Mackay Region Community News

Nebo Barrel Racer  Crowned Isaac’s Young Citizen Of The Year

Nebo Barrel Racer Crowned Isaac’s Young Citizen Of The Year

A Clermont cattle grazier who shot to national TV stardom for building community bonds, a Nebo barrel racer champion and a rainbow gala event that is leading social change were among the major Australia Day winners in the Isaac region. Layney Deguara has been named the 2023 Young Citizen of the Year for her passion and dedication to her sport, local club and her community. She accepted her award at a ceremony held in Nebo.

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Veteran And Farmer Awarded OAMs

Veteran And Farmer Awarded OAMs

Two Mackay locals have been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM); one for his service in the Australian army and the other for his contribution to the local lychee industry. Ronald Bassan OAM signed up for the army at age 17, serving from 1954 to 1975 in both Malaysia (known then as Malaya) and Vietnam.

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Just A Little Thing Good Deed Feed

Just A Little Thing Good Deed Feed

Two minutes of kindness is a little thing to pay for joy, for respect, or for admiration and appreciation. Tiny actions add up to a greater whole and something as simple as helping can mean more than its weight in two Pepsi boxes. In Sarina, that was the case for one woman on a regular shopping trip.

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Live In The Moment (Editor's Note)

Live In The Moment (Editor's Note)

Life is a precious gift that we often take for granted. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, work, and responsibilities and fail to appreciate the simple things that make life worth living. We often assume that we will have tomorrow and forget to live in the moment and make the most of every day. But life can be unpredictable and fragile, and it is important to remember to cherish and make the most of every opportunity we have to be happy.

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Sarina Mum Fights Debilitating Disease

February 2, 2023

A happy and healthy six-months-old Sarina boy and his mother are survivors of a rare and dangerous nematode disorder causing polymyositis possibly linked to central and North Queensland and Tasmania.

Amy Coyne, husband Kane and six-months-old Vincent are all smiles after their brush with the disorder, which doctors cannot rule out recurring.

Amy was in the 10th week of her pregnancy when she was diagnosed with Haycocknema perplexum, a parasite found in wild meats like possum and kangaroo causing polymyositis in humans.

She was the first pregnant woman ever to be diagnosed with the disorder, and just the 11th person in the world.

‘’Somehow you contract this parasite, and the human body starts attacking itself trying to eradicate the foreign body from the muscles,” Amy said.

“It’s progressive, debilitating and has been known to be fatal in some cases.

“There is a common denominator of all cases recorded; we (those affected) have all spent a chunk of time in far North Queensland and Central Queensland and one in Tasmania I believe.’’

Amy said she downplayed the seriousness of what she’d been diagnosed with to most, apart from husband Kane who could see her deteriorating more each day.

“I’ve always been very in tune with my body and noticed a decline some three years ago,” she said.

“I wasn’t able to do certain things fitness wise, such as get on my toes, lift my head off the ground from a supine position, the way I walked was affected, I couldn’t jump, to name a few.

“This led to lifestyle setbacks such as not being able to open a twist top water bottle, dysphasia (not being able to swallow properly), my speech began to slur and slow; to name a few.

“My muscles atrophied severely and I dropped a good 8-10 kilos, I was so weak I could barely make it up a flight of stairs, let alone carry a load of washing back up with me.”

Amy said she saw many health specialists over the years trying to figure out what was wrong with her body such as chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, GPs and sports doctors.

“In the end I was eventually referred to a neurologist, who, by my luck, had seen someone years before with similar symptoms. I went through a series of tests and ultimately a biopsy to confirm I had contracted the muscle disorder. I was diagnosed at 10 weeks gestation with my little man.

“I held off taking the treatment as the microbiologist specialist I was seeing wouldn’t guarantee me that the drug treatment wouldn’t affect my baby, as they obviously don’t test drugs on pregnant women. But the obstetric specialist could guarantee that my disorder wouldn’t affect him at all in the womb.”

Amy added that she got to a stage where if she went to the grocery shop, she would feel fatigued to the point she would sleep for hours to recover.

“My body wasn’t functioning the further into my pregnancy I got. If I don’t function, how can I give my son any chance at life?

“The team of doctors behind me, and Kane and I decided, in the second trimester I’d start my treatment.

“I was monitored by blood tests monthly by the disease team for me and fortnightly appointments with the obstetric team for my baby, and by my own observations physically.

“The treatment is simple. Basically it’s a deworming drug but the diagnosis is the hard part. I’m told it is often misdiagnosed as an autoimmune disease or not diagnosed at all.

Now off treatment, Amy gave birth to a healthy little boy and is still being monitored by blood tests.

“There is no guarantee the treatment eradicates the disorder,” she said.

“Being so rare there is no “rehab” plan so I decided to see a very knowledgeable local sports therapist and physiotherapist and am organising to see a speech therapist.

“At the age of 30 I have begun learning how to walk again and am finding strength and balance back in the little things most take for granted.”

By Charlie Payne

Image: Kane and Amy Coyle and six-months-old Vincent are all smiles after Amy overcame a rare parasite disorder which is possibly linked to North Queensland. Photo: Charlie Payne

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Youth Council Nominations Now Open

February 2, 2023

Mackay Regional Council and the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) are searching for people aged 11 to 17 to nominate themselves for Mackay’s Youth Council.

Elected by their peers, together this Youth Council will nominate a Young Mayor, set an agenda for their 12-month Term in Office and work with the Mackay Regional Council on specific issues.

With access to training, mentoring and money to run local projects and campaigns, Youth Councils won’t just have a voice - but a platform to take action on the issues that young people in Mackay truly care about.

“If you’ve ever spotted something that could be done differently in Mackay, or something that needed to change; if you’ve ever wondered how you could make an impact in our community – this is your time,” Mayor Greg Williamson said.

“Nominate yourself as a candidate, cast your vote in the election and help elect this community’s Youth Council.”

The FYA is the pre-eminent national organisation dedicated to backing young people. Established in 2000, FYA has a proud history of collaboration with government, industry, the community sector, and young people themselves on large scale projects designed to back and support young people across the country.

Molly Whelan, executive director, Civic & Cultural Engagement, FYA said candidates who were selected for election would be supported to campaign until the election.

“They will have access to free media training, campaigning workshops, marketing tutorials and more,” Ms Whelan said.

“It’s free for all young people to apply and participate in Young Mayors.”

Youth Council’s vision is that young people have the power to beat injustice and transform the future. In pursuit of this vision, its purpose is to back young people with the trust, resources, skills, and connections to make change.

The Youth Council is run through the Young Mayors program delivered in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Centre for Cities, and is supported by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

Nominations open Monday, January 30, and close Sunday, March 5. To nominate for Young Mayors or find out more information, visit

Image: Krystopher Gakowski (left) and Rory McPhail (right) chat with Mayor Greg Williamson

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Council’s Supported By State To Assist With Flood Rebuild

February 2, 2023

Mackay is one of five local government areas (LGAs) that disaster assistance has been made available to, following recent flooding activity.

This assistance is available through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) for counter disaster operations and to repair roads and other essential public infrastructure.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the additions, also including Barcoo, Burdekin, Whitsunday and Winton LGAs, bring the number of councils receiving assistance under DRFA to 19, as a result of the widespread flooding last week.

“In one 24-hour period, between 100 and 200 millimetres of rain fell between Mackay and Ayr,” he said.

“Eungella also copped over 300 millimetres of rain over another 24-hour period.

“This amount of rainfall has seen several road closures due to flooding, including parts of the Bruce Highway, and the substantial land-slip leading to the isolation of Eungella.

“At times like this all levels of government need to work quickly to get support to communities to begin cleaning up and restoring critical infrastructure.”

Acting Minister for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Mark Furner said this disaster assistance for impacted local governments means they can focus on the immediate welfare and protection of their local communities.

“This assistance means that local governments can deal with the immediate impact of current flooding, knowing damage to assets such as roads and dams will be repaired once the immediate threat has passed,” Minister Furner said.

“Our priority is the safety of Queenslanders, but the government is also committed to helping local authorities restore damaged public infrastructure.”

Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s website at

Image: The Eungella Range road was badly damaged due to flood water and slips during the rain event last month. Photo source: Mackay Regional Council

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February 2, 2023

Between 10:00pm on January 31 and 1:00am on February 1 someone has gained entry into a home on Jardine Drive in Erakala by removing a window screen and forcing open the window.

Once inside the home the intruder has found where the vehicle keys have been stored.

The keys were used to steal the two vehicles described below, both were parked on site.

- a 2016 model white coloured Isuzu D-Max dual cab, registration number 281 WWH

- a 2018 model grey coloured Nissan X-Trail station wagon, registration number 555 YJU

If you have any information about the current location of either of the stolen vehicles, or the actual offence itself, please contact police as soon as possible.

The police report number to refer to is QP2300182772.

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Three Times Not A Charm

February 2, 2023


A 27-year-old man from Charleville has been arrested and charged with multiple drink driving related offences following several alleged interactions with police on January 22.

Mackay police said the following will be alleged.

The 27-year-old was stopped by police in a Toyota Hilux at 1:40am on Sydney Street, Mackay. Following a positive roadside breath test he was taken to the Mackay police station for further breath analysis. He was arrested and charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath at the police station as a result.

The 27-year-old was stopped by police in a Toyota Hilux at 7:13am on Brisbane Street, Mackay. Following a positive roadside breath test he was again taken to the Mackay police station for further breath analysis. He was arrested and charged with drink driving (.079%) and also driving with a suspended driver's licence.

The 27-year-old was spoken to by police at 8:50am at an address at Steen Street, South Mackay after police found the same Toyota Hilux parked in the driveway. Following this alleged conversation and a positive breath test, the driver was taken to the Mackay police station for further breath analysis. He was arrested and charged with drink driving (.066%) and also driving with a suspended drivers licence.

All matters will be heard on February 13 at the Mackay Magistrates Court for the first time.

"The policing of drink driving has always been taken very seriously" said Senior Constable Steve Smith from the Mackay crime prevention unit.

"Even more so now after the damaging impacts of drink driving in 2022 in our police district. If you are planning to drink, plan not to drive. Being caught by the police for drink driving is not the worst possible outcome" he added.

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Rural Pathway Attracts New Interns

February 2, 2023

The opportunity to join the rural generalist pathway in Queensland has brought self-professed country girl Dr Jessica Chambers up to Mackay Hospital and Health Service.

“I’m a country girl from north-eastern NSW, where I grew up on a little farm with a lot of animals,” Jessica said.

“My dad is a vet and I loved veterinary medicine. I could only imagine that practicing medicine with humans and interacting with people would be amazing, so that’s why I went into medicine.”

Jessica, who is from the Armidale area, started studying medicine straight out of high school at the University of Newcastle which really cemented the career path she wanted to take.

“I’m really passionate about rural medicine especially growing up in a town of about 20,000 we don’t just deal with the people who are from our area, but from the surrounds, and seeing what you can do for those people really made me want to give back to that community and help.”

“During my last year of university I did a longitudinal integrated clerkship - which was six months in a small town called Inverell about hour and a half north of my hometown (of Armidale).”

The clerkship gave Jessica an opportunity to experience rural generalist practice and she searched for the right place to begin her career on that pathway.

“Queensland is the place to do rural generalism. Queensland does it well and to the extent that the community needs, and that’s why I’ve come to Queensland,” she said.

“One of the benefits of coming to Queensland has been that we join the rural generalist pathway straight up as an intern. In New South Wales you can’t do that - you begin as a rural intern but that doesn’t feed onto the rural generalist pathway and having that career support right away.

“Working in Mackay also guaranteed rotations during the first two years in obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and anaesthetics – (which) is just amazing and you are not guaranteed that in NSW if you do rural internships.”

For Jessica the rural generalist pathway was attractive as it offered an opportunity to care and support people throughout their lives.

“I love being able to get to know someone, getting to be their clinician and having a long-term relationship with them. Seeing them for maybe their reproductive health in their twenties, then being able to see them give birth to their babies and then seeing their kids grow up.

“I love that, and I can’t wait to be a part of someone’s journey through healthcare.”

Image: Jessica Chambers

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“Always Was, Always Will Be”

February 2, 2023

Approximately 300 people gathered on the land of the Yuwibara people at Bluewater Quay throughout the morning of Thursday, January 26 to commemorate Survival Day.

The event, organised by Mackay Connected Beginnings (MCB), was the first of its kind to be held in Mackay.

The morning involved a march across the Forgan Bridge, a Welcome to Country by Uncle George Tonga and Smoking Ceremony by Peter Tonga, guest speakers and traditional dance, art and food.

MCB Manager Fiona Mann Bobongie, a Darumbal woman, spoke on the day alongside Andrew Doyle, Melanie Kemp and Raechel Ivey.

“We walked in remembrance of our ancestors and those who have fought for our people in the past but also looking to the future to make change,” Ms Mann Bobongie said.

“We remembered and reflected on the atrocities that have happened to our people from a range of things from massacres to displacement from our country, removal from our families.

“We’re still here; that was the message, after 60,000 years, we’re still here, and after all the atrocities, we are still here.

“We’re not only surviving but we’re thriving, too.”

January 26 remains a divisive date in Australian society, with Ms Mann Bobongie saying the date represents the start of the Aboriginal Australia’s downfall.

“90 per cent of our people were killed,” she said.

“Our land was taken, it was the fastest land grab in world history, and it was license to kill.

“Who would think we were still standing after that?

“And we never ceded sovereignty … we never gave it up, we were just invaded, but we took a positive stand of, ‘We are here and we’re still surviving, and we’ve never ceded sovereignty.’”

MCB was also supported by Mackay Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service, MARABISDA and Yuwi Yumba in organising the event.

Ms Mann Bobongie said the work of MCB, also known as Badi Yalobugu Yuribaya (Grow Children Strong), focuses on the future, building strength for family and community for generations to come.

“We’re very patient people,” she said.

“We want to sit and talk, we want to bring everyone together to understand that we have a holistic view of the world.

“We will come and we will go but we need to leave a legacy for our generations to come.”

Badi Yalobaga Yuribaya is a federally funded project for pregnant women and children from birth to school age designed to bring together fragmented and disjointed service systems and build community support for change to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families with holistic support and timely access to services.

For more information on Badi Yalobaga Yuribaya, contact 07 4962 3089 or email

Image: Signs and chants spread the message of the Survival Day March held last Thursday, January 26 on the land of the Yuwibara people. Photo credit: Light Photography

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Program Prepares Locals For Industry

February 2, 2023

A new program aimed at skilling locals is offering a solution as Queensland’s Resource and Infrastructure sector grapples with a skills shortage.

MRAEL and Capricornia Training Company (CTC), part of the IntoWork Group, will deliver ‘Step into Resources and Infrastructure’ in Mackay and Rockhampton, a program which will see locals develop employability skills and confidence to prepare them to enter the workforce using a combination of industry specific training, work readiness and employment support.

Metal fitters, machinists, drillers, miners, truck drivers, electricians and shot firers were the most in-demand occupations according to the National Skills Commission’s 2022 Skills Priority List, equating to 30 per cent of national job ads listed in Queensland.

MRAEL and CTC CEO Christine Zechowski said the program is specifically designed to help locals prepare to join the workforce, ensuring they develop relevant skills to meet current and future demands within the industry.

“Participants of the program undertake a Certificate II in Resources and Infrastructure Work Preparation, delivered by an approved Registered Training Organisation, and are supported by program mentors with employability and work readiness training – aimed at preparing them to successfully join or rejoin the workforce,” she said.

Ms Zechowski said the program helps participants feel more confident in job hunting, networking with employers and on-the-job work experience with support from MRAEL’s assistance.

“This project is holistic and provides participants with industry specific skills, experience and qualifications through accredited training as well as employability skills, job search techniques and life skills,” she said.

Step into Resources and Infrastructure will be available to people aged 25 and over in Mackay.

The programs have been funded through the State Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative which assists up to 15,000 disadvantaged Queenslanders each year to gain skills, qualifications and experience to enter and stay in the workforce.

The next program will run in Mackay from February 6 to April 21.

For more information, go to MRAEL’s Facebook page, or email

Image: Queensland’s Resource and Infrastructure sector is experiencing a skills shortage that a new program plans to address. Photo supplied

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Calibrations – Why Are They Important?

February 2, 2023

Similar to Code Clearing – As technology in our cars continues to expand - it is helpful to have an understanding of why and how these calibrations play a part in the repair process.

