Mackay Region Community News



RETURNS AFTER THREE YEAR HIATUS The local wedding industry just got bigger, bolder, and more exciting thanks to the newly rejuvenated Mackay and Whitsunday Annual Wedding Expo which is due to take place at the MECC on Sunday, 4 February, from 10am - 1pm. Launched in 2020 by local wedding and event specialist Ramona Burki from Element Events by Ramona, the Mackay and Whitsunday Wedding Expo was a huge success, but future plans were halted by the pandemic until the event became re-charged for 20

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Lifeguards' Swift Action Saves The Day

Lifeguards' Swift Action Saves The Day

As the mercury rises, this week’s good deed is a reminder to stay vigilant around water. Sherry Ferguson, in a heartfelt message on the Mums and Bubs of Mackay & the Whitsundays Facebook group, recounted a recent heart-stopping incident that transformed into a tale of immense gratitude towards local heroes. During a family outing at the Bluewater Lagoon, an unforeseen turn of events unfolded when Sherry's daughter, aged 19, found herself facing a nerve-wracking situation. While enjoying the day

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Being Ready Is Our Best Defence

Being Ready Is Our Best Defence

Ah, cyclone season—when the skies turn ominous, and we find ourselves glued to weather forecasts more than our favourite TV series. Here in Mackay, November through April is our version of a rollercoaster ride, with storms and cyclones potentially on the horizon. In Mackay Life, we've just wrapped up four weeks of disaster preparedness, reminding us that being ready for anything nature throws our way is not just a suggestion but a necessity. Our final Disaster Month feature can be found on pages

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Are Dawson’s Roads Among Worst In The State?

Are Dawson’s Roads Among Worst In The State?

A secret audit of Queensland’s roads has revealed almost half of Queensland’s Bruce Highway has a two-star safety rating or less. Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox, said he is disappointed but not surprised the electorate of Dawson had the lowest overall star rating, with 63.4 per cent rated two stars or lower. Mr Willcox said much needed infrastructure projects like the Mackay Ring Road Stage 2 and the Goorganga Plains Flood Immunity project have been delayed by the Australian Governmen

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On The Beat

November 23, 2023

Mackay Man Dies 13 Days After Car Crash

A serious traffic crash occurred in St Lawrence, south of Mackay on 7th November. Early investigations indicated that a truck left the Bruce Highway and crashed into a tree near Wumalgi Road, around 7am.

At the time the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, a 55-year-old man from Rural View, was flown to Rockhampton Base Hospital in a critical condition.

Queensland Police Service released a statement on 20th November informing the public that the 55-year-old man has since passed away from critical injuries in the Rockhampton Base Hospital, thirteen days after the fatal incident.

The Forensic Crash Unit are investigating the crash and police will prepare a report for the coroner. Anyone with information about the crash, or who has dashcam vision, is urged to contact police.

Community Watch

There has been a series of stolen vehicle occurrences around the Mackay region over the past month. Distressed individuals have been updating the Mackay Crime Watch Facebook page with images, CCTV footage and descriptions of the thieves responsible.

• Silver Landcruiser in Bronte St, West Mackay

• Red Commodore in North Mackay

• Blue Suzuki at BB Print Stadium

• White Prado in Rural View

• Isuzu D-max in East Mackay

• Nissan Qashqai on Mansfield Drive, Beaconsfield

• Red Nissan Juke in Sarina

• Grey Prado in Walkerston

• Break-in attempt on Drake Drive in Paget

• Broken rear passenger window on Ready Street

If you have information, contact Policelink at or report anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at

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First Nations Culturally Safe Space

November 23, 2023

Officially Opened At CQ University

The Mackay campus of CQ University has officially opened a new room, dedicated to First Nations students, staff and community members.

The new room provides a safe environment that is culturally rich, for students, staff, and the community to have a space for study and independent work.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp said the space was an “incredibly important addition to the campus”.

“CQUniversity is proud to be one of Australia’s most accessible and inclusive universities, in particular, we are focused on transformative engagement and partnership with First Nations staff, students and communities,” Professor Klomp said.

“All of our campuses stand on Country that has been cared for by First Nations communities for tens of thousands of years. Importantly, they have been places of learning for countless generations before us. That’s why we are so proud to continue to endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart and constitutional recognition, and why we are forging ahead with the implementation of our latest Reconciliation Action Plan.”

Officially opened in a ceremony with over 70 people in attendance, including Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson, the event saw a Welcome to Country conducted by Elder Uncle Philip Kemp.

“We hope that the culturally safe space will provide a haven on campus where First Nations people feel comfortable and confident expressing their views, perspectives and ideas,” Professor Klomp said.

“From a student perspective, our hope is that this culturally safe space will empower our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to achieve their higher education goals.”

Mayor Greg Williamson, Uncle Philip Kemp, Mellisa Taggart, Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp, and Jade Carroll. Photo credit: Bill Jewell

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November 23, 2023

Mackay Regional Council have kicked in $10,000 to boost festive celebrations in regional areas like Grasstree Beach, Calen, Midge Point and Marian.

From carols to morning teas, movie nights to lolly drops and everything in between – the Mackay region will be buzzing with festive fun.

Christmas Grants were awarded to 13 exciting events and Mackay City Band was also supported to perform at a number of community carols and Christmas events, like the Habana carols and various retirement village performances.

To qualify for the grants, applicants needed to be not-for-profit organisations and the celebrations had to be open and welcoming to everyone.

Events supported included:

• McEwens Beach Christmas event – Saturday, November 18, from 5pm to 7pm at Reg Jones Park, McEwens Beach

• Balnagowan Christmas event – Saturday, November 25, from 2pm to 7pm at 192 Pleystowe Connection Road, Balnagowan.

• St Helens Beach Christmas Lights Competition – Friday, December 1, to Thursday, December 14, at St Helens Beach.

• Armstrong Beach Progress Association Christmas event – Saturday, December 2, from 4pm to 8pm at Llewellyn Hall, 681 Armstrong Beach.

• Calen Christmas event – Saturday, December 2, from 5.30pm to 9pm at Calen District State College, McIntyre Street.

• Mackay Northern Beaches Neighbourhood Watch Christmas event – Friday, December 8, from 5pm to 8pm at Shoal Point Park, Obrien Esplanade

• Beachside Family Christmas – Saturday, December 9, from 3pm at Grasstree Beach, The Esplanade

• Midge Point Christmas Event – Saturday, December 9, from 3pm to dusk at Nielsen Parade, Midge Point

• Mackay Aeroclub Christmas party – Friday, December 15, from 4.30pm at 1 Casey Avenue, South Mackay

• Sarina Beach Christmas Fair – Friday, December 15, from 5pm to 8pm at Sarina Beach, Owen Jenkins Drive

• Sarina Surf Lifesaving Club Carols by Candlelight – Sunday, December 16, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm at Sarina Beach, Owen Jenkins Drive

• Christmas morning tea for older members of the Pioneer Valley community – Saturday, December 23, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm at Melba House, Edward Lloyd Park, Marian

• Habana Carols Under the Stars – Saturday, December 23, from 7pm to 9.30pm at Habana Community Hub, 1091 Mackay-Habana Road

Council is also supporting the following events:

City Heart Christmas

Friday, December 1, from 4pm to 8pm

Mackay City Centre

Check out the Fifth Lane Christmas Markets and join in the City Heart scavenger hunt. There will be late-night shopping, kids' activities, face painting, Christmas craft and games, carollers, live music and the jolly man in the red suit will even make a visit.

Carols in the Gardens

Saturday, December 2, from 4.30pm (carols start at 6.30pm)

Meadowlands Amphitheatre, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

Get into the Christmas spirit at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. Carols will kick off at 6.30pm. Gates open at 4.30pm, so come down and secure your spot and enjoy the free kids' activities on offer. There will also be plenty of food vendors to grab a bite to eat.

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Seeking Enthusiasts To Soar To New Heights

November 23, 2023

The Mackay Tiger Moth Museum Inc is a long-standing non-profit organisation, run by local volunteers who possess a proud passion for aviation.

The group began in 1974, when the founding members of the group, formerly known as The Tiger Moth Trust banded together to purchase a Tiger Moth that had been restored locally and was in danger of being sold to America.

Support was gathered from the Mackay community to purchase the Tiger Moth and the Trust (now The Mackay Tiger Moth Museum) was formed to administer the operation.

The two Tiger Moth aircraft are owned by the Mackay community with one being christened the “City of Mackay” to confirm its ownership.

The trust became an incorporated museum with tax-deductible status, run totally by voluntary efforts for administration, crewing, and pilots. It is a labour of love, as none of the members receive remuneration for their efforts.

The Tiger Moth Museum currently operates two aeroplanes, the VH-IVN and the VH-CYA.

The VH-IVN is a Tiger Moth that was built in England in 1943, later commissioned into the Royal Navy as a training aircraft. This plane has operated as a crop duster in New Zealand, as well as in RAAF training implementing Tiger Moths during the Second World War.

In November 2010, the Museum purchased a second Tiger Moth VH-CYA. This aircraft was commissioned into the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942. It was used as a crop duster in Gilgandra, New South Wales for many years before eventually being retired from work and restored by private owners to its present condition.

The Tiger Moth Museum’s source of income is their joy flights. These flights fund the costs to keep both Tiger Moth aeroplanes running and maintained to a charter standard.

An engine from a Tiger Moth aeroplane must be removed from the aircraft every 1500 hours to be stripped, costing a staggering $50,000 each time.

The Tiger Moth Museum takes part in events such as ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans Day, the Bakers Creek Memorial, as well as weddings, funerals and more.

The volunteers who run the Tiger Moth Museum love to see the smile on the faces of people who return home from their first joy flight. It is rare for them to encounter someone who does not want a second go!

The Tiger Moth Museum are now looking for more volunteers and strongly encourage anyone who is interested in aviation to apply, as well as commercial pilots to operate the joy flights.

You can enjoy these coastal flights with times ranging from 20, 30 and 60 minutes operating on weekends. Bookings are available from Whitsunday Office Machines at 14 Ginger Street in Paget or by calling 07 499 856 77. Gift vouchers are also available.

Volunteers of the Tiger Moth Museum alongside Tiger Moth VH-CYA. (left to right) Ross Robotham, Stewart Garnham and Peter Currey

Photo credit: Sinead Porter

The two Tigers, VH-CYA and VH-IVN

In the air looking over the beautiful Pioneer River

Photo credit: The Tiger Moth Museum

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Community Heroes Wanted

November 23, 2023

For RFDS Awards

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RDFS) are hosting their annual Local Hero Awards, recognising Queenslanders who go above and beyond to support their community.

The RFDS began in 1928, providing vital healthcare to regional, rural and remote areas. With nine bases operating throughout the state, they form a strategic network and help deliver the finest healthcare to all Queenslanders.

Without the ongoing support of the communities in which RFDS operate, they simply would not exist. In recognition of this fact, the RFDS Local Hero Awards are the organisation’s way of saying ‘thank you’.

The RFDS recognise nominations of people who make Queensland a healthier, better and more connected place. What unites these individuals is their passion for helping their local community.

A Local Hero could be anyone from a selfless community member who gives their time to help others, to those who have assisted in an emergency, volunteered, or fundraised.

Voting will determine one winner to receive a $20,000 grant provided by Ergon Energy Retail, to create or support a health or wellbeing initiative in their local community.

So, what are you waiting for? If you know someone deserving of this prestigious award, visit to nominate them as a Local Hero!

Nominations for the Local Hero Awards close on 12th December

Photo credit: Royal Flying Doctor Service

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WWII Gallery Unveiled On Remembrance Day

November 23, 2023

Families of the Pioneer Valley gathered to experience an extra special Remembrance Day this year, with a service at the cenotaph followed by an unveiling of Finch Hatton RSL’s World War II Honour Gallery.

With over two-hundred and fifty people in attendance from the local area and surrounds, the unveiling was a joint affair with RSL Life member David Oliver, RSL auxiliary Life Member Graeme Ware and auxiliary member Wendy Sievers all sharing in the honour.

The World War II Honour Gallery follows on from the sub branch’s World War One gallery which was opened in 2018. Both may be far from completion; however, the sentiment still stands as a remarkable achievement in admiration for our armed services.

With around seventy World War II veterans on the wall, it was time to open the gallery. There is an estimated forty or so others out there that are yet to be honoured and remembered.

The gathering was welcomed by President Tammy Sprott, who then handed over to the MC of the event Graeme Ware. As the instigator and driving force of the project, Wendy Sievers gave some background to the display.

Mayor Greg Williamson and Central Queensland District Deputy President John Edwards both acknowledged the importance of such projects, in maintaining the profile of our veterans who have served for their country and some making the ultimate sacrifice to allow all Australians the freedom we have been allowed today.

Finch Hatton RSL Sub Branch’s fundraising efforts over the years have been the primary source of support for such projects. The event was a momentous occasion for the Pioneer Valley in paying their respects as a community.

Taking place on Remembrance Day further signifies the importance of the unveiling, with this being a substantial victory for the Finch Hatton RSL Sub Branch which have gone to great lengths to organise the honour gallery project.

The branch is also grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs and Central Queensland RSL District for supplying grants to provide much-needed capital to allow the project to take place.

(Left to right) Ms Wendy Sievers, Mr Graeme Ware and Mr David Oliver unveil the WWII Honour Gallery

Onlookers from the community take in the newly-unveiled WWII Honour Gallery

Members of 122 Army Cadet Unit serve a gunfire breakfast to the community

The Mackay & District Pipe Band

Central Queensland RSL District Deputy President Mr John Edwards pays his respects

Photos supplied

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Explore The Option Of Egg Freezing

November 23, 2023

With Doctor Rana of Ritu Rana Medical

Doctor Ritu Rana of Ritu Rana Medical has a tremendous passion for gynaecology, pregnancy and fertility, everyday acknowledging that the gift of new life is one to be appreciated well before birth.

Dr. Rana has an extensive background in the field of medicine, having done her basic medical training in India, moving on to Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a fellowship in Assisted Reproduction in the United Kingdom before moving to Australia for the sunshine.

Studies have demonstrated that women with endometriosis have high pregnancy rates when they undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with donor eggs from another women without endometriosis. Embryos created from the eggs of women with endometriosis during IVF had lower rates of fertilisation and development.

The connection between endometriosis and egg quality is significant and can hinder the opportunity to conceive naturally. Endometriosis may create an inflammatory environment in the reproductive system, as well as reduced blood flow to or within the ovaries.

Endometriomas or ‘chocolate cysts’ can occur, which are associated with an increased risk of early pregnancy loss and lower embryo quality. The relationship between endometriosis and egg count and quality are both excellent reasons for women with endometriosis to consider egg freezing.

Patients choose IVF treatment for a multitude of reasons and taking steps such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and taking multivitamin supplements are encouraged to foster successful results.

Dr. Rana is proud to be able to make a difference to women's quality of life by helping them with endometriosis-related pain and bleeding issues.

With her advanced laparoscopic skills, the ability to perform surgeries such as excision of endometriosis and removal of fibroids by key-hole surgery allows her patients a quick recovery and better outcome due to less surgical scarring in the abdomen. This allows many of her patients to conceive naturally without needing IVF treatment.

Dr. Rana reminds her patients to consider the factors that may improve the success rate of IVF treatment before receiving it, including excision of endometriosis. Age of the patient is a major consideration, as the chances of success drops significantly after women turn forty.

The compassion and empathy Dr. Rana has for her patients shines through when she experiences the satisfaction and happy tears on a couple’s face when they see their baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound scan for the first time.

Dr. Rana stated, “It's a very exciting specialty and there is never a dull moment. You become part of a beautiful journey right from conception to the birth of a baby.

“I feel that in some ways, I become a part of their family. It can be very challenging sometimes but I feel satisfied that I can be there to support families through those challenges.”

Regular auditing shows that her clinic has maintained success rates well over the national average. Dr. Rana obtains regular feedback to maintain an individual, personalised level of care for every patient, ensuring they experience satisfaction from every clinical visit.

Dr. Rana is dedicated to being honest and transparent to provide realistic expectations, with experience in managing complex issues. She accesses the latest technology, like embryo-scope, a prenatal genetic testing of embryos to maintain high success rates for her patients.

If you have concerns about your fertility, visit your GP for a referral to Ritu Rana Medical to discuss your options.

Doctor Ritu Rana posing with two babies she has assisted in delivering into the world

Photo supplied

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River Street Project Paused Due To Termites And Rot

November 23, 2023

Construction work on a prime riverfront food and beverage site in River Street has been paused to allow time to consider new design and construct options.

Work on the council-owned building, formerly Maria’s Donkey and more recently the Don Daniels restaurant site, is being undertaken by Woollam Constructions.

It is part of development in the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA), with other nearby projects being the completed River Wharves and the upcoming installation of a pontoon.

Mayor Greg Williamson said Woollam Constructions was awarded a $3.7 million contract to refurbish 8 River Street in May this year.

He said the design and construct project included rejuvenating the existing building to create a food and beverage facility on the site.

“Works have been undertaken on site, including internal demolition and demolition of the deck. An access ramp has also been installed.”

But Mayor Williamson said structural assessments progressively carried out during the works had revealed problems with the existing building, ranging from termite damage to missing foundations and rotted columns.

“Works ceased onsite in the middle of October due to the structural assessment,’’ he said.

“Council and the contractor has been working on a plan moving forward and a decision has been made to pause the project and look at new design and construct options.”

Mayor Williamson said council was firmly focussed on delivering a modern, new facility that aligned with the original budget.

“That would activate the River Wharves area, which is one of the aims of the project. It would also meet the funding requirements of Federal Government funding,” he said.

Construction work on Mackay’s riverfront has been paused. Photo supplied: Mackay Regional Council

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Local Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship

November 23, 2023

A dedicated student from Mackay State High School was announced as the recipient of the 2024 Hill Family Scholarship this week, in honour of his great dedication to his academic achievements.

The Hill Family Scholarship provides vital financial support of $5,000 to one deserving student each year, who is embarking on their tertiary education journey within the fields of law, accounting, or commerce.

Year 12 Mackay State High School student Ned Gething won the 2024 scholarship, the accolade showcasing the young student’s leadership qualities, academic achievements and passionate commitment to pursuing a career in law.

“Access to the Hill Family Scholarship means I can place a greater focus on my studies, rather than worrying about where the money for textbooks or costs of living away from home might come from,” Ned stated.

“I’m excited to pursue this next chapter of my education and so grateful for the support a scholarship like this can provide to myself and my family,” he added.

The Hill Family Scholarship was established in 2021 by Mackay State High School alumni Karl and Sarah Hill and is a testament to their commitment of providing opportunities for regional youth.

The scholarship aims to alleviate the financial burdens associated with pursuing higher education, including living out of home costs, textbooks, equipment and travel.

As the Founder and Director of Results Legal, one of Queensland’s foremost specialist commercial litigation firms, Karl believes in the power of education and that students in regional areas should have equal opportunities to pursue their dream careers.

“We created the Hill Family Scholarship to ensure talented regional students do not get left behind from attending university due to financial constraints,” Mr. Hill said.

“From personal experience, we understand the unique challenges faced by students in regional areas aspiring to build careers in law, commerce and business. The financial hurdles of moving to a new city, securing accommodation, and adapting to a different environment can be daunting for young students out of home for the first time,” he said.

Previous Hill Family Scholarship recipient and Mackay State High School graduate, Pushti Shah, has just completed her second year of a Law degree at Griffith University in Brisbane and knows the challenges of leaving a regional centre to study in the city.

“Moving away for university was scary and a steep learning curve at first, but the support I received from the Hill Family Scholarship made it so much easier.

“Karl has also been a valuable mentor to really open the door for me within the law profession,” she said.

The Hill Family Scholarship supports creating opportunities that have a lasting and meaningful impact in the future.

Founder and Director of Results Legal Karl Hill, Year 12 scholarship award recipient Ned Gething and previous recipient Pushti Shah

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Property Point

November 23, 2023

I bought a car the other day and, as a sales person, it was an interesting experience.

I don’t like spending a lot of money on cars and, as someone with a 16-year-old son, a 20-year-old daughter and a wife, there’s not much left for me anyway.

So I decided on a budget. That budget would have got me a brand new four-cylinder Japanese or Korean SUV but I wanted something a bit better, sportier, something a step up from my old Toyota Aurion that was about to die a painful, age-related death.

I narrowed down my search and worked out what sort of “next-level” car I could get second-hand that would be around the same price as one of the popular new SUVs that everyone drives.

As I worked through my research on cars, I decided it would be either a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus.

I worked out what I wanted in terms of engine size, age and kilometres on the clock. I narrowed it down to specific models of those brands and from there my priorities became low kilometres and full service history.

I finally decided that the car I wanted was a Lexus IS 350 F Sport. I would have loved to buy local and pick up one from a car dealer in Mackay but there were none here.

Only a handful in my price range were available in the country and I was struggling trying to find one with low-enough kilometres on the clock. It was starting to drag on.

Suddenly I saw an ad for a beautiful-looking silver one with 22,000 kilometres on the clock. It was a bit above what I had budgeted for, but I rang the dealer in Brisbane for a chat. There had only been one owner, a woman who had just had just turned 80.

So; the sporty, mid-sized, 3.5-litre Lexus sedan with leather everything that I wanted with 22,000km on the clock, one older female owner and log books with full service history. Tick.

The only problem was that the price was higher than my budget. So what did I do? I bought the damn thing, of course.

And that’s the sales lesson. I was a hot buyer for a Lexus IS 350 F Sport and I was willing to go outside my budget when I saw one that stood out from the crowd.

No sales person could have talked me into buying a car I didn’t want. But when you put an exceptionally good version of what I want in front of me at a price that’s slightly higher than I wanted to spend … what happens then? I adjust and pay the price.

I will write about the salesman in a future column but suffice to say there was no hard sell, just answering questions, making it easy, not being pushy, not giving me a reason to walk away.

He “sold” the car but he allowed me to discover it, see for myself what was special about the vehicle. And he defended the price. I knew he would let me walk away if I wasn’t willing to come reasonably close to the price.

But he knew, and I knew, that I wasn’t walking away. I’d found what I wanted and I was willing to stretch the budget a bit to get it. He had matched a good product with a keen buyer and defended the price. Our jobs aren’t that different.

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November 23, 2023

Festival Fever is the theme, $1000 dollars is the prize and the front cover of the 2024 Mackay Festival of Arts program is the canvas.

The Mackay Festivals team is calling on artists, graphic designers, freelance creators, hobbyists, beginners and everyone in between to show off their creativity, imagination and artistic skills.

The winning artwork will be featured on the cover of the 2024 program and will inspire the branding of the 2024 festival. The winning artist will also receive $1000 in prize money and two VIP tickets to the Festival Launch Party.

Designs will be judged by a panel of judges who will shortlist the finalists.

Once announced, the shortlisted designs will land on the Mackay Festivals Facebook page where our community will select the winner.

Mayor Greg Williamson said it was tremendous to be championing local art and artists as part of the Mackay Festival of Arts.

“The Mackay Festival of Arts is all about celebrating arts and culture in our region, so why shouldn’t our program be a canvas to showcase amazing talent and creativity,” Mayor Williamson said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for an artist to receive some amazing exposure on a medium that celebrates art, expression and creativity,” he said.

Festival and Events Coordinator Sarah Porter said the competition was a natural evolution for the program.

“We’ve had some amazing designs in the past that incorporate, or are inspired by, the shows and acts we program for the festival,” Ms Porter said.

“Our vision is for the festival program to be a piece of art in its own right – for it to be a collectors’ item,” she said.

“One of the best ways to do that is for it to showcase an original artwork.

“We are looking for your interpretation of next year’s theme, which is ‘Festival Fever’ and how that resonates with you.

“This is your chance to demonstrate your unique talent and vision and be recognised in the vibrant arts community.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold and bring the colours to life.”

For design requirements, terms and conditions and to apply, visit

Applications close on Sunday, December 3, 2023.

The Festivals and Events Team will contact each applicant once all submissions have been reviewed by the judging panel on December 6, 2023. Should you have any queries, please contact the team on 4961 9777.

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Have you ever wanted to do something, but you thought no?

November 23, 2023

I have, and I do it quite often.

Let’s just say I don’t have great willpower. I say that because 10 weeks ago I was shopping for Christmas decorations with my kids, and we bought a gigantic wooden advent calendar with all the sliding drawers for gifts to put in each one for the month.

When we got that, I thought wouldn’t it be great to have little chocolates to put in each drawer, so I decided to grab one of those big mixed boxes of sweets. It has a few dozen little parcels of greatness wrapped up in the box and since September the box has been sitting in my pantry ready for December.

