Community News

“Rhythm Of Life”

“Rhythm Of Life”

Prossie High In The ‘Swing Of Things’ For Broadway Proserpine State High School students will take to the stage in the upcoming Broadway romantic musical ‘Sweet Charity’ in early May. In the school’s first musical since its highly successful play, ‘We Will Rock You’, in 2021, 100 students will take roles behind, below, and on the stage in what will be an “ambitious production.”

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An 18 Second Incident And “They Shot My Son Five Times”

An 18 Second Incident And “They Shot My Son Five Times”

The grieving mother of Luke Gilbert, who was tragically killed in a police shooting in Airlie Beach six months ago, is calling for an independent inquiry to bring the officers who she believes should be “charged with murder” to justice.

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Stingray Saviours

Stingray Saviours

On Saturday evening, Chantelle Jensen and her friend Bek Sinclaire were enjoying a picnic down at Cannonvale Beach with Chantelle’s mum when they saw a couple trying to free a stingray which had become trapped in the nearby stinger net.

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Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Hi Everyone,The Mayor invited me out for a coffee last week and it was great to catch up.As soon as we sat down, she told me it was just a casual meeting to connect and find out how Council could better assist us with delivering their news to the community.How refreshing! What a lovely thing to ask.We spent an hour discussing topics about the local community – everything from bridges to boat ramps, the housing crisis and the tough few years that could lie ahead with rising living costs.

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Vets Recipients Of X-citing Donation

March 17, 2023

Northern Beaches Vet Hospital in Mackay has received a generous donation from Queensland X-Ray Mater Mackay, which gifted two ultrasound machines to the local veterinary business.

The donation of these ultrasound machines will allow the vet clinic to conduct "real-time" diagnostic imaging of their animal patients, helping to identify abnormalities and gain a better understanding of the overall health and well-being of the animals.

This equipment will be a great asset to the team at Northern Beaches Vet Hospital, who are dedicated to providing the best and most compassionate care to the community's beloved pets.

“We are passionate about supporting the communities in which we operate,” Queensland X-Ray shared on Facebook.

“The two machines are going to be a great asset to the team who provide the best and most compassionate care for the community’s beloved pets.”

The donation of these ultrasound machines is a clear demonstration of Queensland X-Ray's commitment to supporting the communities it serves.

The company is dedicated to investing in the latest medical equipment and technology to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

“We are so grateful for this donation!” Northern Beaches Vet Hospital responded,

“Thank you Queensland X-Ray!”

L-R Jackson Clarke (Veterinarian at Northern Beaches Veterinary Clinic) and Kate Jenner (Queensland X-Ray’s 2IC Sonographer at Mater Mackay)

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Love Thy Neighbour?

March 17, 2023

To celebrate Neighbour Day 2023, Mackay Regional Council is asking residents, “would you like the opportunity to get to know your neighbours better and become a legendary neighbour”?

It’s a great twist on the campaign from previous years by aiming to strengthen neighbourhood bonds, rather than rewarding the already strong ones, so in times of disaster communities can act more cohesively to help one another.

But what do you do when your neighbour is less than legendary?

I received a call from a concerned Northern Beaches resident who has seemingly exhausted avenues when it comes to a neighbour blocking a grass verge. The residence is located next to a park with play equipment, and the occupants have covered the grass verge in front of their home with vehicles and machinery, meaning any families walking to the park would need to walk out onto the road to reach the playground.

When the concerned member of the community contacted council for advice, he said he was advised that the property in question had already previously been issued notice, yet nothing appears to have improved.

There are a number of questions that arise from a situation like this; is it illegal to cover the grass verge in front of your home or is it only frowned upon? If it is illegal, who polices the situation? If issuing a council notice provides no result, what is the point of the notice, and where does one go from there?

These are questions we hope to uncover answers for in our upcoming investigation, in an effort to help this community and others who may be facing a similar situation.

If you have battled through something similar, feel free to send me an email at


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Mackay Woman Recovering From Rare Disorder In NZ

March 17, 2023

A Mackay woman was only a couple of days into a holiday in New Zealand when she started to feel an unusual pain in her legs and numbness in her feet and hands.

Teagan Froneman was in Queenstown about a month ago, celebrating her 30th birthday with her husband and mother, when the pain hit.

The sensations gradually progressed into weakness until Teagan was at the point where “basically she was almost paralytic”.

