Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Councillor Column

As Mayor, I believe a key role of my job is to engage with the community to ensure that our region continues to be a vibrant and welcoming place for all.

I’m currently working with Council to investigate ways we can attract new businesses to the region to create more jobs for residents.

We also want to ensure that people have the skills and training they need to compete in today's economy.

To this end, we have been in discussions with Mackay’s Resource Centre of Excellence to explore opportunities to create a similar hub in Bowen.

A centre like this in our region would be key in facilitating education and training for our future workforce. This is no quick fix project and will take a lot of collaboration, but we need to start the ball rolling now.

Sadly, homelessness in the region has continued to rise. Here at Council, we are responding to it as best we can with the limited resources we have.

One way we are doing this is by calling on the Australian Government to extend the deadline for the operation of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

The NRAS scheme provides incentives to property investors to build and rent out affordable housing, helping to increase the supply of rental properties and lower rental prices.

Also, Council recently voted to approve, with conditions, a new master-planned home park estate at Lodge Rd in Mount Gordon with 402 relocatable buildings which will focus providing housing to the over 50s demographic.

On another note, Whitsunday Coast Airport continues to grow and evolve with a new Freight Distribution Centre opening earlier this month.

The opening of this facility is the first step towards positioning the Whitsunday region as a player in the national and international freight industry.

Also last week I flew on the first Toowoomba to Whitsundays Bonza flight which has capped a huge month for the airport after recently smashing the weekly and daily passenger records. This new route now opens up another catchment area to the Whitsundays of up to 840,000 people.

Whilst in Toowoomba we toured the Wellcamp freight centre and discussed ways we could link our facilities to deliver international freight opportunities to the Whitsundays.

Finally, I am working with our Economic Development team to explore funding opportunities for a community minibus for Bowen, Collinsville and surrounds to transport patients to Townsville for medical appointments.

I am passionate about access and equity across the region, and we are working hard with local community groups to attempt to get this project off the ground.

In other news