Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Councillor Column - With Mayor Julie Hall

Excited to say Councillors and I kicked off our 2023 Community Catch-ups last week with over 60 people turning up to the Dingo Beach Progress Association.

I am a huge advocate of face-to-face engagement with residents in the Whitsunday region and topics discussed at the first catch-up included land and natural resource management, local projects, disaster preparation resources, town planning, the upcoming budget process and community consultations relevant to the Gloucester community.

The community catch ups provide Councillors the opportunity to better connect with our smaller communities, build relationships, share information, and gather feedback on local issues.

Face to face catch ups allow us to facilitate a two-way flow of information, updating residents on Council projects relevant to them and listen to issues affecting the local community.

Upcoming catch ups are planned for Gumlu/Cape Upstart, Collinsville, Conway, Scottville, Shute Harbour, and Mt Coolon.

To keep up to date with upcoming catchups or if you have any ideas or topics you would like to discuss, checkout our online engagement portal Your Say.

I am aware that the new Shute Harbour boat ramp’s fixed walkway design has caused angst within our local boating community due to changing tidal levels.

The boat ramp is a state-owned government funded asset and they advised that the boat ramp needed to be constructed to withstand another cyclone and a walkway didn’t exist prior to Cyclone Debbie.

Shortly after being elected, I raised community’s concerns about the boat ramp issue in talks with Minister Mark Bailey late last year.

I am grateful that the Minister had given an assurance that he would arrange a meeting onsite with Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) later this month.

Our aim now is to work with DTMR and MSQ to explore possible solutions to make the current boat ramp more user friendly based on community feedback.

Our hard-working road crews are currently completing the last of our re-sealing works program which includes $1.7 million dollars’ worth of works across 26 roads.

Our road network that Council maintains is huge as we look after more than 1780km of roads across the diverse Whitsunday region.

When severe weather events occur, we activate the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements from State and Federal Governments. It works as insurance for our roads to alleviate costs to ratepayers, but the process takes time.

Since October 2021 we’ve had multiple severe weather events impact our roads here in the Whitsundays. We’ve repaired over 80 damaged roads, costing over $23 million of disaster recovery funding.

Council is currently working with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) to secure funding for the last weather event in January, with an estimated $65 million dollars in claims being applied for.

We are also in constant talks with QRA and the District Disaster Management Group to find a solution for the Ted Cunningham bridge repair and to restore better access for residents.

In other news