You may have heard the acronym ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System)

Put simply, radar detection units that are in your vehicle are there to assist the driver avoid a collision, they also enhance protection for pedestrian and cyclist safety.

They work by bouncing radio waves off of objects in the path to determine distance or speed.  

So for example, the active (adaptive) cruise control assists to control your speed by reacting to the speed of the vehicle in front.  As they slow, so do you. If your radar is not directed exactly at the correct angle, it cannot identify the correct object or speed ahead.

Similarly, lane change assist works by bouncing radio waves off objects that are near to the side of the vehicle, providing an alert if there is an object in the vicinity. If the angle of the radar unit is directed incorrectly, there is a heightened possibility of collision.

Manufacturers have procedures to consider when repairs are needed.

These include items that may require replacement after impact like the bracket system to ensure the accurate repositioning of the radar unit.

Even the paint thickness (microns) plays a part, if the paint has too many layers or is applied incorrectly it impedes the distance that the sensor can project through, effectively shortening the distance or changing the angle.

Calibrations can require connections to scan tools, sight boards and targets and also involves dynamic testing which requires driving the vehicle in a range of traffic conditions to allow the vehicle to ascertain its position in relation to the road, other uses and sign posts. These road tests are critical to confirm correct operation, and can take up to 40 minutes to run through the entire system.

Calibrations carried out by qualified technicians can provide assurance that these systems are back to optimum performance post repair.

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Greater Foundations23 Event To Educate The Educators

February 2, 2023

Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) are building career-based classroom learning with Greater Foundations23, a professional development event for educators across the Greater Whitsunday region.

Greater Foundations23 will be held on March 3 at the Resources Centre of Excellence and is aimed at improving educators’ knowledge of the wide range of career opportunities available in the Greater Whitsunday region.

Greater Whitsunday Alliance Chief Executive Officer Ms Kylie Porter said the event will give teachers and educators the understanding from industry leaders, the breadth and depth of future career opportunities available in the region.

“Greater Foundations23 is about giving our local educators real world industry intelligence that they can use in the classroom to empower students to think differently around the jobs in the Greater Whitsunday region,” Ms Porter said.

“Students can’t be what they don’t see, and this event is about giving teachers the skills and confidence to apply professional career-based knowledge to help influence their students, when it comes to their future careers.”

Ms Porter said the Greater Foundations23 was just one of the many projects GW3 are leading to ensure the Greater Whitsunday region has an adaptable workforce ready for the future.

“Whatever industry our region will be home to in the future, whether it be biomanufacturing, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, tourism or agtech, a skilled, engaged and motivated workforce will be the common denominator.

“As the peak independent economic development organisation for the Greater Whitsunday region, GW3 are committed to creating opportunities for the region to reach its full potential and educating our young people is central to that,” Ms Porter said.

Along with learning about the skills and mindset needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow, curriculum expert Nicole Dyson from Future Anything will empower teachers and their colleagues to unlock future-focused pathways that guide students from classrooms to new careers across the region. This project is part of the Mackay Regional Jobs Committee action plan. The Mackay Regional Jobs Committee is proudly supported and funded by the Queensland Government.

Event Details

Date: Friday March 3, 2023

Time: 8.00am for an 8.30 start until 3.15pm close + Wild Cat tourism adventure and networking drinks commencing at 4.00pm

Venue: Resources Centre of Excellence + Wild Cat (departing Mackay Marina)

Tickets: $99/head + 40/head for tour and networking. Professional development ticket prices includes lunch and morning and afternoon tea. Wild Cat ticket includes harbour and port tour, drinks and canapes.

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Level Up Your Safety Game With Blundstone

February 2, 2023

At Get Real Workwear & Safety, we understand the importance of protection and comfort in safety footwear to avoid injury and exposure to the elements.

We proudly stock the largest range of workwear boots in the region, including the market leading safety footwear brand ‘Blundstone’ – known for their comfort and fit.

Choosing the right work boot for you is the key to being comfortable and safe on site. Uncomfortable boots can cause significant distraction, leading to a focus on pain and discomfort in your feet, rather than on the task at hand. This is a serious safety concern that can lead to increased injuries.

We suggest trying on a few different pairs of work boots to find your most comfortable fit. Too short or narrow will crowd your feet, and too big or wide will allow for too much movement, leaving you with blisters and hot spots.

The fitting process is a vital step. When choosing fit-for-purpose comfortable boots, we recommend ensuring your boot has the following:

• Airflow and breathability— breathable materials and zoned footbeds that activate ventilation, moisture control and provide full-body cushioned comfort.

• Sole Design & Material— a tread pattern and outsole material that provide slip-resistance and optimum grip, appropriate for the work conditions you may face

• Over-arching comfort design—engineered to provide cushioning and support, reducing workplace fatigue and orthopaedic problems in lower back, legs, and feet.

As you’ll be wearing these boots day in and day out, it’s essential that they provide adequate support and fit well enough to prevent blisters and other foot problems. Our range of footwear are fit-for-purpose work boots that you can be confident will protect you.

Check out our full range, including the latest Blundstone RotoFlex range, at Get Real Workwear & Safety today.

Unit 2, 203-215 Maggiolo Drive, Paget QLD 4740

(07) 4998 5241

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Construction Companies Shortlisted To Tender For $8B Worth Of Hospital Building Contracts

February 2, 2023

Queensland Health has established a supplier panel of major construction companies to accelerate the delivery of three new hospitals and nine major hospital expansions under the State Government’s Queensland Health and Hospitals Plan.

12 construction companies have been shortlisted as potential tenderers for three new hospitals and nine major hospital expansions totalling more than $8 billion worth of capital works.

In regional Queensland, works include new hospitals in Bundaberg and Toowoomba and major expansions of Townsville, Cairns and Mackay hospitals.

The Mackay Hospital expansion will cost $250 million and create an additional 128 beds. It is estimated to be completed in the second half of 2026 and will create around 610 construction jobs.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said the State Government’s new hospitals and major expansion projects were full steam ahead.

“Since the Queensland Health and Hospitals Plan announcement last year, Queensland Health has engaged in a robust and collaborative process with the construction sector to begin delivering the program,” the Minister said.

“The building contractor shortlist of 12 was established based on an expression of interest process and through Queensland Health’s broader engagement with industry.

“This engagement has meant the tender process to-date has been efficient, transparent and ultimately, competitive and fair.”

The tender process will run for up to 12 weeks depending on the scale of the projects, with contracts expected to be announced from April 2023.

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Coal Royalties Rise Halts Investment In QLD

February 2, 2023

Australia’s biggest mining company, BHP, confirmed last month that significant new investment in Queensland is on hold because of the State Government’s decision to lift coal royalty tax rates to the highest in the world.

In a quarterly operations review released to the ASX, BHP said: “The Queensland Government’s decision to raise coal royalties to the highest maximum rate in the world makes Queensland uncompetitive and puts investment and jobs at risk.

“We see strong long-term demand from global steelmakers for Queensland’s high quality metallurgical coal, however in the absence of government policy that is both competitive and predictable, we are unable to make significant new investments in Queensland.

“This increase to royalties will impact the local businesses, suppliers and communities in Central Queensland where we operate.”

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said this is a massive blow to Queensland, calling on the Queensland Government to urgently review its decision to suddenly increase coal royalty rates mid-last year.

“It’s a classic case of a government killing the golden goose in exchange for a short-term tax hit,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“You can’t over-tax an industry, let alone Queensland’s most important economic driver, and expect business to continue as usual.

“We know other mining companies are also reviewing their investment exposure in Queensland.”

Mr Macfarlane said resources companies pull their weight economically and socially in Queensland, and have done for decades.

“Our mining and energy sector is the number one contributor to the state economy, number one regional employer and number one export industry,” he said.

“We support the jobs of 450,000-plus Queenslanders and 14,000-plus businesses, who all pay taxes to help fund doctors, nurses, teachers and other government services.  

“Last financial year, our industry contributed a record $94.6 billion to the state economy, which included a record $9 billion in royalties collected under the previous royalty tax regime.

“Unfortunately, this could all be about to change.

“Queensland’s coal royalty taxes are now completely out of step with the rest of the world, and even within Australia.

“Some of the world’s biggest mining companies, and this includes BHP, Glencore and Peabody, have now backed off or are rethinking their investment in new projects, as they reassess the stability of our local investment climate and the State Government’s attitude towards the resources sector.”

Image: Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane has called on the Queensland Government to review its decision to increase coal royalty rates. Photo supplied: QRC

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Study Fee-Free in 2023

February 2, 2023

Recent school leavers and Queenslanders looking to upskill or change careers are being encouraged to enrol in one of the 37,000 Fee-Free TAFE places available in 2023.

Almost all courses offered by CQUniversity (CQU) TAFE with Fee Free TAFE funding are available to Mackay residents subject to their eligibility, said CQU Deputy Vice-President VET Peter Heilbuth.

“There is a large cross section of courses available to Mackay residents in industry areas from accounting to visual arts, aged care to horticulture and many in between,” he said.

“Courses vary in their delivery type and are often a combination of online, online with work placement, online and on campus.”

Mr Heilbuth believes there will be a lot of students studying under this program who have studied before whether at TAFE or university, as the number of prior qualifications individuals hold are not a factor in their eligibility for a Fee Free enrolment.

“People who are looking to upskill for management roles would do well to look at our Certificate IV of Leadership and Management, for example, plus those who want to pursue their passion may take up the Certificate III in Horticulture or the Diploma of Visual Arts,” he said.

Federal Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor encouraged Queenslanders to make 2023 their year.

“Skills shortages are gripping the nation, and those running through Queensland reflect the specific characteristics of the state’s labour market,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It is vital that we support people locally to obtain the skills they need to fill job vacancies.”

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell said Queenslanders eligible for Fee-Free TAFE funding will have the opportunity to enrol in one of over 80 skill sets, certificates and diploma level qualifications currently on offer.

“Child care workers, welfare support workers, office managers and ICT technicians are all in high demand throughout Queensland, so it’s encouraging that the majority of our current enrolments are in sectors with recognised skills shortages,” Ms Campbell said.

For more information on TAFE Queensland and CQU’s Fee-Free Courses, visit, call 13 27 86 or visit CQU at their City or Ooralea campuses.


Fee-Free courses are available at both Mackay City and Ooralea campuses

IT courses are some of the many being offered Fee-Free. Photos supplied

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Fairer Deal Needed For House Insurance

February 2, 2023

By Kevin Borg, Chairman, CANEGROWERS Mackay

When you live in NQ, you are sadly no stranger to high insurance costs, but when it comes to insuring homes on working rural properties, farmers are really stuck between a rock and a hard place, and our governments need to get proactive on this issue.

We’ve just had a near-miss when it comes to a flood event, but this is North Queensland and floods happen, cyclones happen, and farmers, like everyone else, surely deserve the right to be able to affordably insure their homes against these events, that are simply part of the climate here.

It is scarcely credible, but there is little or no choice when it comes to securing an insurer. There are very restricted options when it comes to farmer's homes on-property.

Most insurers have walked away from farm residences that are on the same title as the rest of the farm. Of the choices that remain, the premiums of two are prohibitive - unaffordable - and do not cover for flood.

That leaves two options, and one of these insists – as part of a raft of strict requirements- that cyclone shutters be fitted to all windows. These cost over $1500 each. Most farmhouses don’t have these, and the cost is so prohibitive, it knocks that insurer out of consideration.

That leaves one player. They are known for good service and – in these times - a competitive price. But a monopoly, even if unintentional, is a monopoly. It is, in our opinion as growers, a market failure.

CANEGROWERS Mackay has a very hardworking insurance broker team, who are astounded by the unfair situation. Our Insurance Manager Geoff Youngs tells us that, as a broker, he’s committed to getting customers the best deal he can, but this is one instance where he cannot offer people comparison or choice. The team has made numerous complaints - without result - to those insurers and cluster groups that they deal with that do not offer fair - or any - coverage for farm domestic dwellings. The team cannot find a reason why this class of home is treated differently to other homes across the region.

Covering a home within the “Farm Pack” that covers the raft of other insurances needed by rural producers- machinery, sheds, public liability, theft, vehicle, material damage- effectively triples the cost of insuring the home compared to cost as a standard residential dwelling.

The situation is made more ridiculous by the fact that, were the house block on a separate title to the productive areas of the farm, most insurers would see their way clear to covering the dwelling, at a lower cost.

The situation is not new. Successive Governments have passed this issue on like a hot potato. While the Australian Reinsurance Pool scheme should have delivered a solution for all of North Queensland, what has resulted is reinsurance coverage for cyclones. It is merely intended to reduce premiums for cyclone coverage, and the federal body has no jurisdiction over any insurance company on their underwriting criteria. So, when it comes to farm domestic dwellings, it offers no improvement in resolving the issue of competitive underwriting of rural producers’ homes.

The State and Federal Government apply both GST and Stamp Duty to these products, further driving up costs.

Living where you farm is part of what keeps our rural communities strong, and part of what makes being a farmer an attractive proposition.

We call upon our elected representatives to all levels of government to step in and argue for our North Australian farmers. If the private market cannot create competition, then the Government needs to re-institute Government Insurance. North Australian communities need insurance solutions that work.

Image:  latter is more direct farmhouse image. CAPTION: Farmers are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to insuring their on-farm home. Picture: Contributed

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Fresh Faces Focused On Serving Isaac Community

February 2, 2023

An apprentice and trainee program that helps futureproof Isaac region’s skills and knowledge continues to shine as 11 fresh-faced employees start their new careers.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker welcomed the new apprentices and trainees at Moranbah Community Centre last month.

“This is a great opportunity for this group of vibrant individuals to pave their way as our Council delivers in a changing world,” Mayor Baker said.

“At Isaac Regional Council how we do that as a team and with our communities’ matters.”

Council has onboarded 59 apprentices and trainees between 2017-2022 with a completion rate sitting around 85 per cent.

The new employees will be based in various positions from compliance to community engagement and traditional trades such as plumbers and electricians in Moranbah, Dysart, and Clermont.

CEO Jeff Stewart Harris PSM said Council’s mission is to pursue long-term sustainable futures for Isaac communities.

“Community focus, caring, teamwork and a positive work ethic will be the four values the 11 apprentices and trainees will be tasked with in going about their day-to-day work,” Mr Stewart-Harris said.

“We are committed to working safely and caring about the wellbeing of our people and communities.

“We believe that people matter, and Council officers have the opportunity to teach and mould our trainees and apprentices into exactly what we require so they become an integrated part of our organisation culture.”

Council’s 2023 Energise Your Career trainee and apprentice program is proudly funded by the Queensland Government through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

Council offers a range of career and employment opportunities for school leavers, professionals, and tradespeople at family friendly locations throughout the region. Visit, call 1300 ISAACS (1300 472 227) or email for more information.

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Building Communities – More Than $3M Injected Into Isaac Projects

February 2, 2023

The Australian Government has earmarked more than $3 million for community infrastructure and signage projects across the Isaac region. The funds will be used towards 18 local assets and existing infrastructure to enhance community wellbeing in the geographically challenging area.

The Australian Government said these projects help to make communities better, from historical preservation projects in Clermont to light replacements at Middlemount’s sporting facilities.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said improving essential infrastructure plays a pivotal role in local communities.

“This funding will deliver upgrades to pool fencing, historic building rectification projects, lighting replacements and upgrades at local sporting fields plus tourism signage,” Mayor Baker said.

“We will continue to work together towards enabling strong, vibrant, diverse and sustainable communities and look forward to working collaboratively with the Australian Government to deliver the projects that will make a difference in our communities.”

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King said getting shovels in the ground on local construction projects was important for maintaining jobs and economic growth in Central Queensland.

“This funding provides a vital boost for communities throughout the Isaac while delivering important projects that will benefit residents for years to come,” Ms King said.

“Every single job that the Australian Government supports makes a difference in our local communities in the coalfields.”

The projects are:

o Upgrade Clermont Swimming Centre car park

o Upgrade Middlemount Pool car park

o Upgrade fencing at Nebo Pool

o Revitalising the Nebo Memorial Hall, administration, library, and Historic Nebo Museum

o Restoring the Pioneer Slab Hut at Clermont Historical Centre

o Pool fence upgrades at Greg Cruickshank Aquatic Centre and Glenden Pool

o Renewing tourism signage around the region

o Copperfield Store rectification project

o Town Entry Statement for Nebo

o Dump point alarm system at Carmila and St Lawrence

o Upgrading recycled water pipeline at Eastern Sporting Fields, Moranbah

o Replace solar lighting at Centenary Park, Clermont

o Refurbish the amenities block at Rose Harris Park, Clermont.

o Moranbah Town Square lighting upgrade

o Light replacement at Middlemount touch fields

o Light replacement at Middlemount netball courts

o Light upgrade at Middlemount rugby league fields

o Footpaths and parking accessibility upgrades at Centenary Park, Nebo.