Thing is I haven’t touched it. I haven’t eaten any. I haven’t even opened the box at all in all this time. In some ways it’s been a test for me to test my willpower because normally, if food is in front of me, I’ll eat it. Simple.

This time however I haven’t. It’s still there staring at me each time I open the door and grab the rice and mixed herbs, but chocolate is a no go.

Should I be proud? I reckon yes.

So, the thing is, two weeks ago I volunteered some afternoon time on a Sunday to help out a bunch of young musicians at their end of year gathering and I was given the same box of chocolates as a gift to say thanks for your time. Alex, I thank you for this, but since then, I’ve had that box on my desk, staring me in the face every day and I again have not touched it, let alone opened it at all.

I reckon I need a medal.

Rewind to winter and I would have smashed those boxes in a couple of days and felt guilty for doing it afterwards, but now having this test of two boxes of chocolate gifts is both torture, and pleasure at the same time.

In saying all this, I want you to know, if you’re heading up to Mt P tomorrow to do some Christmas shopping, and a box of chocolates stares at you from the end of the aisle, smile and walk away. You don’t need it.

Your belly will thank you for it later, and I guarantee your bank balance will as well.

On that note, I’m off to watch YouTube clips of the Cadbury factory in the UK and dream a little. Perhaps even drool.

Have fun, Rob.

You can join Rob Kidd from 5am weekday mornings on 4MK 1026 AM in Mackay and Proserpine, 91.5FM in Airlie Beach or just ask your smart speaker to play 4MK on iHeartRadio!

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Mackay Welcomes Rugby League Icons

November 23, 2023

Sporting fans from across the region gathered at a special fundraising event earlier this week, the crowds eager to meet two sporting legends, Ivan Cleary and Kerry Boustead, who shared their inspiring stories.

Held at Souths Leagues Club, the event was also an opportunity to connect with recently announced mayoral candidate, Steve Jackson, who was available to answer questions.

The audience enjoyed a vibrant atmosphere at the sold-out event, with a seafood and meat buffet, drinks and desserts, auctions and raffles.

Ivan Cleary and Kerry Boustead were soon welcomed to the stage to discuss their histories with rugby league as well as answering some burning questions from enthusiastic event-goers.

Ivan Cleary is currently the head coach of the Penrith Panthers and an influential figure in rugby league. He has certainly left a mark on the sport, having coached the Warriors from 2006 to 2011, the Penrith Panthers from 2012 to 2015, and the Wests Tigers from 2017 to 2018 and returning to the Panthers in 2019.

His coaching record is a testament to his skills, with a remarkable 77 per cent wins – an impressive achievement in the competitive world of rugby league.

More than just a coach, Ivan Cleary opened up about his personal battle with mental health during his career. In sharing his struggles, Cleary has become an advocate for awareness in the rugby league community, emphasising the importance of mental well-being in the high-pressure environment of professional sports.

Meanwhile, fellow speaker and sports legend Kerry Boustead, burst onto the rugby league scene as a member of Queensland's first-ever State of Origin team. His debut marked the beginning of a successful career, solidifying his status as an international rugby league star.

Boustead's commitment and skill on the field quickly earned him a reputation as one of the game's standout players. His contributions during his tours showcased remarkable talent on the global stage, earning him respect and admiration from fans and peers alike.

In the world of rugby league, figures like Kerry Boustead and Ivan Cleary leave a lasting legacy that transcends their statistics and victories. Events such as League of Legends fosters an important discussion, allowing for the broadcast of impactful stories from within the rugby league community.

MC Anton alongside rugby league superstars Ivan Cleary and Kerry Boustead

Legends of League was a stand-out event for the Mackay region’s avid sporting fans

Guests enjoyed a thrilling round of raffle draws in support of Steve Jackson for Mayor of Mackay

Photo credit: Sinead Porter

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Crop Insurance Gives Grace Under Fire

November 23, 2023

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

It has been saddening to see the many bushfires hitting rural communities across Queensland in recent months.

Like any natural disaster, bushfires hit hard on farming businesses, sometimes undoing the work of generations.

It’s also saddening to hear of cane farmers losing part or all of their crop, and doubly so to hear that they have not had crop insurance. Growers invest a great deal in bringing a crop to harvest, in terms of soil health, fertilising, pest and weed management, possibly irrigation. There could be a loss of essential infrastructure. To lose it all and the profits that go with it is a huge loss to the grower’s livelihood.

CANEGROWERS membership comes with crop insurance coverage for accidental fire, transit and hail incidents on all cane areas under the membership. In the last financial year, we had six local agribusinesses make claims.

In 2022 CANEGROWERS included free crop insurance as a part of the CANEGROWERS levy, and this introduction was seen as a landmark benefit for members, covering for $35 per tonne and no excess. CANEGROWERS has used our strong membership base and experience in the insurance market to develop this competitive product and the premium is paid by the CANEGROWERS organisation.

We all know it is a tough insurance environment out there and being able to take advantage of a blanket coverage returns enormous benefit in both premium and claim processing for our members.

Farmers, like all North Queensland residents, have a hard time getting affordable coverage for their homes and businesses.

But crop insurance is a form of income protection, and whether you are a CANEGROWERS member or not, it’s something to really consider as an important part of your business planning. Farmers are, after all, small business people who happen to farm.

And as small businesspeople, you owe it to yourself to have developed a decent business plan that covers realistic risk assessments from everything to natural disasters to succession planning to fluctuations in sugar and farm inputs pricing. For CANEGROWERS members, there’s access to the Business Essentials program to assist with that, but there is plenty of assistance out there for rural producers, including services like the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which has a range of free services, and Government financial assistance programs like the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).

In farming, we get very caught up in the day-to-day of running our operation: planting, harvesting, getting our machinery running in prime order.

Making sure our risk areas are planned for and covered is an important part of making sure our agribusinesses survive and thrive.


It is concerning to note that the likelihood of the Crush running into the Christmas Curfew period, from noon Christmas Eve to January 3. We remind Harvest Contractors of the importance of gaining clearance by obtaining a permit from NHVR to operate applicable heavy vehicles on public roads during this time by 1 December.
We also thank the community for their patience to expect harvest activity around Christmas to continue in some areas, and urge safe and cautious driving.

Unplanned fires can take a deep toll on farming businesses. Pictures: MCL

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Champions Among Us

November 23, 2023

Celebrating Mackay's Man of the Year

In a world where conversations often revolve around physical health, what about the well-being of men's minds? Shed Happens, with major sponsors DGH Engineering, recently sparked discussions on this critical topic, bringing together 141 individuals at an International Men's Day Breakfast, under the banner of "Health & Well-being for All Generations of Men."

The event wasn't just a morning meal; it was a celebration of mateship and men's mental health. Phil Hall earned the title of Mackay's 2023 Man of the Year, while finalists Ken Rehbein and Patrick Thaiday were recognised as standout contributors to the community.

Shed Happens' commitment extended beyond accolades, as they generously donated $3,000 each to three vital organisations—the Neighbourhood Hub, Mad Cow Coffee, and Vinnies Men’s Shelter—advocating for the betterment of men's well-being. Amidst the celebration, the event embraced an inspiring interview with Ian Rowan, former CEO of RACQ CQ Rescue, whose words resonated with the essence of resilience, camaraderie, and the significance of supporting men's mental health. Another highlight was the auction of three works of art from the IMD art exhibition.

Closing their annual meet with a twist, Shed Happens hosted 'Ladies Night' to showcase their initiatives. Acknowledgments were handed out, including a meaningful painting titled 'Someone to Look Up To' presented to MCC, a 'Champion Shed Man' award to Wayne Uhlmann, and a Certificate of Appreciation to Tender Cut Meats for their unwavering support.

Shed Happens stands as a beacon for nurturing camaraderie and prioritising men's mental health. Their initiatives underscore the importance of fostering a supportive community and providing a platform where mateship and well-being intersect.

Meet the Finalists

Phil Hall

Winner: Phil Hall, hailed as the 2023 Mackay Man of the Year, embodies dedication and compassion in his roles as a long-serving Chaplain at Mackay State High School and West Mackay Primary School. Phil's commitment extends far beyond traditional roles, as he spearheads programs that enrich the lives of children facing adversity.

At the heart of his initiatives lies the 'Strength' program, a transformative endeavour aimed at supporting teenage boys navigating challenging circumstances—be it academic disengagement, social and emotional hurdles, or a lack of conventional support systems. Through innovative strategies involving camping at Camp Eagle, hands-on activities like gardening and mechanics, Phil creates a platform that encourages dialogue, fosters camaraderie, and empowers these young men to achieve success.

Phil's approach isn't just about offering guidance; it's about fostering resilience and providing a safe space for boys to flourish despite obstacles. His tireless dedication and innovative programs have become instrumental in shaping the lives of these youths, creating pathways toward brighter futures.

Ken Rehbein

Finalist: Ken Rehbein, a standout finalist for the 2023 Mackay Man of the Year, epitomises a life steeped in unwavering dedication to family, career, and community service. Originally hailing from Bundaberg, Ken's journey is marked by an impressive array of contributions across various spheres.

Ken's commitment to community welfare shines through his volunteer work spanning decades. He has lent his support to community organisations such as the Surf Lifesaving movement, Rotary, QATB, RACQ, and has served as a Justice of the Peace for an impressive half-century. Notably, his forward-thinking approach has found an outlet in his current role as a proactive member of the Neighbourhood Watch Advisory Committee, demonstrating a keen interest in enhancing community safety and well-being.

Beyond his significant community involvement, Ken's enduring partnership with his wife Claire stands as a testament to his values of commitment and loyalty. Their 59 years of marriage have been blessed with the joy of raising two daughters, a testament to Ken's dedication to family and the enduring bonds he cherishes.

Patrick Thaiday

Finalist: Patrick Thaiday, a finalist for the title of Mackay's 2023 Man of the Year, stands as a proud Torres Strait Islander with ancestral roots spanning from New Caledonia to Jamaica. Within the indigenous community, Patrick is a revered figure celebrated for his unwavering commitment to both family and the development of youth through the art of dance.

His vibrant enthusiasm is infectious, evident in his dedication to various youth-oriented projects over the years. Patrick's vision and passion have driven initiatives that not only celebrate cultural heritage but also empower young minds through creative expression.

Patrick's journey embodies a legacy of cultural pride, community engagement, and a heartfelt commitment to guiding the youth toward a brighter future. As a respected figure within the indigenous community, his influence and dedication speak volumes.

DGH 2023 International Men's Day Breakfast – Mackay Man Of The Year

Photo credit: Liz Andrews Photography

From left: Major sponsor Dave Hackett DGH Engineering; Ken Rehbein; Phil Hall; Patrick Thaiday; Frank Cowell. Photo credit: Liz Andrews Photography

Donation To Mackay Christian College for their continued support and use of their buildings. Artwork by Ben Ranson - Mackay Art Society

Wayne Uhlmann received the trophy for ‘Champion Shed Man’

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Build - Farm - Mine With GW Industrial

November 23, 2023

GW Industrial had its’ first beginnings in 1982. Current owner and director, Shelley Walsh purchased the company formerly known as Geoff Walsh Engine Parts from her father in 2007.

Five years later, the automotive division was sold to Burson Auto Parts and the rebranded GW Industrial, focused on supporting the industrial sector. Build - Farm - Mine was born.

The business takes pride in their commitment to excellence and services a wide range of industries in Mackay and the Bowen Basin, offering the highest quality parts from trusted brands.

GW Industrial is more than just a shop for engine parts. Whether you’re a farmer, a fitter, or a tradie, the team have got you covered. With an extensive inventory boasting an immense rang from water pumps to pistons, gaskets and goo, they will ensure that you find exactly what you need for your equipment or next project.

With a combined forty-five years of industry knowledge at GW industrial, the team are trained as spare parts interpreters specialising in industrial sales, and will go the extra mile to get you the right parts at the right time. They will keep you moving, whether it’s a machinery breakdown on a mine or a scheduled tractor service on your farm.

Preparing for the worst is never easy, but GW Industrial take the pressure off by supporting you to be prepared for storm season.

In addition to stocking parts for diesel engines, tractors and industrial equipment, GW Industrial sell a wide range of generators, from quiet petrol inverters suitable for camping to diesel-run units for complete power back-up solutions. Every box is ticked, including breakdown parts and servicing requirements such as filters, fanbelts, oils and additives.

In preparation for storm season, it is important to run your generator dry until you are finished using it and regularly change the fuel out, using a fuel additive for the best results.

A common mistake is buying a generator too big or too small for your needs. Overloading your generator will kill it, while running it under load for an extended period will also shorten its life. Talk to the team who understand power at GW industrial.

A hot tip for customers in maintenance and upkeep of their engines is to ‘treat it like a pet’. Get it checked, service it regularly. Don’t ignore it for months expecting it to ‘purr’ for your first go.

GW Industrial have a strong passion for the customer-first approach, with Operations Manager Wendy Evans stating, “We love our customers, the technical support we receive from our suppliers, and the changes we have seen over the years with how we do our job.

“Moving from hard copy parts books and manuals to online real time inventory management programs, we can offer support to our customers, changing over the years to a tech savvy service.

“Our customer service is a source of great pride and something we believe gives us a difference.”

GW Industrial have held long-term dealerships in Kubota, Perkins, Yanmar, Hatz and Kohler and are recipients of numbers service and sales awards, demonstrating dedication to their customers.

With competitive prices and reliable products, you can trust GW Industrial to keep your engines running smoothly.

Visit the store on 287 Nebo Road and experience the difference of GW Industrial, your go-to destination for engine part needs in Mackay.

Director Shelley Walsh at the GW Industrial storefront on Nebo Road, Mackay

Photo supplied

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A Heartfelt Graduation Celebration

November 23, 2023

Students of Whitsunday Anglican School celebrated the last day of their schooling career last week with a special day ceremony to commemorate their achievements and a 'Walk of Honour’ to highlight their success.

The assembly, led by Year 12 school captains reflected on the years of learning, love, and laughter within the graduating class of 2023.

Students from each faction—Trinity, Barnabas, Charles and Ambrose—were presented on stage, with Charles earning the title of Champion House.

Whitsunday Anglican School united the year groups from Kindergarten to Year 11, with students forming a guard of honour for the Year 12’s as they made their final walk through the school gates.

The occasion held sentimental value for both students and parents, an emotional moment to celebrate the transition to the next phase of life.

To bid farewell, the Year 12 graduates participated in a hat toss—a symbolic gesture to mark the end of a significant school year.

The Year 12 graduating class of 2023 during the hat toss

Students lined the pathways and graduates hug it out on their final day of school

Year 12 Captains and staff address the school assembly  

Photo credit: Sinead Porter

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Lawn Bowling Legend’s Eight Decades Of Dedication

November 16, 2023

Kevin Hewitt, better known on the bowling green as ‘Kev’, has played 97 test matches for Queensland.

He grew up on a dairy farm with his two brothers and parents, Harvey and Phillis Hewitt, who were well-known for delivering milk to local cafés around Mackay. When Kev’s parents unfortunately passed during his teen years, the farm was converted to cane.

Kev began to play lawn bowls in his free time at the age of twenty-one and found a love for the sport. He started competing at twenty-four, teaming up with his Uncle Alan Sommers around this time.

At age twenty-seven, he entered the Single State Championships. Kev’s first big win was the Easter Pairs and the Vickers Cup of Open Pairs in 1975.

Kevin was only the fourth player in seventy-two years to win the coveted State Singles title twice, both in 1976 and 1977, with his name going down as one of the greats.

Kev also won in the following two years, first the State Pairs in 1978, and the State Fours in 1979.

He teamed with his Uncle Alan once more in 1978, winning the State Pairs Champions. Subsequently qualifying to represent Queensland to play in the Australian Champion of Champions, where they went on to win the Pairs.

Kev won the State Fours Champions in 1979. The same year, he was invited to play in Newcastle to contest one of the first televised bowls tournaments, the NDBA-NBN TV All Stars Bowls Tournament with international players.

He also won the Whitsunday Singles Championships five times, the Whitsunday Pairs Championships five times and Whitsunday Fours Championships at least four times.

He was well-known as the most impressive of any player since World War II and was regarded for International Honours as an Australian representative, where he won numerous Mackay District Championships over many years.

In 1982, Kev won the Penfold Mazda Invitation Singles Bowls Classic Final with a score of 31-28 in Victoria, where it took nearly seven and a half hours in two games to see him win the Classic Singles Bowls Tournament.

The same year, Kev won another intrastate badge. Between 1972 to 1979, the Mackay District won the State District Sides Championships five times, with Kev and Pat Herlihy as the only Mackay players to have won five championships.

Kev got the chance to celebrate his eightieth birthday at Mackay Bowls Club last week with a group of his close family as well as bowling buddies from over the decades.

It was an emotional night of reminiscing for Kev, looking back on his monumental sporting achievements, as well as his personal accomplishments.

A true icon in Mackay's sporting realm and a revered figure within the lawn bowling community.

By Sinead Porter

Kevin Hewitt and his bowls buddies. (L-R) Bruce Bridger, Col Bovis, Barry Paskins, Jack Mundy, Lyn Tait, John Potter, Kevin Hewitt, Glen Francey, Trevor Dutton, Ted Gill, Col Tait and Pat Deagan

Lawn bowling legend, Kevin Hewitt in his early days with the Royal Queensland Bowls Association

Kev's extensive collection of winning badges

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Kia Ora!

November 16, 2023

Greetings from the enchanting landscapes of Aotearoa! Taking a breather here in my homeland has been nothing short of a soul-soothing adventure—a reminder of the therapeutic powers of switching off and embracing the Kiwi way of life.

Our journey began with a scenic flight into Queenstown, before driving the scenic winding roads to mid Canterbury. Living in the shadows of these awe-inspiring mountains, you can't help but feel like a hobbit in a Lord of the Rings sequel. It reminded me that in New Zealand, nature doesn't just knock at your door; it struts in with a dramatic entrance.

Sure, we passed some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, Lakes Ruataniwha, Wanaka, Pukaki, and Tekapo—each one a masterpiece in its own right. But let's get to the real highlight: a pilgrimage to the "best pie shop in the world," the Fairlie Bakehouse, before closing time. Word of advice: try the pork belly and apple sauce pie—it's a flavour explosion that should come with a warning label.

For tourists, Queenstown might be the headliner, but for me, the real magic of New Zealand lies in the everyday charm that's sprinkled all over the country. The local fish and chip shop, where my love story began, was like a beacon of comfort in a sea of adventure when I saw it still stood.

But, amidst the jaw-dropping scenery, it's the little joys that make a holiday home truly special. As my nieces and nephews enthusiastically show our 7-month-old son the ropes of Kiwi life, starting with befriending newborn lambs, I'm reminded that slowing down and savouring the quirky moments is the real treasure of life.

As Christmas approaches which can be a stressful time for many, it’s a reminder that the little moments matter the most.


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Recognising Children Lost In The System

November 16, 2023

Brenda-Lee McDougal has worked tirelessly for over twenty years in a labour of love to recognise orphans and abandoned children who have been lost in the foster care system.

Brenda-Lee’s husband Scott sent an email to the Jay and Dave Breakfast Show, hosted by the Triple M Mackay radio station to acknowledge his wife’s efforts in installing a memorial park bench at Royal Sands Park.

Scott stated, “I think she deserves some recognition as she has done this good deed and fought tooth and nail”.

“She still works hard to help out underprivileged and homeless people in our region.”

Brenda-Lee joined the Jay and Dave Breakfast Show to comment on her project.

Brenda-Lee stated, “Previously I was in Ayr, I was placed into care when I was eight years old.

“Unfortunately, I ended up in some bad places, and then I ended up in some really good places, that made me who I am today.”

Brenda-Lee has been fighting to grant awareness of foster children who are lost in the system, more specifically in regards to a foster home that was located in Bucasia.

She hopes to shed light on some failing institutions and get them banned for good, commenting that some ‘have eighteen to one room’.

The bench and plaque dedicated to Brenda-Lee’s mission resides at Royal Sands Park, and she hopes that people can ‘sit down, see the plaque, self-reflect and think about others that are less fortunate.’

Kudos to Brenda-Lee for shedding light on an important issue and fostering a strong voice in our community for children who have been forgotten.

Brenda-Lee sits on the newly-established bench at Royal Sands Park

Photo credit: Triple M Mackay

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Auto Training Hub Revs Up At CQU

November 16, 2023

A multi-million-dollar specialist training facility for heavy automotive trades at the CQUniversity Mackay Ooralea campus is expected to be operational by Term 2, 2024.

The 1,610 sqm site will include workshop space, teaching areas, staff spaces and specialist equipment including an air brake simulator, hydraulic training stations, transmission training simulators, diesel engine benches and an air suspension training stand for trucks.

The facility will also enable the University to almost triple its student capacity in the trade discipline from 140 to more than 400 students.

CQUniversity will deliver heavy automotive trade courses including Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Diesel Fitting), Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology and Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology, in full within the Mackay region.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said the new facility will contribute to the regional economy and allow the public training provider, CQU, to continue changing lives and supporting communities and industry through skills-based training.

“By boosting training capacity, the redeveloped trade training centre will supply a pipeline of qualified heavy automotive professionals, crucial to keeping the region’s industries running,” she said.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the new facility is an important addition for Mackay and its future workforce.

“Once the upgrade is completed, final year apprentices will no longer have to travel for up to four hours to Rockhampton or Emerald to complete required training blocks, saving them time and money.

“It will provide heavy automotive trade apprentices with a purpose-built training space, plus more than $2.4 million worth of the latest industry-related tools, resources and technology and help cater for an average year-on-year student growth of 15 per cent in the heavy automotive discipline over the past five years in the Mackay region.”

Peter Heilbuth, Deputy Vice-President, VET and Business Development at CQUniversity said the development of this facility is much needed in the region as local industry and the community rely heavily on skilled trade professionals to keep the economy and key industries running.

“The facility will deliver apprentices and trainees world-class facilities and equipment to ensure they get the most out of their training experience. This better prepares them for their future careers and the needs and expectations of industry. This will also have a positive impact on their employers as apprentices will be trained using the latest resources and technology,” he said.

“We are thankful to the Queensland Government for their support of CQUniversity and skills training in the CQ region.”

L-R: CQU Associate Dean for the School of Trades Rob Buttery, CQU Associate Vice-President of the North Queensland Region Rob Brown, Local MP The Hon Julieanne Gilbert and CQU Deputy Vice-President of Vocational Education and Training Peter Heilbuth. Photo credit: Bill Jewell. Source: CQU

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Helipad Closure Sparks Emergency Plea

November 16, 2023

For Immediate Patient Care Solutions

The closure of the helipad at Mackay Base Hospital for three years presents significant challenges for the region’s rescuers and a potential risk to patient care.

The $250 million upgrade of the hospital commencing in January 2024. which includes a new roof-top helipad was very welcomed but was a huge concern for RACQ CQ Rescue which would be unable to land onsite in Mackay to transfer patients.

“Conducting patient transfers at the Mackay Airport was “unacceptable” and would place considerable strain on an already stretched Queensland Ambulance Service, as well as blow out hospital transfer times. It could also be potentially very detrimental to patient care outcomes,” RACQ CQ Rescue CEO Tim Healee said.

The community-funded rescue service was strongly advocating for an alternative temporary helipad to be constructed on site at the hospital and had the full support of corporate supporters, including many heavy weights from the state’s mining industry.

“To be unable to take a critically ill patient directly to the Mackay Base Hospital is just not an acceptable situation, considering we are talking a three-year period here,” Mr Healee said.

“Conducting a patient handover to ambulance crews at the Mackay Airport will also significantly increase the time it takes to get a patient to the hospital and places additional pressure on Queensland Ambulance Service crews,” he said.

“We have been attempting to engage with various stakeholders including the Mackay base Hospital on this issue for quite some time now, but at this stage there is still yet to be an acceptable outcome.”

An urgent and combined effort between multiple stakeholders, including Queensland Health, the State Government and Mackay Regional Council, was needed to reach an agreement.

“At the end of the day, our lifesaving service relies heavily on community support and we are doing our very best to advocate for our patients and prioritise their care in this region,” Mr Healee said.

“I hope that all stakeholders can come together urgently and agree on a better solution for the safe transfer and treatment of our ill and injured in Central Queensland.”

Amanda Camm MP, Member for Whitsunday said she supports RACQ CQ Rescue Service in calling on the State Government to give a commitment to the people of the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions that the helipad at the Mackay Base Hospital will remain operational during the hospital’s redevelopment period over the next three years.

“The decision to close the helipad has been made with no community consultation, with no consultation from key stakeholders or emergency personnel,” Ms Camm added.