She was rushed to Dunedin Hospital where she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which your body's immune system attacks the nerves.

“The immune system basically goes into overdrive and starts to attack the peripheral nerves,” said former colleague and close friend Pier Tierney.

“There’s different causes and they’re not 100% what’s triggered hers but it’s pretty rare.

“She couldn’t move her arms, legs, and gradually she couldn’t swallow, had difficulty with vision, and they eventually had to intubate and put her into an induced coma for a few days because the swallowing became such a concern.”

Teagan was extubated about two weeks ago and has slight movement in her knees and arms, but not much strength.

She still has issues with swallowing and faces months of rehabilitation.

“It’s still a long road to recovery,” said Ms Tierney.

With the costs associated with transferring Teagan back to Mackay Base Hospital too expensive, she and her family are forced to wait until she is well enough to fly back on a commercial flight.

“The big issue is that her pain levels are just astronomically high at the moment,” said Ms Tierney.

This has left them essentially stuck in New Zealand for the last month.

Back home, Teagan’s friends are rallying behind her, looking after their home and dogs, Paddy and Olive, and raising funds to help with costs of living while overseas, preparations for flight costs and transfers and financial support upon their return.

Teagan’s former workplace, Peak Family Chiropractic, are holding Teagan Day today, Friday March 17, bringing all of Teagan’s favourite things together to raise funds.

Cupcakes will be available for sale as well as coffee thanks to Primal Coffee Roasters and plenty of fun activities.

“Just a few things like that that we know Teags would love,” said Ms Tierney.

“All the people who know her, all the patients who come through these doors, are already lining up for it.

“It’s really great support for her.”

Those who can’t make Teagan Day can donate to her cause at, and Ms Tierney said messages of support are always welcome.

“Any well wishes, she’s so grateful for that,” she said.

“I know how strong that girl is, and I know how determined she’s going to be to get better.”

Teagan Froneman was celebrating her 30th birthday in New Zealand when she was struck with pain

Teagan is recovering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome at Dunedin Hospital with her husband Byron (left) and mother (not pictured) by her side

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Street Name Error Corrected

March 17, 2023

After decades of attempts, a street name in Hay Point will be changed to accurately acknowledge the family it is intended to honour.

The MacCarthy and Hellwege families were early settlers of the Hay Point area, owning land that was ultimately bought and subdivided.

The adjacent streets were named Hellwege Street, which was spelled correctly, and McCarthy Street, which was missing the letter “a”.

“That error has been there for a long time and the next few generations of the MacCarthy family realised the mistake and have been trying to get it fixed for many years,” said Councillor Laurence Bonaventura.

Glen MacCarthy, the grandson of founding Hay Point resident Norfor Norman MacCarthy, saw to the change being made after his mother initiated the change more than 40 years ago.

“He’s the last male MacCarthy that’s left with the MacCarthy name,” Mr Bonaventura said.

“He’s just been trying to get that honoured to represent the family, to get that mistake corrected.”

In a council meeting last year, Mr Bonaventura moved a personal notified motion requesting the change to be reviewed.

After community consultation with the 37 property owners of McCarthy Street, Hay Point, Council originally refused the change.

Last week, Mr Bonaventura moved an amendment to the council’s motion saying that councillors would still like to see the correction made despite the Council’s report which was carried unanimously.

“We did some consultation in the community, and we appreciate the fact that changing a street name involves a little bit for people to change their addresses etc. but this is rectifying something that’s been around for a long time,” said Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson.

Mr MacCarthy was present at the meeting last week and was overjoyed with the result.

“He was really pleased, as the last surviving member of that family in our region, to see that the name, in his view, has been rectified to the family name,” said Mr Williamson.

Councillor Laurence Bonaventura moved a motion in last week’s council meeting, requesting a change to a street name in Hay Point which had long been spelled incorrectly

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Mackay's Palms Get A Pamper

March 17, 2023

Mackay is about to experience a green rejuvenation, with scheduled maintenance set to begin on the iconic palm trees in the city centre.

Starting on March 21st, council staff will begin a meticulous pruning process, carefully cutting away dead fronds and fruit stalks, shaving the trunk, and removing seed pods, all aimed at keeping the palm trees healthy and looking their best.

