Earlier this week my six-year-old son asked me why people on the news always talk about “murders and dying”.
When you think about it, the fact that our news is often monopolised by death and tragedy, makes for quite a sad reflection on life.
And to think that this is what young kids are experiencing about world around them – it is no wonder that we have a generation of extremists – either emotional and worried about life or the opposite, taking crazy risks in order to feel alive.
While of course we all share immense empathy for people who have experienced tragedy, whether that be the sudden death of a loved one or the shock illness of a life cut short, do we really need to relive each trauma in the news we digest?
This is a subject we often battle with when putting the paper together each week.
We want to report the news, we must include the significant events that happen (such as a car accident), but we also want our readers to have a positive experience and feel uplifted by the content.
I think a lot of mainstream media have fallen into the trap of sensationalising tragedy and creating ‘click-bait’ content that turns a personal tragedy into a drama for vultures to feed upon.
This makes me feel sad as it is creating a culture that receives a bigger kick when hearing shocking news than it does when hearing a positive story of triumph.
Well, that’s what mainstream media tells us “sells” anyway.
But, back to what we do here at your local paper – we endeavour to fill our pages with positive news about people living great lives.
When there is a local tragedy, however, we always do our best to report on it with sensitivity and dignity.
We will make it personal, talk to the family if possible and include details that celebrate life rather than dramatise death.
When I asked my son what we should talk about in the news he said he wasn’t sure because it was like a devil was on one shoulder and an angel on the other.
Very perceptive, I couldn’t agree more!
Quote of the Week:
“News is the first draft of history” (Ben Bradlee)
Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox is calling for an investigation into supermarket meat sale prices from Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt.
Mr Willcox said Treasurer Chalmers and Minister Watt must urgently direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to hold a price inquiry.
“According to Meat and Livestock Australia, some sheep and lamb categories have fallen by up to 70 per cent in the saleyards in the last 12 months,” Mr Willcox said.
“Lamb prices have drastically reduced and cattle prices have fallen by about 60 per cent. Yet families at the supermarkets in Dawson have barely noticed a difference in prices.”
Dawson supermarkets are charging an average of $28 per kilo for rump steak, $24 per kilo for beef rump roast and $15 for a kilo of lean beef mince while a farmer’s payment for cattle (eastern young cattle indicator) has fallen from $10.21 per kilo to just $3.65 per kilo over the past 12 months.
Mr Willcox said a competition taskforce recently established by the Australian Government to conduct a review of competition policy settings over a two-year period failed to provide the urgent response that families and farmers required.
“This is impacting family budgets in Dawson right now,” he said.
“It needs an urgent response because families and farmers can’t afford to wait potentially two years for answers.”
Mr Willcox said unlike a review, the ACCC would also have greater power to act.
“Many families are struggling to afford their grocery bill each week so it’s important the government acts swiftly to ensure there’s transparency in meat prices.”
The last we heard from Zaine van Poelgeest, one of the four Term 3 graduates of the PCYC Whitsundays Get Set For Work Program, he was looking to start his career at sea, hoping to secure employment at one of the major marine operators.
And this week, his dreams have come to fruition, as he begins his induction with Cruise Whitsundays.
Under the tutelage of Get Set For Work program coordinator, Scott Lynch, Zaine has flourished.
Get Set For Work is a 10 week program to equip youth with necessary skills and certificates to secure employment, for 14 to 19 year old’s who have left full-time education.
Zaine came to the program keeping his “cards to his chest,” describes Scott.
“There’s a lot more to Zaine than he puts across,” he explained.
“He’s got a great poker face and keeps all his winning cards hidden until he’s ready to show them.”
Zaine initially completed a week of work experience with Cruise Whitsundays, through the program.
“We put him through his shipboard safety skill set and got him this work experience with Cruise Whitsundays. And in his appraisal, Cruise Whitsundays couldn’t have said anything better about him! Zaine told us that he was encouraged to apply for a few positions they had available,” Scott explained.
“We helped him with his cover letter, and we were just waiting to hear back, but look at him now!”
