the child’s blood sugar levels are too high or too low and how to use a variety of insulin pumps.”
Jordan said it was an enormous relief to know the training was available and that Emmanuel College had been “fantastic and supportive” about staff taking advantage of the education program.
“It means we are less anxious and know that the school staff are comfortable and confident in managing Callum’s condition,” she said.
Callum now wears a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) which tracks his glucose levels, day and night. The unit sounds an alarm if his blood glucose levels are changing rapidly, Jordan said.
“Callum still has to check his levels before he eats and then calculate how many carbs are in his next meal to program it into the CGM,” she said.
“I had originally worried he wouldn’t advocate for himself, but Callum knows his symptoms sometimes before they even register on the CGM and he tells the teacher when he doesn’t feel great so they can help him.
“He is coping well and is confident in telling people at school what he needs so they can help.”
Mackay Base Hospital paediatrician Dr Shaun Cousen said the education program improved the care available to Type 1 diabetic children in rural and regional centres.
“This program is funded by the National Diabetes Service Scheme through the Queensland Children’s Hospital and is run locally by a qualified diabetic educator,” he said.
“Mackay is very lucky to be selected as one of only two pilot sites across the entire state and we have received some fantastic feedback from schools as well as children and their families.”
The Diabetes in Schools program is funded by the Australian Government through the National Diabetes Service Scheme to help kids with Type 1 diabetes thrive at school.

11-year-old Mackay schoolboy Callum Brown wears a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to track his blood glucose

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