A team of expert arborists will be on site from 5am to 9am on weekdays, taking care of the trees located on Wood, Victoria, Sydney, Macalister and Nelson streets, and Matsuura Drive and Mangrove Road. To minimise disruption to the public and avoid heavy traffic on Sydney Street, work on this road is scheduled for Saturday, March 25th.

The maintenance is expected to be completed by March 30th, weather permitting. In the meantime, full traffic control will be in place, and some road and lane closures will be necessary. The council urges residents to follow all instructions given by council staff and traffic control officers.

This annual maintenance program is designed to keep the city's palm trees safer and looking healthy, contributing to the beauty and vibrancy of Mackay's city centre. For further information, contact the council on 1300 MACKAY (622 529).

Wood Street, Mackay City Centre. Image credit: Just One Moment Photography

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School Supports Sport Safety

March 17, 2023

With the assistance of a local health and injury management provider, Mackay Christian College’s (MCC) athletes are competing in the safest and most prepared environment possible.

MCC is entering its third year of partnership with Forebode Health & Injury Management, a provider with a strong focus on sports medicine, working particularly with children in sport.

Owner and Senior Clinical Consultant Marc Newman has been in the business for over 35 years, working with a variety of organisations including NRL and Rugby Union Queensland.

He started providing sideline assistance and clinical care for MCC’s rugby union teams, with his role growing to include providing assistance with complex case management, delivering classroom learning to sport and recreation students and providing first aid training to staff and students.

“It’s built confidence with the students and the parents because they have some degree of comfort around the fact that, if their kids are away, they’re still going to get good quality clinical support,” Mr Newman said.

Mr Newman travels with MCC’s sport teams, with MCC Head of Senior School Peter Hopper saying his presence takes pressure off the staff who are managing those teams.

“It really values the students in that sort of confidence and seeing somebody who actually knows how to do that properly,” he said.

“I think it inspires some of them about career pathways in that space as well.

“For every professional sportsman that’s on the field, there’s a whole team of supporters around them and there’s plenty of opportunity in those sorts of roles.

“It’s safety and security but also an inspiration to the students to show what’s possible.”

“To have that conversation with the kids and help them realise that they’re genuine career pathways is exciting,” added Mr Newman.

“The school’s engaged me in a way that means I can actively be involved in helping promote safety in sport which is one of those roles I fill in professional sport as well.”

L-R Marc Newman and MCC Sport Representatives Jackson Palmer, Ella Duncan, Emma Reid, Kaitlyn Pollock and Charlie Hammond

MCC Sports Coordinator Sheril Buchanan, Marc Newman, Sports Admin Tracey Costello and Sports Aide Toni Attard

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Lighting The Way To Global Success

March 17, 2023

Amid the shining success stories of Queensland's Go Global grant program, East West Lighting of Mackay has emerged as a beacon of innovation and international ambition.

With the program's support, this industrial lighting specialist has illuminated the way for Queensland businesses seeking to expand their reach beyond domestic borders. From humble beginnings in a challenging industry, East West Lighting has leveraged the program's funding and resources to forge a path to the global market, showcasing the state's vibrant export potential in the process.

The $750,000 funding pool will help Queensland businesses overcome common exporting barriers faced when entering new international markets, such as accreditation, logistics, product trials and packaging.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said, “It was a great achievement for Mackay-based industrial lighting specialist East West Lighting as they are proof of the success of the Go Global funding program, which has added extreme value to their business, and shows what can be achieved through programs such as this.    

“Queensland businesses continue to prove their passion for their products and innovative services, and their tenacity for taking them to the world. Ongoing support and investment in our exporters is vital,” she added.

“Queensland’s goods exports are now valued at $137.2 billion. 

Exporters contribute nearly a third of our annual economic output and higher-paying jobs in both regional and urban areas”.

35 businesses received match-funding grants of up to $25,000 in the latest round of Go Global grant funding delivered through Trade and Investment Queensland.  

First launched in February 2020, the Go Global Export Program has provided a total of over $2.88 million to 137 applicants. Of these recipients, 61 per cent were based in regional Queensland.

“The Queensland government is investing an extra $150 million over the next decade to supercharge and deliver the 10-year Trade and Investment Strategy launched in June 2022,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“Of this $150 million, five million is allocated for grant programs such as Go Global.

Trade and Investment Queensland assists exporters and attracts investment. The dedicated business agency has 18 overseas offices in 14 key markets and a regional Queensland network.”