“In emergency situations minutes and seconds count. It is essential for our rescue services to be able to land within close proximity to the emergency care at the hospital. Having to land at the Mackay Airport and have patients transported to the hospital by Queensland ambulance is unacceptable and will risk lives.

“I’m calling on the Minister to work with the Mackay Hospital Health Service and the local community and local experts to find an acceptable solution which will ensure the helicopter can land within close proximity to the hospital during the renovation period.

“Our community pours significant funding into the CQ Rescue Service every year and they deserve to have it operating at full capacity, giving them the best chance in an emergency,” Ms Camm said.

“In a region where we have experienced road accidents, shark attacks, mining and farming accidents, lives have been saved because our rescue helicopter has been able to land in close proximity to the hospital.

“We cannot afford to risk losing this service for the next three years”.

In a statement issued on Facebook, Mackay Hospital and Health Service said that the helicopter landings at Mackay Base Hospital have temporarily relocated to the Mackay airport “at the request of CQ Rescue and Babcock Aviation”.

“This is due to their concern with early site works associated with the expansion of the hospital,” the statement read.

“CQ Rescue has conducted a risk assessment, and we are working with them to have landings restored to the Base Hospital for an interim period.”

The statement mentions that the $250 million Mackay Base Hospital expansion project includes provision for a new permanent onsite helipad.

“This expansion will deliver an additional 128 beds which are expected to come online in mid 2026,” the statement continued.

“These new beds are urgently needed to help support the growing healthcare needs of the region.

“The current helipad is adjacent to the construction site and cannot remain in use during the construction period.

“Mackay HHS has engaged an external aviation consultant to assess all options for helicopter landings during the construction period from 2024 - 2026. Once this advice is received, we will be in a position to make a fully informed decision on the best outcome for our community.

“The aviation consultant has engaged with stakeholders such as Queensland Ambulance Service, CQ Rescue and Retrieval Services Queensland (who coordinate the movements of patients between hospital facilities).

“We reassure the community that the safety of patients and the helicopter crews will be the top consideration as we identify helicopter landing site options.”

To date, RACQ CQ Rescue has completed 629 missions this year. By the end of the year, this completed missions figure will far surpass the services’ second busiest year on record of 630 missions in 2022.

RACQ CQ Rescue says the closure of the helipad at Mackay Base Hospital for three years presents significant challenges for the region’s rescuers and a potential risk to patient care. Photo credit: RACQ CQ Rescue

Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm says it is unacceptable to not be able to land onsite at Mackay Base Hospital due to hospital redevelopment as proposed for the next three years. Photo credit: Office of Amanda Camm MP

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The Guns Fell Silent

November 16, 2023

Last week, Mackay RSL observed Remembrance Day with a poignant pre-game service at Harrup Park before the WBBL game. This moment was not just about sports; it encapsulated the community's dedication to honouring the historical significance of November 11th.

Remembrance Day, originally marking the end of World War I, now stands as a global tribute to the sacrifices made by millions in various conflicts. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month remains a universal moment of silence, a sombre acknowledgment of the estimated 9 to 13 million lives lost during World War I and countless more in subsequent conflicts.

On November 11, 1918, the guns of the Western Front finally fell silent, bringing an end to over four years of relentless warfare. This poignant moment, marked by the signing of the armistice, symbolizes the hope for lasting peace after a conflict that mobilized more than 70 million people.

The legacy of Remembrance Day extends beyond historical events; it serves as a reminder of the enduring commitment to peace and a tribute to the spirit that rises from the ashes of conflict. Lest we forget, we honour and remember those who gave their all so that others might live in a world free from the shadows of war.

Padre Jim Brown, President Ken Higgins OAM, Nichole Hood Secretary and Les Palmer President of Legacy and Veteran Support Group after they have laid their respective wreaths

WWII New Guinea Veteran, 99-year-old Kevin Doyle being presented with his dedication of Service by President Ken Higgins OAM

RSL members during the pre-game service at the WBBL at Harrup Park. Photos supplied by Mackay RSL

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A Life Well Lived

November 16, 2023

Long term Carlyle Gardens resident and World War II veteran Geoff Fielder recently passed away several months before his 100th birthday.

Geoff was born in London in February 1924 and joined the British Royal Navy shortly after his 18th birthday in June 1942. He spent his time on the HMS Crane as an ordinary telegraphist. London had been extensively bombed in 1940/41 and Geoff had experienced this as a 16-year-old growing up in the region.

The HMS Crane which Geoff served on for over two years was a convoy defence vessel with excellent anti-submarine capability. Notable events involving the HMS Crane included assisting in the sinking of two enemy U boats in the North Atlantic and provided support for the Allied landings in Normandy.

Geoff was hosted by a Brisbane family during Christmas 1945 while the HMS Crane was undergoing a refit. He was called back to London in early 1946 but decided to return to Australia several years later having liked what he saw in Brisbane in late 1945.    

Geoff eventually settled in Mackay to begin work at the recently completed Bulk Sugar Terminal. He later married Lindy Lind, a member of the well-known Mcginn family and had two children.

In mid 2015, Geoff along with his family travelled to Brisbane to receive a Legion of Honour medal from the French Ambassador for recognition of assistance provided to France during World War II.

Vale Geoff Fielder.

Geoff on his 99th birthday earlier this year

Geoff in uniform circa 1943/45

HMS Crane

Geoff at legion of honour medal presentation in 2015

Geoff at work on HMS Crane circa 1943/45 (closest to camera). Photos supplied

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November 16, 2023

A “spirited adventure with a tropical vibe" is the promise the new Finch Hatton MTB brand will make to the world.

Finch Hatton MTB was officially launched today (November 13), in what is a significant step for Mackay Regional Council’s cornerstone mountain bike trails project.

The brand was developed by award-winning destination and marketing specialists Destination Marketing Store (DMS) and Swell Design Group.

The launch was held at the Finch Hatton RSL with about 80 stakeholders, members of the public and invited guests in attendance.

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the brand and marketing strategy would bring our new mountain bike trails to life, not just here in the Mackay region but around the world.

“It’s fantastic to introduce the Finch Hatton MTB brand to the people of our region who have played a major role in its development,” Mayor Williamson said.

“This brand represents our region, and specifically the townships where it is based, in look and feel,” he said.

“It also represents what mountain biking is all about – fun, adventure and the great outdoors.”

Destination Marketing Store Director Carl Solomon said DMS and Swell undertook extensive research, consultation and engagement with the community, local businesses, industry experts and mountain bike riders to inform the brand strategy and creative design.

“We were incredibly impressed by the high level of engagement by the Mackay region throughout our comprehensive brand development process,” Mr Solomon said.

“The positive response received during consumer testing is testament to a stand-out brand, worthy of a world-class trail network and one that will resonate with the community as well as with mountain bike riders from near or afar,” he said.

Mayor Williamson said Finch Hatton MTB would put the Mackay region on the leisure and adventure tourism map.

“When fully operational our trails are estimated to generate an additional 31,000 new visitors, $18.1 million in visitor spending and more than 100 full-time equivalent jobs,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Stage one of the trails, set to open before Christmas, will include the Finch Hatton Trail Head site, a pump track and 13.5 kilometres of airflow trails in Finch Hatton,” he said.

“Stage two will be an 82-kilometre network that spans from Finch Hatton to Eungella with construction forecast to start in 2026.

“This is an exciting time for our region and another feather in our cap, making us one of the best places in the world to live and visit.”

Carl Solomon, Destination Marketing Store (DMS) Director, Mayor Greg Williamson and Scott Kelley of Swell Design Group excited to introduce the Finch Hatton MTB brand to the region

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November 16, 2023

Mackay Base Hospital doctor Pieter Nel was on a flight to New Zealand for a medical conference recently when he heard a call over the PA system: ‘’If there's a medical doctor on the plane, please press the call button’’.

“Then I saw a few people up front and somebody lying on the floor.”

With 37 years of experience in medicine, 23 of those in the Mackay Base Hospital Emergency Department, he was certainly the right person to step in.

“The person lying on the floor was not a good colour,” Dr Nel said.

“He was an elderly man and he was not looking responsive.

“So I went through the normal ‘ABCD’ (of emergency care).

“This was not a good situation. The person was not responding to verbal commands. He was unconscious and there was no radial pulse.

“I found out he had a lung problem and was carrying Ventolin, so we gave him oxygen and we got a strong pulse back, and he started talking to us.

“We were about an hour out of Auckland, so we got him in the front seat, and I sat with him to monitor him.

“It was a situation where, if we didn’t address it, he may have had a full-blown respiratory arrest.

“There were a few times I thought he was going to lose consciousness again.

“We were then a priority landing and there was an ambulance waiting, and I was able to hand over to them.”

This was not the first time Dr Nel has answered a call for help on a plane.

In 2009 he was on a flight to Singapore when a person in a seat just behind him had an unexpected seizure.

“That was when I learned about the processes airline staff follow as I wanted to resus this patient, but first they had to make a call to a medical command centre,” Dr Nel said.

“I couldn’t just go into action. The captain made the call and connected it through to me and I had to talk to the command centre in America.

“They make the decisions around priority landing, and in the case with the Singapore flight, we were still over Australia and the decision was whether we land in Darwin or we continue to Singapore.”

In the cases he has attended to, Dr Nell later received feedback that these passengers had recovered from their sky-high emergencies.

As medical incidents are not uncommon, Dr Nel has some sound advice for travellers, particularly those on longer flights.

“People don’t understand that your oxygen saturation will normally drop by 10% on a flight and even if they control the cabin pressure it still has an impact on your cardiovascular and respiratory system,” Dr Nel said.

“So for people with comorbidities (more than one medical condition), when you sit down in a plane; that’s when things can go wrong.

“That’s why it’s important for people who are not in a good healthy condition to go to their GP to get clearance to fly.”

By Mackay Hospital and Health Service

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100 Years Of Nebo

November 16, 2023

The township of Nebo has officially turned 100 years old, last Saturday November 11.

However, the history is a bit more interesting than a settlement 100 years ago. Originally named ‘Fort Copper’ in 1883, the settlement was nicknamed ‘Nebo’ by locals, and the two names existed together until 1923.

For a total of 40 years, the township operated under two names, and in 2023, Nebo is celebrating 140 years of settlement and 100 years of being named Nebo.

The area was initially explored and discovered by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1845, who followed the Isaac River west, however it wasn’t until 1856 when William Landsborough named Nebo Creek and mountain Fort Copper.

He named the settlement Fort Cooper, however there was confusion as a nearby station was also called Fort Cooper, so many residents began naming the settlement Nebo.

In the early days, Nebo’s primary production was sheep, but this was soon replaced by cattle trade.

Equine trade is also a big part of Nebo history with many well-developed horses being bred and trained in Nebo.

Nebo Shire Council celebrated 100 years of the town’s settlement in 1983 and are now celebrating 100 years of Nebo.

The Nebo Pub also celebrates 100 years, with Dale Last, Member for Burdekin checking out the party

Oxford Hotel, 1930

Nebo Racecourse, 1940

Nebo Post Office, 1930

Nebo General Store in 1915. Photos supplied

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Nebo’s Lifetime Legend

November 16, 2023

Bill Bruce

Monument of Nebo township, William Wallace Mervyn Bruce has passed away, aged 106 years old.

Born in Nebo, January 2, 1917, William, better known as Bill, lived the first part of his life in the clutches of the Fort Copper Hotel, his parents the licensees of the hotel. However, the family soon moved to a property outside of Nebo.

With two brothers and three sisters, Bill ran amok in Nebo and was often exploring the region’s outback.

In 1942, Bill enlisted into the war effort, initially the reserves, but was transferred into the Australian Army the following year.

He was sent to New Guinea as part of a support battalion, where he learned electrical engineering, however before long, he was promoted to leading technician.

In 1945, Bill was discharged from the Australian Military Forces and returned to Nebo.

Establishing himself as a contractor, he partnered with his brother, who had recently returned from the war effort as well.

From there, Bill has led an extensive life of service to the community. He was an active member of the Nebo RSL, was the secretary in 1960 and the president from 1987 until 2012. He was integral in organising Nebo ANZAC Day celebrations for more than 50 years.

His community service includes being a member of the Nebo Busman’s Council, the Nebo Jockey Club, a founding member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) Lodge, and even carried the Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Throughout Bill’s life, he not only witnessed history, but was pivotal in creating it.

William Bruce passed away at the age of 106 years old.

William Wallace Mervyn Bruce has passed away, aged 106 years old

William Bruce lived a life of service

William Bruce and his brother. Photos supplied

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Half A Century Of Service At Chelona State School

November 16, 2023

Jenny Leeding, a teacher’s aide at Chelona State School has recently retired after demonstrating unwavering dedication and commitment as a valued member of staff for an impressive 48 years.

Jenny began her career as a Cleaner for Chelona State School in 1975.

In 1980, Principal Ken Stein arrived at the school, quickly acknowledging the passion Jenny had for the immaculate upkeep of the school. Ken offered her a host of opportunities to advance her career at Chelona, including giving her time to study and finish her Certificate III in Education.

This was a great achievement for Jenny, who never thought she would be capable of achieving this. It took her two years to complete the certificate course, which stands to this day as her greatest and most proud achievement.

A challenge for Jenny came along when she was appointed as the administration assistant, requiring her to take care of the school finances. With no previous experience, Jenny was still eagerly ready for the challenge.

In the early days, the finances were done in a ledger book by hand, later moving onto electronic systems. Her days became busily engrossed with early morning and late afternoon cleaning of the school, as well as alternating between her role as a teacher aide and administrator during the day.

Jenny has been involved in assisting every year level (besides Prep), with most classes at Chelona split into two grades. The idea of splitting each class into two groups allowed teachers to introduce new concepts, and for Jenny to aid in teaching the lessons.

Jenny had a passion for working with struggling students in the classroom and assisting them with anything they needed. Her greatest memory as a teacher aide was giving lessons on touch typing, with students leaving to high-school having mastered the skill.

Teachers of the high-schools would ask the students, ‘Who taught you how to type like that?’ and the students would respond: ‘Mrs Leeding.’ Sometimes she would meet students later in life, who would give her a big hug and express their gratitude for being taught to type.

Jenny’s greatest success story involving her students was of a mother and daughter duo, Nikki and Dekota, who both attended Chelona State School. Jenny taught them both how to read, and today, Nikki runs her own business and Dekota is an apprentice hairdresser. Jenny is very proud of how much they have achieved in life and is happy to have played a role in their learning journey.

Jenny lives by the quote, ‘Treat all people the same way you would like to be treated.’ A testament to her diligence and personable nature towards her students.

Chelona State School have honoured her with the ‘Jenny Leeding Sporting Trophy’, which is given out to students who have competed in higher levels of sport, not just at school.

Jenny has been welcomed to stay as long as she likes as a teacher aide at Chelona State School, however she plans to enjoy her retirement by going fishing with her husband and hopes to spend Christmas with her family and two great-grandchildren.

Jenny (in pink) with one of her beloved classes

Jenny has devoted 49 years to Chelona State School

Photo credit: Sinead Porter

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Sarina Students Supported With Great Partnership

November 16, 2023

Sarina Neighbourhood Centre and Daly Bay have partnered together to ensure hundreds of Sarina school students have the necessities they require for school in 2024.

Throughout 2023, the Sarina District School Assistance Program supported 260 students from 40 families, providing financial assistance, through vouchers for school uniforms and essential booklist items.

Mayor Greg Williamson thanked Daly Bay for partnering on the project.

“Without the substantial financial contribution from Daly Bay, council’s Sarina Neighbourhood Centre team would only have been able to assist a fraction of these families,” Mayor Williamson said.

“It’s tremendous to see prominent local companies like Daly Bay step up to support their community,” he said.

Mayor Williamson said, unfortunately, the calls for assistance from this program had increased substantially from 2022.

“We’ve helped almost twice as many students as we did last year,” he said.

“While it’s great to be able to help, it’s also a clear indication that people are increasingly doing it tough, and the cost of living is straining household budgets more and more.”

Daly Bay CEO Steve Rae believes starting school with a full book list and a full school uniform has a significant impact on a child's experience and attitude towards their education.

“Daly Bay chose to support this program, to make sure local children don’t get left behind and have equal access to resources,” Mr Rae said.

“Daly Bay is really proud to be part of this program that aims to empower, inspire and transform lives within our community.”

Mayor Greg Williamson and Steve Rae, CEO of Daly Bay, excited for the partnership. Photo supplied

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A Year Of Progress For O&G Reform At Mackay HHS

November 16, 2023

A special luncheon was held this past week to mark the completion of 12 months of intensive work to improve our region’s obstetrics and gynaecology services, acknowledging the collaborative efforts of Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) staff and leaders.

Mackay HHS Chief Executive Susan Gannon thanked the members of the Mackay Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) Implementation Working Group, who were tasked with ensuring the recommendations of the 2022 investigation into services were adopted.

“All the members of this working group have invested many hours considering recommendations, evaluating procedures and discussing how we can ultimately improve patient safety, because we want every woman’s experience with our health service to be a positive one,” Ms Gannon said.

“As a result of the group’s work over the past 12 months, there have been many changes within the O&G department at Mackay Base Hospital.

“These include increased staffing, improved procedures, more training, greater collaboration between doctors and midwives, and an overall improved culture within the department.”

The Mackay Hospital and Health Board (MHHB) acknowledged the considerable work achieved by the O&G Implementation Working Group at a special lunch.

MHHB deputy chair Kerry Maley said it was a tremendous effort by a small team of people.

“On behalf of all members of the hospital board, I want to acknowledge the great work of the doctors, midwives and HHS leaders as well as our consumer representatives for the work of the past 12 months,” Ms Maley said.

“Our work is not over, but it is fitting to pause and consider how much has been achieved in improving our obstetrics and gynaecology services.”

The Health Service Investigation report released in October 2022 made one hundred and twenty-two recommendations on O&G services.

One hundred and sixteen recommendations have been completed, two are underway and the final four will be achieved as part of the Mackay Hospital Expansion Project, which commences in January next year.

Members of the Mackay Obstetrics and Gynaecology Implementation Working Group

Photo supplied

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A Robotic Breakthrough For Women's Health

November 16, 2023

Mater Private Hospital Mackay obstetrician and gynaecologist Ritu Rana has conducted the first robotic-assisted hysterectomy in Mackay, using the state-of-the-art da Vinci X robotic system.

Dr Rana is the only obstetrician and gynaecologist in Mackay credentialled to use the da Vinci X, meaning local women need no longer travel to Townsville or further afield to access the system. She said the advantages of using the robot for surgery would make a real difference to the lives of Central Queensland women.

“It operates within the abdominal cavity via a small incision and has the ability to pivot 360 degrees,” Dr Rana said.

“So, you don’t get the large incisions and extensive recovery times associated with traditional surgery.

“The robot is also better for patients than a routine laparoscopy, where you move surgical instruments with a handle outside the abdomen, causing the stomach muscles to spread, increasing post-operative pain.

The da Vinci X provides more precision, less post-operative pain, faster recovery and less blood loss.

“It was really the only choice for a case this difficult,” she said.

“For surgeons, robotic surgery gives greater satisfaction as far as patient outcomes are concerned, which is our primary goal with any operation.”

Local woman Jodie Gilbert was the first person in Mackay operated on using the da Vinci X for gynaecological surgery.

“Jodie has a history of fibroids and endometriosis, so she was dealing with a lot of pain and excessive bleeding for most of her adult life,” Dr Rana said.

“Also, her left ovary had attached to the bowel, adding to the case’s complexity.

“The incredible surgical precision of the technology combined with its high level of visual detail allowed us to navigate the bowel issue while leaving her right ovary intact, avoiding early menopause.”

Ms Gilbert said beyond the normal problems associated with fibroids and endometriosis, she also suffered with chronic back pain for years, not knowing it was due to her ovary and bowel fusing.

“I put up with the pain thinking it was one thing, not knowing it was something more complicated and dangerous,” she said.

“A hysterectomy is a big decision, but it’s one I should have made earlier. I put it off due to recovery time and the impact it would have on me returning to work and looking after my sister, who was ill at that time.

“With Dr Rana using the robot, I came out of surgery, the back pain was gone, and I left hospital the next day.

“When people understand robot-assisted surgery gives you a better recovery time and lower costs thanks to a shorter hospital stay, it’ll be very popular.”

Doctor Ritu Rana with the da Vinci system at Mater Private Hospital

Photo supplied

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On The Air And On The Internet: 2023 Scouts Jamboree

November 16, 2023

All sections of Scouting in the Hibiscus Coast District were involved in the 66th Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) and the 27 Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI) which is an annual event held for scouting and guiding worldwide.

The activities include various modern technologies, including video games and radios. Minecraft was popular with all sections. There was also a Communication Scavenger Hunt which used different communication styles such as codes, braille, and sign language. These activities only took up part of the weekend and groups were encouraged to focus their own activities on Communication and Technology.

On Saturday evening a campfire was held, and everyone participated in songs and skits which were entertaining and gave the youth members the opportunity for self-expression and humour.

Having a District Event was an excellent opportunity to present Leadership Awards. Jim McIntyre was presented with his Woodbeads and scarf.  Jim joined scouting as a Rover Scout in 2018 and has trained to be a Venturer Scout Leader in 2021. Jim was awarded a Special Service Award in 2022. He is a member of Queensland Branch Youth Council.

Sarina Scout Group Leader Mrs Jodie Parchert was presented with a Special Service Award. It is awarded to Adult Members and Supporters who have made a noteworthy contribution to supporting, developing, and managing the movement over a period of at least 12 months. She was instrumental in getting the Sarina Scout Group back on track and being viable again.  

Congratulations to both leaders for your valuable contribution to scouting in the Hibiscus District.

Contributed by Mary Wallace.

Harley, James and Matthew at scouts electronics base

Leaders Jodie Parchert and Jim McIntyre. Photos supplied

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A Commitment To Community Excellence

November 16, 2023

The Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) at Gargett is a strong pillar of the region, with a rich tapestry of historical achievements spanning seventy-five years.

Today, Gargett branch is deeply committed to community service with monthly meetings serving as a communal hub for members to engage in behind-the-scenes projects.

The focus of the branch’s fundraising efforts extend towards the upkeep of the hall, sustaining operations and contributing to the QCWA’s State Crisis Fund, as well as financing various local community support initiatives.

The hall is not only a venue for official meetings. Monthly Craft and Social Days offer a creative space for members and others in the community, and several times a year the hall also comes alive with Hoy & Mini Cent Sales.

Gargett branch further extends to cater for private and public events, showcasing adaptability and engaging the community with its services.

An upcoming milestone for Gargett QCWA, is the 75th anniversary luncheon on 20th November. In reflection of the organisation’s rich history, past and present members and those with links to the community will gather to reminisce on their many achievements.

Any inquiries regarding Gargett QCWA can be directed to the branch secretary, Loris Wall at

Gargett Country Women’s Association Hall

The ladies take part in community-based activities such as Craft and Social Days, which are open to anyone who wants to attend

Photos supplied

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Koala Breeding Season Sparks Call To Protect And Preserve Iconic Species

November 16, 2023

Koalas are now on the move looking for love or a new home, with veterinarians and wildlife carers urging all Queenslanders to be extra vigilant and help keep koalas safe this breeding season.

Koalas will be spending more time on the ground as they try to find a mate or establish new territory, and young koalas leave their mothers to find a home of their own.

During this time, koalas are more prone to dog attacks and car strikes and a range of other natural and human-related threats as they move through backyards and on busy roads.

These threats are compounded this year by the ongoing El Niño weather event, which is causing koalas to travel further to find water.

The hot and dry weather also decreases liveable koala habitat, meaning more koalas are congregating in smaller areas which increases the risk of the potentially deadly koala bacterial disease Chlamydia pecorum.

While vets are doing their best to rehabilitate injured koalas, Queenslanders can help avoid these tragic accidents from happening by taking some simple steps this koala breeding season.

This includes:

• Driving carefully, especially between dusk and dawn when koalas are most active, and whenever you see a koala warning or advisory signs

• Keeping your dog inside or contained at night

• Training your dog in wildlife avoidance

• Creating koala-friendly fencing and swimming pools to give koalas an escape route

• Reporting all sick or injured koalas to RSPCA Animal Emergency 1300 ANIMAL hotline by calling 1300 264 625.

Queenslanders can also report all wild koala sightings to DES via the free QWildlife Koala Sighting app, which recently took home the Community Impact award at the 2023 Geospatial Excellence Awards.

Since the app launched in June, it has been downloaded more than 23,000 times, resulting in a 3,700 per cent increase in reported koala sightings, and a 31 per cent increase in the past month.