Zaine is now eager to get started with Cruise Whitsundays.
“School just wasn’t for me, and with the program, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I enjoyed the work experience so much,” Zaine explained.
His official title is Cruise Attendant, which will have him across all aspects of the business.
According to Elise Forbes, Human Resource Advisor for Cruise Whitsundays, Zaine’s work experience appraisal was amazing.
“He was very punctual, enthusiastic and keen to learn,” she explained.
“He has already been positively received by the crew, so we’re excited to have him on board.”
To learn more about Get Set For Work, contact PCYC Whitsundays, (07) 4948 1144 or email@example.com
Get Set for Work is one of eight programs that make up the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.
Elise Forbes, Human Resources Advisor of Cruise Whitsundays, Zaine van Poelgeest, Scott Lynch, Get Set For Work program coordinator, and Sergeant Billy Li, PCYC Youth Club Manager. Photo credit: Bronte Hodge
The Whitsundays is set to welcome the maiden voyage of a brand-new adults-only cruise ship which is due to arrive in local waters next Friday, December 1.
Resilient Lady, Virgin Voyages’ third ship, debuted in Europe earlier this year and is making its way over to Australia, stopping first in Darwin, Carins and Airlie Beach before docking in Port Melbourne for the summer cruising season.
It will be given a special acknowledgement next week with a smoking ceremony and a welcome to country followed by a plaque exchange between the captain on the ship and Mayor Julie Hall at the Cruise Whitsundays terminal.
On-hand as usual, the dedicated volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors will be ready to greet each of the 2,762 who decide to disembark and explore Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays.
Resilient Lady is a five-star cruise ship experience, and its adults-only policy is proving very popular.
Founded in 2021 the Virgin Voyages ships are different to any we've see in The Whitsundays before.
Virgin Voyages is currently the Cruise Critics Cruisers’ Choice for 2023 and Conde Nast Traveller’s Best New Cruises in the World in 2022.
Inspired by a superyacht design, the vessel brings glamour to the high seas with spaces designed by world-renowned architects and designers, including Tom Dixon and Concerte Amsterdam.
A total of 31 cruise ships have called into the Whitsundays between August and December this year.
There are also 103 ships scheduled for next year.
Resilient Lady will arrive in Whitsunday waters next Friday. Photo: supplied
Traffic and pedestrian flow in Airlie Beach Main Street will experience a change from December 1, with the Whitsunday Regional Council beginning a six-month trial of pedestrian crossings along Airlie Beach Main Street.
The trials will see four pedestrian crossings across Airlie Beach Main Street.
There will be one in front of NAB Bank, a second at the Magnums crossing, a third on the Esplanade and a fourth in front of Airlie Beach Hotel.
Planter boxes will be erected at the former crossing points, in order to mitigate confusion, prevent people crossing where they don’t have priority and balance traffic.
Speed bumps will also be placed at the entrance of Airlie Beach Main Street at the north end, as well as a left turn only exit out of central car park, beside the lagoon.
Mayor Julie Hall said Council is developing an overarching Airlie Beach Masterplan and this six-month pedestrian crossing trial will capture key information that will help inform an ultimate streetscaping solution for the Main Street.
“During the six-month trial Council will be capturing direct formal and informal feedback from all users to help identify what works and what doesn’t work so we can utilise this information for future considerations for the Airlie Beach Masterplan to be developed in 2024.
Mayor Hall said that Council’s focus was on planning for the future and this trial aligns with ongoing efforts to enhance Airlie Beach's streetscape infrastructure and safety measures.
“We want to develop a solution that creates a pedestrian-friendly town for all ages and abilities, supports local businesses and our community and encourages safer speeds for drivers in the Main Street precinct.”
Pedestrian crossings to be trialled in Airlie Beach. Photo supplied
A package between Commonwealth and Queensland Government has been announced to support commercial fishers, ahead of further fishing industry sanctions.