The LINK N LIGHT is a clever solution to safety and underground illumination that has global mining industry relevance and appeal.

CEO of East West Lighting Lance Walk said, “As an electrician working in the mines for 30 years, I created a simple, yet very important solution to the perennial problem of providing reliable lighting deep down in mines.

“The grant was essential to our ability to service both the Australian and international mining markets.”  

Grants and programs currently available:


New Market program – opened 1 March, closes 5 April

Fast Track to Investment – open 31 March, closes 21 April

New to Export – opened 20 March, closes 3 April

The Go Global Export Program - next round will likely be mid July 2023

Information on all these grants programs and assistance to export visit:

Trade and Investment Queensland.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert with CEO of East West Lighting Lance Walk being shown the LINK N LIGHT underground mining lighting solution

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Partnership Supporting Regional Transformation

March 17, 2023

With the future economic prosperity of the Greater Whitsunday region the focus, Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) have launched the next phase of its strategic partnership: the Transformation Region Project.

Following on from an initial partnership of three years, focused on the future of work and enhancing our supply chains in the region, the Transformation Region Project is a five-year strategic partnership to support GW3’s regional communication and advocacy capacity and to continue to drive economic growth across the Greater Whitsunday region.

Greater Whitsunday Alliance Chief Executive Officer Kylie Porter said the partnership was focused on preparing the region for the increasing impacts of technology and diversification opportunities for the region’s industries and workforces.

“It’s a five-year program designed to think about what our region can be in the future and actually lay the foundations and start the work around thinking about all the things that we need to do as a region collectively to achieve that future,” she said.

“The key projects we will be delivering as part of the BMA partnership include focusing on regional workforce development activities; increasing the adoption of technology to drive increased efficiency and productivity across a range of local industries; leveraging regional water assets to value add and create new industry and jobs and support the region make value decisions based on evidence, research and analysis.

“Our focus is really about what the next 10, 20, 30 years look like in terms of our workforces and making sure that our people have opportunities, have a pipeline of jobs, but also have access to skills development and training to make sure that they can stay here in the region.

“We know that this work will have a direct and positive impact on our regional community, and we are very excited to be a part of such an innovative, long-term partnership.”

BMA’s Head of Technology Fernando De Mattos said the partnership with GW3 was critical in bringing key stakeholders together to address the challenges we all face, such as building economic resilience, supporting skills required for the jobs of the future, and working together to tackle global issues such as climate change.

“Queensland has the world’s best metallurgical coal which is needed to make steel.

“However, we need government policy that is both competitive and predictable to make new investments in Queensland.

“Partnerships like this help build a region which is strong and sustainable for the future.”

Ms Porter said the launch of the Greater Whitsunday Regional Digital Roadmap was a tangible example of the vital work the partnership was delivering.

“There is no simple, or easy ‘quick fix’ to improving digital infrastructure, and the roadmap identifies that collaboration between government, industry and community will be critical moving forward.”

Greater Whitsunday Alliance Chief Executive Officer Kylie Porter and BMA Head of Technology Fernando De Mattos

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From Mundane Monday To Shocking Survival

March 17, 2023

The Vital Importance Of Workplace Defibrillators

Just another mundane Monday turned into a life-altering experience at Jennmar Australia last month.

Dylan Holmes, a 42-year-old employee, was having a casual conversation with a colleague on February 6, when suddenly he collapsed. The shocking incident could have been fatal if not for the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) installed at the workplace.

With a jolt of electricity, the AED jump-started his heart, and Holmes was given a second chance at life. Grateful for the presence of the life-saving device, he's now an ardent supporter of having AEDs in every workplace.

Mr Holmes suffered a cardiac arrest and was fortunate to be in a workplace which had an AED installed.

“One minute I was talking to a mate and the next minute I was on the ground,” he said.

“Lucky the boss started compressions and the defib did the rest, so I’m very lucky.”

Mr Holmes acknowledges that his survival on that day was the result of the combined efforts of his workmates at Jennmar Australia, the Queensland Ambulance team who were soon on site and the Mackay Base Hospital’s emergency, cardiac and intensive care teams who provided surgery and follow-up care.

Mackay Base Hospital cardiologist Dr Dominika Budzbon said that Mr Holmes’ cardiac arrest was caused by a very fast and abnormal heart rhythm.