The 18 Isaac Regional Council projects were made possible through the Australian Government through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

This program supports local councils to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia, supporting jobs and the resilience of local economies to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image: The car park at the Clermont Swimming Centre is one of 18 Isaac Region projects to receive Federal Government funding

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Mental Health On Nebo Community’s Mind

February 2, 2023

The wider Nebo community will gather for a weekend of cricket-inspired family fun tomorrow, Saturday, February 4, with a much more important message at the heart of the event.

Six Ducks & a Yarn is a community cricket event providing a day of family fun, entertainment and cricket while raising awareness and funds for mental health throughout the community.

“It’s a charity cricket match to get the community, the rural community, the mining community, businesses, just to reconnect and have a good family day but also to let people know they’re not alone, we’re all here to help one way or another,” said event organiser and Nebo Medical Action Group President Joy Cooper.

The day will feature Super 8 style cricket matches with 10 teams from Nebo, Mackay, Coppabella and Glenden registered.

Cricket legend Michael Kasprowicz will be having a game as well as presenting a guest speech and Bek Andrews and Mango Junction will be partying through the evening with live entertainment.

There are prizes for the best dressed team and best team name on offer plus free kids entertainment including dodgem cars, a water slide and cricket activities provided by Mackay Whitsunday Cricket.

Free camping is also available for those hoping to make a weekend out of the event.

The community has jumped on board with the event, with local groups providing food and drink stalls including Nebo/Sarina Range CWA, Nebo Pony Club, St Lawrence/Nebo Polocrosse Club and Nebo Bushman’s Carnival Committee.

“We’ll also have donation buckets around the area so that we can donate to a mental health charity who can come and help services to our community,” said Ms Cooper.

“It’s just a good weekend for everyone to have fun and get involved.

“Let’s start the year off on a good note.”

The event has been organised by the community with the assistance of Greater Whitsunday Communities, Isaac Regional Council, Queensland Cricket and the Queensland Government through their Queensland Health TRACC program funding.

As part of the funding provided by the TRACC Program, The Nebo Medical Action Group have been able to implement three mental health projects, with Six Ducks & A Yarn being the first.

The second project is the Cowboys Resilience Program, starting in term one, with schools from Nebo, Glenden, Coppabella, Valkyrie and Clarke Creek getting involved.

The Resilience Project delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools providing practical, evidence-based, positive strategies to build resilience and happiness through a combination of presentations, wellbeing journals, school curriculum, teacher diaries and their app.

The third project will be a series of mental health first aid courses in the region, which has already gotten underway with 10 people attending a class in Glenden last year.

“They’re the people that we can call upon to go sit with people and try and put them on the right path or just someone to sit down and have a cup of coffee with,” said Ms Cooper.

A class will be held in Nebo later this year with a date to be announced, aiming to raise awareness and support for mental health in the rural community.

“We all do personally, no matter who we are, have times where we feel lost and we just don’t know where to turn to,” said Ms Cooper.

“If we can put it out there that these are the people that can help you and get those services to come to Nebo, so they feel comfortable in their own community, that’s even better.

Mental health agencies will be present at Six Ducks & a yarn, providing information to attendees on where they can seek support.

“Our main aim is to break the stigma of mental health because it is a serious medical condition but also, we just want people to come and have fun, bring your chairs, be sun safe, there is also free camping available as well … we don’t want people to be on the road late at night,” said Ms Cooper.

WHAT: Six Ducks & a Yarn Community Family Fun Day

WHERE: Nebo Showgrounds

WHEN: Saturday, February 4, gates open at 1:00pm

This is a free community event.

Image: Michael Kasprowicz, who played cricket for Queensland and Australia, is the special guest at Six Ducks & a Yarn, a day of cricket, family fun and mental health awareness

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Love Yourself With Nude Aesthetics

February 2, 2023

After nine years in Nursing and Midwifery, Amy Kinlyside has taken the next step in exploring her passion for care and compassion.

Nude Aesthetics has been operating in Mackay since November 2022 and offers patients a high level of care and professionalism on their cosmetic journey.

“I’ve always enjoyed making people feel better about themselves,” said Amy.

Nude Aesthetics offers Cosmetic Injectables, PDO threading, IV Vitamin Infusions, IM Booster Shots, Chemical Peels, PRP and Vampire Facials, as well as stocking the best in affordable, Australian made skincare products.

It’s Amy’s friendly, empathetic and compassionate approach that makes her services stand out, always putting herself in the shoes of her patients.

“I like that I’m not just here to perform a procedure,” she said.

“I’m here to get to know the patient as well.

“I’m not here to rush, I make sure my patients are given the chance to talk, make them feel comfortable and listen to what they’re after.

“I know what it’s like to hate needles, so I always try to find the most gentle approach.”

Amy has established a comfortable, friendly and safe environment for patients to share their stories and become their best selves.

Her gentle yet confident touch puts patients at ease, as does her assured and professional approach to discussing procedures.

Amy ensures she is always studying to keep her knowledge and skills up to date with the latest treatments and achieves the best individualised outcomes.

Visit Nude Aesthetics on Facebook and Instagram to find out more about Amy’s services and opening hours.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, Amy is giving away a $250 voucher, with entries closing on February 14 at 12:00pm.

Find Nude Aesthetics Mackay on Facebook or nudeaesthetics_amy on Instagram to find out more and to enter.

Image: Amy Kinlyside is a Cosmetic Injector who cares

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February 2, 2023

As a kid growing up near Sarina, our drinking water came from an old, galvanised iron tank with rust holes plugged with chewing gum.

We thought this was great as we weren’t usually allowed gum. When its perforations gave a colander a run for its money, and no amount of Juicyfruit could stem the flow, we replaced it with a concrete permacrete tank. The joy of the ever-cool water straight from the tap!

When attending school at St Anne’s, we experienced town water for the first time. It was atrocious. A glass of water, sometimes cloudy, if left to sit would result in nearly a centimetre of sediment in the bottom. There was an old tank in a sad state of repairs and drinking from it was forbidden but we would risk the wrath of the Sisters for a drink – mosquito wrigglers and all.

I have drunk from water holes while mustering where swiping away the scum from the top of the water was necessary to get to something that was even suggestive of being liquid. Western bores were so bad that you had to hold your nose to drink!

It is with great pride that I welcome the opening of the Koumala water treatment plant. While Mackay water often wins awards, both Calen and Koumala are at the other end of the scale. Calen has a treatment plant, while until now Koumala did not.

There is a long story to how it came to being, with more than a few fights along the way.

To some who said they did not see the plant as important, I pointed out that their children attended the school as anecdotally, I had heard stories of kids becoming dehydrated after they ran out of water brought from home rather than drinking from the town supply.

While the water may not be as perfect as some would desire, it is a tremendous improvement as the graph shows. Unfortunately, there is only so far you can go until you risk salinity.

Anyway kids, I just hope that after running around at lunch, you can have a drink straight from the tap.

Sometimes the simple things are the sweetest.

Cr Martin Bella

Mackay Regional Council

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Can You Believe It’s February Already?

February 2, 2023

How time flies when you’re having fun!

It only feels like it was yesterday that we were unwrapping Xmas presents, eating way too much ham, and sleeping after watching just two hours of cricket on the TV. Fun times.

Right now, as it’s now the month of love, we are getting things set for Valentine’s Day which involves everything chocolate and very expensive dinners without the kids. Enjoy that if you have to organise anything. I hope it goes well. Please don’t ask me for any directions. I’m not the person to ask about love. Honest.

The only thing I wouldn’t recommend you do is anything that could hurt the other person. I’d scrub off skydiving from any list. Same goes for a supercar drive down south. Not the best, in my eyes of course. Also I would say a complete no to a full bodied spray tan experience just as you’re going to wear some white outfit out on this romantic night of nights.

It’s just a thought. You can do whatever you want, but don’t tell me you were not warned.

One other thing that’s happening very shortly is the year of sport in Mackay and the Whitsundays.

This time of the year is when sports have all their sign-on days and the like. Remember council is doing their Sports Expo and Sign-On Day on the 12th, so if you’re keen to play something new, get down there and say hello. I’ll be there on the hockey stand so feel free to ask me for any tips. I’ll write all I know on a postage stamp for you.

Just about every sport in the area will be there. Rugby league, swimming, soccer, netball, table-tennis, AFL, golf, wakeboarding, running, sailing, and more all in the one place at the MECC. Bring the kids along and get involved in a sport that will make you fitter, plus it will give you stacks of new mates too! It’s a double win!

I’ve had a go at a few sports over the years like swimming, table tennis, gridiron, soccer, league and more but I can tell you any sport that you pick is going to be great for you moving forward, and your family. You’ll be more social, happier and more in debt than ever before.

Don’t knock it until you try it.

Let me know how you go.

Before I go, wishing my late Mum a happy birthday for Wednesday just gone. She was an amazing hockey goalie back in the day when the only protective gear they had were rubber gardening gloves, some padding on the knees, and a sharp mouth.

Kids nowadays don’t have any idea how good they’ve got it really do they!

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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Property Point

February 2, 2023

If I had taken the Groucho Marx approach when I was offered a job at Gardian I would have made a regrettable decision and missed out on a great opportunity.

For those of you aged under 100, Groucho Marx was part of the famed comedy trio of the Marx brothers.

There is a famous quote from Groucho Marx where he explains why he doesn’t want to be a member of a particular club.

The quote varies depending on the source but it is said to be a letter to the board of the club and it goes something like: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” Boom boom.

Seven years ago former Gardian director and real estate principal Eric Rickman took me to lunch at a fabulous bistro-style French restaurant in St Kilda and offered me a job at Gardian.

The fun response would have been to say: “I refuse to join a company that would accept someone like me as an employee.” Using our French waiter’s accent would have been even better.

But I didn’t do that. I wanted to join Gardian and after a quick post-lunch chat with CEO Peter Phillips I was on board and started within a couple of weeks.

There are a number of things that determine whether you are going to enjoy working at a particular company: earning capacity, management support, resources to do your job properly and culture being among the key factors.

Culture is a big one and it needs another column on another day to do that topic justice.

One of the other key factors that determine how you feel about a job or company - and culture helps determine this - is the people that are attracted to, and welcomed by, a particular company. The people you work with.

A good way to work out whether you like them is how you feel when you come back from holidays. I came back from holidays a couple of weeks ago and it was a case of re-engaging with good friends and setting forth together on another year of opportunity in a job we all enjoy doing together.

Whether they are in real estate, insurance or the finance areas, it is good to be back with friends and launching into the 2023 adventure.

There are companies, including some real estate agencies, whose staff compete against each other rather than work as a team and group of friends who want the best for each other and their clients.

I know that if I need a hand with a busy open house, another agent to do a private inspection because I have already got another one at the same time, or another Gardian agent to help find an extra buyer for a property I am selling, my friends and colleagues have got my back.

That’s great for me and great for my clients.

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Top First Date Ideas According To The Pros

February 2, 2023

Skip the awkwardness of Valentine's Day with a first date that lets you both get to know each other without Cupid's interference. A casual outing or taking advantage of a holiday deal can lead to a successful rendezvous. From free desserts at a local restaurant to low-key activities, there's a Valentine's Day option for every potential couple.

Organizing the perfect first date can be a challenge, but it's crucial if you want to make a great impression. Dating app's relationship expert Valon Asani analysed worldwide Google searches for the most popular date ideas. Here are the top 8 picks:

Bowling - The undisputed winner with 1,640,000 average monthly searches, it offers fun and a laid-back atmosphere with great food and a lively setting.

Mini Golf - A great sports-based option, with 488,000 average monthly searches, it allows for some competition while still keeping things real.

Theatre Dinner - A unique pick, this option brings a touch of class as well as hilarious fun.

Aquarium - A serene and tranquil atmosphere, with 382,000 average monthly searches. While we don’t have one in Mackay, it can be a great option if you’re headed up or down the coast.

Arcade - A throwback location with 364,000 average monthly searches, it's perfect for a 90s/2000s vibe.

Wildlife - Animals are a crowd-pleaser and a trip to a petting zoo or wildlife sanctuary, with 359,000 average monthly searches, can be a great icebreaker.

Museum - A timeless romantic option with 353,000 average monthly searches, it's perfect for art and history lovers. Bonus – it’s a great place to escape the heat.

Karaoke - For those who don't mind being bold, karaoke is a fun option with 291,000 average monthly searches. If you’re not quite that bold, then check out our gig guide for live music options.

Remember, simple can also be best, don't underestimate the appeal of a picnic at the beach, a romantic restaurant or home-made pizza.

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Cheesy Lines To Make Your Lover Laugh

February 2, 2023

Hoping to make a lasting impression, or looking to re-ignite a spark? Humour can be a great way to break the ice on Valentine’s Day.

While these lines may seem cheesy, they can still be a fun way to express your feelings and make someone smile on Valentine's Day. Just be sure to use them with a sense of humour and be prepared for a light-hearted response.

"Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you, everyone else disappears."
"Do you have a map? I keep getting lost in your eyes."
"Are you a time traveler? Because I can see forever with you."
"Is your name Google? Because you have everything I've been searching for."
"Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?"
"Excuse me, but I think you dropped something - my jaw."
"Are you a bird? Because you've got me soaring."
"Do you have a sunburn, or are you always this hot?"
"Do you have a Band-Aid? I just scraped my knee falling for you."
"Are you a work of art? Because you’re a masterpiece."

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Top Cop Takes Citizen Of The Year Award

January 26, 2023

Nigel Dalton’s impact on the Mackay community has been immense.

From teaching children road rules, teenagers how to stay safe online or at schoolies, or redirecting disengaged youth from reoffending, Nigel’s work saves lives and makes our community a better place.  

For his work as our local Police District Crime Prevention Coordinator and for the considerable volunteer community work he undertakes, Nigel was named the 2023 Mackay Regional Council Citizen of the Year at the Australia Day Awards Gala at the MECC on Wednesday night.

Also recognised on the night was 2023 Young Citizen of the Year Keira Brown.

Keira is an active member and current coordinator of the Valley District Youth Council who volunteers countless hours to run events, fundraise and support her community.

The 2023 Lori Burgess Community Volunteer of the Year is Mackay Riding for the Disabled coach of 30 years Jody Burrows.


Recognised At Australia Day Awards

Mayor Greg Williamson said the judging panel was blown away by the number and quality of nominations submitted this year.

“Honestly, there were dozens of nominees who the judges felt were worthy of taking home these awards,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Narrowing the selection down was no small task and is a real testament to just what an incredible community we have in our region – there are just so many amazing people doing tremendous things,” he said.

“However, what Nigel has done in our community over the last two decades is remarkable and the judges had no reservations in naming him our 2023 Citizen of the Year.

“Coming from a background of policing in the Royal Ulster Constabulary during the Northern Island conflict where he had friends and mentors murdered, Nigel could easily have become hardened and bitter.  

“Instead, he carries a message of forgiveness, kindness and healing that comes across in all his dealings with the community.

“Through his work with more than 8000 school students each year, plus PCYC, Safety Circus, Shed Happens, Neighbourhood Watch, the Mackay Mosque, Street Chaplains and many more, Nigel has helped to make our community safer and instil real trust and appreciation for our local police service.”

Mayor Williamson said there were 173 nominations across all of the eight categories.

“I would like to personally thank the 87 individuals who submitted nominations – and many of them submitted multiple nominations – because without you we couldn’t have these awards and we couldn’t recognise these tremendous community members,” he said.

The full list of 2023 Mackay Regional Council Australia Day Award recipients are as follows:

Citizen of the Year: Nigel Dalton

Image: Nigel Dalton is a familiar face at most community events, like the Disability Expo in 2022, where he is the face of community crime prevention

Sergeant Nigel Dalton is the Police District Crime Prevention Coordinator as well as being an active community volunteer.

Sergeant Dalton has been working in the Crime Prevention office since 2006 and he has shown enormous dedication to the role, often working almost as many hours off the clock as he does in the office. He has implemented a strong education plan for students of all ages, as well as working closely with business and community groups, Neighbourhood Watch members, victims of crime and other like-minded organisations and government departments.