Worth $186 million, the package includes compensation measures such as buy backs, reskilling and financial advice, in an effort to ease the impact of the phasing out of gillnet fishing in the Great Barrier Reef Area by 2027.
A total of $125 million has been committed to phasing out gillnets, rezoning the Great Sandy Marine Park and increasing protection from gillnet impacts in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
This portion also includes around $90 million to financially support eligible fishers and related business in the transition, $1.5 million to reskill, $2.25 million to support employees, $15 million to construct a new strategy, $4.5 million to develop and trial sustainable alternatives, $2.95 million for the creation and sustaining suitable regional jobs, and $1.5 million to ensure hammerhead sharks are a no-take species for commercial fishers.
The remaining $60 million has been committed to discover more independent data validation and further reduce bycatch in high-risk fisheries.
The transition period begins December 31, 2023, to adopt these new agreements.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said that “these are landmark investments that demonstrate the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to a sustainable fishing industry supporting good jobs well into the future.”
“This package gives the certainty that our commercial fishing industry needs to plan and be able to ensure the ongoing supply of Queensland seafood that has built a global reputation,” Mr Furner said.
However, local fisherman Trevor Draper is frustrated.
“We got this text about some paperwork, and it said we would receive it shortly, whatever that means.”
For Trevor, he says he is “beyond reskilling”.
“The entire thing won’t help at all. We do this work because we like it, and it makes ends meet. We’re not in it for the money. And it will be very difficult, to get some fisherman to do something else, something they don’t like doing.
“And how will money handling and financial advice help, when we don’t have jobs?”
Ahead of their Christmas pop-up shop for low-income families, the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre is inviting kind-heated community members to contribute brand-new un-wrapped gifts as part of their annual toy drive.
Those interested are asked to simply register on Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre’s Facebook page before December 10, purchase the gifts and bring them into the centre.
Then, on December 15, the pop-up toy shop will be opened to low-income families so they can each select a present for their children to enjoy opening at Christmas.
Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre Chief Operations Officer, Rebecca Woods, says this is a great opportunity for people who had previously liked purchasing gifts for their Adopt a Family campaign.
“We started doing gift cards for Adopt a Family a few years ago,” she explained.
“So, this Toy Drive is a great for people who like buying gifts instead.
“We wanted to open it up to the community because we understand that the community recognise the cost-of-living crisis and want to contribute.”
The pop-up Christmas shop is open to eligible families only and they must satisfy specific criteria in order to qualify.
The eligibility is also related to geography and only residents in the Greater Airlie Beach Area qualify.
If you wish to register, please contact the centre.
For those wanting to contribute a gift, register on Facebook or if you would prefer to offer a gift card to a family in need then please register for the Adopt a Family campaign instead.
Donate a brand-new un-wrapped gift for a family in need this Christmas. Photo supplied
Uniting a passion for yoga with a love for location, local Yoga Teacher Norma Strang is opening the doors to a series of new yoga classes with stunning views across Coral Sea Marina.
Located at the Lookout Lounge above the bustling marina village, Yoga + 5 is a place where you can step away from the busy world below and connect with yourself, discovering inner-peace and life balance along the way.
A yoga teacher for the past 20 years, Norma has operated four yoga studios around the country, most recently in Byron Bay before moving to the Whitsundays 18 months ago.
With a wealth of experience that spans many aspects of health and healing, Norma is a qualified health coach who also runs retreats and detox programs.
She now brings this spectrum of devotion into her yoga practice, showing participants a deeper more meaningful form of yoga that is often not found in more modern practices.
“Yoga is about connection with yourself, with God and with the Spirit,” said Norma.
Beginning her classes with therapeutic postures, Norma shows her students how to get more oxygen moving around their bodies through different asanas.
While different positions are explored, she explains the merits of each one, whether that be for detoxing the kidneys or working on the thyroid which is excellent for weight loss.
Norma then moves onto the Five Tibetan Rites, a practice that is over 2,500 years old but rarely used these days.
“It works on the Chakra system,” explains Norma.