“After a period of stabilisation in hospital, we decided he needs protection from any possible event like that in the future.”

Dr Budzbon explained that Mr Holmes became the first patient in Mackay to receive an implant of a subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD).

“This is a clever and highly programmable processor which recognises dangerous heart rhythms and works out what to do with it,” Dr Budzbon said.

“It is suitable for patients who only need a device to shock the heart, and do not need the support of a pacemaker as well.

“He is young and he will have this for many years, and we can minimise risk by using this device, rather than the traditional one.”

Mr Holmes spent 10 days recovering in the Intensive Care, Cardiac Care and Rehabilitation Units before being discharged home. His remote monitoring system collects data from the implanted ICD and sends it to the hospital’s Clinical Measurements team to review.

He was an advocate for workplace defibrillators even before his close call but is even more so now.

“I believe all workplaces should have them; they’re a lifesaver,” he said.

“I can’t believe what’s happened. I’m lucky that I’m still around and I’m lucky that I had the people to help me when it was needed,” Dylan said.

“From the blokes at Jennmar to ambulance workers that rocked up …. all the doctors and nurses – everyone’s been awesome.”

Dylan Holmes became the first patient in Mackay to receive an implant of a subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD) after suffering a cardiac arrest at work last month. Image: Mackay Hospital and Health Services

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Police Launch Homicide Investigation In Emerald

March 17, 2023

Police have initiated a homicide investigation subsequent to the discovery of a deceased man in Emerald last week.

The incident occurred on Loch Street, where emergency services were called to a residence at 11 pm on Friday 10 March in response to a disturbance call. Upon examination of the premises, the body of a 58-year-old man was found. Police are treating the death as suspicious.

An 18-year-old male, who was acquainted with the victim, was taken into police custody and cooperating with the investigation. He was later released.

Capricornia District Detective Inspector Luke Peachey addressed the media and stated that it is premature to draw any conclusions at this point in the investigation.

While no charges have been filed yet, Inspector Peachey urged anyone with dashcam footage or CCTV footage who was in the area between 11 pm and 12 am on the night of the occurrence to contact Crime Stoppers or Emerald detectives.

Inspector Peachey emphasised that the police would maintain an open mind throughout the investigation.

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Cycling Towards A New Record

March 17, 2023

When Lesa Ashford discovered there was no ultracycling record for circumnavigating Australia set by a woman, she said “there damn well should be”.

The Brisbane cyclist has taken it upon herself to set the female record, hoping to inspire other women and prove what’s possible.

She embarked from Brisbane on March 8, International Women’s Day, passed through Mackay on Monday and hopes to complete the ride on Mother’s Day.

“I’m starting for the women and finishing for the women,” Lesa said.

“For all the girls out there, I just want to set it.”

Lesa hopes to complete the 14,200km ride in 67 days, averaging 211km a day.

She departed a rainy southeast Queensland six days prior and was met with uncompromising central Queensland heat.

“I’ve actually decided I want to keep the rain because it’s so humid up here,” she laughed.

“I know I can do over 200km, but I’ve just had a head wind the whole way, relentless head wind, relentless humidity.

“The guys that have done this before, they haven’t had that through this section, so I feel like I’m behind, but I’m not.

“While I’ve got a head wind, I’ll just keep turning that bike and moving it forward.”

Travelling with Lesa is a support crew of seven, all with unique roles and responsibilities to keep her on the road.

“They’ve got their own expertise in a lot of things across a lot of different rides that we’ve done,” Lesa said.

“Our first ride out, on our first day, was pretty much our first training day.

“We’re all still learning and working out who works best with who and what’s the best way to go.”

Lesa also has many supporters watching from home, including her daughter who manages her social media platforms from Brisbane and her nutrition coach who is monitoring her glucose levels all the way from Ireland.

As well as riding to set the record, Lesa is raising funds for Fortem Australia, a charity supporting the wellbeing of Australia’s first responders after a relative, his partner and their unborn son were killed by a drunk driver in Brisbane in 2021.

“This is my way of giving back to the first responders that attended that scene, because it was horrific,” she said.

Lesa has a great appreciation for healthcare workers on the front line.

Last time she was in Mackay, she spent five days in Mackay Base Hospital after an accident while riding from Brisbane to Townsville.

“I did a full degloving and the emergency and my aftercare in Mackay Hospital was exceptional,” she said.

To find out more about Lesa’s journey and follow her progress, visit Lesa Ashford - World Ultracycling Record: Circumnavigating Australia on Facebook.

Lesa Ashford passed through Mackay this week on her way to becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Australia on a bicycle

Lesa’s support crew is made up of cycling enthusiasts she has met throughout various rides

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Mackay Steps Up For Breast Cancer Fun Run

March 17, 2023

Eighteen staff at Mackay transport and logistics business Centurion stepped up to fight breast cancer when they joined the International Women’s Day Fun Run – presented by National Storage – last Sunday March 12.

They were part of a strong contingent of virtual participants supporting a record 20,000 runners, joggers and walkers lining up at the main event in Brisbane.

Dan Pustkuchen, Centurion’s North Queensland Regional Manager, says his team didn’t have to think twice about signing up, and had planned their path along the Pioneer River prior to the virtual event.

“A couple of our colleagues have been diagnosed with breast cancer over the past few months,” Mr Pustkuchen said.

“They’re both tough ladies, but you don’t fully realise the impact it has on someone until you see them go through treatment – the emotional toll it takes.

“So, for us, this is about trying to raise awareness of what breast cancer patients go through, how we can help and how others can too.

“And if we can help one person, then this is worth it.”

Centurion’s team, ‘Another Bad Idea’, raised more than $1,000, as has fellow Mackay contingent ‘Team Joyce’. The International Women’s Day Fun Run, presented by National Storage, raises money for Mater Foundation to fund new equipment, services, and research for breast cancer patients across Queensland.

It’s a cause close to Susan Cameron’s heart. The Registered Nurse at Mater Private Hospital Mackay travelled from Mackay to Brisbane to take part in the big event.

“I decided to do it because my mum had breast cancer and is in remission at the moment,” Ms Cameron said.

“My sister also had breast cancer, as did my great grandmother, her sister and my cousin – there is a long family history of it.

“Everyone is touched by it at some point in their life.

“I think it’s important to show your support where you can, whether it is in person in Brisbane or virtually from afar, or by making a donation to help advance research, because it really does make a difference.”

Mater Foundation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Thomas said the fund-raising target for this year’s fun run was $1.75m, which will enable Mater to provide personalised support services for breast cancer patients, purchase more state-of-the-art equipment to better diagnose breast cancer and invest in life-saving breast cancer research.

“The response from the community this year has been overwhelming, with a record 20,000 people joining our main fun run,” Mr Thomas said.

“Every dollar raised will help women fighting breast cancer.”

Centurion’s International Women’s Day Fun Run team

Mater Private Hospital Mackay staff (from left) Susan Cameron, Beth Thomas (Executive Officer), Carol O’Brien, Sarah Tomisson and Nikita Hoare

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QCA To Review Irrigation Prices

March 17, 2023

Key points:

• The Queensland Competition Authority is going to review irrigation prices for Sunwater and Seqwater

• The State Government is extending a 15% water discount for irrigators

• The review will inform prices to apply from 2025/26 to 2028/29

The State Government is encouraging irrigators to participate in the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) review of irrigation water pricing.

The QCA will carefully consider the supply costs Sunwater and Seqwater recover from irrigators, to make sure these costs are reasonable, transparent and efficient.

Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said, “The independent regulator will undertake detailed review, talking to irrigators and other stakeholders so that we strike the right balance between the interests of customers and water providers.

“I encourage all Sunwater and Seqwater irrigation customers to participate in this process to help the QCA form detailed, well-informed advice on irrigation prices for the government.”

To allow time for the businesses and QCA to consult with irrigators, the Queensland Government is extending a 15% water discount to 2024/25.

“I’m happy to announce the extension of the 15% discount for irrigators for another year, to 2024/25,” the Minister said.

“Queensland is one of Australia’s major food bowls, so we owe it to our growers to ensure they’re getting a good deal, for what they contribute to the Queensland economy.

“The government will consider the QCA review, including the views of customers and stakeholders, before making a decision on prices.”

The State Government has also confirmed that as part of this process, irrigation prices are soon to be capped at the QCA’s assessed cost reflective level, often referred to as the lower bound price.

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Free Crab Escape Vents Up For Grabs

March 17, 2023

Fishers who support research by reporting tagged mud crabs in Queensland can get their claws on free escape vents.

The reports will help researchers track the spawning migration of female mud crabs and learn more about the species.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries principal scientist Dr Julie Robins said the research would help ensure Queensland mud crab fisheries remained sustainable.

“The research is part of a bigger project that aims to provide a better information base to assess and sustainably manage Queensland’s mud crab fisheries,” Dr Robins said.

“There is a lot of folklore about female mud crabs and where they go to spawn.

“Reports of tag recaptures will help us understand where females move to and how long they live for.”

If you find a mud crab with a yellow tag on its carapace, text a photo of the crab—along with the date and capture location—to 0466 868 913. (There’s no need to remember this number: it’s printed on the tag.)

“Remember, it is illegal to retain female mud crabs in Queensland,” Dr Robins said.

“If you do handle a female mud crab, it must be immediately returned unharmed to the water.”

Dr Robins said those who reported a tagged mud crab would be offered a free escape vent.

“Escape vents are compulsory in commercial mud crab pots in Queensland, but use in recreational pots is also encouraged,” she said.

“The vents enable sub-legal sized mud crabs and fish to escape, making it easier for people to sort their catch and reducing the risk of overcrowded crabs injuring one another.”

Image credit: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland

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Full Calendar Keeping Us Busy In The Slack

March 17, 2023

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

It might be called the slack, but it is still a busy time for growers and for CANEGROWERS Mackay, with maintenance work on farm and those important opportunities in training and information events generally programmed for this time of year.

This coming week, on March 23, CANEGROWERS Mackay’s Plane Creek Area Committee will hold its annual information meeting. Special guests this year include CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens with guest speakers CANEGROWERS Queensland industry specialists Burn Ashburner and Chris Gillitt, talking about the Business Essentials course and the benefits it can offer cane farming enterprises.

The course covers cost of production, sugar marketing, and succession planning. These are three important areas in the life-cycle of a farming business. This excellent low-cost course benefits grower members because it is important in today’s economic environment to keep skills honed to remain competitive, especially where we are dealing with rising costs of our three main inputs of fuel and fertiliser and chemicals. There are always new advances in research and technology advancing the methods of the use of these inputs to consider.

Aside from the chance to hear from our guest speakers, the event – this year being held at Sarina Bowls Club - is always a good social afternoon and a chance to get together with people from across the district.

Mackay Area Committee is presenting a series of five shed meetings in April with useful information leading into the 2023 Crush, plus a social BBQ.

Many farming families across the Mackay Sugar milling area will be heading to tonight’s productivity awards to celebrate the district’s top achieving growers and agronomists across productivity, sustainability, research and innovation. Plane Creek Productivity Services will hold their productivity awards in the coming months.

Next week – on the 24th - Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program’s Annual Grower Forum will be held in Koumala. We encourage growers to register for this interesting program of presentations and field demonstrations.

The growing season is progressing well, with rain coming at just the right times. It does mean another big crop is highly likely, should these conditions prevail, so the pressure is on for mills to be in great working order and ready to start at the earliest opportunity and get that crop processed in a timely and efficient manner. We do not want or need a repeat on last year of an overlong crush running past Christmas. As ever, mid-November remains the optimum time to have the crop removed. Prices are remaining well above $650 per tonne, giving us hope that we can make the best of 2023, processing a good crop in a timely fashion and take advantage of that higher price environment.

Mackay and Plane Creek Area Committees are meeting regularly with mill management for discussions about crop estimates and start dates in the lead up to the crush.

Mill performance is a critical factor in the success of the industry, as is export. Discussions continue among the growing community to express concern to grower representatives in CANEGROWERS and other organisations about Sugar Terminals Limited’s (STL) decision to remove not-for-profit bulk sugar terminal operator Queensland Sugar Limited QSL, STL giving notice on a long-standing operations agreement. CANEGROWERS Mackay recently had an opportunity to discuss issues surrounding this decision in a frank meeting held with the STL  board and management. We continue to seek a clear business plan detailing how STL propose to achieve the savings claimed. Our sugar terminals are an integral part of the sugar value chain. CANEGROWERS Mackay continues to strongly assert that this change represents an industry risk. Given our outstanding record as efficient, reliable exporters of a quality product we must ensure that any changes deliver much-improved results in cost and operations. at this stage STL have failed to convince the industry that the rewards will far outweigh the risks.

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