Nigel was awarded the Queensland Police Liaison Officer Award in 2017.

His Police District activities are outstanding, particularly Choices and Safety Circus safety talks across various age groups.

He recently led, created and launched a new assault reduction project “Anger Rage Regret” in the Mackay Police District.

Young Citizen of the Year: Keira Brown

Keira Brown is the current coordinator of the Valley District Youth Council. Keira has been instrumental in working towards the group’s main goals of giving a voice to Pioneer Valley youth, developing leadership and building a regional youth community.

Keira has recently become heavily involved in the YOL1000 initiative and in the initial planning stages of the Young Mayors project. Her feedback and opinions with these projects have been extremely valuable.

She often represents the youth of the Valley at events in Mackay and further afield. She is also a member of her school’s Zonta Club and has been a coach and umpire in club netball for teams younger than herself.

Lori Burgess Community Volunteer Award: Jody Burrows

Mackay Riding for the Disabled is a not-for-profit organisation that is fully self-funded by fundraising and donations. It is run fully by volunteers, and one of the longest serving and most committed volunteers is Jody Burrows.

Jody has been a consistent force within this organisation for nearly 30 years. She is the coach that holds the necessary qualifications required to hold the riding lessons.

At a minimum, Jody ensures lessons run every second Tuesday. In all those years, volunteers report that Jody has only ever cancelled lessons once – and that was due to a cyclone.

Arts and Culture Award: Alison Richardson

Alison Richardson is the artistic director and CEO of Crossroad Arts.  She is passionate about creating opportunities for people with disabilities who are serious about developing their skills in contemporary performance.  

She brings to Crossroad Arts more than 15 years of experience in the inclusive arts, theatre and disability sector. She has held various positions, including Creative Programs Coordinator for Accessible Arts, Creative Director for Beyond the Square at Riverside Theatres and Access and Inclusion Coordinator for Vivid Sydney and Sydney New Years’ Eve. She has also worked extensively as a theatre director and tutor for community theatre companies.

Alison has a pivotal role in offering a rich and diverse arts program to Mackay and she has been the driving force of many outstanding local performance events.

Alison also presents a rich array of workshops and regular activities in our community.

Environmental Achievement Award: Dr Judith Wake

Dr Judith Wake’s life’s work has been focused on preserving, protecting and studying the local environment. Prior to retiring, Dr Wake was a member of CQUni's Land and Water Management Centre and in that role undertook vital research on mangroves in the Mackay district. Since retiring she has continued similar work on a voluntary basis.

For quite a few years Dr Wake has been contributing to the Healthy Rivers Partnership and the Reef Catchments groups. For much of that time, she was a member of the Technical Working Group that provides scientific advice on the assessment of river/reef health. For three years she was chair of that group.

She is a long-time member of Native Plants Queensland (formerly SGAP) and vice-chair of the Mackay group. She is an active member of their management committee and regularly contributes to environmental events they support. She also volunteers with their Propagation Group at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.

Community Group Award: Pioneer Valley Machinery Preservationists Society

The Pioneer Valley Machinery Preservationist Society is a group that has a strong sense of community. Members are constantly looking after each other. They assist each other to finish projects or find parts, they share transport to shows and events and they are always watching out for members’ health and well-being.

The group is also integral in the preservation of local history. They are actively restoring local farming history and preserving this for future generations at their own cost.

They also educate the community at events and older members are always teaching new members new skills. Younger members who have joined are being taught skills in problem solving, restoration, machinery, fitting, research and more.

Senior Sports Award: Brenda Windsor

Brenda Windsor has dedicated countless hours and kilometres to raise money and shine a spotlight on the child protection work that Bravehearts do. She has run their 777 twice now and intends on doing it again in 2023.

The 777 involves running seven marathons, in seven states, over seven consecutive days. Each time she has had to raise $10k to be able to participate and in doing so has held numerous raffles. She even ran 77.7km (from Koumala to Mackay) to raise funds. She finished this run at Sarina State High School where she was cheered on by all the staff and students.

Brenda volunteers at Parkrun Mackay and has run over 180 events herself, often with her grandkids.

Junior Sports Awards: Connor Parish

Connor Parish has been racing BMX since he was six years old.  To the Mirani High School student, BMX is life, and his goal is to be chosen in the 2032 Olympic team.  With a slew of local wins and high placings in regional, state and national competitions, he’s on the right track.

Connor and his brother Aiden recently competed in the Oceania BMX Championships in Brisbane where they qualified to represent Australia at the World Championships.  Connor brought home a second (24”) and fourth (20”) at the competition.  

The pair then travelled to Nantes, France in July 2022 where they competed alongside 3000 other riders from all over the world and rubbed shoulders with some of their idols. Connor made the semi-finals (24”) and he also qualified for the 20” competition.

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Teens Take Over The Tongs At Orange Sky

January 26, 2023

Caption 1: Teen Shed Mackay assisted Orange Sky over the summer holidays by cooking breakfast every Wednesday and Friday

Caption 2: Cliff and the team at George St Butcher Shoppe generously donated meat to Orange Sky

Caption 3: Mercy and St Patrick’s College Brekky Van’s services resumed this week. Photos supplied

It’s been a busy summer for some local businesses and community groups, with Orange Sky Laundry expressing their appreciation for the community’s support over the holidays.

The Teen Shed Mackay assisted Orange Sky each Wednesday and Friday morning, doing the breakfast shifts while the Mercy and St Patrick’s College Brekky Van went on school holidays.  

The Brekky Van generously donated the food while four to six Teen Shed members cooked and served up breakfast each shift.

“They’re really sad that they can’t keep doing it,” said Teen Shed Mackay Founder Lisa Versaci

“We made some amazing friendships with the disadvantaged people, and they were really, really lovely.

“Our whole thing is trying to get our kids volunteering and out into the community to see that there are other situations besides what they’re going through.

“There should be more places where 12–18-year-olds can volunteer because I feel it’s very important for those kids to see life in a different perspective.”

The Christmas breakfasts were added to with donations from the George St Butcher Shoppe for some added protein on the BBQ.  

“Cliff and his team have been great supporters and always make sure that there are snags to go on the barbie!” said Orange Sky Mackay Service Coordinator Lisa Jamieson.

A big shout out also has to be made to the year one’s at St John's Primary School Walkerston for their donations to the Brekky Van of healthy breakfast packs, consisting of cereal, milk and juices.  

“These breakfast packs were gratefully received by our Friends to help them out at Christmas, when a number of the support services are not available,” said Ms Jamieson.

Orange Sky welcomed year 10-12 Mercy and St Patrick’s College students back to the Brekky Van this Wednesday, January 25, resuming their regular Wednesday and Friday shifts.

“While breakfast is happening, our washing machines are being kept very busy,” said Ms Jamieson.

“As soon as a load is finished, another one is started, to help ensure that we can get as many loads washed as possible during the shift.”

Orange Sky laundry shifts operate from 7:00-11:00am on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays in Mackay and 9:00-11:00am on Mondays and Thursdays in Sarina.  

Each fortnight, a night shift is held on Mondays from 5:30-7:30pm with the next night shift to be held on Monday, February 6.

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Turtle Watch To The Rescue (The Good Deed Feed)

January 26, 2023

Caption 1: Mackay and District Turtle Watch created pathways in beach debris to allow turtle hatchlings access to the water at North Wall Beach

Caption 2: A mysterious post with a memorial to a former PM was also found on the beach. Photos supplied

When many returned to the beach after last week’s heavy rain, they were met with large piles of debris, washed up onto the beach in a row as the water reached high tide overnight.

This proved difficult for even the tallest of people to step over, meaning newly hatched turtles wouldn’t stand a chance of traversing the obstacle.

Mackay and District Turtle Watch volunteers and members of the public stepped into action last week in a great display of community effort, making pathways in the washed-up debris at North Wall Beach for the soon-to-hatch turtles to be able to make their way back to the water.

While on their mission, volunteers came across many interesting items washed ashore including a post with a plaque on it.

The plaque reads: “10, Joseph Lyons, 1932-1939”.

The plaque refers to Joseph Lyons, who served as Australia’s tenth Prime Minister between 1932 and his death in 1939.

“I don't know where there is an outdoor display of PMs (except in Ballarat!), but no doubt someone will,” commented one person on Facebook.

“It doesn't look that old. I can't imagine anywhere public this may have come from,” added another.

The post has been placed above the high tide line in the hope that someone will claim it.

Mackay and District Turtle Watch has asked anyone who is missing it to get in touch via Facebook and they can pass on more accurate location details.

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Happiness Or Hatred? (Editor's Note)

January 26, 2023

What feelings does Australia Day evoke within you?

Is it of pride for the nation you love, or of sadness for the Indigenous who feel that a celebration of the day they coined ‘Invasion Day’ is disrespectful? Perhaps you feel a little bit of both.

For me, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the past and celebrate today. I used the day to learn a little bit about Indigenous culture that I didn’t know previously before enjoying some time at the beach and cooking a BBQ.

Perhaps the biggest controversy for me is when it comes to Australia Day desserts. I’ll admit it, I don’t like lamingtons. See, I said it would be controversial. Secondly, I believe the pavlova is a Kiwi dessert. Ooooh, perhaps the biggest dessert debate of them all! I like to have a laugh over that one.

Another Australia Day tradition I enjoy is attending the Mackay Regional Council’s Australia Day Awards every year. It’s an incredibly inspirational evening to hear about the people in our region who selflessly do so much for the community. Congratulations to this year’s Citizen of the Year, Nigel Dalton, and to all of the winners and nominees who were represented on the night.

Of course, this week was also the week our region’s kids headed back to school. I love to see the juxtaposition of emotions experienced by parents. Some can’t wait for the peace and quiet of having their kids back at school while others mourn the loss of holiday sleep-ins and dread the busy morning rush.

School zones are back to 40km/hr during designated morning and afternoon hours. When you see the signs flashing, slow down and pay attention. A blink of an eye is all it takes for a child to make a fatal mistake.


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Opinion - Safeguard Mechanism Will Kill Jobs in Regional Australia

January 26, 2023

In order to reach their 2030 climate targets, the Federal Labor Government has announced they will force 215 of Australia’s biggest polluters to cut emissions by 5 per cent each year or pay for their emissions output.

“In effect it acts as a tax on families, a tax on businesses and a big tax on regional Australia.  It’s Carbon Tax 2.0 and another major blow for the energy industry.”

“Labor is executing drastic climate targets with no consideration for the toll it takes on Australian jobs and household budgets.”

Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox has opposed this decision saying that Labor is targeting regional Queensland jobs and inflicting more pain on household bills.

“Labor’s Safeguard Mechanism affects facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. If facilities exceed this amount, the business will need to buy carbon credits,” Mr Willcox said.

“We have 28 of the high emitting industry facilities in surrounding regions who will be impacted by these mandatory emissions cuts. These are Dawson jobs now put in jeopardy by Labor’s climate targets.

“Leading up to the 2022 Federal election, Prime Minister Albanese and his party promised there would be no carbon tax.

“This is just a fancy name for exactly that.”

Andrew Willcox

Federal Member for Dawson

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11 Mercy Missions Flown By Rescue Helicopter Last Weekend

January 26, 2023

RACQ CQ Rescue flew 11 missions between Friday and Sunday last week, including the airlift of an injured motorbike rider and two flights to Bowen and two to Clermont on consecutive days for seriously ill patients.

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter has now completed 39 missions in the first 22 days of 2023. RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by Queensland Health to fly back-to-back missions to Clermont on Friday to transfer two patients to Mackay Base Hospital including a two-year-old child with a serious abdominal condition who was accompanied by their mother.

A patient was also transported from Dysart to Mackay Base Hospital with a cardiac issue. That same afternoon, a woman in her 60s was airlifted from Victor Island, about 48km southeast of Mackay, after being bedridden and alone for two days.

The helicopter landed on the beach at sunset and the medical team walked to the island homestead to treat and administered pain relief to the woman. She was carried to the aircraft, flown to Mackay Airport and transferred to a waiting ambulance to be taken to Mackay Base Hospital.

Overnight Saturday, two patients were also airlifted from Bowen to Mackay Base Hospital. About 10.30am on Saturday, RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by Queensland Health to airlift a dirt bike rider seriously injured in a crash at Yalbaroo, about 70km north-east of Mackay.

The 47-year-old man attempted to cross a culvert flowing with water on a remote dirt road in the Cathu State Forest, but a concrete slab underneath had dislodged in recent flooding, causing the rider to be thrown violently from the bike.

An RACQ CQ Rescue crewman said the force of the impact would have been like “hitting a wall at speed”.

The unlucky rider suffered injuries including a seriously dislocated hip and had to be relocated out of the water while they waited for the helicopter to arrive. Incorrect coordinates delayed the landing of the chopper at the scene, but it finally touched down on the dirt road about 500 metres from the accident site. The rider was treated and transferred to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.

A helicopter Rescue Crewman was able to assist the local paramedic at the accident scene who was suffering heat exhaustion while tending to the injured dirt bike rider. The crewman drove the ambulance and his colleague back to the station at Calen.

Three training flights for new Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics joining the aeromedical team were also conducted on Sunday around the Mackay region, as well as the airlift of a patient from Proserpine hospital to Mackay.

CAPTION: 230120 Victor 1&2 – RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted a woman from Victor Island at sunset on Friday

230121 Yalbaroo 1-4.jpg – A 47-year-old dirt bike rider was injured in a crash in the Cathu State Forest on Saturday and was airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital. Photo credits: RACQ CQ Rescue

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January 26, 2023

Enforcing laws, investigating reported offences and prosecuting when appropriate takes place on a daily basis with regards to car thefts.

As the Officer in Charge of the Mackay Northern Beaches Acting Senior Sergeant Mitch Benson points out - all car owners have an opportunity to take action which will frustrate the thieves.

Statistics within the Mackay Northern Beaches division show that one in every two car thefts take place when thieves gain possession of your car keys.

As a result, officers will have dedicated time periods when they will perform foot patrols in residential streets and business locations in an effort to find unlocked cars and/or unattended cars with keys still present.

If face to face dialogue is possible, police will talk to the car owners about the likelihood of car theft taking place and how we can disrupt the efforts of thieves who are looking to steal your hard-earned possessions.

Vehicle security information will also be made available - particularly when face to face dialogue is not possible.

If you see police officers walking the streets in your area - day or night - inspecting vehicles, don't be alarmed.

"Our efforts to identify car thieves and hold them to account are still going to take place, we are taking on these targeted foot patrols in addition to that,” Acting Senior Sergeant Benson said.

"By continuing our enforcement efforts, educating the public on crime prevention techniques and reducing the opportunities for car thefts to occur we hope to see fewer car thefts taking place,” he added.

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Mrs Charity Oceania Holds Inaugural Mackay Pageant

January 26, 2023

Captions: Jenna K will represent her region as Mrs Charity Oceania in Perth next year. Photo credit: Marty Strecker Photography

After almost a decade in modelling and pageantry, Jenna K has embarked on her latest challenge.

She will represent her region of Oceania as Mrs Charity Oceania 2023, travelling to Perth next year as a finalist for Charity Pageant Intercontinental.

Jenna described the Charity Pageant Intercontinental as a pageant with a difference.

“It’s just one that has that really great motto of ‘uniting women in service’ and it just really is something to empower women to love themselves and be passionate and to give them a voice to speak with,” she said.

“I just really loved what it stood for, it just really aligned with me.”

Charity Pageant Intercontinental gives contestants from all over the world the opportunity to advocate and fundraise for important causes, with the oceans, self-confidence and breast cancer awareness three causes close to Jenna’s heart.

“I really wanted to represent Oceania because I’m so passionate about the ocean,” she said.

In 2017, Jenna held the title of Mrs Water Australia, a time during which she worked with local Wildlife Warrior teams to help reduce debris in the ocean.

“I’m going to be continuing that, I’m collecting plastics and recyclables and I’m really wanting to get involved in the Mackay turtle association,” she said.

During her time as Mrs Charity Oceania 2023, Jenna will fundraise for the Mackay Hospital Foundation and Breast Screen Mackay, a cause very close to her heart after watching her Nanna survive breast cancer.

“I’m just really passionate about advocating to do the process, get your mammograms, get your checks done because early detection can save lives,” she said.

Another of Jenna’s passions is helping people to love themselves as they are and help them to find their self-confidence.

She plans to do this through her inaugural Beeyoutiful Charity Pageant, to be held on Saturday, March 18 at the Andergrove Tavern.