“They call it the fountain of youth because it works through the endocrine system which is the energetic system of the body and helps with aging.”
The class then finishes with a deep meditation to re-energise.
A strong believer that yoga is for everybody, Norma says that “you are never too old, it’s never too late and you’re never too sick to start from scratch”.
She hopes that everyone feels welcome in her class and assures each attendee that an individual approach will be taken where intuition is used to best serve each participant.
If you are looking for a relaxed, connective experience in a stunning location with a highly skilled teacher, then take a free trial class with Norma.
Though confronting, having difficult conversations can be catalysts for growth, while also building better relationships, trust and respect.
Next time you encounter a challenging exchange, consider these three strategies:
Create a safe space:
Every individual values the right to openly express their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgment or repercussions. You can create this environment by the simple act of offering your undivided attention. When the other person is speaking, set aside distractions or the urge to make your own points.
Apply full body listening without interrupting. This is the time to show you are listening rather than rushing to make your own point heard.
While it’s natural to be rooted in our own perspectives, challenging conversations necessitate empathy so that the other person can feel heard, understood, and valued.
Achieving this connection will help guide a more meaningful conversation towards a solution or resolution.
Discover common ground:
It’s much easier to navigate a difficult conversation when there is a shared goal and reiterating that objective can unite all parties.
Consider what it is that everyone in the conversation wants or needs. You will usually find common ground.
Keep emotions in check:
Emotions are highly contagious, so if you enter a difficult discussion with your emotions laid bare, it’s likely things will derail pretty quickly.
Pay careful attention to your tone of voice, body language, and choice of words. Non-verbal cues can wield significant influence over how your message is received. Strive to maintain a demeanour that conveys respect and receptivity.
The goal is to respond, not react.
Words like “I’m disappointed” or “You could have” can come across as accusatory. Instead, focus on stating facts, seek the other person’s perspective, and share your own experiences.
If emotions flare up, take time to pause and compose yourself before continuing.
In essence, don’t shy away from difficult conversations; they need to be had to keep things moving forward. By approaching the conversation in the right way, you, your team, productivity, and company culture will benefit hugely.
If you are a regular at our Council libraries in Proserpine, Bowen, or Collinsville then you will recognise the smiling face of Whitsunday Regional Libraries Team Leader Robyn Batman.
Robyn started with Council in 2005 as a Customer Service Officer when it was Whitsunday Shire Council before being promoted to the role of Team Leader- Proserpine Library in 2009. She held that role until 2014 before leaving to work at a local solicitor as a legal secretary.
Her passion for the library role became too great and Robyn rejoined Council in 2017 as Team leader – Proserpine Library, just one week before Cyclone Debbie and the rest is history!
Robyn says her previous background in administration and supervisory roles in large corporate organisations gave her the skillset to lead effective teams and deliver high quality customer service to the community. She also boasts a Diploma of Library and Information Services that qualifies her as a library technician.
“My main responsibilities involve providing co-ordination and management of the Bowen, Collinsville and Proserpine Libraries to achieve the libraries' goals and objectives with a focus on creating a positive, productive and fun culture within my teams,” she said.
“I supervise 11 library staff and pride myself on leading by example and mentoring my staff who are all passionate about the role they play for our community.
“Libraries are my passion, and I am a huge believer in giving 110 per cent in everything I do. I love connecting with the community and working with my teams to provide a valuable and much needed service to the region,” she said.
Under Robyn’s leadership the libraries have recently introduced a mobile library App which acts as a one stop shop for all of Council library services.
Other initiatives that Robyn has collaborated with other departments in Council and local businesses to roll out include:
· Repurposing of a Whitsunday Regional Council trailer into a Pop-Up Library including the interior redesign and exterior branding
· Design and implementation of the Whitsunday Regional Libraries logo and branding
· Rebranding of all WRC external library facilities across the region
· Refurbishment of the Bowen Library with all new shelving in line with SLQ Standards and Guidelines.
In her spare time Robyn loves reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors with her family. She has also run marathons in Sydney and London.
