Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Councillor Column With Mayor Julie Hall

Earlier this month, my fellow Councillors and I attended the Greater Whitsunday Housing Summit in Mackay. The summit is a much-needed collaboration between the Mackay, Whitsunday, and Isaac regions to discuss gaps in our current housing system.

We came away with a multitude of learnings and information from the event which we will now use to prepare a local housing action plan to address local issues specific to our diverse industries and housing needs.

One of the challenges identified in the summit was investor and developer confidence in the region. To tackle this, we have been talking with community housing providers, and are investigating how we can move the provision of infrastructure forward by partnering with other government agencies.

Prior to the summit, WRC CEO Warren Bunker and I attended a breakfast with The Minister for Housing, the Honourable Megan Scanlon MP, to discuss how we can work with the State Government to secure future funding for social and affordable housing in our region.

In other news, Council’s organisational structure has recently undergone some slight amendments to allow for a greater focus on strategy and network planning. These changes will not affect the 23/24 budget and have been put in place to make sure we are well prepared for the future and that our regional advocacy needs are front of mind.

One such amendment of the organisational structure includes bringing all commercial business units under one Directorate. The goal of this strategic change is to refocus efforts within the commercial assets of council and ensure a strong and sustainable financial performance, which will deliver profits.

We are also identifying the key areas across the region where we will be talking to community and local stakeholders about masterplans to deliver more liveable and enjoyable places for residents and visitors alike.

To this end, Council have had an initial meeting with North Queensland Bulk Ports to investigate an economically viable way to save the Bowen jetty. I also recently had the pleasure of meeting The Honourable Minister Bailey MP, Minister for Transport and Main Roads to discuss the situation. I am extremely grateful for the $50M his government has decided to allocate to save the jetty.

In Proserpine, public consultation is underway for a new Whitsunday Coast Airport Masterplan. Amazingly, we have outgrown our last 10-year masterplan in 4.5 years due to the extremely successful performance of our airport. Well done to all!

Finally, I would like to take a minute to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing sponsors, donators, attendees, and auction bidders who made the record breaking 2023 Mayor’s Annual Charity Ball such a success!

We raised a whopping $105,828.58 which will go a long way in helping our two beneficiaries, RACQ CQ Rescue and Whitsunday Housing Company Ltd, to continue the great work they do in our region.

The generosity of our community has blown me away especially in tough times such as these. It is a real testament to the fact that our local people and businesses are truly the heart of the Whitsundays.

In other news