“I’ve always wanted to put an event together for people to experience some of what pageantry is like, but the extra fun side of it without the interview and public speaking,” Jenna said.

The pageant will consist of a confidence and mindset masterclass in the morning followed by the pageant that evening.

“There’s going to be a lot of people that might enter that have and no exposure to anything to do with modelling or pageantry, so I really want them to feel comfortable before they come back later in the afternoon to showcase what confidence they have established with themselves from the morning masterclass,” Jenna said.

The Beeyoutiful Charity Pageant is open to children and adults ages seven and older.

For more information and to register, go to the ‘Beeyoutiful Charity Pageants’ Facebook page or email

Jenna is also available for volunteering opportunities and appearances and hopes to use her platform as Mrs Charity Oceania to help her community.

“The shine and sparkle of the crown and sash draws enough attention, so it’s not about me,” she said.

“I’m just really trying to make a difference and make an impact in the community.”

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Interns Boost Mackay Medical Team

January 26, 2023
“They’re not only bolstering our workforce and making a real difference to our patients today, but they’re building the foundations of medical careers which will serve our community and Queensland for decades to come.”

Caption: Mackay Base Hospital has welcomed 37 intern doctors

A group of 44 intern doctors have joined the Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS), providing a boost to the medical team serving the region.

The intern group includes 37 doctors who are joining the team at Mackay Base Hospital, five at Proserpine Hospital and two at Bowen Hospital.

Interim Chief Executive Melissa Carter congratulated the new doctors on starting their journey in medicine and welcomed them to the Mackay HHS team.

“It’s exciting to welcome first-year doctors to our team and support them as they begin their career with the Mackay HHS,” Ms Carter said.

“They’re not only bolstering our workforce and making a real difference to our patients today, but they’re building the foundations of medical careers which will serve our community and Queensland for decades to come.

“Several of our intern doctors have already spent time with our team as medical students and, after positive experiences, have chosen to come back for the start of their career.

“Regardless of where their careers take them, they will develop strong foundations for the years ahead from the guidance of our experienced, dedicated and highly skilled team of Mackay HHS medical professionals.”

Thirty-two of the first-year doctors are from the Queensland Health program, six from the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway and six from the Commonwealth-funded Junior Doctor Training Program.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Charles Pain said the interns will benefit from Mackay HHS’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere, its supportive medical culture and their broad exposure to a wide range of clinical cases.

“The interns will gain invaluable clinical experience during their first year as doctors, which will enable them to develop advanced skills as a foundation for their future medical careers,” Dr Pain said.

“Their diverse placements and experience in the MHHS will also help them make an informed choice when it comes to which speciality they wish to pursue in their future careers.

“Last year 21 interns stayed in Mackay HHS for their second year, which indicates to us how much they appreciated Mackay and valued the experience they obtained here.

“Our hope is that by providing excellent training experiences, many of our 2023 interns will also choose to build their future careers in the Mackay region.”

Student Placement Brings Dr Chamberlain Back To Mackay

Positive experiences as a student on placement at Mackay Base Hospital and his desire to become a general practitioner in a regional centre led to Dr Michael Chamberlain choosing to return as an intern.

Originally from Rockhampton, where his mother is a general practitioner, Michael studied at James Cook University in Townsville and returned to Mackay Base Hospital where he previously spent time on student placement.

“Comparatively I knew that this would be a very safe choice and being here just makes the start of my year easier,” Michael said.

“I think knowing that particularly the education support was really good and knowing people seem to be really happy here is what enticed me here as well.

Michael is joined in Mackay by his wife, who is a speech pathologist in private practice.

“Practicing in regional areas is definitely something I want to do long term - we don’t particularly like big cities and I’m less inclined to rural or remote practice, but regional practice is very appealing to me as I really like the lifestyle.”

Though he was exposed to life as a general practitioner through his mother, Michael said he didn’t always want to practice medicine.

“Growing up I didn’t really want to be a doctor, but by the end of my schooling I decided it was probably a good fit and then the more I looked into it, the more I liked it.”

Michael said an important consideration for choosing Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) was the inclusion of general practitioner placement in the internship, which is rarely offered to first year doctors.

“Regional general practice would be ideal for me - you do really get to know the community more than you think and growing up in a regional town with similar size I definitely felt that, and I also really like being able to have a steady patient base,” he said.

“A big drawcard to Mackay HHS was the general practice rotation as it was something that I was pretty excited to do.”

While he is working towards general practice, Michael said he was looking forward to his rotations across all areas and the supportive environment within the Mackay HHS team.

“Everyone seems to be very well supported and happy, so I think I’m most looking forward to practising and learning in a very safe environment,” he said.

“I think another benefit for Mackay studying here and then staying on was that we already had a support network of people not just from the hospital, but also out in the community.

“I’m definitely looking forward to improving my knowledge and getting into a routine.”

Michael added that the Mackay lifestyle was a bonus whether it was heading to Eungella or enjoying a nearby beach or simply gardening at their home.

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Let’s Discuss Selecting The Perfect Shade Of White

January 26, 2023

Find your perfect shade match at Inspirations Paint's newest store located in the Porters Homemaker Centre at 16 Carl Street, Rural View.

Now servicing the Mackay Northern Beaches area six days a week, the Porters Homemaker Centre is your local DIY home hub with a new store - Inspirations Paint. The experienced and knowledgeable team will provide the best advice for your next DIY home project, including how to choose the perfect shade of white for your home!

Choosing the right white isn’t as easy as it sounds. Furnishings, lighting, and the style of your home can all play a factor in choosing the perfect shade of white for your space.

Cool Whites

Cool whites have a subtle grey, beige or blue undertone. They are a popular choice in modern and contemporary homes and spaces when wanting to achieve a minimalist look.

Popular cool whites:  Dulux Vivid White, Dulux Lexicon Quarter, Berger Ice Fountain, Porter’s Paints Snow White.

Warm Whites

Warm whites create a cosy feel to a room, popular with traditional and country-style homes. The subtle peach, yellow and pink undertones help create an earthy, organic and natural boho feel.

Popular warm whites: Dulux Natural White, Dulux Antique White U.S.A, Berger White Score, Porter’s Paints Lace.

Visit the new Inspirations Paint Mackay Northern Beaches store for the Grand Opening from 8-11am on Saturday 11 February. Share your paint project with the team and together, we’ll make amazing projects happen.

Inspirations Paint Mackay Northern Beaches store for the Grand Opening

8-11am, Saturday 11 February 2023

16 Carl Street, Rural View

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Historic Colleges Usher In Exciting New Education Era

January 26, 2023

Pic caption:  St Patrick's College Mackay Leadership Team for 2023: Standing L-R: Tracey McLeod (Assistant to Principal Welfare/Administration); Brendan Gunning (Assistant to Principal Mission); Chris Sorbello (Assistant to Principal Students); Janelle Agius (College Principal); seated: Sean Geoghegan (Deputy Principal Senior Campus); Scott McSherry (Assistant to Principal Curriculum) and Adam Skoczylas (Deputy Principal Mercy Campus)

Nearly one hundred and thirty years of combined history will be preserved with the amalgamation of two renowned Mackay educational establishments, St Patrick's College and Mercy College, in 2023.

Both institutions will operate under the one banner of St Patrick's College when the new school year commences this week – signalling the start of an exciting new era.

Boasting a rich history built on the Sisters of Mercy and Christian Brothers, who founded schools in the Mackay region in 1880 and 1929 respectively, St Patrick's – an established co-educational Catholic College - will continue to be committed to Catholic values which are at the core of all the school's learning.  

"This merger marks a significant milestone for two of Mackay's leading educational facilities and will continue to provide a unique experience for students consisting of a dual campus concept," declared St Patrick's College Principal Janelle Agius.

"Our students are encouraged to excel in personal growth and faith development in a learning environment and will continue to specialise in lower and middle secondary years at our Mercy Campus in Penn Street and the Senior Years Campus located in Gregory Street in the city heart," said Mrs Agius.

"We value a broad-based curriculum that allows students to discover new interests and abilities, while focusing on higher levels of literacy and numeracy," she added.

"Our staff work collaboratively with students and their families and challenge students to become active learners, to prepare them for success in a variety of pathways for senior school and beyond. Students are offered many extra opportunities to allow them to become the best person they can be."

A proud Mrs Agius said her staff took satisfaction in fostering an environment of friendship and service, which is so important in developing students to become lifelong learners.

"This collaborative approach to learning is enhanced by the knowledge that in the wider community the College is known for our excellent academic results, community service, sporting successes and cultural achievements," Mrs Agius revealed.

St Patrick's College Vision Statement is fostering the holistic development of students to champion compassion, hope, justice and respect.

The College's Mission Statement is to provide a Catholic education following the example of Catherine McAuley and Edmund Rice.

They strive to be a nurturing community of faith with Christ's teachings at the heart of all that they do; inspire students to be courageous and defend the dignity of all persons; foster a quest for educational excellence and a desire to discern truth plus to recognise each student's uniqueness and dedicate themselves both to knowing them and meeting their needs.

By Chris Karas

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January 26, 2023

Mackay Police reported that a home on McHugh Street in Rural View was broken into via an unlocked door last week.

An Asus laptop was the only item stolen from inside.

Police said that shortly after the laptop was stolen it was fraudulently used to access the victim's online bank accounts and a significant financial transfer took place.

Anyone who might have information about this matter is encouraged to contact police as soon as possible.

Please refer to the report number QP230099136.

Thieves typically devote much of their time seeking easy entry points into homes - for example, unlocked doors or unsecured windows.

The simplest security measures cause thieves the most frustration. Police are asking homeowners to ensure their homes are properly secured either when unattended or during night-time hours.

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University Partnership Preparing Teachers With Mentorship

January 26, 2023

Photo caption: (L-R) Alison Mann, a 2023 CAP participant based at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School Gracemere, with Anthony Greene, Principal and Mentor Teacher Kasey Gilbert

A new partnership between Catholic Education-Diocese of Rockhampton (Queensland) and CQUniversity aimed at building the capability and confidence of pre-service teachers has attracted great interest in 2023 following a highly successful pilot in 2022.

From two successful applicants in 2022, the Career Assistance Program (CAP) has expanded in 2023, with 11 pre-service teachers being appointed to Catholic primary schools across the Diocese of Rockhampton. There are 15 schools in the Mackay region which are included in the Diocese of Rockhampton.

The Career Assistance Program (CAP) is designed to support pre-service teachers in the third and fourth year of their teaching degree, through on-the-job mentoring and coaching.

CAP pre-service teachers have the opportunity to practise and refine the routines and strategies that support well organised, highly functional learning environments and experiences. These might include managing transitions from lunch break to the classroom so that students are ready for learning; arranging students into purposeful groups; asking questions that elicit higher order thinking; helping students regulate their own behaviours in positive ways; assessing student learning ‘on the go’ and responding ‘in the teachable moment’; and providing feedback that supports ongoing learning.

Student and 2022 CAP participant Hayley Wornum said she would highly recommend the program to fellow students.

“The CAP provides a flexibility for learning, through a hands-on approach in a realistic setting,” Hayley said.

For Hayley, the CAP has resulted in a permanent teaching position with Catholic Education at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Clermont.

The second 2022 CAP participant is continuing her placement at St Benedict’s Yeppoon while she engages in the final year of her Bachelor of Education Degree with CQ University. CEDR Assistant Director: Teaching and Learning, Carmel Kriz, said “The Career Assistance Program enables Catholic Education to nurture and support pre-service teachers more effectively than a short-term practicum placement, leading to beneficial outcomes for students and families.

“All the research shows us that it is the quality of teaching that makes the greatest difference for learning outcomes of young people. So, we want the very best teachers for our students.”

Mrs Kriz further advised that, “Our CAP allows us to foster high-quality teachers and immerse them in the practices and routines that we need in our teachers and that cannot always be explored fully in an undergraduate education course.”

CAP participants can access up to two years of working in a school community, being coached by mentor teachers, building skills and confidence and gaining a deeper understanding of the knowledge required by a contemporary teacher.

“Our CAP participants have the opportunity to grow in their professionalism on a daily basis. Over time, they build confidence and competence, ‘the mindset, toolset and skillset’ that make for a great teacher.”

Mrs Kriz said the program helps pre-service teachers learn in collaboration with a mentor teacher who supports them in targeted and responsive ways. This is complemented by support from school leadership teams, and professional collegiality and collaboration from the whole school staff.

“We are in a position where we have great belief and faith in our teachers. With that comes the recognition that we need to provide support, over time, in a very safe and nurturing environment. That’s our work, to support teachers to be the very best that they can be. I think our Career Assistance Program gets pre-service teachers off to an amazing start: it is one of the key ways in which we invest in our people,” Mrs Kriz said.

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Inspirational Aussie Day Ambassadors Delighted Isaac Audiences

January 26, 2023


Kevin Hughes

Lakeisha Patterson

Mayor Anne Baker

A military veteran advocate with a passion to protect endangered species and a gold medal-winning Australian Paralympian swim star visited the Isaac region as part of Australia Day celebrations.

Kevin Hughes, who was awarded a Bravery Medal, and Queensland’s very own golden girl Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson shared their inspirational stories at selected Isaac region events on January 25-26.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said it was a privilege to host Kevin and Lakeisha and for the opportunity for the rural and regional communities to connect with them.

“We’re all part of the story of Australia – from those whose ancestors walked on Country for tens of thousands of years to the newest Australian citizens,” Mayor Baker said.

“On Australia Day, we reflected on our past, accepted the truth of our history and respected that we all have a contribution to make to the story of Australia.

“We celebrated being part of a diverse and multicultural nation and welcomed Kevin and Lakeisha to the Isaac region to hear their courageous stories.”

Having served in the military within Australia and overseas, as a firefighter in Brisbane and a professional pilot worldwide, Kevin’s passion for Australian native animals started in the early 1990s.

He held the senior pilot position for the Wirrimanu Aboriginal Community in Balgo, Western Australia with aircraft based at Halls Creek. It was there his education of native animals grew along with the passion to assist in bringing awareness to as many people as possible. Kevin then founded Endangered Species Supporters Australia.

Lakeisha started swimming at the age of five to help ease her muscle stiffness from Hemiplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy.

Lakeisha was a three-time Paralympic Gold medallist and dual World and Commonwealth Champion.

She represented Australia at two Pan Pacific Championships, two Commonwealth Games, three World Championships and two Paralympics with other international events, medals and records in between. An ambassador for numerous organizations and charities, as well as an Order of Australia Medal recipient,

Lakeisha studied at university, volunteered within the community, spoke at numerous events, and raised education and awareness about inclusion, diversity and resilience. Council hosted eight events across the region in conjunction with the support of many local businesses and community groups.

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Pilot Plant Expansion To Grow Queensland's Biomanufacturing Future

January 26, 2023

The Queensland Government is funding the expansion of a pilot plant that converts biomass from a sugar mill into bioproducts. The QUT Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP) is a research and development facility that converts biomass into biofuels, green chemicals and other bioproducts. The expansion of the facility is expected to create regional jobs and build on Queensland's growing biofutures industry.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said, "Queensland is in a position to become an Asia-Pacific hub in biomanufacturing and bio-refining. Which is why we are investing in the Mackay Pilot Plant expansion through the Queensland Government's $350 million Industry Partnership Program."

The expansion of the common user research and development facility will enhance the development of regional biomanufacturing industries, attract further investment and create local jobs.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the Government was bringing together traditional and new industries to build our biofutures sector.

"The Mackay region has been identified as a key location for biofutures industry, including the potential development of a Future Foods BioHub," Ms Gilbert said.

"The region is known around the world for its sugar cane, and the expansion of this facility, located on a sugar mill site, will have a strong appeal to companies looking to use sugar feedstocks for their products."

QUT's Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Queensland's Biofutures Industry Envoy, Professor Ian O'Hara said that the funding will be used to enhance the capability of the facility to be able to test a wider range of new and emerging technologies at scale.

"This expansion is critical to support companies seeking to supply new products for the future foods and other biomanufacturing industries, enabling them to rapidly demonstrate their technologies and products for market testing," Professor O'Hara said.

"As a result, the facility will support the growth of a range of Australian companies and attract new investors into the Mackay region, creating new jobs and supporting a profitable future for the Australian Sugar industry."

The Industry Partnership Program is part of the $5.84 billion Queensland Jobs Fund which aims to boost the State's industry footprint, create jobs and strengthen the economy.