As the clock ticks down to the end of year, businesses are charging ahead at capacity. Retail is strong, building experiencing the usual rush and hospitality has had a great few weeks with the Airlie Beach Music Festival, followed by schoolies bringing plenty of visitors. With an unexpected cruise ship visit last weekend, Airlie Beach was literally heaving with people!
Business preparation – Are you ready for the silly season? No matter what business you’re in, now is the time to prepare for the next few months. Regular staff may be away – Is your staffing mix right? Do you have a plan for stock and deliveries? Are you prepared for extreme weather events, disaster, or disruption? Always worth a rethink and review.
It is also a time of closing off the calendar year. A time to say thanks to your team, customers, and our local community for their support.
Vision for the Whitsundays – What does the Whitsundays of the future looks like?
What are the current major drivers of change and points of resistance? What we need to do now to future proof tomorrow? We are tackling these questions in our Vision for the Whitsundays project. Formal submissions and the quick online survey must close 1 December.
Next events – See you at our final Pop Up Chamber for 2023 from 7:30am Wednesday 29 November in Proserpine. Come on down and meet the Chamber team, other business owners, and grab a coffee to start your day.
Please also join us for the ultimate end of year celebration for the Whitsundays business community – a joint Chamber and Tourism Whitsundays networking event from 6:00pm Thursday 30 November 2023 at the Reef Gateway Hotel, Cannonvale.
The local wedding industry just got bigger, bolder, and more exciting thanks to the newly rejuvenated Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo which is due to take place at the MECC on Sunday, 4 February, from 10am - 1pm.
Launched in 2020 by local wedding and event specialist Ramona Burki from Element Events by Ramona, the Mackay and Whitsunday Wedding Expo was a huge success, but future plans were halted by the pandemic until the event became re-charged for 2024.
Bringing the wedding community together and connecting couples with a wealth of reputable local suppliers, the Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo is expected to reinvigorate the local wedding industry.
Due to be held in February 2024, the MECC is set to be a vibrant marketplace for up to 70 stall holders and hundreds of couples are anticipated to pass through the venue over the course of the day.
“The Expo gives couples a chance to meet with an extensive collection of Wedding professionals under one roof,” said event organiser Ramona Burki.
Having worked in the local wedding and event industry for 20 years, eight of those operating her own event business, Ramona is highly adept at understanding what couples need when planning a wedding and she is looking forward to bringing a selection of industry specialists together for the Expo.
“We are creating a vibrant and supportive space for wedding and event professionals to connect with and inspire our community,” explained Ramona.
“The Expo will be a place where you can meet your celebrant, find your photographer, decide on your hair and make-up, look at cake suppliers, check out venues, organise catering and so much more!
“Anything you want or need for your wedding day can be found at the Expo.”
An engaging and interactive experience, the Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo will include a range of activities and showcases.
From the moment you enter the Expo expect to be delighted.
You will receive a showbag containing contact information from all the suppliers present on the day and then invited to browse the large exhibition.
Guests can also enjoy a Fashion Parade where local bridal boutiques will exhibit some of their finest wedding gowns, formal wear, and men’s suits.
In between shows there will be live entertainment and an Emcee speaking with individual exhibitors to find out more about their services.
The Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo is proudly endorsed by supporting partners Core Life Magazine and redhotblue Creative Agency.
Both major local businesses are proud to get behind such a significant regional event.
“Even in this digital world, it’s always really nice to have a tangible experience and speak directly to a variety of operators,” said Jody Euler, Director of redhotblue.
“Time is now of the essence, and exhibitor booths are filling up fast, so we are urging suppliers to register now and secure their participation.”
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo
WHERE: The MECC
WHEN: Sunday, 4 February
TIME: 10am – 3pm
Organiser, Ramona Burki, says that hundreds of couples are expected to attend the Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo. Photo credit: Alyce Holzy
As the mercury rises, this week’s good deed is a reminder to stay vigilant around water.