Environment Minister Leanne Linard said, “Love might be in the air for koalas right now, but during breeding season they actually spend more time on the ground, which is where they are most vulnerable.

“With dog attacks and car strikes posing such a significant threat to this iconic species over the next few months, it is more important than ever for us all to do our part to keep koalas safe from cars and dogs, and to support the hardworking staff across the wildlife hospital network,” she said.

“Earlier this year, we launched the now award-winning Koala QWildlife app, which allows members of the public to act as citizen scientists by reporting koala sightings and providing accurate location and population data.

“With koalas now out looking for love, I encourage all Queenslanders to download this free app and report all koala sightings – hopefully in pairs!”

DES Southern Wildlife and Koala Operations Director Geoff Lundie-Jenkins said that koala breeding season is the busiest time of year for vets and wildlife carers.

“Some of the koalas that are brought in cannot be saved, and others require round-the-clock, intensive care and long periods of rehabilitation to allow them to be released back to the wild,” he said.

“With koalas facing additional challenges this summer as a result of the dry conditions, it is even more crucial for people to drive carefully, especially at night, and prevent dog attacks both in your yard and out on walks.

“The best thing the community can do to help us is prevent koalas from suffering these types of traumas and allow them to safely travel to find a mate or new territory.”

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Moranbah's New Hospital Breaks Ground

November 16, 2023

Construction for the new Moranbah Hospital is officially underway, representing a significant milestone for the coalfields community. The Queensland Government, through its progressive coal royalty tiers, is funding this pivotal project. Originally scheduled for completion in early 2025, the construction has been expedited, with the new hospital expected to be operational by the last quarter of 2024.

This state-of-the-art facility aims to transform healthcare in Moranbah. The upgraded infrastructure will feature an expanded emergency department, increased capacity for critical services, and a dedicated helipad to enhance emergency response capabilities.

The new hospital will also include a modern imaging department equipped with a CT scanner, ensuring residents have access to cutting-edge diagnostic facilities. The new hospital will integrate various healthcare services, bringing together allied health, child health, antenatal and postnatal care, and mental health support, all conveniently located under one roof.

Additional features will include an ambulatory care area, a rehabilitation gym for patients recovering from injury and illness, and an enhanced outpatient department.

Two deeply valued elements of the existing hospital will be retained.

The prize-winning rose garden will be relocated and a new family room will continue providing a comforting space for patients and their loved ones.

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said that the Government’s progressive coal royalty tiers ensures coal mining communities, like Moranbah, benefit from the coal that they extract.  

“Coal is Queensland’s largest export, worth $66 billion a year, and it is only fair that regional Queensland communities get their fair share of this resource,” Treasurer Dick said.

“The new facility in Moranbah will provide access to a truly modern hospital that includes an increased emergency department, a CT scanner in an expanded imaging department, a simulation room for more clinical training, a new helipad and improved ambulance access.”

Minister for Health Shannon Fentiman said that this project will increase the emergency department’s capacity, expand imaging services, with the addition of a CT scanner and improve ambulance access.

“When I met staff at Moranbah Hospital, during my first weeks as Health Minister, it was clear just how much they love caring for their community and I am pleased they will be able to continue their amazing day-to-day work with new state-of-the-art facilities and technology,” Minister Fentiman said.

“Technology upgrades will also allow our health care workers to liaise with other hospitals and health services across the state to help deliver the best care possible.”

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said it is wonderful to see work is underway on the new Moranbah Hospital after the council and community advocated for better health services in the region.  

“The Moranbah Hospital upgrade will enable the facility to cater for the region well into the future and acting as a regional hub for neighbouring towns,” Mayor Baker said.

“The redevelopment will support residents, workers and the heavy industries that operate across the Isaac region with a fit for purpose facility.

“I’m delighted to hear the hospital is being fast-tracked.”

Construction is underway for the new Moranbah Hospital, set to provide state-of-the-art medical facilities, increased emergency spaces, and comprehensive health services to the Isaac community by late 2024. Photo credit: Treasurer Cameron Dick

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Financial Strain Forces Track Closure

November 16, 2023

Walkerston Track is set to be closed permanently, with Mackay & District BMX Club releasing a statement to members to give an important update.

The reasoning behind the decision was cited as ‘ongoing maintenance requirements, volunteer fatigue and increasing financial input required’ to keep running both the Walkerston and Mackay facilities.

With a considerable cost factor involved with the improvements and maintenance of the Walkerston Track, after careful consideration, the decision was made to close the facility indefinitely.

This decision was not made lightly, as the closure will ultimately impact loyal members and the supporting community. A disappointing set of circumstances for those who supported the Walkerston Track, with memories and friendships created over the years.

MAD BMX president Brett Wilson said the start hill on the Walkerston Track has become a safety issue, but ultimately the closure of the track was purely a financial decision and not the outcome anyone wanted.

The Walkerston BMX Club had previously merged into Mackay & District BMX Club, with a lease from Council allowing operation of the Walkerston Track at a cost of the Club.

Mackay Regional Council Community Services Director Janine McKay commented that her team is ‘currently exploring all available options to keep the track open to the public’ and hope to have a clearer understanding in the near future.

With a commitment to the Walkerston community and ratepayers, the Mackay Regional Council are working to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved, however have received negative backlash on social media regarding the closure of the Walkerston Track.

Only a mere six years has passed since the Walkerston Track was impacted by flooding during the events of Cyclone Debbie, which caused significant damage and very costly repairs.

Feasibility studies are currently being undertaken, requiring volunteers to support in assistance with consulting to create a plan for the future of the Mackay & District BMX Club.

The Mackay & District BMX Club’s current focus is a plan to build a new track at a new facility, in a discussion with Mackay Regional Council to explore the possibility of potential sites to do so.

Mackay & District BMX Club express their gratitude for the support and patronage over the years at the Walkerston Track and remind the community that the Mackay Track is still in full operation with Club nights to continue as normal.

The community are still permitted to use the Walkerston Track for the time being, however, it will no longer be maintained by Mackay & District BMX Club.

Club members can utilise the Mackay Track which is still in full operation

A disappointing result for the Walkerston BMX Track

Photo Credit: Mackay & District BMX Club

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Six Years Of Doing Good In The World

November 16, 2023

Walkerston Rotary’s affiliated group Days for Girls Mackay Team celebrated its 6th Anniversary last Saturday, 4 November, with a lovely Morning Tea attended by most of the Days for Girls volunteers.

Days for Girls Mackay consists of a team of dedicated volunteers who produce washable reusable sanitary packs for women in developing countries, where many have no means of managing their menstrual periods.

These kits allow young girls to attend school and women to go about their daily lives. The kits empower, and are a great stigma eraser, for women who would otherwise be isolated while menstruating.

Days for Girls' aim is to afford all women the dignity, health and opportunity they deserve.

Days for Girls Mackay has been able to supply sanitary kits to countries such as The Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Cambodia, Nepal, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

It is estimated that the team, by way of the kits the volunteers have produced and supplied, have allowed girls in developing countries 838,927 extra school days over its six years of operation.

Contributed by Bente McDonald.

Day for Girls 6th Anniversary celebration at Mystic Alchemy Coffee Shop

Cathy Davis cutting the cake at Day for Girls event

Photos supplied

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Gardening Tips For Dry Weather

November 16, 2023

Although the Mackay region usually has a substantial wet season during Summer, in the coming months your garden might benefit from a bit of preparation.

With weather forecasts predicting a drier and hotter run over the season than we are usually accustomed to, you may find it beneficial to get ahead and change up your gardening routine before the warmer climate arrives.

Find some helpful tips in this guide to help your garden battle against dry weather conditions.

Roses are very forgiving plants, tolerating harsh dry times as well as the rainy periods that will eventually return.

Herb plants coupled with ornamentals can create a unique and useful garden. Drought conditions do not negatively affect most herbs, these plants are usually killed by over-watering.

Many (but not all) Australian natives are well adapted to dry conditions. Drought-tolerant plants are not tolerant to waterlogging. So ironically, good drainage is important to consider when planting in a drought.

Mulching is essential for water retention and insulating your garden bed.

Try to water your garden between 5am and 10am when sunlight is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cooler. Less water is lost to evaporation and wind during this time.

Irrigation at night can lead to fungus growth as leaves can remain wet overnight. By irrigating in the morning, leaves have a chance to dry out during the day.

You can do your own further investigation on drought-resistant gardening by using books, local gardening associations and plant nurseries.

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The Walkerston Bolic Twins

November 16, 2023

We, who have lived in the Scrubby area for years sometimes wonder what happened to the young people who grew up here, and then leave to further their education elsewhere.

A couple of young ladies who fit into that category would definitely be Walkerston twins Zodie and Marita Bolic.

As soon as they could read, the Bolic twins read profusely - any books, indeed all books they could get their hands on; they just couldn’t get enough reading material!

The local librarian tried her best to keep the supply of new titles coming as the girls would read something like ten junior fiction books a week – That is each! And, also have their homework done and join in other extracurricular activities!

During her latter high school years Marita was selected to attend a Rotary National Youth Science Forum in Canberra where she learnt a lot about medical studies. She is now a fourth-year medical student at James Cook University in Cairns, having spent her first three years at the Townsville campus.

Marita has recently been involved in medical research in emergency medicine in Canberra. Prior to that she received a scholarship for a six-week rural placement in Mount Isa’s Northwest Hospital and Health Service, where she headed earlier this year. She is now looking forward to the last two-and-a-half years of studying, and whatever else may happen along the way - towards her degree.

Zodie was off to Melbourne University, firstly studying Arts - Politics & History, but switching to Batchelor of Fine Arts – Dance, at the end of 2020. Being one of 21 lucky ones out of about 1000 applicants that year.

She gained a first place for her subject ‘Knowing Dance’ in 2022 and was consequently invited to speak on ABC Radio National - A great thrill for her!

As Zodie approaches the end of her degree she has been awarded a scholarship to undertake a diploma of Governance through the Institute of Community Directors of Australia and is currently sitting on the Board of Melbourne University’s Student union, and also a member of the Victorian Youth Congress.

The Bolic girls have certainly packed a lot of opportunities and experiences - reading, dancing, learning and studies - into a relatively short period of time. All of this extending right back to their early years of never being able to borrow enough library books to satisfy their hunger for reading and learning.

Quite an impressive package of achievements for a couple of nearly twenty-two-year-old young women from the quiet little township of Walkerston!

Contributed by Bente McDonald

Zodie and Marita Bolic

Photo supplied

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Life Is Too Short To Wear Boring Clothes

November 16, 2023

Nestled in Mackay's city centre, Wild Arrow Boutique offers a stunning storefront on Wood Street, focused on providing high-quality clothing for all occasions.

‘Life isn’t perfect, but your outfit can be’, this quote encompasses Wild Arrow Boutique, with a wide range of products including clothing, shoes, jewellery, accessories, bags and candles.

Wild Arrow Boutique has clothing sizes ranging from XS to XL and 6 to 16, as well as some one-size-fits-all pieces. People often associate the boutique with elite label products that are high-end but still affordable.

The storefront is on a mission to provide clothing that can be worn everywhere, from lunch with the girls, to a special event or a night out on the town – the possibilities are endless!

With comfort in mind, their goal is to supply garments that tick all the boxes. Pieces range in colour, patterns and textures, with an emphasis on providing lightweight and breathable fabrics for the warmer tropical climate.

Wild Arrow Boutique Owner Tania Vogele is passionate about cultivating long-term relationships with her clients and achieving customer satisfaction with every purchase, altering her collection to suit the everchanging trends and styles that are currently in-season.

In the midst of bustling store hours, Tania receives the support of her mother and daughter, fostering a familial atmosphere within the storefront.

Experience a positive ambiance, a diverse selection, and top-notch brands – a perfect combination you can’t resist.

Discover Wild Arrow Boutique at Shop 6 on 43 Wood Street, Mackay, or visit for additional details.

Wild Arrow Boutique Owner Tania Vogele

A glamourous range for every occasion

Add a sparkle to your wardrobe with Wild Arrow Boutique

Photo Credit: Sinead Porter

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Discover Unique Handcrafted Treasures at Wood Chook Gallery

November 16, 2023

Wood Chook Gallery is a business operated by volunteers with a commitment to establishing a customer-focused space, showcasing a rotating range of products crafted by local artisans.

The storefront is located in the city centre of Mackay, however over the past thirty years it has done the rounds, residing in various locations before settling on Victoria Street.

The business is unique as it is a one-of-a-kind establishment in Mackay, purchasing selected handmade products on consignment from the local community, with proceeds funding rent and electricity.

Over a dozen creators currently have stock residing on the shelves at the Wood Chook Gallery, with the business constantly rotating their merchandise to create variety and diversity of their product range.

Head of Wood Chook Gallery, Therese Townley keeps the stock fresh and the storefront inviting, with a strong support of local makers.  

With Christmas just around the corner, you can stock up on essential home and giftware items from tea towels, washers and soap sets to baby gifts, scarves, rugs, hankies, tea cozies as well as various artworks and crocheted items.

You can also purchase Mackay-themed souvenirs to send to loved ones overseas, and personalised giftware with name embroidery.  

Wood Chook Gallery are competitive with these items, as they are open six days a week, compared to market stalls that usually only operate weekends.

Take a gander at Wood Chook Gallery on 106 Victoria Street, open 9am to 2:30pm weekdays, and Saturdays 9am to 1pm or find them on Facebook for more information.

Volunteer Francis Camilleri with a beautiful array of stylish tea towels

Giftware as far as the eye can see!

A handcrafted selection of crocheted items

Photo Credit: Sinead Porter

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Welcome To A Vibrant City Centre Shopping Experience

November 16, 2023

Mackay City Centre is a growing hub of opportunity for locals to explore a range of goods and services. Experience a relaxed atmosphere amongst a blend of architectural styles including unique Art Deco heritage buildings.

The recently revitalised city centre is seamlessly linked with the central business district, allowing busy commuters, tourists and local families to intermingle in the heart of our beautiful city.

The city centre boasts a unique art scene, including walls of magnificent artistry on Fifth Lane, designed by talented local creators. You can also indulge in a range of accommodation, restaurants and a wide variety of assorted apparel and boutique stores to get your fix of retail therapy.

In this feature you can further your explorations of the superb businesses operating within Mackay’s vibrant city centre and familiarise yourself with the friendly faces who work tirelessly to provide a superior shopping experience for all!

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Contributing To Disaster Management

November 16, 2023

Prepare your land with Mackay Forestry Mulching Services

Mackay Forestry Mulching Services offer specialist eco-friendly land management strategies, including vegetation mulching and flail mowing, slashing, high-quality stump grinding, general earthworks, site-levelling as well as posthole and trenching services.

Mackay Forestry Mulching Solutions provide cost effective and environmentally friendly forestry mulching services, leaving behind a natural mulch layer that provides soil enrichment, erosion control, and moisture retention.

Their forestry mulching process is low impact and can be used to clear rural land for multiple purposes, including farming, fire hazard reduction, flood preparation and flora and fauna protection across Mackay.

Completing a waterway clearing or firebreak on your land can be vital to prepare for natural disasters, such as flooding and bushfire events.

Mackay Forestry Mulching Solutions have you covered, with a selective process to precisely remove vegetation such as lantana and invasive regrowth, whilst avoiding taking down high-value trees and native vegetation.

Reducing erosion will positively reduce the impact of flooding, by allowing rainwater to penetrate the ground rather than creating a high run-off effect. Destruction of your topsoil will cost you more in the long-run by having to regenerate the ground.

With vegetation control, mistakes can often be made - High chemical usage which reduces soil nutrition and increases environmental risk, excessive bulldozing removes topsoil increasing erosion and over burning.

All three control methods can have negative effects such as run-off into creek beds and waterways, killing wildlife and removing nutrients from the soil.

With Mackay Forestry Mulching Solutions, the main aim is to reduce vegetation quickly, cost effectively and with methods that can deliver effective clearing.

The business implements specialised industrial machinery with a high output-to-weight ratio, to avoid compaction whilst still delivering high-powered mulching.

Providing site services such as site levelling, posthole digging and trenching and experience in road cutting, dam building and fencing gives a more complete package.

Accessing properties with ease, this business has a competitive edge of efficiency and allowing future land management to be much smoother for their clients.

Contact Mackay Forestry Mulching Solutions at or call 1800 819 008.

Digging a hole


Photos supplied

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Prepare And Prevent For A Storm-Ready Home

November 16, 2023

Following on from the informational video created by the State Emergency Services Mackay Regional Unit, we discover why it is vital to pay attention to external home maintenance in the lead-up to storm season.

To start with, check on the status of your insurance policy, whether it is up-to-date and what it covers. If your policy doesn’t adequately cover your home, contents and car, you could be liable to pay out-of-pocket for damages.

On top of that, if your gutters and downpipes haven’t been regularly maintained, you could be unknowingly voiding your home insurance.

A good clean out of your gutters and downpipes is pretty much a non-negotiable part of storm preparation. If your gutters are full of debris, water can’t drain away from your residence.

This can cause a host of problems, such as water flowing into wall cavities and roofs, leading to serious complications like electrical short circuits and power outages.

If you have storm water sumps or drains around your home, it is critical to make sure these are cleaned out to ensure that they can drain water effectively.

Trim tree branches and remove any weak or dead branches from trees around your property, as they can fall onto your home or become airborne during strong winds.

It is important to check the condition of your roof. Look out for loose tiles, eaves or screws that need repairing.

Once these problems are resolved, there will be a limit on the amount of damages that can potentially occur during rough winds or intense storms.

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Mackay West State School Centenary

November 16, 2023


There’s always some debate about how long you must have lived in Mackay before you can call yourself a local. I can trace my family back to my great-great-grandfather, George Hardwick, who arrived in the Pioneer Valley in the mid-1860s. Generations of my family have lived here, with me being fifth generation, and my children and grandchildren also born and raised here.

My mother and her brother attended Mackay West State School, as did myself and my siblings, and then my four children. It’s a great school that has produced many outstanding community members who have gone on to do great things.

Mackay West State School will celebrate their centenary in 2024. The school, originally known as South Ward State School, opened in 1924 at the Bridge Road campus. The campus later became known as West Mackay Infants School, and the Pinder Street site as West Mackay Primary School with grades three to seven. In 1994 there was an amalgamation of West Mackay Infants School and West Mackay Primary School to become Mackay West State School.

The Centenary Committee, of which I’m the Treasurer, meets monthly and are coordinating events, memorabilia and displays for the community. We are inviting local families and businesspeople to sponsor a page in the centenary book or sponsor an event during the centenary celebrations, being held from May 24 to 26, 2024.

The weekend celebrations will begin on Friday, May 24, 2024, where past and present staff, students and family members will gather under the trees of the junior campus. A static display will be set up at the senior campus, giving attendees an opportunity to walk down memory lane and reminisce. A Meet and Mingle will be hosted at Harrup Park that night. Tickets will be available for purchase early in the New Year.

On Saturday, May 25, the school grounds at Pinder Street will come alive with our annual Mayfair. This traditional fair has been bringing the West Mackay Community together for over 50 years.

On Sunday, May 26, we will be welcoming families to have a picnic at the Pinder Street campus and have a look through the static display.

A centenary book is being produced by a dedicated team of past students and teachers. Local historian Lyall Ford is collating information to include an accurate history of the school and its community.

For more information, please email or check out our Facebook page – I went to Mackay West SS 1924-.

Councillor Belinda Hassan

Mackay Regional Council

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November 10, 2023

James Grech, Hamish Wright, Kimberley Doyle and the Mackay Rowing Club emerged as the best in North Queensland, representing Mackay Regional Council at an illustrious dinner last weekend celebrating the best in sport for 2023.

The MECC came alive on Saturday night as hundreds of sporting heroes from across the state attended North Queensland’s premier sporting awards event.

A number of Mackay athletes, teams and volunteers took home top honours at the MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards, an annual awards event held at different regional towns each year.

James Grech won the Service to Sport award, Hamish Wright took out the Masters Sportstar of the Year, Volunteer of the Year was won by Kimberley Doyle and the Mackay Rowing Club took out the Senior Team of the year.

From Local Fields To North Queensland Glory

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said he was excited to see such a large number of our sporting greats receive recognition.

“The last time these awards were held in the Mackay region was in 2012, so it was exciting to have the event return to Mackay for 2023,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Our region punches above its weight in sporting excellence and it was amazing to see our region win first or second place, for seven out of 11 categories on offer,” he said.

North Queensland Sports Foundation CEO Stephen Farrell said it was an unforgettable evening of celebration, recognition and inspiration.

“The event was a resounding success, with emcee Glen “Minty” Mintern and world class VIP guest speaker, Brooke Hanson OLY OAM keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats,” Mr Farrell said.

“The prestigious annual event brings together sporting enthusiasts, athletes and community leaders to honour and celebrate the region's exceptional sporting talent,” he said.

“The 2023 MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards serves as a platform to recognise and applaud outstanding achievements and dedication to sports.

“The winners and runners-up have demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication and contribution to their respective sports, and we applaud them for their achievements.

“This year's gala event also marked a significant milestone - the 40th anniversary of the NQ Sports Foundation, and the MECC was decorated to celebrate the occasion.

“The awards event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, partners and unwavering enthusiasm of the local sports community, which we deeply appreciate.”

Guest speaker Brooke Hanson OLY OAM, gold and silver Olympic swimmer and Order of Australia Medal recipient, shared her inspiring journey and insights from her illustrious career at the event. Her words resonated with the attendees, reminding everyone of the importance of dedication, perseverance and the pursuit of excellence in sports and life.

Mayor Greg Williamson also said one of the highlights of the evening was the induction of two distinguished Mackay individuals into the North Queensland Sports Foundation Hall of Fame.

“The honour went to Tracey Belbin and George Moore, both of whom have made invaluable contributions to the sports community,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Their dedication and outstanding achievements have left an indelible mark on the Mackay and North Queensland's sporting landscape,” he said.

Winners and runners-up for each category at the 2023 MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards include:

> Senior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Consolidated Engineering Plastics Products

Winner: Jake Doran, Townsville City Council Athletics

Runner up: Janee Emms, Baton Twirling, Mackay Regional Council

> Rural and Remote Senior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Fitzroy Mining

Winner: James Lowe, Muay Thai, Charters Towers Regional Council

Runner up: Campbell Hodson Charters, Rodeo/ Team Roping, Charters Towers Regional Council

> Junior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Anything Environmental

Winner: Ciara Storch, Boxing, Isaac Regional Council

Runner up: Monique Bobongie, Basketball, Mackay Regional Council

> Rural and Remote Junior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Wilmar Sugar

Winner: Cade Ferguson, Rodeo, Cloncurry Shire Council

Runner up: Kiera Wiseman, Waterskiing, Burdekin Shire Council

> Athlete with a Disability sponsored by DGH Engineering

Winner: Samuel Le Feuvre, Athletics, Charters Towers Regional Council

Runner up: TJ Straw, Basketball and Powerlifting, Mackay Regional Council

> Masters Sportstar of the Year sponsored by City Fitness

Winner: Hamish Wright, Track Cycling, Mackay Regional Council

Runner up: Julie Dunn, Outrigging, Cairns Regional Council

> Senior Team sponsored by Mackay Regional Council

Winner: Mackay Rowing Club - Sculling mix quad double rowing, Mackay Regional Council

Runner up: Cooktown Underwater Hockey Team (Senior), Cook Shire Council

> Junior Team sponsored by Struddys

Winner: Cooktown Underwater Hockey Team (Junior), Cook Shire Council

Runner up: 11-12 Boys Northern Rugby League, Townsville City Council

> Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Queensland Hydro

Winner: Kimberly Doyle, Basketball, Powerlifting and Table Tennis, Mackay Regional Council

Runner up: Jack Baldwin, AFL, Mackay Regional Council

> Service to Sport sponsored by Struddys

Winner: James Grech, Track and Field (Athletics), Mackay Regional Council

Runner up: Joesph Pennisi, Rugby League, Hinchinbrook Shire Council

> Sporting Excellence sponsored by JMS Aquatics

Winner: Grace Grandcourt, IPSC Pistol Shooting, Mareeba Shire Council

Mackay’s winners and runner-up’s at the MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards. L-R (front): Jack Baldwin (AFL), Hamish Wright (track cycling), Councillor Laurence Bonaventura. L-R (back): Councillor Fran Mann, Mayor Greg Williamson, Kimberley Doyle (Special Olympics), TJ Straw (basketball and powerlifting), James Grech (athletics), Janee Emms (baton twirling), Therese Clancy (rowing), Councillor Belinda Hassan. Photo credit: Liz Andrews Photography

Hamish Wright, track cycling: Masters Sportstar of the Year sponsored by City Fitness

James Grech, athletics: Service to Sport sponsored by Struddys

Mackay Rowing Club, Sculling mix quad double rowing: Senior Team sponsored by Mackay Regional Council. Photos: Liz Andrews Photography

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November 10, 2023

Two-way traffic will return to Pioneer Street from Sunday (November 12) as upgrade works continue at the intersection of Holts Road and Pioneer Street.

The works are being undertaken to improve safety and traffic flow, and are expected to be completed in mid-December, weather permitting.

In the second stage of works at the intersection, traffic will again flow in both directions, however traffic control will be in place at Holts Road and there will be a reduction to the speed limit.

Work will take place between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. Some weekend work may also be required.

There will be some noise and dust disturbances with various plant and equipment on-site.

This project is funded by the Australian Government’s Black Spot program.

For more information go to

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Praising Exceptional Service At Foodbank

November 10, 2023

Deborah Heron works for a local Mackay organisation called Connect 2 Wellbeing, who assist vulnerable people to access vital services around our region from hygiene and food assistance, to housing and legal aid.

A reluctant gentleman and regular client of Deborah’s had been to visit a few places in town, where he didn’t feel as supported or respected as he should have.

After a recent trip to Whitsunday Foodbank Mackay, located at 352 Bridge Road in West Mackay, the man sent an email to Deborah commending the positive experience he received at the charitable organisation on his visit.

The man stated, “I was given a warm welcome by volunteers, it was a very bright and warm atmosphere.

“There was assorted foods, enough options to cater for most diets and fifty per cent off retail prices.

“There wasn’t a limit on groceries, I definitely will make this my regular weekly shop,” he said.

Living in supported accommodation with four strangers, the man felt seen at Foodbank and was treated with the respect and compassion he deserves.

“To be able to go to Foodbank and feel supported and welcomed, he has come back with a glowing recommendation and glowing experience,” Deborah commented.

It is vital to our community to have these organisations to rely on when times are tough, especially with the cost of living crisis seeing many who are in dire need of support.

Congratulations to Whitsunday Foodbank Mackay for going above and beyond to offer a compassionate service and leave customers with a smile.

Whitsunday Foodbank Mackay

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When the Telecommunications Gods Decide To Hit Snooze

November 10, 2023

It's a Wednesday morning, triple deadline week – the kind where your schedule is so tight you can hear it creaking like an old rocking chair. The newspapers need to go to print, the printers are waiting, and the distribution clock is ticking. Plus, we're on the final stretch of getting Core Magazine ready for print, too.

And then, out of the blue, the telecommunication deities decide to hit the snooze button. An Australia-wide Optus outage? Really? It's like they've chosen the worst possible moment to test our patience.

Thankfully, the majority of our team have their telecom allegiance with Telstra, feeling all smug as they continue to scroll, chat, and call while I find myself plunged into what feels like an apocalyptic darkness, disconnected from the world. The internet refuses to connect, my phone becomes an expensive paperweight, and I start to wonder if smoke signals and carrier pigeons might be making a comeback.

As the blackout stretches on, my eyes stay glued to the ticking deadline clock. At 9am, I have no choice but to bundle my little one into the car and embark on a quest for an elusive Wi-Fi haven, preferably one running on Telstra's network.

Yet, amid the frantic hunt for connectivity, there's something sobering about the whole experience. We've become so dependent on computers and the digital realm that a mere blackout makes us feel like helpless cave-dwellers. No offense to our ancestors, but we've grown used to a certain level of convenience.

The Optus meltdown does raise some intriguing questions. It's a stark reminder of why physical cash should remain legal tender, and why businesses should be obligated to accept it. The growing number of businesses refusing to take cash might, in fact, be a dangerous path we're treading.

In the meantime, I'll sip my fifth coffee of the day, trying not to feel like a freeloader as I adapt to this sudden twist in our digital age saga. After all, when the Telecom Gods hit snooze, there's only so much we can do but ponder life's curiosities while we await their wake-up call.


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Clermont Gets A New Doctor

November 10, 2023

Exciting news for the Clermont community as a permanent doctor will begin practicing at the Clermont Multi-Purpose Health Service (MPHS). This significant development is a welcomed relief for the locals and has garnered enthusiastic support from community advocate group Clermont4Doctors.

Mackay HHS Executive Director of Public Health and Rural Services Terry Johnson said both organisations had been working hard to attract more permanent doctors to the area.

“We are thrilled to announce that Dr Tim Lane has been appointed to the position of Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at Clermont and he has made a permanent move to town with his family,” Ms Johnson said.

“Dr Lane has previous experience in the Northern Territory and in Queensland in both remote and regional facilities.

“He has worked in a number of rural and regional areas including Bundaberg and Gin Gin.

“Dr Lane is also interested in general practice and primary health care, and we will be working with Tim to see how we can support his interest in this.”

Dr Lane commenced at Clermont MPHS on Monday, 6th November.

The Clermont MPHS will continue to be served by visiting locums to support Dr Lane and share the workload at the facility while we undertake further medical recruitment.

Clermont4Doctors Project Worker Janelle Otto said it was a very good outcome for the Clermont community.

“This is a great step forward in improving the community’s access to doctors so they can get the care they need, when they need it,” Ms Otto said.

“Clermont4Doctors will continue to support further medical recruitment and any doctors interested in finding out more about our community are invited to contact us.”

Dr Lane is excited about the move to our region.

“I am committed to rural health, and I look forward to giving my time and energy to supporting the Clermont community,” Dr Lane said.

Dr Tim Lane, left, has taken up residence in Clermont with his family (partner Freddy and baby son Dominic)

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Lest We Forget

November 10, 2023

This Saturday on 11th November marks Remembrance Day. Every year at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, millions of people around the world pause in silence to remember the sacrifices made, and to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

The Mackay Tiger Moth Museum will be hosting a flyover Jubilee Park Cenotaph in Mackay, during the RSL service with Tiger Moth planes (VH-CYA and VH-IVN) in action, both having served in the Second World War with one in active service as a spotter reconnaissance in New Guinea.

The RSL Sub Branches across Queensland invites veterans and their families to join in remembering fallen service personnel.

Read our guide to discover the services in Mackay and surrounds, to allow you to pay your respects on this upcoming Remembrance Day. All Remembrance Day ceremonies will include the laying of wreaths, the playing of the Last Post, and the observance of a minute's silence at 11am.  



10:30 AM - 11:30 AM


Cenotaph at Jubilee Park, Alfred Street


Name: Nichole Hood

Phone: 0499567297


Northern Beaches


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM


Opposite Playground at Bucasia Esplanade, Seaview Park


Name: Ruth Wickham

Phone: 0401416943




10:30 AM - 11:30 AM


Anzac Park on Bridge St


Name: Gail Clark

Phone: 0407127256




10:45 AM - 11:30 AM


Cenotaph at Palm Avenue


Name: Ron Cameron

Phone: 0417933348




10:45 AM - 11:30 AM


Marian Community Wall Memorial Hall, 17 Daly Street


Name: Marian Sub Branch

Phone: 0458543486




10:45 AM - 11:15 AM


Mirani Cenotaph at Railway Park Mirani, Mackay Eungella Road


Name: Jan Lindbergs

Phone: 0488783214




10:45 AM - 1:00 PM


42 McIntyre St


Name: Barbara Farren-Price

Phone: 0436602496


Other ways to be involved on Remembrance Day include donating to the Poppy Appeal, wearing a poppy of remembrance and volunteering.

On Remembrance Day or any time of year, volunteering at your local RSL Sub Branch is a great way to support veterans and their families.

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Major Accommodation Proposal For Mackay Airport

November 10, 2023

A significant accommodation precinct is being proposed at Mackay Airport, with concept developments underway in partnership with Greater Whitsunday Communities and Regional Development Australia.

The concept was introduced during a strategic meeting at the Housing Summit in August, hosted by Greater Whitsunday Communities and Regional Development Australia to identify the issues faced in our region and allow key stakeholders to identify solutions.

Innovation through collaboration was a key focus of the Housing Summit, identifying Mackay Airport as a spearhead for future opportunities. A prominent solution was the Housing Action Plan, with the Mackay Workforce Accommodation Precinct introduced to hopefully create more affordable housing.

Key local stakeholders say the development would help to relieve the critical strain on workforce accommodation options in the region, which is impacting employers, their operations and overall economic viability.

Executive Officer of Greater Whitsundays Communities, Carol Norris stated, “What we’ve discovered in our collaboration, is that there is a real gap in social infrastructure, and that starts with housing.

“We need to improve the liveability of our region.”

Mackay Airport Head of Operations Adrian Miles said, “As a crucial gateway to the Mackay region, Mackay Airport is committed to supporting economic growth and enhancing the overall experience for workers and residents alike.

“To this end, we are exploring the overall demand for development of a permanent workers accommodation precinct on a designated portion of airport land.

“Concepts have been done, and we want to work with interested parties to develop those further. We want to make sure we get it right so we can deliver exactly what is needed for the community’s workforce.

“Mackay’s workforce industries are suffering from the lack of accommodation within Mackay. When they do employ people to come to the region, as we know there is very low rental occupancy rates as well as permanent housing available.

“This would offer that permanent solution for workers coming to Mackay. I believe this could be the catalyst to kick it off and look at those permanent, long-term housing solutions in Mackay.”

The accommodation precinct would be strategically located within the airport precinct, offering convenient access to the terminal and industrial areas, including flexible accommodation options with a mix of studio, one bed and two bedroom units.

Chief Executive Officer of Regional Development Australia, Jeff Stewart-Harris stated, “The housing situation in [the] region is a common problem across Australia. What we need to be able to do to grow as a region, is to get the workforce accommodated.

“What we know is that this region has an economic output of over $22 billion, and that’s being strained by housing.

“We know that there are more than 20,000 non-resident workers in the region throughout the year, many of those who would like to be part of the community who can’t be because of this.

“What’s being proposed by Mackay Airport is to test the market to see who would be interested in being able to solve their piece of the puzzle in part of a bigger picture.

“Interest is there, it’s about finding ways to create new supply,” he said.

Mackay Airport invites qualified and interested parties, companies and organisations to come forward to submit expressions of interest and work with us on this concept and lease the purpose-built accommodation.

Interested groups are being invited to submit an EOI by the end of November.

Mackay Airport Head of Operations Adrian Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Regional Development Australia, Jeff Stewart-Harris and Executive Officer of Greater Whitsundays Communities, Carol Norris discuss a new accommodation precinct

Photo credit: Sinead Porter

Mockup for the Mackay Airport Village design concept

Mockup for the Mackay Airport Village communal space design concept

Photos supplied

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Rotary's Touch Of Recognition At Endeavour Foundation's Business Solutions Showcase

November 10, 2023

Last month, the Endeavour Foundation hosted an empowering event for people in the community living with disability, the Business Solutions Employment Showcase. This occasion provided a unique window into the world of fulfilling work opportunities for individuals living with disabilities.

During the event, attendees had the chance to see firsthand the dedication and expertise that the foundation's team brings to various work areas. From assembly work to document destruction and even painting of stakes and pegs, it was evident that this organisation provides valuable support and fosters an inclusive workplace environment.

The Rotary Club of Mackay played a pivotal role in the event by presenting supported employees with "Pride in Workmanship Awards." Ten supported employees were honoured with Rotary medallions, recognising their valuable contributions to the team, while staff received well-deserved Valued Employee certificates.

The event also received support from organisations like Blackwoods, who share a commitment to assisting businesses in the community. Blackwoods has a strong history of supporting local businesses and has dedicated itself to helping Endeavour Foundation to offer opportunities for people with disabilities to work, develop skills, earn an income, pursue their interests, and engage with the community.

Supported Employment embodies a beautiful symbiosis, offering tailored business solutions to local businesses while creating life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities.

Back row (L-R): Linda Tuckerman – Leadership Award, Frank Gilbert (President of the Mackay Rotary Club), Jason Roseblatt – Team Player Award, Rommaney McAullay, Robert Pethebridge – Attendance and Punctuality Award, Rosemary Campbell – Employee Wellness Advocate Award, TJ Straw – Quality Assurance Award

Front Row (L-R): Peter – Safety Champion Award, Blake Heinrich – Customer Service Excellence Award, Jordan – Mentorship Award, Brendan Blomfield – Problem Solver Award

Staff valued employee certificates

Representatives from Blackwoods with two supported employees

Everyone enjoyed socialising around the barbeque

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November 10, 2023

Police Charge Man Over Stolen Rural Fire Vehicles

Detectives have charged a man after he allegedly stole two rural fire trucks in separate incidents near Mackay over the past week.  

It will be alleged on October 31, the man broke into the Sarina Marlborough Rural Fire Brigade on Tara Creek Road and stole a Nissan Patrol rural fire vehicle and other equipment.

It will be further alleged on November 4, the same man broke into the Victoria Plains Rural Fire Brigade on Victoria Plains Road and stole an Isuzu NPS 3007 fire truck.

After information was received from members of the public, police located the Nissan Patrol in bushland at Sarina Beach Road near Campwin Beach Road on November 4.

On Sunday, November 5, police executed a search warrant at Keilbach Court in Sarina where they seized emergency lights from the Isuzu truck, hidden in the house.

Police subsequently attended an unoccupied property at Marlborough Sarina Road at Sarina Range and located the Isuzu covered by a tarpaulin.  It will be alleged the dashboard and parts of the truck had been extensively damaged and the body of the vehicle painted with white house paint.  

A 22-year-old Ilbilbie man has been charged with two counts each of break and enter premises, stealing of vehicle, unlawful use of motor vehicle, wilful damage and driving whilst licence suspended.  He has also been charged with one count each of evade police, possession of tainted property and possession of explosive (ammunition).

Wounding and assault charges Following Juliet Street Stabbing

Police arrested a 27-year-old man following an alleged grievous bodily harm incident in Mackay on November 4.

It will be alleged around 3pm, five people who are known to each other became involved in an altercation along Juliet Street. It was reported that the man allegedly stabbed three people.

A 23-year-old Mackay man and a 21-year-old Mackay man sustained non-life threatening wounds and a 36-year-old Mackay woman sustained a minor facial injury as a result of the incident.

A 28-year-old Mackay man was not physically injured.

Police attended and located a 27-year-old Bucasia man nearby.

He has been charged with one count of wounding, three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of common assault.

Truck Driver In Critical Condition

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating a serious traffic crash that occurred in St. Lawrence on November 7.

Initial information indicates a truck has left the Bruce Highway and crashed with a tree near Wumalgi Road around 7am.

The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, a 55-year-old Rural View man, was flown to Rockhampton Hospital in a critical condition.

The Bruce Highway was closed in both directions for a period of time while investigations were ongoing.

Anyone with information about the crash, or who has dashcam vision, is urged to contact police.

Fatal Vehicle Accident Near Habana

One person has died following a single vehicle crash near Habana on November 3.

Initial information indicates a Mitsubishi Triton was travelling along Mackay - Habana Road around 10:45am when it left the road.

The driver of the vehicle, an 84-year-old Andergrove man died at the scene.

Forensic Crash Unit investigations are continuing.

Passenger Of Ute Dies In Accident Near Sarina

Forensic Crash Unit officers are investigating after a man died in a single vehicle roll over north of Sarina on 1st November.

Initial investigations indicate at 3.25pm a 4WD utility was headed south on the Bruce Highway just past Sarina Homebush Road when the vehicle has left the road and rolled several times.

A male passenger died at the scene.

The male driver was transported to Mackay Base Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigations are continuing.

Appeal For Witnesses In Andergrove Road Rage Incident

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 45-year-old Sarina man was allegedly assaulted during a road rage incident in Andergrove on 6th September.

Emergency services were called to a shopping centre carpark along Campbell Street at approximately 5pm following reports of an altercation involving two drivers.

Upon arrival, a 45-year-old man was located on the ground next to his white Holden Commodore sedan with serious injuries.

He was transported to Mackay Base Hospital for treatment.

It will be alleged the man was pulled from his vehicle and struck multiple times by a 42-year-old Andergrove man who then left the scene in a black Nissan Dualis.

It will be further alleged prior to the assault, an altercation occurred between the occupants of the two vehicles while they were travelling along Sams Road and Glenpark Street.

On September 11, police arrested the 42-year-old Andergrove man.

He has been charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm and is due to reappear at Mackay Magistrates Court on January 24.

Mackay detectives are appealing to witnesses, particularly anyone with relevant vision of the two vehicles at the time of the alleged incident, to come forward.

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Household Emergency Kit

November 10, 2023

Following the informational video released by the State Emergency Services – Mackay Regional Unit, an emergency kit is necessary during disaster season.

Fires, flooding or cyclones could force you out of your home, or keep you stuck there for an extended period of time.

Your kit should include these basics, but you can think about what items your family might use if you had to stay at home for up to three days.

• Food items include bottled water and non-perishable canned food (And don’t forget a can opener!)

• Non-powered items such as a torch, portable phone charger and cable and portable radio are important if there is a power outage, as well as spare batteries.

A portable radio is vital to listen in to emergency broadcasting.

• Important documents could include emergency contact numbers, passports and insurance documents.

• A first aid kit and medications are vital in an emergency, you can also pack hygiene supplies such as a toothbrush, soap and toilet paper.

• If you have a pet, don’t forget! They need their own supplies too, such as food and water, bowls, a leash and a lightweight crate for transportation.

• Disasters can be scary, but they can sometimes be boring too. Pack a few entertaining items such as a good book, playing cards or board games.

Water supplies could stop working. You can’t get to the shops or maybe you can, but the shelves are bare when you get there. Avoid being ill-prepared by stocking up on essentials before a disaster strikes.

You can also include more items, particularly if you live in a remote area. Think about your situation and pack a kit that is right for you.

Keep your kit in a strong waterproof storage container and store it in a safe place in your home that you can get to easily in the event of an emergency.

You can find more information about household emergency kits at

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Are You Disaster Ready?

November 10, 2023

Mackay Regional Council have geared up their disaster preparedness, hosting their Disaster Ready Saturday event last weekend at Caneland Shopping Centre.

Seeing over 1200 people stop by the event and collect new and up-to-date disaster preparedness material, attendees were also able to check in with Australian Red Cross, Ergon Energy, Sunwater, SES and the Mackay Hospital and Health Service.

Visitors received important information regarding the Council’s Emergency Action Guide booklet.

Storm Season for the Mackay region is November to April, and it is best to construct a Household Evacuation Plan, including know where to go, know how to go, know where to go, know what to take, and know your neighbours, as well as be subscribed to the Emergency Dashboard.

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November 10, 2023

Sarina Neighbourhood Centre and Aurizon are putting the call out to the community to help make a better Christmas for those doing it tough.

Sarina residents are asked to donate Christmas gifts, holiday season items and nonperishable hamper items to help bring joy and comfort to those in need during this festive time.

Deputy Mayor Karen May said unfortunately Christmas wasn’t a festive time of year for everyone in our community.

“While most of us look forward to exchanging gifts, feasting and relaxing; for some people Christmas is a really hard and stressful time,” Cr May said.

“Christmas drives, like this one, make such a difference – they mean presents to unwrap and food in the pantry for people who would otherwise really struggle,” she said.

“What we are hoping is that people will just put one extra item in their trolleys this year – an extra toy, another Christmas pudding or a second box of crackers.

“Drop them at the Sarina Neighbourhood Centre and we will ensure they go to a family who needs a hand up this festive season.

“Anything you can give is appreciated.”

The Sarina Neighbourhood Centre Christmas appeal runs until Friday, December 8.

Donations are welcome during opening hours (9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday).

For more information, contact the team on 4961 9290.

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Scholarships To Unlock Potential For Senior Sarina Students

November 10, 2023

You couldn’t wipe the smiles off the faces of Sarina State High School (SSHS) students Sophie Steindl and Jacob Adams after they received a Community Bank Sarina Bendigo Bank Senior Schooling Scholarship last week.

Presented at the annual SSHS Awards Presentation Night, Community Bank Sarina sponsored two $2000 scholarships which provide funding for excursions, textbooks, and technology and also encourages students’ dedication to both their education and community involvement.

Community Bank Sarina has been partnering with SSHS since 2017 to provide scholarships and a variety of annual awards for students.

Community Bank Sarina Board Deputy Chair Maree Franettovich said the purpose of this community investment was to support young people and allow them to focus on their talents.

“Scholarships can be the bridge to a world of opportunities for students, they open doors and give every student a fair shot at success,” Ms Franettovich said.

“Whilst there were many strong applications, we are very pleased to have named Sophie and Jacob as the 2024 SSHS Senior Schooling Scholarship recipients.”

Scholarship recipient Jacob thanked Community Bank Sarina for giving back to the community and said this Scholarship had further fuelled his passion to chase his dreams.

“After school I hope to study engineering at university and pursue a sporting career in either NRL or sprinting. I’d like to aim to be in the Olympics one day,” he said.

“This Scholarship will help get my name out in the community and I look forward to representing Sarina and the Bank at events as well.”

Scholarship recipient Sophie was grateful to Community Bank Sarina for the opportunity and said she would utilise the scholarship to pursue a career in the medical field after Grade 12.

“This scholarship will provide the funding for me to complete further education in the health sector,” she said.

“I think it’s great that these scholarships provide kids like me with educational opportunities they might not have thought was available.”

Community Bank Sarina also offer CQUniversity scholarships annually and applications opened on 1st November. For more information see the Community Bank Sarina Facebook page or contact

Maree Franettovich, Sophie Steindl, Jacob Adams, Charmaine Matsen and Ann Fordyce

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How Small Changes Could Lead To Spare Change

November 10, 2023

Consolidating your savings

Ah, savings. We all want more. Just when you think you might be getting somewhere, that’s often when bills and repayments, rent and other expenses are ready to bring you back to reality. So, how can you start ascending the savings summit and, most importantly, continue climbing?


Saving means different things to different people. Because – and this shouldn’t come as a shock – we’re all different.

Firstly, you need to have a glance at what you’re spending your money on. A quick look over your account statements should bring to light some of your money habits. It might remind you that you’re an absolute bargain hunter. It could also shine a spotlight on some less than necessary buys too. Whoops!

But that’s okay. Figure out your cash flow first, so you can get an idea of where your money’s going.

Our app gives you a simple and visual look at your account, offering you a straightforward view of your comings and goings.


Once you know how your pay cheque is being spent, you can start setting aside what’s essential to you and what isn’t. If your bank statements are suggesting that some changes are in order, that’s achievable!

It might be helpful to put your expenses into categories. Highlighting your different expenses will demonstrate what should stay the same, what you can cut back on, and maybe even what you can eliminate all together.

Keep in mind that some expenses will change while others will be consistent. But even the consistent expenses can be reduced such as phone bills, utilities and groceries to name a few. So, being flexible and adaptable could go a long way, especially if you’re able to lessen some of the bigger costs like insurance and housing.


Try and identify a few saving targets. And again, this should be tailored to you. No one knows what you’re after better than you. And by simply setting some goals for your savings, it’ll help inspire some change in your spending habits.

Set both short and long-term goals. Short-term targets might be within one to five years away. They might include things like appliances, technology or furniture. But could be a little bigger in the form of travel or reducing debt.

Short-term goals will also help train your goal setting habits and reward you when you fulfil what you set out to achieve. Long-term goals might be reserved for larger targets like cars, a house deposit or investments.

Once you get going, you might realise that the saving ascent isn’t as steep as you first thought. If you want more personalised help and advice on how to increase your savings, visit the Community Bank Sarina Bendigo Branch team at 37 Broad Street, Sarina or call us on 4943 2634.

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Send Buffy To A Mate

November 10, 2023

Look out Cockroaches, Sarina’s Buffy the Cane Toad is on the march.

More specifically Sarina’s tribute to one of Australia’s greatest ecological disasters, the dreaded cane toad, is the subject of a post card prepared by Sarina Arts and Crafts volunteer Owen Bromley.

A range of cards by Owen and other volunteers are available at the centre, and Blues supporters could even find them featuring Buffy turning up in their letterboxes if visitors from NSW are game enough to buy them.

Owen has made ‘countless’ cards depicting Sarina scenes in nearly 30 years of supporting the centre, and as he’s a big supporter of Queensland State of Origin, Buffy was a subject he’s wanted to do for some time.

Buffy is enough to scare any Cockroach supporter, as the Blues were known in the early days of Origin clashes with the Queensland Cane Toads, standing more than a metre tall and guarding the northern gateway to Sarina in Broad St.

He was the brainchild of a former Sarina Shire councillor the late Jean Coleman, who with her husband Bevan ran the Tramway Motel on Sarina’s northern outskirts.

Friends who knew them said motel guests were always amazed by the size and number of cane toads sitting around the street lights so Bevan and Jean decided to make up a giant cardboard toad which featured on floats in Sarina’s annual Mardi Gras and Mackay’s Tourist Festival parades in the 70s and 80s.

Buffy won the Mardi Gras award for best float in 1986 and was then donated to Sarina Shire which made a fiberglass replica of it as a tourism drawcard – and something to scare Blues supporters.

A final word on Buffy from a plaque at his statue: “Since his construction Buffy has seen glory, shame, neglect, resurrection and finally recognition as a tourism attraction.”

Maroons supporter Owen Bromley with Sarina’s Buffy the Cane Toad, which features on post cards made by Owen and available at the Sarina Arts and Crafts Centre. Photos: Charlie Payne

Post cards by Owen Bromley

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Sarina’s Legends Of League

November 10, 2023

Buffy the Cane Toad is an avid supporter of Sarina’s role in Queensland’s proud State of Origin heritage.

No fewer than seven players originating from Sarina have represented Queensland in Origin and national rugby league teams and the latest three were recognized in a plaque unveiling at Buffy’s site last week. The event was emceed by rugby league great and Mackay region councillor Martin Bella.

Daly Cherry-Evans has played 22 Origin matches and 18 Tests and Reuben Cotter 40 Origins and two Tests.

Brianna Clark became the first female Origin player from Sarina in 2021 and has played five Tests.

An earlier plaque honours four others – Dale Shearer (22 Origins, 20 Tests), Kevin Campion (4 Origins), Martin Bella (21 Origins, 9 Tests) and Wendell Sailor (14 Origins, 11 Tests).

After the unveiling, the Sarina Rugby League Club and the Sarina Neighbourhood Centre hosted the “Happy As” barbecue and mini expo to celebrate Men’s Health Awareness Month (Movember).

Mayor Greg Williamson said Movember is a fantastic month-long campaign that encourages men to engage in activities to raise awareness about men’s health.

“It aims to challenge the stigma around men’s health issues, spark conversations and promote early detection and intervention.”

Photo credit: Sarina Rugby League Football Club

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Stepping Away From EU Deal The Right Call

November 10, 2023

CANEGROWERS has congratulated Federal Trade Minister Don Farrell on taking the courageous decision to step away from free trade negotiations with the European Union rather than sign a bad deal for Australia’s farmers.

Minister Farrell was in Japan last month for the G7 Trade Ministers Meeting in Osaka, where it was anticipated an Australia-EU free trade deal might be done on the sidelines.

However, with agriculture strongly represented by the National Farmers’ Federation, CANEGROWERS and other ag bodies, Minister Farrell agreed that the terms on offer from the EU represented a poor deal for Aussie agriculture.

“Minister Farrell has led a team of officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who have been working hard on this deal for the past five years. They have collaborated and consulted closely with industry at every step along the way and have always negotiated in good faith with the EU,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

“Unfortunately, the EU has consistently failed to offer meaningful access for Australian agricultural produce, including sugar, and as expected, they put nothing new on the table in Japan.  

“We have been telling the Minister for months that no deal would be better than signing a bad deal, and I thank him and his team for listening to farmers and taking their concerns on board.”

Mr Galligan, who was in Japan with the NFF and working directly with government trade officials, said it took guts and determination to walk away.

“Ultimately the EU was unwilling to come to the table with a meaningful offer.

“It’s no small decision to walk away from a free trade agreement with one of the world’s largest trading blocs. It takes courage and I congratulate Minister Farrell for making the tough decision; I know the nation’s farmers will appreciate him taking a stand on their behalf.


“The bottom line is the EU needs sugar. They regularly import two million tonnes of raw sugar per year to meet their domestic demand. And European sugar refiners are crying out for access to the type of high-quality, sustainably produced sugar we produce here in Australia.  


“In the meantime, the growing Asian market will continue to be the main export destination for the bulk of our high-quality, sustainably produced raw sugar. While we are constantly seeking to open up trade access to premium markets, Asia will likely remain the key export partner for Australian sugar for many years to come.”

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Harvest Rolls Past Its Due Date

November 10, 2023
By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

The harvest should be winding up in the next few weeks. But it’s not.

It runs against sugarcane agronomy, and it runs against cane supply agreements.

Grower confidence is suffering under the influence of another long and arduous crush, potentially heading to a third consecutive year of harvesting into the Christmas curfew period, or at the least, cutting right up until Christmas.

It cuts against profitability, with a high likelihood of cane left in the paddock again as standover, with the sugar content of cane lowering after mid-November, and late-cut cane losing an important growth period so depleting the following year’s crop.

It comes down to some troubled mill performance. Very little time this year has been lost to wet weather, but we have seen quite a few breakdowns and below average throughput.

With current high prices and emerging new biocommodities markets for sugar and its bi-products, grower confidence by all rights should be at an all-time high. However, if milling to Christmas continues the industry will be on a downward spiral because growers don't see a future in growing a crop they can supply in a reasonable crushing timeframe. Even to not get the full potential of their crop.

A long season length dilutes that potential.

I’d go as far to say that the industry is burning cash. While some of Queensland’s millers have their act together, others need to spend the money, to invest as needed in capital works and maintenance that will keep the mills going. Our mills have for so long been unreliable and the reality is that this is cutting at the whole supply chain’s profitability.

For growers, we operate at the margins after taking a world price, and at the end of the day, growers - typically small agribusinesses- are wearing the cost. We wear the cost when the mill breaks down, we wear the costs of an unoccupied harvest labour workforce. And we wear the cost of productivity impacts.

We maintain a two-thirds interest in our sugar – the sugar made from our cane – it’s called Grower Economic Interest, or GEI. Millers, likewise, have a one third interest (MEI). It’s not a new approach, but it was further enshrined in the Sugar Industry Code of Conduct in 2017. It’s a vital industry tool that emerged from the fierce marketing debate that ensnared the sugar industry some eight years ago, and ensures clear lines of conduct and communication between marketers, millers, and growers. It was important at the time as it restored confidence for the regional grower families that are the very bedrock of Queensland’s sugar industry.

Without the Code of Conduct, large corporations with localized monopolies can have the upper hand in negotiations – even with strong advocacy bodies like CANEGROWERS at the negotiating table. The Code of Conduct has been a boon for industry, and has meant we get to continue to maintain the Australian way of doing business, on an equal footing.

We maintain that two-third GEI because we are the ones investing in crop cost of production, from soil heath to planting to environmental management to WHS to business costs to farm inputs to harvest costs. Because that's what we put in. It’s a shame not to be able to make the best of it.

The harvest will roll on well into December. Photo credit: CANEGROWERS Mackay

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Optimising Physical Health With Experience Healing

November 10, 2023

With chiropractic care as the largest natural health profession in the world, Experience Healing is the leading choice in treating and maintaining physical health for people of all ages.

Experience Healing Chiropractic Centre has provided the Mackay region with the best chiropractic care for over eight years and counting.

Experience Healing believes in correcting the pillars of physical health, movement, strength, posture and balance. When these pillars are improved, pain is reduced and optimal physical health is restored.

Aiming to reduce the physical stress from everyday life, Experience Healing will allow you to thrive by alleviating pain, identifying where it stems from and treating the root cause.

Experience Healing offers relief through a range of services, including sports injury management, fascial cupping, laser therapy and chiropractic adjustments. They also stock a range of natural medicines by Metagenics to optimise your health to its full potential.

Experience Healing is dedicated to providing the quickest path to recovery by ensuring the root cause of your pain is found and addressed.

If you are in pain or feel like your body isn't functioning as well as it could be, listen to the signs and get in touch with Experience Healing, it will be the first step to feeling your absolute best.

Get on the road to recovery with Experience Healing by calling 0749 524 400.

Experience Healing Chiropractic Centre provide the best natural remedies in Mackay.

Photo supplied

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Unlocking Facial Freedom with Art of Acupuncture

November 10, 2023

Bell's Palsy Recovery

Bell's Palsy often manifests as sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face, leading to drooping features, difficulty in speech, and eye-related problems.

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, has gained recognition for its effectiveness in addressing the symptoms of Bell's Palsy.

Bell's Palsy is a neurological condition that can strike without warning, causing temporary facial paralysis and a host of associated discomforts. It is something the team at Art of Acupuncture sees quite commonly.  

It is often caused by inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve resulting in temporary paralysis. Bell's Palsy is a challenging and frustrating condition, but there is hope for those affected. One promising avenue for relief is acupuncture.

Acupuncture, a holistic approach rooted in centuries of tradition, offers a ray of hope for patients seeking to regain control of their facial muscles and ultimately their lives. When combined with conventional medical treatments, acupuncture can be a valuable ally in the battle against Bell's Palsy.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points along the body's meridians. These needles stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms and improve blood flow, which can aid in the recovery process for Bell's Palsy patients.

Moreover, acupuncture is believed to reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and promote overall relaxation, contributing to the patient's overall well-being during their recovery journey.

It is crucial for those diagnosed with Bell's Palsy to consider acupuncture as a complementary therapy, in consultation with their healthcare provider, to increase their chances of a speedier and more complete recovery.

Many individuals have reported significant improvements in their Bell's Palsy symptoms, including enhanced facial muscle control and a reduction in pain.

If you or anyone you know would like to know more about how the Art of Acupuncture clinic can help, please give them a call on 0421 185 041.

Bob Wong

Bell's Palsy, also commonly known as facial paralysis

Photo supplied

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November 10, 2023

I was talking to a young female friend recently and she told me she had left her car in a 30-minute parking zone and that time-period had already lapsed. But she was having fun and didn’t feel like bothering with the car so she was going to “risk it for the biscuit”.

I might have been hiding under a rock but I hadn’t heard the term before. I liked it and it is one of those terms where you can work out what it means.

That’s not the case with a lot of the terms Millennials and some Gen-Xers use where, thanks partly to texting and social media, a whole new language of acronyms and abbreviations has emerged and if you’re not in the know you don’t have a clue what people are talking about.

IMO (in my opinion), trying to understand the new language can be a CWOT (complete waste of time) and leaves me SMH (shaking my head) FWIW (for what it’s worth).

People who don’t understand this modern communication might experience FOMO (even I know that one) but others who couldn’t be bothered with any of it could experience JOMO (joy of missing out).

My 16-year-old son referred to something I said the other day as a “flex”. Someone tried to explain what that means but I still don’t really get it. I do find there is a bit of strategy of KPC (keeping parents clueless), which is quite nasty of the little brats.

When words and terminology are unclear there is a breakdown in communication. That might be okay by today’s kids but the industry I work in relies on clear, concise communication.

Good communication is vital whether you are dealing with a seller, appraising their house, suggesting a marketing and sales strategy, giving feedback from an open house or talking to a buyer about the features of a property, explaining price expectations, or negotiating a deal.

It might come as a shock to some young people but sometimes a text won’t cut it. You actually need to pick up the phone and talk to someone because what you are saying might lead to questions, the need for clarification. There might be a level of nuance or emphasis in the words that make the meaning clearer, more concise in a way that a text can’t achieve.

Of course texting and emailing have their place and there are times when you don’t need to bother someone with a phone call.

But the important moments, when it’s decision time, when an agent needs to earn their money, that’s when the texting needs to stop and it’s time to talk. And the words need to be clear, convey a meaning that the buyer or seller understands.

Take this sentence: “I didn’t say you should kill him”.  The meaning of the sentence changes completely depending on which word you emphasise.

I didn’t say you should kill him … I didn’t say you should kill him  … I didn’t say you should kill him … I didn’t say you should kill him …  I didn’t say you should kill him … I didn’t say you should kill him … I didn’t say you should kill him.

Clear communication is vital in my business because, while it’s not life and death, we are talking about people’s most important assetts and we can’t just risk it for the biscuit.

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5 Ways Busy Mumpreneurs Can Save Money AND Have a Merry Christmas

November 10, 2023

Christmas is a magical time for families, filled with joy and cherished moments. Yet, for busy mumpreneurs juggling the demands of business and family life, it can also be a period of financial stress. Balancing the costs of gifts, decorations, and special meals while running a business can seem overwhelming. Fear not, fellow mumpreneurs! Here are five money-saving strategies to help you enjoy a memorable Christmas without draining your budget.

1. Strategic budgeting: Start by creating a clear and practical budget. Factor in all your expenses, from gifts and decorations to meals and entertainment. A budget will be your guiding light, ensuring you don't overspend during the festive season, leaving you with financial peace of mind in the New Year.

2. Embrace the DIY spirit: As a mumpreneur, you’re likely to have a creative streak. Consider crafting homemade gifts for your loved ones. Handmade presents carry a personal touch, and they can also save you a significant amount of money. Some of my personal favourites include homemade candles and baked goods, sauces and spice rubs & personalised crafts.

3. Simplify gift-giving: Suggest a Secret Santa or gift exchange within your family or friend circle. Each participant draws a name and buys a gift for one person, lightening your gift-giving load while still fostering the holiday spirit.

4. Experiences over material items: Consider gifting experiences rather than traditional presents. Tickets to a show, a spa day to unwind, or cooking classes to enhance culinary skills can be more memorable than material gifts. Plus, they often come at a lower cost.

5. Collaborative gatherings: Hosting festive gatherings can be time-consuming and expensive. Instead, opt for a potluck-style event where every guest contributes a dish (or beverage!). This not only lightens your load but also adds variety to the feast.

For us busy mumpreneurs, this festive season is about striking a balance between family, business, and personal well-being. By embracing these tips and focusing on the true spirit of the holidays - spending time with loved ones - you can celebrate a meaningful and budget-friendly Christmas that leaves you with more joy and fewer financial worries.

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November 10, 2023

I am a single mum, in my 40s, with two primary school-aged kids.

I was approached to run for public office when they were only toddlers. I named all the reasons under the sun why I didn’t belong as a councillor.

But I do.

My experience, not only as a mother with a young family, but an individual with layers of knowledge from the health and resources sectors, brought a unique perspective to the council chamber. My influence has directly resulted in outcomes that may have been unseen; missed opportunities for my community.

I am a firm believer that “many different flowers maketh a bouquet”. Going are the days of only older, white men making the decisions for all. People want to look to their leaders and see themselves around the table. When there is depth and diversity among our leaders, the whole community benefits from their collective decision making.

Intergenerational depth is important and I’m not suggesting our older, white men no longer belong. We need their wisdom, as much as we need the insights and experiences of people with a disability, people from a non-English speaking background, an Indigenous voice and a range of generational perspectives.

Our region may be an anomaly in terms of female representation (two thirds of our mayors are female; two thirds of our councils have more than 50 per cent female representation; two thirds of our state members are female, and half of our federal members are female). But maintaining the pipeline is always challenging.

Women for Election is a national, non-partisan organisation on a mission to increase the number of women running for public office in Australia.  They are travelling around the country to deliver training designed to inspire and equip more women to run for public office.

The Mackay workshop will be held on November 14 and more information can be found here:

In my opinion, a great councillor is curious, has the ability to see the bigger picture and has exceptional communication skills. You do not need an economic or legal background, or years running your own business. Councillors are guided by experts, and by the voice of their community. Like any role, you learn on the job, growing with every new experience.

If I have inspired you to contemplate running for office in the 2024 elections, reach out for a chat if you’d like to know more about my experience in local government.

Councillor Michelle Green

Mackay Regional Council

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Embracing Life's Messy Moments And Adventures

November 10, 2023

We love Friday’s. They are one of the better days that end in Y. But do you know why Friday is such a good day?

Have a look around you. Do you see something that makes you smile? A photo on the wall? Kids play stuff all over the front yard? Grass that hasn’t been cut in a few weeks? Maybe a washing basket on the laundry floor that’s overflowing? That’s the stuff we love. It’s real life, and without all that stuff, where would we be?

The last few weeks have reminded me to be thankful for what we have in front of us. Not next door. Not on the phone screen you’ve just been scrolling through. No, your life.

The kids might be yelling at each other, and let me tell you, if they are teenagers, and they are talking to each other by screaming, that’s not such a bad thing. The house might look like a pig pen, but it’s home. I reckon we should all appreciate what we have and feel lucky for just that.

That said, if you have some free time, grab the family, jump in the car and get outside. How’s this for a few great things to do this weekend.

Paxton’s have got their markets on tonight. River Street will come alive as always so bring the family down and get some Xmas shopping done. Palmyra Dragway is doing a big weekend of racing with guaranteed smoke and revving noises coming from the cane fields.

Northview State School has a movie night on tonight, and Vic Park has their annual Xmas Fair tomorrow next to Queens Park. I can’t wait to see who will win the 3000 hams and even check out how many sweat beads I can see from Santa’s hat. Just saying.

Seriously there are so many things to keep you occupied over the next few days.

One last one for you if you’ve never done it before. Take a walk up to the top of The Leap. I took my son up there last week and he loved it. Having a 22-year-old say that is music to my ears. You can also take a stroll up to the Wheel of Fire at Finch Hatton for a swim. Councillor Michelle Green did it last week and loved it too. Good for the body and soul I reckon.

Remember, whatever you do, be kind and have fun!

You can join Rob Kidd from 5am weekday mornings on 4MK 1026 AM in Mackay and Proserpine, 91.5FM in Airlie Beach or just ask your smart speaker to play 4MK on iHeartRadio!

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Students Go Wild!

November 2, 2023

Backing A New Generation Of Skippers

As owner of three of the Mackay-Whitsunday region’s top tourism businesses, Asher Telford is used to innovating through challenges, his latest leading him to initiate a unique solution for industry-wide staff shortages, while also creating career pathways for local youth.

Last Friday, October 29, a total of 31 Grade 11 and 12 students from 10 schools between Calen and Sarina, completed their last practical session in a year-long specially tailored ‘Coxswain’ course, aboard Mr Telford’s state-of-the-art vessel and nationally acclaimed tourism product, ‘Wildcat Mackay’.

Officially part of the Queensland Government’s Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) program, enabling students to gain nationally recognised qualifications while still at school, the course has also been delivered in partnership with the Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre (WMTC).

Across the year’s four school terms, WMTC trainers have travelled from Airlie Beach to Mackay each week, to deliver classroom training in venues provided by the Resources Centre for Excellence, Volunteer Marine Rescue Mackay and North Queensland Bulk Ports.

Additionally, for two days each term, and in many cases across weekends and school holidays throughout the year, students have been privileged to access valuable practical training and work experience aboard both Wildcat Mackay and other working vessels in the Airlie Beach-based Red Cat Adventures fleet.

Sailing Toward Success
Local Students Complete Coxswain Course

With achieving the required sea-time for a Coxswain licence often proving the stumbling block for students who have otherwise successfully completed classroom components, Mr Telford said he hoped this approach would deliver real results.

“I wanted to see these students trained in real life situations on real working boats, not just in a classroom setting and then dropped into the industry,” he said.

“I also wanted to show our region’s young people that the maritime industry is up there with the mines as a satisfying career path; this is a profession where Australians are very highly regarded worldwide, so they’re effectively opening up opportunities to travel the world by gaining a global skillset.”

WMTC Training Coordinator, Deb Duggan, said students had completed a number of quite difficult subjects, particularly for those new to boats, including coastal navigation, seamanship and vessel handling, collision regulations, legislation, and engineering, as well as separate ‘Shipboard Safety’ training, where they learned to launch life rafts, light emergency flares, fight fires, and practise in-water survival skills.  

“The students have had a fantastic, sometimes challenging year, and it has been awesome to watch them grow and gain confidence on the water,” she said.

“I am really proud of what they’ve achieved and look forward to seeing them turn their new-found knowledge into meaningful careers.”

Sarina State High School Deputy Principal, Matt Allen, said the initiative had given participating students “the opportunity and experience of a lifetime”.

“Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere else that would engage multiple agencies so effectively to provide school students such a leg up into this industry with these real-life training opportunities,” he said.

Mr Telford said none of this would have been possible without the support of the Queensland Government’s Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, and access to the VETiS program, through which students were subsidised for the theory and practical assessment components of the course.

“When I came up with this idea staff levels were critical – not just for us, but across the region,” he explained.

“At the same time, we were facing a housing crisis, so even if skippers applied for our jobs, they were typically from out-of-town and couldn’t find accommodation.

“Meanwhile we had local school students asking for work experience; my thoughts were: ‘well the local kids are here, they’re already embedded in the community, all they need is the training and opportunities to work in their own slice of paradise’.

“The housing crisis wasn’t going to be fixed in one year, but maybe in that time we could address the crew crisis instead, and there was a government body out there who could help.”

Tourism Mackay Chief Executive Officer, Al Grundy, commended all involved in the initiative saying each had played a part in future-proofing the local marine and tourism industries.

“It is wonderful to see these local students given an opportunity to enter such an exciting industry – congratulations to everyone involved,” Mr Grundy said.

For more information, visit  

Onboard Mackay’s ‘Wildcat’, Al Grundy - Mackay Isaac Tourism, Asher Telford, Richard Roberts and Sam Bloor - Wildcat Mackay, Deb Duggan - Whitsunday Marine Training Centre with students -  Max Klosterman, Ryan Meads, Blake Pullen, Baley Allen, Cooper Stuckey, Isabelle Halliwell, Samual Docherty, Daniel Harris, Corbin Schultz, Nikolas Lampe, Caleb Robertson, Jackson Payne, Sam Patroni, Sam Gutsell, Haydee Brice, Jasmina Zec, Chloe Hogan, Dakota Cooper-Rose, Nathan Stephens, Owen Norton, CJ Henry, Nicolas Cheesman, Jaezel Querro, Lee Rennie, Ky Barker

Students learning to light flares

Asher Telford, Caleb Robertson and Isabelle Halliwell

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Tragic Finch Hatton Plane Crash Claims Lives Of Grandparents

November 2, 2023

RACQ CQ Rescue assisted Queensland Police with a search for a missing light aircraft near Finch Hatton last weekend on Saturday, 28th October.

Mackay Police reported that just before 9am, police were contacted by a local community member alerting officers to the crash.

The helicopter crew were tasked about 10.15am after a small aircraft with two people on board, believed to be travelling from Townsville, failed to arrive at its destination at Palmyra. The aircraft was last seen on flight radar about 70km west of Mackay.

The chopper crew were provided with these radar coordinates by the tasking agency and flew directly to the mountain location about 5km north of Netherdale. The crew on board, including pilot, aircrewman, Critical Care Paramedic and doctor, immediately spotted small plumes of smoke rising from a small burnt out clearing on the northern side of the mountain.

As the helicopter flew overhead at about 200 feet, the crew spotted wreckage and a smouldering site of about 100 metres below.

The helicopter made multiple passes over the mountainous terrain before being requested to land on a property nearby to meet with Queensland Police.

A police officer was then flown over the crash site before the helicopter was stood down and returned to base about 1pm.

The crash location was described as inaccessible and in very difficult, mountainous terrain with a thick forest canopy overhead.

A 73-year-old man and a 75-year-old woman are believed to have been on board the aircraft and are not expected to have survived the crash. The couple reported to be from Walkerston have two sons and grandchildren.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has been notified of the crash and will conduct a transport safety investigation.

The Forensic Crash Unit will investigate the crash on behalf of the State Coroner.

Retrieval of the wreckage and investigations are ongoing.

Vision from a RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter as it located the smouldering site of a small aircraft which had crashed into a mountain near Netherdale. Image taken from video footage provided by RACQ CQ Rescue

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Delivering a 'Note'-worthy Surprise

November 2, 2023

4MK Mackay Radio AM 1026 had one very happy listener last week, with Mark from West Mackay calling into the local radio station with a specific request.

Mark asked radio host, Rob Kidd if he was able to track down some music for him to listen to. More specifically, an album by Graeme Connors.

Graeme, who heard the call over the radio, dropped by the station to leave a signed copy of his album titled ‘North’ for Mark to enjoy.

Just in time for stormy weather, with a song on the album titled ‘Cyclone Season’.

Good on you, Graeme!

A truly kind gesture from one lover of music to another, proving how connected the Mackay community is through our local media channels.

Enjoy your country tunes, Mark!

Rob Kidd and Mark from West Mackay with his newly signed album

Credit: 4MK Mackay

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What Will You Be Remembered For?

November 2, 2023

The world lost a true talent on October 28 when actor Matthew Perry passed away at the age of 54. Known primarily for his iconic role as 'Chandler Bing' on the beloved TV show 'Friends,' Perry's passing sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. While his portrayal of Chandler brought laughter to millions, it was his kindness and commitment to helping others that truly defined his legacy.

Many may not be aware that, in his younger years, Perry aspired to become a professional tennis player. However, it's not his athletic ambitions or his acting career that he wanted to be remembered for. He once said, "I've said this for a long time; when I die, I don't want 'Friends' to be the first thing that's mentioned." Instead, he wanted to be recognised for his dedication to assisting those struggling with addiction.

Throughout his life, Perry faced his own battles with addiction, but he channelled his experiences into a mission to help others on their path to recovery. Notably, he transformed his former Malibu beach home into a men's sober living facility. Before his untimely passing, Perry was in the early stages of establishing a foundation aimed at supporting individuals grappling with substance abuse issues.

His story serves as a poignant reminder that our legacies are not solely defined by our achievements or careers but by our capacity to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Reflecting on his legacy, it makes me contemplate what I hope to be remembered for. It's a question that, until recently, I hadn't considered. As I read Councillor Justin Englert's words in this edition's Councillor Column, "leadership is hard but simple – all you must do is empower your people and recognize their efforts," it struck a chord.

Throughout my career, I've strived to uplift and encourage those around me. My aim is to instill hope, nurture aspirations, and motivate the storytellers of the future, guiding them toward success. I hope that, when people look back, they remember me for the kindness I extended and the encouragement I provided. In doing so, we can all aim to leave behind a legacy defined not by accolades but by the positive influence we've had on others.


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Mirani Motorcyclist Killed In Head-on Collision

November 2, 2023

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating following a two-vehicle traffic crash at Marian on 29th of October.

Police reported that just after 3am a Toyota Corolla was travelling west along Mackay Eungella Road when it hit a motorbike travelling in the opposite direction. Initial investigations indicate that the Corolla has crossed the centre line on a straight piece of road into the path of the oncoming motorcycle.

The rider, a 35-year-old Mirani man, was declared deceased at the scene.

The other driver, a 23-year-old Marian woman, was taken to Mackay Base Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. It is understood she was travelling home from her workplace when the accident occurred.

It is unknown at this stage what caused the Corolla to veer onto the other side of the road. Witnesses or anyone with relevant vision are urged to contact police.

Investigations are continuing.

The incident marks the 15th official road fatality for the Mackay Whitsundays region in 2023

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Sarina Student Selected For Postcode Proud Award

November 2, 2023

Local career guide company CareerForce Australia has announced the inaugural recipient of the Postcode Proud Award for Sarina State High School (SSHS) as Grade 11 student, Chloe Nielsen.

As a former Sarina State High School student, CareerForce Australia director Maree Franettovich believes strongly in supporting local youth to attain their chosen career, while “retaining that talent for our region” and while understanding the pull that metro areas can have for students.

“Some of my own greatest opportunities came about from being a student of SSHS and, from a career perspective, being in a region affords opportunities not always available in more urban areas,” Ms Franettovich said.

“As well as being ‘postcode proud’, the award recognises a student who has demonstrated community spirit, takes great pride in their community and has contributed to making that community a better place to live for themselves and others.

“For CareerForce, this award is an opportunity to give back – to support and recognise students who appreciate where they come from, and the opportunities on offer.

“It’s important to develop talent and skill in regions, and encourage students to build their life and career here.”

Chloe Nielsen said that it “meant a great deal” to be the inaugural recipient.

“I plan on keeping up with this commitment and contribution to the community by continuing to volunteer at the Sarina Library and Sarina Hospital,” Ms Nielsen said.

“I have also been accepted as an executive leader for Sarina State High School, so I plan on trying to get more involved within the community through the school as well.”

The Postcode Proud Award also comes with $150 cash and a complimentary career consultation at CareerForce Australia.

“I am saving up for my first home, which may take a while, but the $150 contribution towards my savings account means a lot to me, as buying a home is an important investment to make for my future.

“I am very grateful for this award, let alone the nomination, and look forward to my consultation.”

For more information about CareerForce Australia, visit

Chloe Nielsen receiving the inaugural Postcode Proud Award from CareerForce Australia director Maree Franettovich

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Back-to-back Awards For Mackay Nurse

November 2, 2023

Mater Private Hospital Mackay stoma and wound nurse Elly Engstrom has been recognised for her unwavering commitment to patient care for a second year in a row at the annual Mater People Awards.

The Surgical Ward Nurse Unit Manager received the prestigious Clinical Excellence (Individual) Award at a ceremony in Brisbane, after being nominated by her peers.

Mater Health Executive Director Paul Darcy said the feedback from Ms Engstrom’s colleagues was an overwhelming demonstration of the impact she has on her team and the broader community.

“Elly was recognised for exceptional skills and expertise, which ensure the best possible care for patients with stoma and wound-related conditions,” Mr Darcy said.

“Her team feels she always goes above and beyond and leads by example, demonstrating openness, honesty and clear communication, which has created an environment of trust and collaboration.”

Ms Engstrom is no stranger to the Mater People Awards, having also received a Clinical Excellence (Individual) Award at last year’s ceremony. Then, she was recognised by her peers for establishing a dedicated wound and stoma care role with Mater Private Hospital Mackay, as well as for her commitment to educating her colleagues on wound care management and leading the adoption of innovative new trials and updated practices to ensure improved patient outcomes.

“To be nominated two years in a row by her colleagues is a true testament to Elly’s leadership and passion for healthcare – we’re very lucky to have her with us at Mater Private Hospital Mackay,” Mr Darcy said.

Over the past 12 months, she’s continued to build on these foundations, continuing to inspire and educate others.

When Ms Engstrom isn’t at Mater Private Hospital Mackay, she’s lecturing at CQUniversity, sharing her expertise.

“Elly’s colleagues were quick to recognise her passion for nursing education and commitment to equipping the next generation of nurses with the knowledge and skills necessary for excellence in their practice,” Mr Darcy said.

“Over the past year, she’s also become a published author, educating the broader medical community on the utilisation of negative pressure wound dressings, which really exemplifies her dedication to advancing patient care.”

Elly Engstrom

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November 2, 2023

A First Nations cultural hub that will promote Indigenous tourism in our region is one step closer thanks to a lease approved at today’s ordinary meeting of council.

Yuwi Aboriginal Corporation’s application to lease the former tourist information centre building at 316 Nebo Road was approved, with councillors pleased to see the facility activated as a tourism asset once more.

Mayor Greg Williamson said there wasn’t currently a location in the Mackay region that displayed Yuwi stories, artwork, images or artefacts.

“Yuwi wish to establish a premises where they can share their knowledge – and tourists, schools and the community can go to view displays and learn about the rich culture of the Yuwi people,” Mayor Williamson said.

“It’s a tremendous location for a cultural centre,” he said. “Not only is the facility close to the city gates, but it is also near the Australian South Sea Islander Hut and the Torres Strait and First Nations sections of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.”

Yuwi has indicated the premises will also be used for board meetings and for the ranger, sea ranger, cultural heritage and TUMRA (Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements) projects.

The lease has been approved for a period of five years.

Another beneficial community lease, for 10 years, was also approved at the meeting for Football Queensland to continue to lease land at 10 Hewitt Way, Glenella, as well as an additional 23,366sqm to the east.

Mayor Williamson said Football Queensland had done a great job of growing Mackay Football Park – and the sport of soccer within the Mackay region – and had developed a master plan for the premises.

“Patrons have identified insufficient carparking at the facility as an inconvenience and safety issue,” he said.

“Football Queensland have developed their future plans around this feedback and proposed the land to the east of the current lease area as appropriate for parking.

“Council was happy to work with them to facilitate this extended lease to alleviate some of the parking and congestion issues caused by the growth and popularity of the sport.”

The vacant former Visitor Information Centre on Nebo Road will soon become a cultural centre. Photo credit: Amanda Wright

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Coffee And Connections With Chamber

November 2, 2023

This week’s Chamber of Commerce Business to Business Brews coffee catch up was held at Ninth Lane Grind. Hosted by Whitson Dawson, the growing membership of the Chamber was evident with around 100 people in attendance.

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November 2, 2023


The seaward side of the coastal track along Harbour Beach to East Point is a no-go zone for vehicles and motorbikes in a bid to protect this environmentally sensitive stretch of coastline.

Mackay Regional Council last week launched a public education campaign asking users of this area to not drive on the coastal dunes or beach.

The plea is to help protect sea turtles and hatchlings during the nesting season, which began this month and runs through to March, as well as shore birds, which nest along the coastal dunes.

The campaign features educational signage onsite, as well as regulatory signage, and offenders will be fined.

Mayor Greg Williamson said public education was the immediate aim of the campaign and stakeholders were hopeful users of the area would cooperate.

“We are not wanting to start fining people from day one, but we will have signage in place and will begin fining offenders if motorists and motorbike riders don’t cooperate,’’ he said.

“That will include surveillance cameras to identify any offenders so Penalty Infringement Notices (PINS) of $774 can be issued by our Local Laws Officers if needed.

“There will also be an increase in patrols in this area, including with the assistance of Queensland Police Service.”

Mackay and District Turtle Watch Association president Steve Fisher said Harbour Beach was a significant site for turtle nesting.

He said that during the 2022-2023 sea turtle nesting season, there were 34 turtle nests along this stretch of beach, with 1610 eggs laid.

“Sea turtle populations require nesting success of more than 80 per cent to be sustainable.

“There was a 96 per cent nesting success on Harbour Beach, with 1560 hatchlings emerging from the nests, although this does not mean that all of those made it to the ocean.”

Mr Fisher said turtles could be disturbed by vehicles, causing them to return to the ocean and not nest.

He said turtle hatchlings on the beach making their way to the ocean could get run over or stuck in wheel ruts.

Mr Fisher said Harbour Beach was extremely important for turtle nesting.

“The entire East Point ecosystem is important. As adjacent beaches are impacted by development and climate change this area can remain an island ark into the future.”

Mackay Birdlife president John Morris said every year Mackay was the home of 14 species of shorebirds that flew all the way from Siberia and Alaska to spend summer on our beautiful beaches.

“In autumn, they turn around and go all the way back to the top of the world to breed,’’ Mr Morris said.

“They need to feed up after their long journey and fatten up before their return. If they are constantly disturbed, they can’t eat enough and won’t make it back on that long journey.”

Mr Morris said there were also four species of shorebird that lived here all year round and had their nests in the sand dunes.

“Don’t drive on beaches – that’s where they feed,’’ he said.

“Don’t drive on dunes – that’s where they roost, rest and recuperate.

“Don’t drive on dunes – that’s where they nest.

“And keep your dog on a leash and away from the shorebirds.

“Shorebird numbers are declining. Let’s make sure they stay around.”

At the launch of the campaign at Harbour Beach are (from left) Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, Birdlife Mackay's John Morris (president) and Ian and Mary Cruickshank and Mackay and District Turtle Watch's Fay Griffin and Steve Fisher (president). They are displaying some of the signage that will be erected along the coastal track south to East Point

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Mackay Teams Rallied Up For Epic Journey

November 2, 2023

The Shitbox Rally Spring Event for 2023 has screeched to a halt after a monumental trek for teams across the countryside between Port Douglas and Adelaide from 13th to 21st October.

With a chance to speak to two of Mackay’s attending teams, Leketek Mackay and Not Lost – Just Looking, we discover the trials and tribulations as well as the achievements and good times that were had on the journey.  

Chris Leeson and Ryan Haynes from team Leketek Mackay drove a Holden Commodore Omega 2009, raising $12,285.

Team Leketek Mackay were thrilled to have ‘an amazing experience with a mix of great people’, commenting on the beauty of the backdrop and well-organised logistics behind the event.

“We both have had people close be affected by cancer, so it was about trying to do our part, no matter how small it seemed to help.

“The fact that the money raised goes towards cancer research was the main factor, the chance to see some of the country that we wouldn’t normally see was an added bonus.

“The mateship of the people within our group was pretty cool, [we went] from not knowing anyone to pretty much being a big family by the end.” Team Leketek stated.

Leketek faced electrical issues throughout the Shitbox Rally, holding up their buddy group. However, they managed to work through the troubles and cruise onwards to see family and friends awaiting their arrival at the finish line.

Jo-Ann Clout and Warren Ponmoon of Not Lost – Just Looking, drove a Holden Commodore wagon and raised $14,012.

Jo-Ann is a well-seasoned Shitbox Rally goer, this being her fourth time attending the event. Her and Warren were lucky to have avoided any issues with their vehicle on the arduous journey.

Jo-Ann stated, “This was an incredible experience travelling through places I would never go, seeing the different landscapes. The ocean, rainforest, desert, mountains…all in the space of a week.

“But it’s the people you meet that really make this event special. Some become life-long friends while others are an inspiration in what they’ve overcome.”

Jo-Ann’s favourite moments were catching up with past rally buddies and blasting through a huge mud puddle and spraying water everywhere.

Jo-Ann’s teammate, Warren Ponmoon said his first Shitbox Rally experience was ‘like no other’, although having to get used to lining up for everything from food to showers to fuel, has a newfound love for the cause as well as new lifetime friendships.

Warren was inspired by Jo-Ann, stating, “My now best friend, I saw how inspired and excited she was doing this great cause, [so] I had to give it a bash!”

So far, the Spring 2023 event has raised a total of $2,361,876 for the Cancer Council, a tremendous effort from all involved.

Visit for more information.

Leketek Mackay set up camp under a gorgeous sunset

Not Lost – Just Looking parked outside Mungerannie Hotel

Photos supplied

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Banksia Scout Earns Coveted Australian Scout Award

November 2, 2023

Banksia Scout Amy Harlow is the first recipient in the Hibiscus Coast District to receive the Australian Scout Award (ASA), with the award also the first ASA presented in the Central Coast Region.

Amy first joined as a Scout at Mackay City Central Group in April 2019, before moving to Banksia Scout Group in May 2022. It was then that she made the decision that she was determined to achieve the Australian Scout Award.

Over the next nine months, Amy focused on the Outdoor Adventure Skills which comprised of skills in Campcraft, Bushcraft and Bushwalking. Lastly, she concentrated on achieving the required tasks in the Special Interest Areas, which are optional for youth to explore new interests and are encouraged to achieve a high standard. These areas include Innovation and STEM, Growth and Development, Creating a Better World, Environment, Adventure/Sport, and Arts and Literature.

Amy was required to complete her Stage 5 in Bushcraft, Bushwalking and Camping, achieve a minimum of ten advancements in Outdoor Adventure Skills areas, complete six Special Interest Awards, complete Milestone 3 (requiring youth to lead four activities), she also was required to attend a Leadership Course and an Adventurous Journey.

For her Adventurous Journey, Amy planned and led a group on a three-day, two-night hike through Eungella visiting the diggings and Crediton.

Amy said it was an amazing hike and everyone enjoyed it and made unforgettable memories and stronger bonds with each other. It is the friendships she has made that she has found most rewarding from her time as a Scout.

The Australian Scout Award was presented at a special ceremony in Rowallan Park, attended by Region Commissioner Dougal McWhinney and District Commissioner Katrina Hoare, as well as Amy’s parents, youth members and leaders from the Banksia Group and the Mackay Rover Scouts.

Amy chose Scout Leader Joanne Hamilton (Rikki) to present her with the ASA Badge, as she was instrumental in guiding her along her scouting journey. Rover Scout Matthew Vella (Minke) on behalf of the Scout Unit, presented Amy with a gift on achieving this auspicious award.

Amy thanked her leaders and her parents for the assistance and encouragement leading to her achievement, and she has now advanced to the Venturer Scout Section and is continuing to make strides in her progression.

Contributed by Mary Wallace

Amy Harlow with her parents

Amy Harlow with the leaders who have helped her along her journey in scouting

Photos supplied

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The Memoir Of Paul Wright

November 2, 2023

Mackay’s rugby league legend, with a lifetime of rich sporting history

The 24th of October was the one-year anniversary of the passing of Paul Wright, a pioneering legend in the Mackay rugby league community.

A week before Mr Wright passed away, he had finished writing his memoir detailing his rich background and commitments with the local rugby league community.  

Paul Wright had his first open heart surgery in 2007 and was told by his son, Dane: “Dad, I don’t know that much about you.”

This inspired him to write a short history of his life for his family, before he went in for his first valve replacement operation. Paul realised in the process of his writings, that rugby league had been and still was a massive part of his life.

Over two years of painstaking research went into Paul’s memoir, including two trips to Biloela and Moura to search through newspaper archives and many hours of searching the Daily Mercury archives to finalise his piece.

Paul discovered he had been involved in rugby league in some way, every year since he first played for Salisbury State High School in 1958, some 64 years ago at the time of his writings.

Paul’s accomplishments in the field include coaching thirty-six different Sarina Junior league teams and eight Sarina Senior Rugby League teams.

This year, to recognise his contributions, both Sarina Junior Rugby League and Sarina Senior Rugby League named their coaching awards the ‘Paul Wright Coach of The Year’.

President of Sarina Junior Rugby League Gary Dickson and Vice President of Sarina Rugby League Matt Simpson were both formerly coached by the late Paul Wright, and were the masterminds behind honouring his namesake for the awards.

You can access Paul Wright’s full memoir online at:

Or visit his Facebook page in memoriam:

Paul Wright (right) and Wendell Sailor, who Paul had a lot to do with as a young squash player in Sarina.

Paul Wright coaching the East Coast ‘F Troop’ in 1978

Paul Wright (far left) coaching Rueben Cotter in 2011

Paul Wright (front, second from left) played for Southern Suburbs in 1965 (Now the Souths Sharks Mackay)

Photos supplied by Paul’s son, Liam Wright

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November 2, 2023

The National Farmers' Federation, in collaboration with CANEGROWERS, is urging the Federal Government to halt free trade negotiations with the European Union, emphasising the importance of avoiding unfavourable deals that could adversely impact Australian farmers.

Federal Trade Minister Don Farrell will meet with his EU counterpart in Japan later this week, to discuss and possibly even agree to a free trade deal.

However, there appears to be little of value to agriculture on the table, with CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens warning that “the current proposal could leave Australian farmers disadvantaged for at least a generation”.

“We haven’t seen a final offer from the Europeans, but if whispers out of Canberra are to be believed, meaningful tariff-free access for agricultural produce is a long way off,” Mr Menkens said.

According to recent media reports, the tariff-free sugar quota being offered by the EU does not provide commercially meaningful access for Australian exporters.

“Contrast this with the recently signed AUS-UK Free Trade Agreement and the difference couldn’t be more apparent,” Mr Menkens said.

“The Australian Government was successful in negotiating a deal with the UK that provided tariff free access for 80,000 tonnes of sugar in the first year, increasing by 20,000 tonnes per year for eight years, at which time all quotas and tariffs on Australian sugar would be lifted.”  

Mr Menkens said the EU needs sugar.

“They regularly import two million tonnes of raw sugar per year to meet their domestic demand. And European sugar refiners are crying out for access to the type of high quality, sustainably produced sugar we produce here in Australia.

“However, the EU seems unwilling to offer meaningful access that would benefit both the Australian and the European economies.  

“Our position is consistent with the National Farmers' Federation and all other agricultural industries. If the offer on the table does not improve, the Australian Government should step away from negotiations and continue discussions at another time.”

Mr Menkens said that the trade minister Farrell and the Australian negotiators have been working night and day on this agreement.

“Now is not the time to agree to a deal that Europe wants but actually sends Australian agricultural exports backwards.”

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Clean Up The Yard To Prepare For Storm Season

November 2, 2023

Following up from State Emergency Service – Mackay Regional Unit’s informative video, read ahead for some handy tips in preparing your yard against potential damages when strong wind gusts blow through your property.

Things you may need:

- Star pickets or solid stakes

- Ropes/Straps

- Garden shed or storage area

Tie down and secure bulky items such as trampolines, patio furniture, barbeques and washing lines.

Store smaller items in areas such as a garden shed, carport or other suitable storage facility with a strong foundation.

These items can include pot plants, rubbish bins, kids toys, dog houses, shade sails and other miscellaneous items, such as hoses and gardening tools.

Ensure to clean out your gutters on a regular cycle, at least every few months to avoid leaks and potential electrical damage during a natural disaster event, which can lead to awaiting maintenance and costly repairs.

Cut down overhanging branches, as they can snap off and be a dangerous flying hazard for your property and surroundings. Branches have potential to cause damage to power lines which leads to outages and electrical fires.  

It is also important to ensure any pathways on your property are clear and safe for water flow that is caused by a storm. If the paths are blocked, and water flow is diverted from its intended path, it can cause flood damage to your property.

For more information on preparing for storm season, visit or

Don’t be this guy! – Prepare and prevent for storm season

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Know What To Look For During An Emergency

November 2, 2023

The Australian Government has developed a national approach to information and warnings for hazards like bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone, extreme heat and severe weather.

The Australian Warning System (AWS) means the way the incidents are displayed during a possible or active emergency situation has changed.

The AWS provides consistent warnings, with the same alert levels across all natural disasters, so people know what to do when they see a warning level.

A warning provides point-in-time information about a hazard that is impacting or is expected to impact communities. It describes the impact and expected consequences for communities and includes advice on what people should do.

Every warning will have an icon that tells you what the hazard is, and the warning level and colour tells you what the danger level is.

There are three warning levels:

· Advice (yellow): An incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.

· Watch and Act (Orange): There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are change and you need to start taking action now.

· Emergency Warning (Red): An Emergency Warning is the highest level of warning. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

For more information go to

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Careless Act Sparks Kuttabul Bushfire

November 2, 2023

With hot and dry weather conditions headed our way, a total fire ban has been established in the Mackay region. Queensland have been recently inundated with rural bushfires, with another occurring on our doorstep.

Sharon Black, a landowner on Rutlands Road in Kuttabul, has had over ninety percent of her property burnt by what she said started as a small backyard fire four properties away.

With a permit for Hazard and Debris Removal the week before the incident, Ms Black completed a successful burn of a few acres around her hill to protect her house pad.

This was the last burn she permitted, noticing the changing weather conditions.

In short, the days leading up to the catastrophe, the weather was not in favour of any small fires to be left unattended.

On 24th October at 11am, Ms Black received calls from her neighbours urging her to secure her horses as there was a bushfire heading towards her property.

It is speculated that the fire started from an unattended rubbish burn off, which jumped to the surrounding bushland. Ms Black said that eight properties were compromised as a result of the incident.

Now with fallen trees across fence lines and no food for their horses or assistance to feed them, the situation is still ongoing with small fires happening up to five days after the initial incident.

Ms Black is fed up with what she described as “complacent neighbours who have not prepared themselves for rural bushfire season,” in turn allowing destruction across the street to wipe out vegetation on her land.

She stated that neighbours have repeatedly ignored fire safety warnings and disregarded preventative measures to safeguard properties, leading to an unnecessary bushfire.

The Rural Fire Service stated that although rural fire preparation is vital, homeowners are not legally obligated to adhere to precautions.

This fact has left the community weary that another bushfire could be imminent.  

“It led to our direct neighbour being without a shed.

“It blew up the day after as they left their property unattended and the fire crept to it igniting what we have been told was old ammunition.” Ms Black stated.

Sharon is trying to start a build in accordance with all new building codes due to her house site location, yet existing properties in neighbouring areas are not regulated. Concerns have been raised that carelessness could impact their properties' livelihood directly for a second time.

“It’s up to the home owner to maintain their property, making sure it still complies or their insurance is compromised.

“However, older homes in such locations are not aware of new changes and therefore are not only at higher risk of insurance claims, but increase the risk of neighbours losing their livelihood through no fault of their own,” She said.

Ms Black and her partner have worked hard to install fire breaks and commit to burn-offs in segments of their property block to avoid and reduce danger, as well as aid rural fire staff in conditions like Tuesday’s event.

Through follow-up monitoring, the pair saved two vehicles that were only metres from being burnt out due to an outbreak on the following Wednesday.

“Should the same action had been done, next door would not have had their shed explode,” she said.

“Insurance companies should not have to pay for people’s ignorance, this is why our prices are so high.

“To be such forward planning, prevention-minded people, it feels in vain if our neighbours are the opposite.

“I’m very angry that our neighbours along Yakapari-Seaforth Rd ignored such advice.” She stated.

Ms Black would like to see people who are prepared for these disasters be rewarded with cheaper insurance premiums.

Residents are always encouraged to follow fire safety protocols in the lead up to bushfire season, you can find more information to stay alert and prepared at or

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Agricultural Skills Highlighted With Simulated Hub

November 2, 2023

The Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub was switched live last week, with a focus on stimulating and supporting our local agricultural industry sector now, and into the future.

The virtual portal is intended for agricultural technology developers and users to access learning products to advance agricultural technology skills.

The Hub is jointly funded by the Australian Government (under the Regional Recovery Partnerships), Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) and Regional Development Australia Greater Whitsundays (RDA GW).

The Hub is delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government under the VET Emerging Industries initiative, TAFE Queensland, and CQUniversity Australia – offering over micro-credentials, accredited skillsets and a nationally recognised Certificate II qualification in autonomous agriculture equipment use.

RDA GW CEO Robert Cocco said that the Hub is a “local portal to connect people with agricultural skills, knowledge and information from across Australia, based on regional needs”.

"This project has showcased the benefits of when you enhance people’s ability to utilise technology in the workplace,” Mr Cocco said.

“Instead of fearing technology, the skills learned highlight how technology and its use can not only increase workplace productivity but at the same time make work more interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding."

Executive Director Education and Training, for TAFE Queensland (South West region) Tom Rowe said that the Hub “gives us an opportunity to work with industry and employers to deliver a range of flexible skilling solutions to ensure employment outcomes for aquaculture and agriculture jobs of the future”.

To further supplement agricultural technology skill advancement, TAFE Queensland have also created enhanced learning environments where students can effectively learn remotely, while using technology to participate in a simulated learning space for better engagement and retention.

For more information, visit the Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub at

Robert Cocco, RDA GW Chief Executive Officer

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Moranbah Teams Win National Underground Mines Rescue Competition

November 2, 2023

Emergency response capabilities were put to the test as eight highly-skilled mines rescue teams proved their mettle in a national competition at Moranbah North Mine last month.

Anglo American teams from Grosvenor and Moranbah North mines won first and second place respectively at the 59th annual Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition after a gruelling day. South 32’s Dendrobium Blue from Wollongong NSW came in third.

The day’s format included underground and surface simulation exercises to demonstrate knowledge and the use of equipment in realistic scenarios, including exercises to test hazard awareness, underground search and rescue, first aid and firefighting. The simulated real-life scenarios included longwall rock falls, grinder and crush injuries, drift fires and even snake bites.

Queensland Mines Rescue Service, General Manager, Ray Smith, said the competition provided an opportunity for teams to respond to simulations of real-life emergency situations and demonstrate agility and teamwork.

“The annual competitions challenge the proficiency of brigade members’ emergency response and recovery techniques,” he said.

“They get confidence and understand their limitations, especially around firefighting and patient care.

“That heightened awareness definitely gives them something else they take back to their coal mine; confident they can deal with any sort of situation.

“We want to see every coal mine worker go back home safely, so events like these allow the brigades to test and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.

“With their skills, experience and teamwork they will, at the end of the competition, be a much better team.”

Moranbah North Mine General Manager Paul Green said these competitions provided an invaluable opportunity to enhance skills and training.

“It's about having a very capable skill set of people with the readiness to deploy and save lives,” he said.

“It's important for us to have these skills in the industry as safety is paramount.

“This becomes vitally important when we provide our services to other mines when we need to help them out from time to time.”

Mr Green said the friendly rivalry between the sister mines added a unique dimension to this national competition for him but commended all teams on their grit in physically and mentally demanding state competitions to get there.

Grosvenor team captain Boyd Buschmann said he thought the state competition at Carborough Downs was the toughest competition his team had encountered but Moranbah North had put on a challenging event too.

“Carborough Downs was very technical and probably pushed us to places we hadn't been before. Today was more physical but the team soldiered on and persevered,” he said.

Thanking all competitors, volunteers and families at a dinner after the event, Moranbah North Mine captain Scott Ryan said there would not be a competition without families supporting each of the teams through their training.

Competing for Queensland were Anglo American’s mines near Moranbah, Grosvenor mine and Moranbah North mine, as well as BMA-owned Broadmeadow mine and Kestrel mine – all in the Bowen Basin. Teams from Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Southern and Western Mines Rescue represented NSW.

The Grosvenor and Moranbah North teams are expected to be invited to an international competition in Colombia in 2024.

Moranbah North Mines Rescue captain Scott Ryan and Grosvenor Mines Rescue captain Boyd Buschmann

Anglo American's Grosvenor mines rescue team won the 2023 Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition

Anglo American's Moranbah North mines rescue team came runner-up

Mines rescue teams in action for the 2023 Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue comp

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Halloween Hypocrisy

November 2, 2023

At the time of writing, it’s Halloween and it’s a hot day, so any choccy’s are going to melt fast.

Anyway, there are more Halloween Houses around than ever, decorations on the trees and letter boxes out the front of houses; I think it looks great.

At schools, there’ll be excited kids everywhere who are going out trick or treating. They’ll eat too many lollies and when Mum and Dad tell them later to go to bed, they’ll be on such a sugar high they won’t fall asleep until December.

Aside from where Halloween came from, the background going back a long time as a Celtic festival, the line you hear a lot from people is that: ‘It’s just something from America, we’re too Americanised’.

I’ll be honest, I just don’t get that statement.

To a degree, you’re right if you’re saying that in reference to pumpkins and the like which we see on US TV.

But here’s my problem with it, don’t be picky and choosy with your “It’s too American”, especially some people that I’ve met who HATE Halloween with a passion … but they love bourbon and coke!

You can’t sit inside your home being all grumpy about the kids in the street trick or treating, while you’re watching your favourite series streamed on Netflix, having a coke or hoovering down some fast food. ‘Cos, Halloween is all too American.

A week or so ago while doing the 7 News Street Talk segment, 100 per cent truthful, a lady told me she was against Halloween because it was too American – and she was drinking a can of Coke.

Now I will say this, if you don’t like trick or treaters because you’re a shift worker, your front light is off and they’re still knocking, then I’m on your side. You deserve sleep.


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Property Point

November 2, 2023

I wrote a column last week about now being a great time to sell and since reading that, people have asked me what time frames are best for sellers who can’t be on the market right now but do want to sell soon.

As a seller, it is important to be conscious of what is in a buyer’s head to ensure you are maximizing any leverage you might have.

If you are on the market now you have the opportunity to go under contract and, with a 35-day settlement period, hand over the keys before Christmas. Happy days for buyers who want to be in a house before Christmas.

But great opportunities are still there for sellers to get leverage from other important buyer considerations.

Sellers who list their property in the next three or four weeks have the opportunity to get their property under contract before Christmas and to settle in the new year.

Plenty of buyers are happy to get a property under contract between now and Christmas but not move in until late January.

But what is the situation for sellers who aren’t ready to go on the market before Christmas?

Well, one ship has sailed but a new one is pulling in. That one is full of all the buyers who will be desperate to buy in January. They will want to get through the Christmas/New Year madness and get serious in January.

Many of those January buyers will want to have something under contract before Australia Day, before the school year starts and before the working year really gets underway. It can be a great time to sell real estate.

I think that if you plan to sell in January you should, ideally,  be ready to go for an open house on Saturday the 13th of January.

I tell my sellers that there are two options. The first is to get your property ready in December so I can arrange the listing documents and photos and do the write-up before the Christmas break so that everything is ready to go in the second week of January. When I am back at work I hit the button and we are on the market.

Alternatively, the cleaning up, decluttering, maintenance work etc can be done through December and over the Christmas/New Year period and I can arrange for photos early in the New Year. We can still be on the market and ready for an open house on the 13th of January.

The important thing is to work out what needs to be done to prepare the property, have a strategy for doing it and have a clear time-line in place so you can maximise the opportunity in the New Year.

If you are interested in exploring the options, give me a call and we can have a chat about what might work best for you.

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Recognising The Effort

November 2, 2023

Thirty years ago, I had a young officer in the Airforce who was both loved and respected by all of us under his command.

He rode his motorbike with us “enlisted” airmen on the weekends. He called us by our nicknames, and we called him by his. But on base he called us by our last names, and we called him “Sir”.

If we did something unsafe or were late for work more than once, he would give us a fair dinkum warning or we would be charged. We didn’t want to let him down because we knew that he would never let us down.

He once told me that leadership was hard but simple – all you must do is “empower your people and recognise their efforts”.

Fifteen years later, I was struggling with my own leadership journey as the newly appointed State Emergency Service (SES) Local Controller. I didn’t feel supported in my role or like anyone was there to help us.

I asked respected local leader Major Frank Marchetti for advice about the leadership void we were working in.

He said, “Well, if nobody is doing anything, somebody must do something. In the absence of leadership, take the lead.”

This advice got me into so much trouble, but it got so much done for our volunteers and our communities.

Over a decade ago, I appointed Jo-Ann Clout as Mackay SES Group Leader. Leadership is hard, but I never expected the load that Jo-Ann would have to carry for so long.

No plan goes to plan, but Jo-Ann’s tenure as Group Leader was certainly not standard – cyclones, floods, fires and changes in leadership. In 2018 Jo-Ann stood down temporarily and we immediately asked her to stand back up and “hold the fort”.

We were having coffee one day a couple of years ago, I think I was attempting to apologise for throwing her under such a large bus. She responded by saying “Well, as you said, in the absence of leadership, take the lead.”

At times this approach got Jo-Ann into the same trouble it did me, but she got so much done for our volunteers and communities. Jo-Ann carried a heavy load, she empowered her volunteers, recognised their efforts and led when no one else could.

Jo-Ann is stepping down and new Group Leader Warren will do great. He knows what great leadership is, because he follows a great example of it.

Cr Justin Englert

Mackay Regional Council

Jo-Ann Clout, former Mackay SES Group Leader

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Your Melbourne Cup In Mackay Itinerary

November 2, 2023

Melbourne Cup falls on Tuesday, 7th November. With a range of events planned around the city, you can enjoy a delicious meal, live music and entertainment all while supporting your favourite local establishments.

All venues are offering a chance to watch the Melbourne Cup 2023 on the big screen, some with on-site TAB facilities.

Don’t miss out on a day of sheer elegance and excitement – with the race that stops the nation!

Souths Leagues Club

From 10am.

The Milton Room Luncheon - $15 per person

In the Club – FREE entry

Book tickets at

Harrup Park

From 11am.

With two options, the Reef Room - Hosted by Kaley Baker from Star FM which includes a two-hour beer and wine package, as well as assorted canapes, fork dishes and sweets

$150 per person

Or the Garden Bar, with finger food, fashion on the floor and the largest viewing screen in Mackay

$20 per person

Tickets at

Mackay Northern Beaches Bowls Club

From 11am

Buffet, live music and entertainment

$95 per person

Tickets at

Seabreeze Hotel

From 11am

$49 Meal Package available, indulge in a 2-course meal specially crafted for the occasion

Bookings are essential, contact (07) 4955 1644

The Metropolitan Hotel

From 11am

Table bookings essential, visit the to book in

Boomerang Hotel

From 11:30am

Two-course lunch, live music and entertainment

$60 per person

Tickets available at

The Dispensary

From 12pm

Restaurant & Dining Room - $150 per person – Two-course banquet lunch and two hours of bottomless mimosa’s and bellini’s

Dispensary Bar - $65 per person - Street food lunch, cocktail style event

Tickets online

Sails Sports Bar

From 12pm

On-site TAB, food and drinks, prizes and sweeps

$55.00 per person

Call (07) 4955 5788 to book

Hibiki Bar and Karaoke

From 1pm

$80 per person

Two hours of bottomless canapés, cocktails, wine and schooners

Tickets online

Visit for a detailed summary of events and information.

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Aerial Pioneers In Tourism

November 2, 2023

Bush Heli Services

Bush Heli Services took home the silver for the ‘Tour and Transport Operators’ category in the Mackay Isaac Regional Tourism Awards for 2023.

Bush Heli Services was established in Clermont back in 2011 by Jamie and Mardi Bush. With Jamie as the sole pilot operator, the main aim for the duo has been to provide quality aerial work services in the safest, most efficient manner to the agricultural, mining and charter-flight industries.

The business started by offering an aerial livestock mustering service, over the years expanding to offer charter flights and transfers, fire and flooding support services, photography and videography, aerial water bombing, powerline inspections and everything else in between.

Now, Bush Heli Services have a team of eight staff and are continuously growing, purchasing larger helicopters which are more suitable for a wider scope of services.

They have taken a daring leap into the tourism industry, now offering scenic flights and picnic packages to intimate and secluded spots around the Isaac Region.  

Commenting on their recent silver award win, Co-owner and Operator of Bush Heli Services Mardi Bush stated, “It was definitely exciting, as we have put so much into promoting the tourism side of the business for the last twelve months.

“I feel it gives everyone that bit of extra drive to do even more coming into the 2024 season.

“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for all the hard work that the whole business and staff has put in over the last 12 months to get Bush Heli to this point.”

Bush Heli Services are proud to offer unique tours and experiences, giving both locals and holiday makers the ability to recognise the true beauty of the Isaac Region in a way no one has been able to observe before.

These packages include scenic birds-eye view helicopter flights over unique parts of the region, with flight times ranging from ten minutes up to an hour depending on the package.

Important highlights of the tours can include the Historic Township of Clermont, Lord's Table Mountain, Wolfang Peak, Mount Donald and Clermont's Open Cut Mine.

Bush Heli Services are proud to have secured the option to land on top of Lord’s Table Mountain, where you can stop to enjoy a private picnic and take in the beautiful landscape.

This milestone has taken two years with the issue of obtaining permits and now the tour is finally in action.

In the past year, this opportunity had come to light as well as launching a private setting for waterfront viewings of the Theresa Creek Dam, which is only accessible by helicopter. Bush Heli Services also offer unique packages for graduations, proposals, weddings, the list goes on.

To get in touch with Bush Heli Services for a helicopter tour or to access their wide range of services to various industries, go to

Owners of Bush Heli Services, Mardi and Jamie Bush with daughter Harriet

Enjoy a private picnic at Lord’s Table Mountain

Access a range of helicopter tours in the Isaac Region

Mardi and Jamie accepting the silver award in the Tour and Transport Operators category at the Mackay Isaac Regional Tourism Awards

Photos supplied

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October 30, 2023

Council is aware of water discolouration at Midge Point, which is due to emergency firefighting activities that occurred in the area on Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28.

Council advises to not consume darkly coloured water at this stage. A water tanker is currently available at Midge Point Rural Fire Brigade, 1481 Midge Street, from 2.30pm to 5:30pm today and noon to 5pm tomorrow for residents to obtain drinking water only.

During firefighting periods, there is a significantly higher water demand in the system which increases velocities in the pipe and stirs up any sediment in the existing pipe network.

Council is completing scouring works to help minimise the impact, but some ongoing issues are expected until the system returns to normal operation.

The discoloured water is safe for other activities such as washing dishes, bathing and washing clothing, however dark water may stain light clothing.

Council conducts regular water quality testing and any results that don't meet the guideline values are reported to Queensland Health and the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.

Council apologises for any inconvenience this may cause and encourages customers to continue to contact us to report discoloured water.

If you have any concerns, please call 1300 MACKAY (622 529).

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October 26, 2023

Region’s Rescuers ‘Gob-Smacked’ By Record Donation

One of Mackay’s smallest schools has shown enormous heart with an incredible, record donation to the region’s rescuers.

Chelona State School fundraised an incredible $13,000 for RACQ CQ Rescue during Rescue Chopper Week and has now set their sights on reaching a target donation of

$15,000 by next Friday.

The blue and yellow Bell 412 rescue helicopter landed on the oval last Friday morning, about 15km south of Mackay, to thank the students and teachers for their fundraising efforts ahead of their school fun run.

Chelona Teacher Amy Privileggio said the school community felt RACQ CQ Rescue was an important charity as a number of families had actually used the lifesaving service.

“Through our school fun run we’ve raised $12,090.22 for RACQ CQ Rescue which is just fantastic for such a little school,” she said.

“Our fun run is being held today but our fundraising is ongoing and already this morning, it's increased by another $1000 to $13,000. We actually expect that the total amount raised will continue to climb in the next week.”

RACQ CQ Rescue confirmed it was a record amount for a school donating to the rescue chopper service.

Chelona School Soars In Fundraising Efforts For RACQ CQ Rescue

Ms Privileggio said the rescue helicopter was often seen overhead the school by students and was an absolutely vital service in the community.

“There’s a few of our families who have actually used the chopper so we wanted to do this fun run to raise funds for such an important charity,” she said.

“We only have 110 students at our school and most of those are fundraising for the fun run, with some of our kids actually raising over $1000 alone, so that's just amazing.”

The students were also given an extra incentive to reach fundraising targets, she said.

“If they reached $10,000, the students got to slime teacher Mr Matthews and we've decided today if they can now reach $15,000 by next Friday, they also get to slime the school principal Ms Brown as well as some of the RACQ CQ rescue crew,” she said.

Chelona teacher Kym Marshall admitted she was incredible emotional and had goosebumps watching the rescue helicopter landing on the oval today as it was a traumatic reminder of when her son was airlifted to hospital by RACQ CQ Rescue in March last year.

Eight-year-old Hunter suffered serious abdominal injuries while bull riding near Bloomsbury.

“I was riding a mini bull and I got my hand stuck in a rope and I was dragged along the ground,” the Year 4 student said.

“It (the bull) stood on me and sliced open my stomach, so I had to go to hospital.” Hunter was airlifted by RACQ CQ Rescue from Proserpine to Mackay hospital for further treatment.

“I remember a little bit of going in the helicopter, but it got me to Mackay a lot quicker than going by road,” Hunter said.

He said it felt “pretty good” about the school donating a record amount to the service which cared for him after such a frightening ordeal.

“I raised $75 for the chopper through our school fun run because it’s pretty important to help keep the chopper in the air to help other people like me.”

The Sammut family, including dad Chris, mum Trish, and students Kiara, Miley, Zachary and Nicholas, were also airlifted by the rescue helicopter back in 2017 when their Homebush home was inundated by floodwaters in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. Another Chelona parent, Helene Bezzina, said members of her family had also used the service after accidents on cattle properties and that her father had also been airlifted by RACQ CQ Rescue with a medical condition.

The highest fundraiser for the Chelona School fun run was Harry Silling ($1270), followed by runner-up Jackson Wynn ($1150) and Nash Milburn ($520). The Sillings, including Evelyn, Harry, Jack and mum Patrice were the family who raised the most amount of money.

Year 6 student Sam Bezzina said it was quite exciting to see the rescue helicopter land on their school oval and chat to the crew this morning.

“It’s good to see them land here – it was really cool,” he said.

Sam said he was looking forward to the fun run and enjoying some time on the large jumping castles with his friends.

RACQ CQ Rescue Media and Communications Manager Naomi Noy said the service was “gob-smacked” by the amount raised by such a small school.

“They’ve done a phenomenal job fundraising – it’s an absolute record amount for a school donating to our rescue chopper service. We couldn’t be more grateful for their efforts,” she


“We’re absolutely thrilled to land here at Chelona today to thank the school as each year we have to raise about $5 million to keep the service up in the air. It costs about $11,500 each hour to have the helicopter on task and we have a huge workload.

“We’ve already flown 587 missions this year, so that’s a lot of lives touched and changed by the rescue chopper in this community.

“But today, the real heroes are these incredible kids and the amazing donation they’ve made to this vital service.”

The Sammut family, including mum Trish, Miley, Zachary and Nicholas enjoyed a viewing of the RACQ CQ Rescue Bell 412 helicopter at the Chelona State School landing last Friday. The family were airlifted by RACQ CQ Rescue during Cyclone Debbie in 2017. Photo credit: RACQ CQ Rescue

Chelona student Hunter Marshall with crew from left, rescue crew officer Jarrod Healey, air crewman Mick Di Stefano and pilot Leigh Wilkinson. Hunter was airlifted by RACQ CQ Rescue last March

Hunter Marshall in the pilot seat of the Bell 412 helicopter

Hunter Marshal and his mother, Chelona teacher, Kym Marshall

Chelona State School captains with RACQ CQ Rescue crew from left, pilot Leigh Wilkinson, air crewman Mick Di Stefano and rescue crew officer Jarrod Healey

Chelona fundraising heroes Jackson, Harry and Nash

Entire school of 110 students with the chopper

Crew talk to students

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October 26, 2023

Mackay’s festive spirit will soon be on full display as Mackay Regional Council staff will begin installing Christmas decorations this Saturday (October 28).

The long lead time is necessary to ensure the decorations are in place for the festive season and so that work can be done at times that won’t inconvenience the public.

The installations will be completed each weekend from now until early December, with most of the banner and pole unit installations completed in the early hours or mornings.

Motorists are asked to take care when driving, as staff will be working close to the road during the installations.

This year’s Christmas decorations will include:

• Christmas tree at Calen next to the RSL building (October 28-29 installation)

• Christmas tree at Sarina in front of the library (November 4-5 installation)

• Christmas tree in Walkerston in Anzac Park (November 12 installation)

• Christmas tree and garland at Bluewater Quay (November 18 installation)

• Christmas tree at Mirani in Anzac Park (November 26 installation)

• 116 banners

• 62 pole units

Mackay’s Christmas tree will be located at the Bluewater Quay and installed on the 18th November

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Shots Fired In Slade Point

October 26, 2023

Queensland Police are investigating following a wilful damage incident in Slade Point last week on 19th October.

Emergency services were called to the Slade Esplanade property just after 7pm following reports of a shot fired.

Upon arrival, police observed damage from a single impact on the outside wall before investigating further.

Mackay police said that people were home during the shooting incident but no injuries were sustained. Two people were confirmed as being home at the time of the shooting but it is unclear if there may had been others.

Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Eaton, Mackay CIB, said bullets had travelled into the interior of the home.

“Concerningly from that incident the projectiles had gone through the front wall of the house, and then travelled through two further walls and lodged in a rear bedroom at the back of the premises,” he said.

“Inside the house at the time was a 32-year-old female and a 59-year-old male, thankfully no persons were injured during the course of that particular shooting.

“As you can imagine the occupants were incredibly shaken, it’s an incredibly seriously incident, the shooting of a projectile into a house can have deadly consequences,” he said.

Witnesses or anyone with relevant vision is urged to come forward. Police are unsure if the offenders arrived at the property in a vehicle or by foot so all footage from surrounding streets around the date and time of the offence is welcomed.

“Anyone with CCTV footage from the streets surrounding Slade Point Esplanade area or dashcam footage from that area on that evening are urged to come forward,” DSS Eaton said.

“We also call on members of the public that may have knowledge of the particular incident, I have no doubt there will be members of the community who will know who committed this offence or have strong suspicions who has done this.

“We ask them to contact local police or Crime Stoppers.”

Police said they have no reason to believe it was a random shooting and are looking into whether it was the occupants who were targeted or people who were visiting the premises.

At this stage police haven’t confirmed the type of firearm used in the shooting and said forensic teams have retrieved the projectiles for testing. They confirmed that witnesses reported hearing one distinctive loud bang but it was part of their ongoing investigation to determine how many shots were fired.

Investigations are continuing.

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High School Students Extend A Heartfelt Helping Hand

October 26, 2023

Last week, students from Pioneer State High School were proud to present a cheque to the not-for-profit organisation, Broken Ballerina Inc.

The students showed their Pioneer Pride, raising almost $2,500 during their Market Day in the previous school term.

Market Day was an initiative that came to life through the Student Pride Team and Wellbeing Staff, enabling everyone throughout the school to contribute and become involved in giving back to the community.

These funds will help Broken Ballerina Inc. to continue in assisting victims of domestic and family violence in the Mackay region.

Well done to the students and staff from Pioneer State High School on their monumental efforts for a vitally important and beloved local charity.

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Mackay's Bounty Of Events And Attractions

October 26, 2023

The past few weeks have been nothing short of a celebration of the vibrant tourism scene in our region. First, Mackay/Isaac had its turn, and then the Whitsundays. But let's dive into a key insight from Amanda Pelagalli, the recipient of Mackay Isaac Tourism's Outstanding Contribution by an Individual award, as it truly resonated. Instead of grumbling about a lack of activities, her advice is simple: get off the couch and make things happen. Be part of the solution.

Tourism in the region is booming, and you don't need to look further than Nebo Road to see that our local accommodations are consistently booked. That's a surefire sign of a bustling economy. This wave of opportunity offers an exciting prospect for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, eager to add new activities and attractions to our beautiful Mackay.

Amanda's thriving Adventure Tour business showcasing Cape Hillsborough and Eungella, and the ever-popular Wildcat Mackay island and sunset tours, are living proof that there's an abundance of untapped potential. So, who's ready to pick up the mantle and unveil more hidden gems of our tropical landscape?

In reality, there's a wealth of events and experiences happening right here, practically on our doorstep. From the recent Global Grooves to upcoming sporting showdowns like the GC Suns versus Essendon WAFL, followed by the women's Big Bash featuring the Heat ladies, our calendar is packed. Every weekend, the region offers a range of opportunities, such as the thrilling PBR and this Saturday's track cycling carnival at the Walkerston Velodrome, another event open to spectators at no cost.

So, when you encounter the age-old adage that there's nothing to do in Mackay, open your eyes. Or read our weekly event guide. Our region is teeming with life, innovation, and adventure. The possibilities are boundless, and it's your curiosity that will set the limit.


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