For more information on Industry Partnership Program:

To read the Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, visit: Biofutures | State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.

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Bruce Highway Condition A Topic Of Debate for MP's

January 27, 2023

Photo caption: Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey met with Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert to inspect the region’s roads following this month’s flooding event. Photo credit: Office of Julieanne Gilbert

Caption: Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox said he has driven the length of the Bruce Highway in the Dawson electorate since the flooding event and challenged Minister Mark Bailey to do the same. Photo credit: Office of Andrew Willcox MP

“Flood resilient upgrades along the Bruce Highway delivered by the Palaszczuk Government have stood up to the test of a recent heavy rain event which impacted Central and Northern Queensland,” the State Government said in a recent press release, however both federal and local LNP members have said this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey was in Mackay last week, inspecting some of the damage to the Mackay and Whitsundays region, saying many communities which would have once been cut-off in similar events have stayed connected.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government has 106 Bruce Highway projects funded and underway right now, including 45 in construction, as part of a massive $13 billion pipeline of joint funding locked in over the next 15 years," Mr Bailey said.

"Flood resilience is one of the three major scopes of the current $13 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, and the flood resilient projects we have delivered have stood up to the test of months' worth of rain hitting Central and North Queensland in just a few days.

Minister Bailey said he visited the $145 Mackay Northern Access Upgrade on the Bruce, which was opened late last year, saying it “has held up incredibly well despite the big downpour, as has the $500 million Mackay Ring Road on the Bruce, which we opened in 2020.

"We also contributed funding for the drainage upgrades at Archibald and Milton Streets in Mackay, which traditionally cut access to the airport when they flooded, and they too have held up well.”

Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox hit back saying the minister’s comments couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I am very concerned that the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, came to Mackay to inspect how our roads have held up during the floods, and come to the conclusion that they are good,” Mr Willcox said.

“The fact that he only visited newly built roads to form this conclusion is pure madness.

“The State Member for Mackay should know her constituents are tired of battling constant road work delays and are now dealing with immense flooding damage on the Bruce Highway which is unsafe for motorists and costing locals thousands in repairs.

“It is negligent of the State Member for Mackay to be fully aware of the disgraceful and dangerous condition of our main highway and not lobby her Minister for action! Instead, they revisit recently completed roadworks,” Mr Willcox added.

“The Minister has accused me of “going rouge” all because I am calling for the State Government to take our road safety seriously – this is the same Government who has been in power for 27 out of 30 years.

“The first thing I have done since the roads have re-opened is drive from one end of the Dawson electorate to the other, from Mackay through to Townsville. I know exactly what condition the Bruce Highway is in.  

“I invite Minister Bailey to do the same.”

Minister Bailey said that "Right up and down the Bruce, the projects the Palaszczuk Labor Government have delivered are doing their job.

"It's a stark contrast to the LNP who, when David Crisafulli was a minister in the Newman Government, delivered just four projects on the entire Bruce Highway, one of them was an audit report, and two others were fully funded by the Federal Government.

"Just four projects from the LNP compared to 106 projects being delivered right now by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

"Not to mention that David Crisafulli, Amanda Camm and the LNP lied to Queenslanders before the last state election with their Bruce Highway duplication hoax, which was exposed to be only a planning study with no funding for upgrades.”

Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm said Minister Bailey’s comments were “disrespectful” and “out of touch”.

“Given the Minister flew in and out of Mackay to inspect an inner-city project that was 80 per cent funded by the former Federal demonstrated arrogance and out of touch he really is,” Ms Camm said.

“His comments were an insult to every resident across Mackay and the Whitsundays who was isolated from their jobs, their hospital, and critical services.

“Minister Bailey demonstrates every day the lack of consultation and arrogance through the Hamilton Plains Project that has not commenced in seven years, the Shute Harbour Road upgrades that will now be littered with traffic lights against the communities wishes and the Northern Beaches Mackay-Bucasia Road where there is no plan for duplication, upgrades, or alternative access.

“A Minister who lists announcements yet has delivered no outcomes evidenced everyday by the sub-standard roads and boat-ramps our region must put up with."

Mr Bailey said the Queensland Government will continue to deliver more flood resilient projects along the Bruce Highway, and deliver a Second Bruce Highway to provide an alternative during rain events like the one we have just seen.

"At 1,679km long the Bruce Highway is a massive stretch of road, and there's no denying we still have work to do, but it's clear we are delivering and have a credible plan for the future," he said.

"Our future plan for the Bruce includes flood resilience improvements on projects like the 26km long Gympie Bypass project, the 15km long Rockhampton Ring Road, the 9km long Tiaro Bypass, and the almost 30km of flood resilient stretch being delivered as part of the Townsville Ring Road and Townsville Northern Access projects, just to name a few.

"But we know the North Queensland coastline usually cops it worst in summer during the wet and cyclone season, and that's why we're building a second Bruce Highway from Charters Towers to Mungindi which was bagged by the LNP when we announced it in 2020.

"The Inland Freight Route (or 'Second Bruce') will provide a genuine alternative to keep supplies coming into Central and Northern Queensland communities during the wet season or a cyclone.

"There is more than $1 billion in joint funding committed to upgrade the Gregory, Dawson, and Carnarvon Highways to provide a real alternative to the Bruce during the wet season, and also get more trucks off the Bruce all year round.

"The inland link to Mackay will also soon be bolstered by the $186 million Walkerston Bypass where construction is progressing well and is on track to be completed next year."

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January 26, 2023

PHOTO CAPTION: The 2021 Youth Ambassadors, Sebastian Padget, Emilia Konopka, Savannah Vella, Laina Rudken, Jonte Tupaea, Jack Oliveira, Suzanna Elliott Haynes, Lisa Grobler and Jayde Readman. Photo supplied: MECC

Becoming a MECC Youth Ambassador is a life-changing opportunity. Not only do you enjoy special access to arts events, but you also gain hands-on experiences in performing arts, technical productions, and media and marketing.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the MECC had just opened applications for the 2023 Youth Ambassador Program.

“If you are looking to undertake a career in the arts, media or marketing, this is an exciting opportunity” Mayor Williamson said.

“Our MECC Youth Ambassadors have exclusive access to workshops and events that link directly to their studies,” he said.

The program has seen great successes over the years, with many students continuing their studies in the events industry post school.

“We have had a number of Youth Ambassadors successfully apply for the annual Jack Sturgeon Bursary, a $1000 bursary to help with the expense associated with tertiary studies,” Mayor Williamson said.

“One former Youth Ambassador, Eddie Tiller, recently won Mackay Regional Council’s Jason Vassallo Trainee of the Year Award.”

Eddie Tiller spoke highly of the program.

“My experience as a Youth Ambassador was amazing,” Eddie said. “I met like-minded friends – who I would never have met otherwise,” she said.

“My favourite moment was volunteering at a Queensland Museum exhibition. I was able to create life-like movements with animated puppets, it was a lot of fun.”

After completing the program, Eddie was successful with an application for employment at the MECC and has since completed a Certificate III in Live Production.

Budding performers, singers, dancers, sound designers, lighting technicians, curators, producers, marketers or anyone with an interest in the MECC can apply.


• Must reside in the Mackay Regional Council area

• Enrolled in grade 10-12

• Must have parental permission

• Must be able to attend regular workshops, meetings or training sessions

• Be willing to positively advocate the MECC and its programs and performances

• Have the support of one teacher at your school who will liaise with the MECC Engagement Officer

• This is a voluntary position

All entries must be received by Friday, 3 February 2023. Application forms available from

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January 26, 2023

See a wave tank in action when environmental consultants Alluvium visit our region next month.

The wave tank simulates the ocean’s movements to demonstrate how different combinations of coastal defences and wave and tide conditions can affect issues such as wave overtopping and flood risk.

Alluvium will be hosting four community workshops in February as part of the Mackay Coast Our Future program, which will include coastal erosion and storm tide inundation displays and maps, and opportunities to discuss possible adaptation options for the region.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the workshops would allow residents to gain a better understanding of what adaptation options would be most suitable for specific locations in our region.

“When you install a barrier like a seawall to help protect the coastline, the water has to go somewhere,” Mayor Williamson said.

“The purpose of the wave tank is to demonstrate that not every adaptation option is suitable for every location,” he said.

“We want to take proactive action to protect our region’s coasts and foreshores from the future effects of climate change and coastal hazards, such as erosion, storm tide inundation and rising sea levels.”

The Mackay Coast Our Future study aims to determine what adaptation options are best suited to the areas that have the most risk of these coastal hazards in our region.

Council conducted two surveys last year to gather feedback on how residents use the coast and what knowledge they had in relation to coastal adaptation options.

“Next month’s workshops will be an opportunity for residents to learn from experts about what coastal hazards exist in their area and what adaptation options make the most sense,” Mayor Williamson said.

Residents are invited to attend one of the following workshops:

> Thursday, February 2, from 11am to 1pm at the Jubilee Community Centre

> Thursday, February 2, from 4pm to 6pm at Seaforth Community Hall

> Friday, February 3, from 4pm to 6pm at Llewellyn Hall, Armstrong Beach

> Saturday, February 4, from 1pm to 3.30pm at Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club

No bookings are required.

For more information on the Mackay Coast Our Future study and to subscribe to project updates visit

Recent results of the Mackay Coast Our Future surveys revealed:

• The top three reasons that attract people to live and visit our region are:

> Outdoor experiences and recreational opportunities (boating, fishing, camping, 4WD etc)

> Unique landscapes and natural beauty

> Access to the beaches

• 68 per cent of respondents visited the beach or foreshore weekly, with 43 per cent visiting the beach two to three times a week

• 49 per cent of respondents believe there is a lot more planning and preparation required to prepare for coastal hazards

• 49 per cent of respondents have been affected by coastal hazards

• 63 per cent of respondents believe they have a good to expert understanding of potential coastal hazards such as sea levels rising and changing storm tide intensity.

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January 26, 2023

An online survey has been released to help identify and prioritise key actions that will enable the Mackay region to increase its appeal to the growing recreational vehicle (RV) market.

Mayor Greg Williamson said camping and caravanning are an important part of the outdoor recreation experience for locals.

“The self-drive camping and caravanning market has a significant role to play in the region’s tourism product with outdoor recreation opportunities like camping, fishing, cycling and other related activities experiencing substantial growth annually,” Mayor Williamson said.

“We want to capitalise on this growth and ensure we are taking the right steps to plan for our future in regard to the RV industry.”

According to statistics released by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, as of June 2022, there were nearly 800,000 registered RVs in Australia and over 150,000 on the roads at any one time.

Since the impact of COVID, the self-drive tourism market continues to strengthen and increase. "Van-life” and caravanning has started appealing to a wider demographic.

The Mackay region already offers a mixture of self-drive destinations and an established range of caravan and camping sites.

Mayor Williamson said the region had a strong self-drive market presence, demonstrated by the annual winter “migration” of retired travellers and a growing regional market looking for short-break destinations.

“To ensure this strategy hits the mark, we need to hear ideas and feedback from existing caravan and campground operators, tourism-related businesses, residents as well as tourists,” he said.

The survey closes at midnight on Wednesday, February 8, and can be found on council’s dedicated community engagement website,

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January 26, 2023

My Christmas-New Year holidays were a wonderful mixture of beaches, beer, test cricket, family time, beer, time in a resort, jerky morning exercise and beer. Oh, and phone calls from real estate buyers.

The beaches and resort were on the Gold Coast, the cricket was in Melbourne, the jerky morning exercise was on whatever discreetly hidden grassy spot I could find, the beer was pale ale and the buyer phone calls were an indication of a strong market heading into 2023.

Sometimes the calls interrupted my morning exercise (“Oh, I’d better take that”), sometimes it interrupted the beer (“Bloody hell, can’t a bloke have a holiday”) but they kept coming and it instilled a great anticipation in me for the year ahead.

I only had a couple of listings left from 2022 but I also had a couple of listings that hadn’t gone on the market yet but some buyers knew about them and didn’t want to wait until I came back in the second week of January.

I work six days a week and need a decent break at Christmas just to keep my insanity below publicly perceptible levels … but don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the calls.

While I was away I got to see people who live in other markets, I read newspapers that told a national story of real estate negativity and picked up a general vibe about mortgage stress in markets where people are trying to pay off $1 million properties.

The vibe I got from the callers inquiring about my Mackay properties was that they saw opportunity and value.

That positive feeling has continued now that I am back in Mackay and into the working year.

There is good buyer inquiry, plenty of activity at open houses and properties are going under contract.

All the fundamentals remain good. Rental vacancies of under 1 per cent, unemployment at the lowest levels in the country, a good bustling energy about the future, median prices that are far lower than other parts of the country.

It looks like peace has broken out in the recent trade war with China and word has it that their massive economy is ready to get moving again, which is a good sign for our coking coal production.

The Mackay region has managed to enjoy strong economic activity in recent years despite the trade ban from China so the détente in that area bodes well for local businesses … and real estate. Bring on 2023!

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Can You Give The Gift Of Education To A Young Person In Our Region?

January 26, 2023

YIRS One Stop Youth Shop Inc. (Youth Information Referral Service) is a non-government organisation operating in our region since 1996 and provides support to disengaged and disadvantaged youth between the ages of 8 – 21 years with the aim to remove barriers that young people and their families often face when accessing services relevant to their needs.  

YIRS works alongside external organisations by offering numerous services in one location and offers an alternative distance education program for young people in years 8, 9 and 10 who have disengaged or are disadvantaged to continue their education in a mainstream education setting. Post year 10, YIRS assists youth to continue with further education, and apprenticeship and employment pathways.

The YIRS team is small, but they deliver so much to the young people who present to the service for assistance. They are a trusted, safe space and they see and hear about heartbreaking situations every day and keep doing what they do because they are so committed and passionate. YIRS are always seeking opportunities to assist with the possible expansion of program delivery to continue to decrease margins and to benefit the youth of Mackay and the region.

The organisation is committed to helping young people with the most basic of needs that we often take for granted. Things like access to good quality food which they help to prepare, as YIRS is seeing increasing numbers of young people who present because there is no food at home. YIRS also helps with budgeting, medical needs, identification needs, transport – basic everyday needs.

YIRS One Stop Youth Shop Inc. is currently seeking sponsorship to continue to educate young people who are disengaged from mainstream schooling. These are young people who are slipping through the cracks through no fault of their own because unfortunately, we know that not all young people have a roof over their heads, 3 meals a day and a safe and happy home environment.

If you can assist, or hear more about YIRS, please let me know. If you wished to contact them directly call 4957 7949 or email

Cr Fran Mann

Mackay Regional Council

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January 26, 2023

See How Schools Welcomed Students Back To The Classroom

Click for the Gallery

Back To School Whitsunday Anglican School

Back To School Mackay Christian College

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Calen Needs A Doctor

January 19, 2023

Last year, Mackay and Whitsunday Life listened to the call of Calen locals, who say they are in desperate need of a doctor for the small rural town.

A local resident known as ‘Lyn Ellen’ spoke out about the dangers to the widespread rural community, whose residents are playing Russian Roulette with their health due to GP services not being available.

The issue is that the nearest medical centres to Calen are in Proserpine, Mackay or the Pioneer Valley. Residents often have to wait longer than two weeks to see a doctor due to high demand at the closest medical centres, and on top of that, they need to take half a day or more from work to accommodate the lengthy drive and wait times once they arrive. Add to these factors the cost of fuel, the result is that locals are leaving their health to chance, and those with chronic conditions aren’t being monitored as closely as they should be.

We spoke to Calen’s pharmacist, Kaz Olaniyan, to hear how the lack of close medical care is impacting local residents.

“The challenge people here face is the distance to see a doctor,” Mr Olaniyan said.

“Sometimes they are having two to four weeks before they are able to see a doctor in Mackay, even just to get a prescription for their essential medications. We try our best here, within the law, to assist when they run out of medication, but we are only able to supply three days’ worth of medication in some cases which is not enough if they have more than a weeks’ wait to see a doctor.”

“This is why we so desperately need a doctor here, not only for Calen but all the other rural areas surrounding Calen such as Seaforth, Bloomsbury, Pindi Pindi, Kuttabul, Midge Point and more.

“Some people travel to Airlie Beach to see a doctor sooner, which I do not think is good enough.”

Mr Olaniyan said many people suffering from chronic conditions need closer medical support.

“Calen is just a mini-Australia. What you see in other places is what you see here, just on a smaller scale. So there are people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, pregnant women, cancer, kidney disease, and we haven’t even covered the range of accidents which can happen on the farms. Many people here work the land,” he said.

“The need for us to have a doctor here is desperate, I don’t use that word lightly.”

Although there are telehealth options and some medical centres will fax a prescription to the pharmacy, Mr Olaniyan said this doesn’t solve the problem.

“There are many conditions that a doctor will want to see a patient for, and a prescription is only a small part of a person’s health. When someone delays their visit to see a doctor, they could be making a life-threatening disease worse without knowing.

“For painkillers and other controlled medications, a doctor will usually insist on seeing a patient before prescribing, so while telehealth options can help in some cases, in others it could potentially make a situation more dangerous,” he said.

The flow-on effect is that the lack of close medical care in Calen means there is added pressure on the local ambulance service based at Calen.

“When people can’t see a doctor, the last resort is emergency,” Mr Olaniyan said.

“It puts pressure on the ambulance which could have been avoided, which then puts added pressure on the emergency departments in Mackay and Proserpine.

“A doctor here would make the difference. It only needs to be one or two days a week. It could be a travelling rural clinic or something similar, there must be a solution Queensland Health can provide.”

Mr Olaniyan opened the Calen pharmacy around two years ago, as well as one in Seaforth about a year ago, to help the rural communities who had no close access to medications. He operates the Calen pharmacy in the mornings and the Seaforth pharmacy in the afternoons, with Seaforth also open on Saturday.

Also at the heart of Calen is the newsagency, where grabbing a loaf of bread usually comes with a chat to Mavis or Peta.

Peta Sturdy said her mother had to wait almost two weeks to see her doctor in Mackay just to get a repeat prescription.

“You need to take a day to see a doctor in Mackay, and when you work 6-days per week, it’s hard to find that sort of time,” Ms Sturdy said.

“If there was a doctor here, you could schedule it into a lunch break.

“I know I’ve had to use the ambulance a couple of times for things that could have been seen by a GP instead, which puts added pressure on the two guys here who cover the ambulance.

“Not only is it the time, it’s the cost, the added wear and tear on the car. My kids are older now but in the past, it was a mission to pack everyone up when my husband was working just to go to the doctor.

“There’s no question, Calen needs a doctor.”

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Smiles Beyond The Scars

January 19, 2023

Being pregnant is definitely no picnic when you work full time. It’s not so much the unrelenting heartburn, the inconvenient nausea which can rear its ugly head at any moment, the need to know where a toilet is at all times or the excruciating pain you get in your stomach when you sneeze too hard. But what can be harder to handle are the waves of imbalanced hormones that send your emotions on a rollercoaster, with the smallest trigger evoking a tsunami of tears.

So when I had the opportunity to join Jules and Pete from Broken Ballerina last week for a private back-to-school shopping experience for families and children who had suffered from domestic and family violence, I knew it would be an emotional experience.

These were tears of joy I shed of course, seeing the faces of children light up as they ran around the store choosing bags, shoes and drink bottles, so proud of their choices which clearly reflected the colourful personalities in their hearts. I watched as two sisters, who were placed in foster care black and blue from abuse at the hands of their father, went back and forth picking shoes and comparing colours. Another young girl with a rare medical condition, also in foster care, beamed as she looked at her new school items, clearly excited to show her friends at school.

In the moment, I held back the tears and listened eagerly to the kids tell me about their choices. Once I got back to my car, I let those tears flow. The experience had touched me deeply. As we run around in our busy worlds, we often forget that there are people in our community going through terrifying trauma. It’s so important that if we know domestic or family violence is happening, that we speak up, before it’s too late.

As my heart ached for the children who smiled through their emotional and physical scars, my unborn baby gave me a kick and wriggle from within. All children deserve to be raised surrounded by love.


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Baby Born Amid Flooding Disaster

January 19, 2023

As the rain pelted down in the early hours of Tuesday, January 17, a pregnant Angel McKay awoke in pain in her home in Crediton, 12km from the Eungella township.

With her partner Dean Gajda and her mother Shona by her side, it became clear that her first child was arriving earlier than expected.

“It was starting to get a bit more serious, so we ended up calling the hospital and they were like, ‘Yeah, you need to try and get into the hospital,’” said Mr Gajda.

This was an impossible task due to the rain event cutting the range and flooding bridges between Crediton and Eungella, so the rural fire brigade and local members were contacted.

“All the community basically dropped what they were doing, and it was all hands on deck,” said Mr Gajda.

Dalrymple Rural Fire Brigade First Officer Ian Smith and his wife, who live in Eungella, trekked the 12km in their 4WD equipped with chainsaws and shovels to remove anything that stood in their way, bringing the family back to their home.

Mr Smith also utilised his 4WD and tractor to bring local retired Doctor Beryl, off-duty Nurse Sue and General Practitioner Emma, as well as some pain relief, to the home to assist in the delivery.

Within an hour and a half of arriving at Mr Smith’s house, Ms McKay gave birth to her first child Hayley Anne Gajda on Smith family’s lounge room floor at 9:45am.

“If it wasn’t for them and if it wasn’t for (Mr Smith) coming to pick us up, we would be up shit’s creek,” said Mr Gajda.

“A massive, massive thanks to Ian Smith and the crew that helped bring our baby girl into this world because it’s just phenomenal.”

Angel McKay gave birth to baby Hayley with assistance from retired doctor Beryl, GP Emma and nurse Sue

Father Dean Gajda said baby Hayley is happy and healthy. Photos supplied

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Sandbag Saviour

January 19, 2023

If you need a job done, ask a Queenslander. The generous spirit which lives among the Sunshine State is one of the many things that makes it a great place to live. The generosity shines brighter in times of disaster, where a person will give the literal shirt off their back to help another in crisis.

It’s heart-warming to see the local community come together in times of need, and although this week’s flooding event wasn’t as bad as anticipated, it didn’t stop proactive locals from preparing should the Pioneer River have burst its banks.

Steven Taylor was one such humble hero, who put a post on the Mackay Noticeboard on Facebook, asking if people needed assistance in filling sandbags.

He wrote, “If anyone needs help filling up sandbags or moving them, feel free to message me, happy to help.

“I’ve been unsuccessful in finding anywhere to get empty sandbags to fill but am happy to help in other ways if needed by anyone.”

The post was met with much praise from grateful residents who lived within the warning areas and were preparing their properties for the possibility of inundation.

More than 1 metre of rain fell in Finch Hatton during the weather event, with Mackay Weather Chasers posting rain totals as at 6am Tuesday morning. At that time Finch Hatton had recorded 1013mm with more falling later that day.

In the Mackay region, Eungella came in next with 734mm, closely followed by the Northern Beaches suburb of Bucasia with 689mm. Mackay itself recorded 594mm.

The severe weather warning was cancelled on Tuesday evening, with locals breathing a sigh of relief that this wet season downpour wasn’t as intense as the 2008 flood, which dropped the same amount of rain as this event, but in a more ferocious fashion within a 24-hour period.

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Armed Robbery Arrest

January 19, 2023

Police arrested an alleged armed robber in Moranbah last week on January 12, arresting a man on the same day the alleged crime took place.

Sergeant Nigel Dalton said that police will allege that at approximately 5.45am on January 12, a man approached a Griffin Street, Moranbah business wielding a knife and demanding money.

The store assistant managed to exit the shop with the alleged offender also fleeing the scene.

Police attended the store and after viewing CCTV images, managed to identify the man.

Police attended an address in Hannan Drive, Moranbah and arrested a 35-year-old Moranbah man.

During the arrest it is alleged the 35-year-old man assaulted and obstructed police. He has since been charged.

The man appeared in Mackay Magistrates Court on January 13, charged with enter premises to commit indictable offence, attempted armed robbery, obstruct police, serious assault of a police officer causing harm, possess utensil or pipes etc in connection with smoking drugs and failure to dispose of needle and syringe.

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Breaking Barriers To Education

January 23, 2023

Back to school was made brighter for survivors of domestic violence, foster parents and their children last week, with the generosity of individuals and local businesses providing the essentials to start the school year off with a smile.

Families affiliated with local domestic violence support organisation Broken Ballerina Inc. were treated to a private shopping experience at Rebel Sport last Friday morning, where a generous couple from the Whitsundays joined the families to pay for school shoes, bags and drink bottles. The couple also gave grocery vouchers to the families.

Officeworks filled the children’s book list orders free of charge and Jules and Pete Thompson from Broken Ballerina delivered the book list boxes to the families. Previously, Mount Pleasant Shopping Centre also donated $1,500 worth of gift cards to be used towards the purchase of school uniforms, as well as coffee vouchers for the parents.

Domestic violence has a serious impact on children and families, with those parents who flee a dangerous situation often left stranded trying to pick up the pieces. Not only is the physical and mental trauma scarring, but the financial burden can become unbearable to cope with.

Broken Ballerina Inc. help domestic violence survivors and their families immediately after escaping from a dangerous situation. Often, they assist with emergency accommodation and care packs to help a parent who has been left with nothing.

When it comes to back-to-school, a time that falls straight after Christmas, the financial outlay can be difficult for a single parent starting from scratch.

Local Whitsundays couple Dr Allan Cook and his wife Pam Cook knew that while families are often gifted assistance at Christmas, the rest of the year is forgotten, with back-to-school being one of the most financially stressful times for parents.

Dr Cook said he used to support Anglicare, which was founded by psychologist John Langford. John passed around a year ago and the couple wanted to ensure they supported an organisation making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged locals.

Pam said she discovered Broken Ballerina and after some time following what Jules did for the community, Pam knew she wanted to support the not-for-profit organisation.

“I knew they had enough goodies for Christmas, I thought back-to-school support would be more beneficial in helping these families,” Pam said.

“I suffered at the hands of domestic violence for more than 30 years.

“My sons never had anything new, we had nothing,” Pam added.

“I finally left when the doctor said my ex-husband would kill me if I didn’t leave.

“I’m thankful I met a kind man like Allan, we’ve been together 15 years this week which is wonderful.

“We want to help others since we are in a position to do so, it means a lot to me to be able to help women who have been in similar situations to what I faced during my first marriage.”

Dr Cook said for years the couple donated to many charities, including overseas charities helping children in need, but after many large charities were exposed for using funds inappropriately, he said the couple now focus on charities who make a difference locally.

“We know with Broken Ballerina that every dollar we donate will be used locally,” he said.

The generosity left parents and foster parents in awe as it made the school year easier to face. The grins on the children’s faces were unforgettable, as children aged from prep to teenagers relished the opportunity to shop for brand new items instead of the hand-me-downs many had become accustomed to throughout their lives.

Rebel Sport Customer Service Manager Luke Taylor said after hearing Broken Ballerina’s story he thought it would be a great idea for the children and their families to have an intimate shopping experience before the store opened to the public.

“We had our staff here from 8am to 9am so the focus could be solely on these families,” Luke said.

“We also donated gift bags as a thank you from Rebel for shopping with us, which has a drink bottle and some games for the kids like a hacky sack and some other items.

“There are opportunities for us to support other groups with private shopping experiences for interested organisations,” Luke added.

After shopping at Rebel Sport, Jules headed to Officeworks to collect the back-to-school boxes from store manager, Scott Marlow.

“We’re happy to help Broken Ballerina clients with their book lists again this year, some of the families have three or four kids and we’ve helped 18 children this year,” Scott said.

“Education is one of our key focuses and if we can help these children go to school with everything they need it puts them in the right stead to fit in and achieve academically to make bigger things happen for them.

“We also help the Smith Family throughout the year to assist local children with their school needs. Our back-to-school appeal helps us to fundraise each year to help local children. We hope to sponsor 18 disadvantaged students this year with funds to help them with school supplies, uniforms and school excursions.”

Office works store manager Scott Marlow (left) donated 18 school lists of stationary for clients of Jules and Pete Thompson (centre and right) from Broken Ballerina Inc. Photo credit: Amanda Wright

Pam cook (left) and Jules Thompson (right) help local families with a back-to-school shopping experience at Rebel Sport. Photo credit: Amanda Wright

Rebel Sport provided a private shopping experience for clients of Broken Ballerina to shop for school supplies. Photo credits: Amanda Wright

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The PM’s ‘Flying’ Visit Of Mackay

January 19, 2023

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been criticised for his whirlwind visit to Mackay last week on Wednesday which lasted less than an hour.

In his visit, he met select media in a Mackay pharmacy to speak about the rising cost of living, briefly speaking to some customers afterwards.

“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, right around the world, we're seeing inflation in many countries go to double digits. That's placing real pressure on people's cost of living,” he said.

But Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox said the trip was a ‘photo opportunity’ which would have been better spent reinstating funding for the region’s roads, tackling the regional worker shortage or addressing the recent mental health cuts under the Albanese Government.

“It’s no wonder locals in our neck of the woods say they feel overlooked by the Labor Government when stunts like this happen. Dawson deserves better,” Mr Willcox said.

Some residents took to Facebook to criticise the Prime Minister for the brief visit.

“Once he got past Gympie, he forgot he was in Australia,” wrote one.

Another claimed he spent more time at the cricket and the Woodfolk Folk Festival than in Mackay.

Mr Albanese has been criticised previously for his brief visits, being donned by some as ‘Airbus Albo.’

But local Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert, not seen at the media event, took to social media to thank the Prime Minister for coming to Mackay.

Mr Willcox took aim at the Agriculture Minister’s ‘failure to engage’ with farmers in the Dawson region during his visit.

“Most people would have no idea he was in Dawson because he didn’t do anything. I had hoped that the Minister would speak about the extended crushing season or the struggle for producers to find workers,” Mr Willcox said.

“The Minister should be making every effort to meet with local industry leaders and those on the ground doing the hard yakka to get product to market.

“What good is a Minister for Agriculture who comes along for the ride? Our Ag sector does so much for this country, but it’s taken for granted by Labor.”

Glen Clark, pharmacist at T + C Pharmacy in Mackay met Prime Minister Albanese during the PM’s brief visit to Mackay last week

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It’s Raining Cats And Dogs

January 19, 2023

No cats were seen during this week’s torrential deluge, but Mackay’s faithful police dog, Griffin, was spotted having fun in-between deployments.

Sergeant Nigel Dalton of the Mackay Police said that the rain was fairly normal at this time of the year, but there are still risks to the community posed by flooding and hidden dangers.

“It’s welcomed rain that makes our area stunning for the rest of the year but with all weather events there comes danger if we are not careful and responsible,” Sergeant Dalton said.

“Police over the weekend have had a challenging time and have to react to many different situations quickly with other emergency crews, even our own dog section were out and about helping.”

Dog Squad Sergeant Jacob Bates took photos while Police Dog Griffin was having a rest between deployments.

“Police Dog Griffin noticed flood waters and was soon back in the Police Ute before any danger came by,” Sergeant Dalton said.

“It is important to look after each other when there is flood water around, keep children and pets out of flood water in case hidden dangers approach.

“People and animals can be swept away creating further dangerous situations for rescuers.

“Do not underestimate the ferocity of the flood waters and wet roads.

“If it’s flooded, forget it – even if you are on foot.”

PD Griffin enjoyed down time between deployments to assist with flooding. Photo credits: Dog Squad Sergeant Jacob Bates

Police assisted a car stuck in floodwater near the Victoria Plains Road in North Eton. Photo Credit: Mackay Police

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Dedication To Dairy

January 19, 2023

You might be waiting a little longer this week for your fresh supply of Eungelladale milk, but when stocks are replenished, we recommend buying an extra bottle.

The locally made milk comes from Eungella cows and is pasturised and bottled in Eungella, supplying fresh and creamy milk to Mackay.

When this week’s rain caused devastation to the Eungella Range with flooding and slips, Eungelladale Dairy owner Dale Fortescue showed his dedication to dairy.

Posting on social media, Dale said he and his son walked 1.5 miles up the Eungella Range to get home for milking.

“There are a lot of rocks on the range, it will take a week or so to clear, so shops may be short of Eungelladale milk,” he said.

Dale Fortescue from Eungelladale Dairy climbed 1.5 miles of the Eungella Range to milk his cows after damage to the range prevented vehicle access. Photo credit: Eungelladale Dairy

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Local Economy Set To Dine Out On Future Foods

January 19, 2023

A world-leading Future Foods BioHub in Mackay is a step closer with the Queensland Government partnering with Cauldron, Asia-Pacific’s first large-scale precision fermentation manufacturing launchpad, to develop a business case.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said a future contract manufacturing facility will generate local jobs and play an important role in meeting global demand for food.

