Thursday, October 19, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The final Councillor to be recognised for their service at the Local Government Conference next week is former mayor of Bowen Shire and Whitsunday Regional Council Councillor Mike Brunker.
Local Government is described as the grassroots of politics and Councillor Michael Brunker this year celebrates 25 years of remarkable grassroots service to our region.
Cr Mike’s journey into politics started in 1994 when he ran for Councillor at Collinsville to oppose a plan to shut Collinsville’s council depot in 1994.
He won the election and won the battle to keep the Collinsville Council depot open and it is still open today.
Never one to take a backward step when standing up for his community Mike stepped up to the plate and ran for Mayor of the Bowen Shire Council in 1997.
Again, he won and has held the Mayoral role of Bowen Shire Council and then the amalgamated Whitsunday Regional Council for 15 of the last 26 years.
Mike lost the Local Government election in 2012 when running for a second term as Mayor of the newly amalgamated Whitsunday Regional Council.
However, he was back in the chambers at the next election in 2016 when elected Bowen Divisional Councillor and has held that position since.
Over the course of his political career, Mike built a strong network across the three tiers of government which allowed his leadership and advocacy skills to deliver positive outcomes for his community.
His passion for community development and his commitment to the betterment of the lives of his constituents have been his guiding principles.
His biggest achievement, which is still delivering outcomes today, was convincing the Beattie Government to declare the 16,000-hectare Abbot Point as a State Development Area (SDA) in 2008.
Cr Mike presented the Government with an industrial land-use study, which found there was a unique opportunity that the 6,000 hectares adjacent to the deepwater port was one of the most ideal sites for a greenfields industrial area on the east coast.
The Port of Abbot Point now has a coal export capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum. It comprises rail in-loading facilities, coal handling and stockpiling areas and a single trestle jetty and conveyor connecting to two offshore berths and two ship-loaders which are located 2.8 kilometres offshore.
The benefits of that decision back in 2008 continue with the countdown to the first rocket being launched in 2024 by Gilmour Space Technologies from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport.
Thank you, Councillor Mike Brunker, for 25 years of exceptional service.
From Mayor Julie Hall.