Sherry Ferguson, in a heartfelt message on the Mums and Bubs of Mackay & the Whitsundays Facebook group, recounted a recent heart-stopping incident that transformed into a tale of immense gratitude towards local heroes. During a family outing at the Bluewater Lagoon, an unforeseen turn of events unfolded when Sherry's daughter, aged 19, found herself facing a nerve-wracking situation. While enjoying the day with her partner and their 4-month-old baby, Sherry’s daughter was supervising her younger brother, just 8 years old, in the water. Suddenly, the younger boy drifted into deeper waters and struggled, realising he couldn't touch the bottom and went under the water.
"The lifeguards got him out and took him to a room there and called the ambulance," Sherry posted.
Expressing immense thanks for the lifeguards' prompt and heroic response, Sherry extended heartfelt gratitude to these vigilant individuals and the responsive ambulance officers.
Sherry said the family spent a few hours at hospital before being discharged.
Thank you to the heroes in red and yellow who make the water a safer place.
Ah, cyclone season—when the skies turn ominous, and we find ourselves glued to weather forecasts more than our favourite TV series. Here in Mackay, November through April is our version of a rollercoaster ride, with storms and cyclones potentially on the horizon. In Mackay Life, we've just wrapped up four weeks of disaster preparedness, reminding us that being ready for anything nature throws our way is not just a suggestion but a necessity. Our final Disaster Month feature can be found on pages 18-19 in this edition.
The SES has been busy sharing invaluable 'get ready' tips, and local experts have pitched in, offering advice on fortifying our properties against the elements. Floods, fires, cyclones—the unpredictability of Mother Nature keeps us all on our toes, reinforcing the importance of being prepared to endure for at least three days without our usual comforts.
Crafting a Household Evacuation Plan is more than a precaution—it's a lifeline in times of crisis. Five crucial actions should be part of every family's strategy: understanding when it's time to leave, identifying safe destinations, planning transportation methods, packing essentials, and nurturing a sense of community by knowing and supporting your neighbours.
For Mackay-specific emergency guidance, the Mackay Regional Council's Emergency Action Guide is an invaluable resource. It's more than a mere checklist; it's a guide to safeguarding what matters most—our families, our homes, and our community.
In a region where storm clouds aren't just scenery but a seasonal visitor, readiness isn't just a virtue; it's a necessity. As we navigate this period, let's stay informed, stay prepared, and most importantly, stay safe. Because in the face of nature's fury, being ready is our best defence.
A secret audit of Queensland’s roads has revealed almost half of Queensland’s Bruce Highway has a two-star safety rating or less.
Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox, said he is disappointed but not surprised the electorate of Dawson had the lowest overall star rating, with 63.4 per cent rated two stars or lower.
Mr Willcox said much needed infrastructure projects like the Mackay Ring Road Stage 2 and the Goorganga Plains Flood Immunity project have been delayed by the Australian Government’s 90-day review.
“The previous Coalition Government committed $10 billion towards much needed safety upgrades on the Bruce, and instead of the new government grabbing the horse by the reins and just getting on with it, they have held these projects up further in a 90-day review which has blown out to over 200 days,” he said.
“This is unacceptable to have these projects with committed funding just sitting dormant.
“Earlier this year during our wet season and following flooding, QLD Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey visited Mackay to inspect flood damage and announced alongside State Member for Mackay that ‘it’s good to see that our roads have held up as well as they have’.
“It was extremely disappointing to hear this from the State Local Member and her Minister when I had constituents contacting my office with safety concerns and pothole complaints.
“Our state representatives know Dawson’s economic contributions and they should have us travelling on gold plated roads, but instead we have the worst roads in the state.”
Mr Willcox said he is pleased that no projects in Dawson will be scrapped following the review.
“Now that we are over this ridiculous and unnecessary review, I am calling for no more delays,” he said.
“Both the Albanese and Palaszczuk governments need to stop dragging the chain, stop playing the blame game, stop arguing, and just get on with your jobs.”
The Queensland Government conducted the audit following a right to information search by Nationals Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien revealing road safety data provided to state governments by the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP).
Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox