Thursday, May 18, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


The most influential political leaders in the region attended a lively Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce special event on Tuesday evening, the key item on the agenda: a new vision for the Whitsundays.

Special guest, David Littleproud, Leader of the National Party spoke alongside Andrew Willcox, Federal Member for Dawson, Amanda Camm, Member for Whitsunday, and Julie Hall, Mayor of the Whitsunday Regional Council.

Each leader delivered their message to a full-house and spoke on issues such as their perspectives on the climate of the region, their visions for the future, and directions they are pursuing.

1. David Littleproud, Leader of the National Party of Australia

Mr Littleproud’s vision for the Whitsundays encompasses housing and regional healthcare, particularly foreign doctors.

- The current government has proposed a risky scheme for housing.

o “It’s $10 billion, but it’s not $10 billion going into housing, it’s the government borrowing $10 billion and hoping they can invest that $10 billion at a greater return than what they’re paying interest rates on. And then if they actually make anything about that interest rate, they’ll put that into housing; that’s a big risk.”

- There have been changes to the designated priority areas, regarding foreign doctors.

o “The government is allowing foreign doctors to now work in capital cities, rather than regional-remote areas. They’ve extended that, which means the doctors are not working with us. We’ve lost foreign doctors, and for some of us, we don’t have any doctors at all now.”

2. Andrew Willcox MP, Federal Member for Dawson

Mr Willcox’s vision for the Whitsundays includes connectivity for the region, as well as insurance premiums.

- Mr Willcox is pleased with the increased use of the local airport; however, he believes the marine industry is critical to growth.

o “We’re looking at a super yacht service facility in Bowen. What we’re hoping from a federal point of view is funding of a super yachts service facility, because the super yachts won’t visit this area if we cannot maintain and look after them.”

- Mr Willcox is working on insurance premium costings for the region.

o “Another thing I have been working on is that we pay far too much for insurance. The reinsurance bill, that’s a $10 billion fund, and its not quite where I thought it was up to, because insurance companies have until the end of this year to opt in. We need to get our insurance premiums down in this area.”

3. Amanda Camm MP, Member for Whitsunday

Ms Camm’s vision for the area includes growth in infrastructure, but sustainable growth that supports the region.

o “We have a development underway at the moment in the Shute Harbour Marina, that I will absolutely go on record that I hope never sees the light of day. It’s not the right development for our community. “

o “I want to see the Tassal expansion occur in agriculture. They’re doing incredible things sustainably. And that’s a new industry that’s going to create some 600 jobs over the course of the decade and create new opportunities for our young people in science, technology, and innovation.”

o “Our region is an incredible destination and should always be renowned as that. Particularly with the lead up to the Olympic Games, I don’t want all of that infrastructure funding or visitation to just be into southeast Queensland.”

4. Julie Hall, Mayor of the Whitsunday Regional Council

Mayor Hall is adamant on job growth and economic and environmental sustainability within the region.

o “One of the key challenges we face is ensuring that our infrastructure keeps pace with demands of the growing population and economy, our road and public services must be able to accommodate the increasing needs and expectations of our residents and visitors alike.”

o “It is critical we protect and preserve our environment for future generations. We must play our role and adopt sustainable practices and ensure responsible development that respects the fragile ecosystem that makes our region so special.”

o “Another challenge with rapid growth is the issue of housing affordability and availability. It is essential that federal, state, and local government work collaboratively with stakeholders, developers, and the community to innovate solutions and strive for a balance between growth and affordable housing options.”

L-R: Andrew Willcox, Member for Dawson, Julie Hall, Mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council, Allan Milostic, President of the Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce, Amanda Camm, Member for Whitsunday, David Littleproud, Leader of the National Party for Australia. Photo credit: Bronte Hodge

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