“The proposed fermented Future Foods contract manufacturing facility will provide the large-scale fermentation capacity needed by Future Foods fermentation companies to produce their products at scale,” Mr Miles said.

“We made a commitment at the last election to deliver a business case for a BioHub in the Mackay region.

“We are delivering on that commitment by funding up to $528,000 and partnering with Cauldron to get it done.

“The proposed $300 million facility will provide the anchor infrastructure Queensland needs to catalyse a new commercial-scale industry, complement the region’s agricultural and manufacturing strengths, protect existing jobs in the sugar industry, diversify the local economy and create new local jobs.

“Nationally, CSIRO estimates the fermented Future Foods industry could produce close to $1.1 billion worth of retail products and up to 2,020 jobs by 2030.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the Government was prioritising creating a Future Foods BioHub in Mackay.

“Locally, the industry, including the Greater Whitsunday Alliance, have a long-term vision to manufacture bioproducts using the region’s unique strengths, such as its ample biomass feedstock and transport networks and port,” Ms Gilbert said.

“With a Future Foods BioHub that enables this growth and supports the local vision, the Palaszczuk Government and Cauldron are looking to capture these benefits for Queensland.”

Cauldron Founder and CEO Michelle Stansfield said she looked forward to working with the Queensland Government.

“Australia has a unique opportunity to become a regional powerhouse in precision fermentation and unlock future breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine, in combination,” Ms Stansfield said.

“Working hand in hand with regions like Mackay, we will be able to create new jobs and unlock future opportunities to create more food, fibre and feed for the world.

“We commend the Queensland Government for its commitment to help plan the future of our regional jobs, resources and capabilities.”

Fermented foods could become an important industry in the Mackay Region with the announcement of a Future Foods BioHub supported by the Queensland Government

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Driver Dies On Peak Downs Highway

January 19, 2023

A 31-year-old man has died following a single vehicle crash near Nebo earlier this week, on January 16.

The man’s upturned vehicle was located at about 11.20pm Monday evening just off the Peak Downs Highway, around 10kms from the township of Nebo.

The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, a 31-year-old from Nebo, died at the scene.

Investigations by the Forensic Crash Unit are continuing.

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Virtual Rehab Helping Mackay Residents Recover At Home

January 19, 2023

Patients across Central Queensland recovering from heart procedures are now able to access rehabilitation care and monitoring from home, no matter where in the region they live.

Mater Private Hospital Townsville has introduced virtual cardiac rehabilitation services for patients unable to attend face to face sessions due to distance or lack of transport. The virtual rehabilitation includes two video consultations a week with a specialist clinician complemented by a phone application developed by Queensland scientific technology company Cardihab, which tracks patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, steps walked and more.

Mackay resident Sharon Nuttall said the virtual rehabilitation sessions allowed her to recover from home.

“I’m fit and healthy, and exercise regularly – I used to jog 6 km or swim 30 laps, however a coronary calcium scan showed my overall calcium score was well above average and my main artery was 70 per cent blocked,” Ms Nuttall said.

“I was admitted to Mater Private Hospital Townsville and underwent a triple bypass. Following the procedure, staff discussed Mater’s virtual rehabilitation program with me which would allow me to rehabilitate from home rather than having to travel.

“Mater’s virtual cardiac rehabilitation program is a great idea, especially for regional areas of Queensland without ready access to specialist care. I’m still completing my rehabilitation program but am already feeling the difference.”

Mater Private Hospital Townsville Exercise Physiologist Shaun Whiley said prior to the pilot program, participation rates for cardiac rehabilitation in regional areas was low.

“The virtual rehabilitation program began following our Allied Health Manager and I identifying that a large number of cardiac patients from areas outside of Townsville would not adhere to any sort of rehabilitation or care plan until their six week consultation with a cardiologist,” Mr Whiley said. “Rehabilitation is vitally important, not only because research suggests that those who do not rehabilitate following heart procedures have a higher chance of being rehospitalised, but so these people can return to their normal lives: we are from a region where everyone is very physical and social in work, social and family settings.

“Knowing that these sessions have given patients the confidence to return to normal following what can be in many cases very significant procedures is why cardiac rehabilitation is so important.

“Delivering virtual rehabilitation means regional and remote communities do not have to drive two or three hours to access a clinician. Participants to date have been from Mackay, Charters Towers, Ravenshoe and more – if there is anyone who cannot access cardiac rehabilitation in their region, from Mackay up to the Cape and West to the border, Mater is here.”

Mackay Resident Sharon Nuttall (on screen) with Mater Private Hospital Townsville Exercise Physiologist Rachel Armstrong

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Looking After Your Lawn In The Wet Season

January 19, 2023

Wet weather can be a challenge for lawn care, but it's important to take steps to keep your lawn healthy during this time. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that your lawn is properly drained. This means ensuring that there is no standing water on your lawn, as this can lead to mold, fungus, and other problems.

Another key step in keeping your lawn healthy during wet weather is to make sure that it is getting the right amount of fertilisation. This means using a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for use during wet weather. It is also important to apply the fertiliser at the right time, as applying it during periods of heavy rain can wash it away before it can be absorbed by the grass.

In addition to proper drainage and fertilisation, it's also important to mow your lawn at the right height during wet weather. This means cutting your grass to a slightly longer length than normal, as this will help to reduce the amount of damage caused by heavy rain and foot traffic.

Finally, it's important to be mindful of the types of activities you're doing on your lawn during wet weather. Avoid heavy foot traffic, as this can compact the soil and make it more difficult for your lawn to absorb water and nutrients. Also, avoid using heavy equipment, as this can damage the soil and make it more difficult for your lawn to recover.

By following these tips, you'll be able to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant during wet weather, despite the challenges it can present. With a little extra care and attention, you can help ensure that your lawn stays green and beautiful, no matter what the weather has in store.


• When mowing in damp conditions, it's important to keep your mower clean and well-maintained to prevent mould and other issues.

• After mowing, clean the deck and tires with a wire brush and scrape the deck with a putty knife.

• Mow more frequently to prevent tall, wet grass, and raise the mower deck to the highest or second-highest setting.

• If conditions are bad, use side-discharge instead of bagging or mulching.

• Keep your mower blades sharp for a crisp cut and healthy grass.

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Keep Cool In A New Pool

January 19, 2023

With many hot days and nights on the horizon, many homeowners are looking to upgrade their outdoor spaces, and with the rise of stay-at-home work opportunities, backyard pools have become more popular than ever. Here are some of the top pool design trends for 2023 to help you create the ultimate backyard oasis.

• Natural Materials: Bring nature into your everyday life. The use of natural materials such as stone, wood, and plants is becoming increasingly popular in pool design. This not only adds a touch of the sublime to the space but also helps to create a more seamless transition between the pool and the surrounding landscape.

• Negative Edges: Negative edge pools, also known as infinity pools, create the illusion of the water extending out into the horizon. This type of pool design is perfect for those with a view and can help to enhance the overall aesthetic of the space.

• Lighting: Lights, camera (for the poolside selfies) and you have action! In 2023, homeowners are opting for more modern and energy-efficient options such as LED lights. These lights can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet and can change colours to match the mood or occasion.

• Water Features: Water features such as waterfalls and fountains are still as popular as ever, although, have they ever been out of fashion? Not only do they add visual interest to the aesthetic, but they also provide the soothing sound of running water.

• Outdoor Kitchens and Living Spaces: To create the ultimate backyard oasis, many homeowners are opting to include outdoor kitchens and living spaces as part of their pool design. This allows for easy entertaining and extends the living space of the home.

• Sustainable Design: As homeowners become more environmentally conscious, sustainable design is becoming increasingly important in pool design. This includes the use of eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient equipment, and the incorporation of natural filtration systems.

Pool design trends for 2023 are all about creating an outdoor living space that seamlessly integrates with nature, while still being modern and energy-efficient. With the right design, you can create the ultimate backyard oasis that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

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Kitchen Innovation Trends For 2023

January 19, 2023

In 2023 we are embarking on a journey of some exciting new trends that we will be seeing in our homes. There are so many to share with you, so we will break them down over the next few articles, and this year it’s all about personalization. What better place to kick off the new year than the central hub of the home, the kitchen.

Our kitchens are such an important space as they not only provide functionality, but they also provide a zone to share socially with family and friends where lifetime memories are created. It’s also the area which can be the most expensive to remodel or design from scratch although can add significant value to your home so can be well worth it.

The kitchen should be a place that truly showcases your personality, filled with all the things that are important to you and your family.

Today we are sharing some exciting new kitchen innovation designs that not only look stunning but also make our lives easier in many ways.

Gone are the days of walking into a kitchen and seeing large appliances everywhere which are usually in stainless or metal materials. These items perform an important function in our homes although do we have to see them so dominantly? The answer is no.

Integrated fridges create a seamless uninterrupted flow in the kitchen design and who doesn’t like a secret door?  They look neat and tidy and with innovation progressing at light speed we are now also seeing models which have water stations either internally or recessed into the cabinetry which are easily accessible.

We all love our furry friends so why not embrace a practical and thoughtful trend of incorporating feeding and watering stations into our kitchens. Gone are the days of bowls strewn through the home, this way it’s all neat and tidy and everything is at your fingertips. You may also wish to install a motion censored feeder.

In kitchen sink designs we are seeing other materials being used instead of the boring stainless steel or metal. We are seeing marble, granite, or enamel in stunning colours which just pop. New designs are countersunk and seamless just like an inground swimming pool. If you feel like splurging a little, we are also seeing automating disappearing sinks in stone, metal and ceramic, which are not only very cool in operation, they also provide further bench space.

Are you sick of seeing that massive stainless steel rangehood which never seems perfectly polished, or that ugly pull-out exhaust? We are seeing two innovative design solutions coming through in 2023. Firstly, we are seeing fully integrated exhausts that you no longer pull which sit flush under the cabinetry. Free standing exhausts are now being made a feature which feel like they are an intentional part of the kitchen design by tiling them, or you can make them become an independent feature if you wish in a contrasting colour or material like reclaimed timber.

Cooktops have evolved significantly to not only look cohesively beautiful but to be so much more practical in providing further bench space when not in use, like the invisible induction cooktop or if you are a gas loving cook why not opt for the new integrating burners which have granite or marble surrounds flowing from the benchtops instead of sitting on a piece of black ceramic or glass.

If you would like to design, re model or cosmetically spruce up your kitchen contact Tracey from Style Central Home for a complimentary initial consultation.

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My First Yoga Experience

January 19, 2023

By Sam Gillespie

I recently visited Bali over the new year’s period and, while some cocktails were consumed, the latter half of my trip was spent in the quieter area of Ubud, a town surrounded by rainforest and rice paddies known for its traditional crafts and dance.

It was in Ubud that I tried yoga for the first time, as the rain pitter-pattered on the shelter at our villa, overlooking rice fields of a lush green.

I know that I lack flexibility and strength – I struggle to even cross my legs, giving me a disadvantage from the start – and this experience truly highlighted that, but it also highlighted how frequently practising yoga can improve these abilities.

It was through poses like Downward Facing Dog, Warrior poses, Extended Side Angle and my feeble yet spirited attempts at more difficult poses like Forearm Stands and Formidable Face Poses that I realised the glaring benefits of yoga.

Our friendly and flexible instructor, Ambara, guided us through these poses with grace and encouragement, his movements a testament to how yoga can improve one’s body.

Physical benefits of yoga can include increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance and protection from injury.

Similarly, there is a meditation and breathing element to yoga that can help improve one’s mental wellbeing.

The calming effects of yoga were amplified by my setting, with regular yoga practice creating mental clarity and calmness, increased body awareness and a state of relaxation.

I worked up a far bigger sweat than I was expecting, giving my upper body the most intense workout I’m sure it’s received in a long time.

It was an eye-opening experience and one that has inspired me to take up yoga more regularly, with the innumerable benefits all things I could do with more in my life.

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Trying To Conceive?

January 19, 2023

Healthy New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. But if you’ve decided 2023 is the year to start trying to conceive, there’s a few things that should be on your pre-pregnancy check list.

We chat to Dr Naguesh Gaunekar, fertility specialist at Queensland Fertility Group’s Mackay clinic as he shares health, diet and lifestyle advice, to help increase your chances of getting pregnant.

“If you’re planning to conceive, nutrition plays an important role, in both men and women. Where you can, natural real food is best,” said Dr Gaunekar.

“Eat lots of vegetables and fibre, fish, legumes and olive oil. Steer clear of processed foods, to avoid added sugar and salt, and aim for ample protein.

“In fact, Mediterranean foods are good choices; they have plenty of good fats like omega-3, and antioxidants to help promote a healthy gut microbiome.

“Anti-inflammatory foods can actually help balance your hormones and play a role in keeping a woman’s cycle and ovulation healthy.

Dr Gaunekar explains that traditionally, the overall burden of fertility health has historically fallen onto women, when in fact men account for half of the fertility equation.

“One in six couples experience fertility problems, and male-related infertility contributes to 50% of couples who are struggling to conceive.

“Luckily there are many things a man can do to improve his sperm health; by improving lifestyle factors, eating healthily, avoiding alcohol, and stopping smoking.

“It’s important both partners are in optimal health before trying to conceive; and it pays to know that sperm production actually takes about three months.

“So for men, you’ll need to plan ahead when you want to conceive as the sperm you are producing today was actually made six weeks ago,” said Dr Gaunekar.

Having healthy sperm not only increases your chances of achieving a pregnancy faster, but it can actually help improve the health of your future child.

There’s also a growing body of evidence that fertility health can be negatively impacted by certain chemicals found in our environment, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Dr Gaunekar advises washing fruit and vegetables thoroughly, as they may have been exposed to pesticides.

“Use paraben-free personal products such as shampoos, conditioners and soaps. Avoid plastic bottles, which keeps you away from chemicals like Bisphenols, including BPA – use a stainless-steel water bottle instead,” said Dr Gaunekar.

To really boost your pre-pregnancy planning, visit a fertility specialist which can conduct simple fertility tests to find out what’s happening, explore all your options and help you fall pregnant sooner.

Queensland Fertility Group is also launching a new ‘Before Baby’ program to help you feel empowered as you start your journey to parenthood. It’s a free four-week pre-pregnancy guide sent via email each week, covering everything fertility, fitness, relationships, nutrition, plus lots of bonus content. To sign up visit

Pre-pregnancy check list

● For women - take 0.5mg folic acid supplements daily

● Aim for a healthy diet and BMI

● Moderate exercise

● Quit alcohol, smoking and reduce caffeine

Dr Naguesh Gaunekar encourages couples trying to conceive to eat a healthy diet with natural food

Dr Naguesh Gaunekar

Trying to conceive can be a stressful time for couples. Dr Naguesh Gaunekar at Queensland Fertility Group offers local solutions in Mackay to give couples options in their fertility journey

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Boosting Recovery After Athletic Performance

January 19, 2023

You’ve managed to stick to your New Year’s resolution of getting fit to live your best life, but after a few weeks of the grind, you may be wondering how to ease those aching muscles to enable you to keep training.

Proper muscle recovery is essential to help you move better and reach your performance goals. There is a plethora of alternative treatments and therapies available, here are just a few suggestions to keep you on the move.


Hot tub therapy is a great way to warm up your muscles before a workout. It is recommended that athletes spend 10-15 minutes in the hot tub before their normal workout routine. This helps increase blood flow to the muscles, improves conduction of the nervous system, and increases heart rate while decreasing blood pressure. The hot tub can also be used as a recovery tool after a workout to promote muscle relaxation and improved rest. Athletes should spend 10-25 minutes in the hot tub to unwind after an intense workout.


Cold tub therapy, also known as cold water immersion, is most used as a “cool down” recovery modality. It is recommended that athletes spend at least 7-12 minutes in the cold tub. This helps reduce muscle soreness, inflammation, and muscle damage. Cold tub therapy may not be as comfortable as time in the hot tub, but the benefits are worth it.


Cupping therapy is a non-invasive, low-cost form of therapy used to promote natural body healing. It is a form of acupuncture that involves lighting a flammable liquid inside a cup which is then placed on sore muscles for five to 10 minutes, creating a vacuum-like environment to promote blood flow, stimulate muscle activity, and decrease inflammation. However, the treatment can result in bruising and there is "very limited scientific evidence" to support its effectiveness.


Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is a treatment that exposes the body to extremely low temperatures between -200 to -300 degrees Fahrenheit to treat chronic joint pain, anxiety, weight gain, migraines, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease. The treatment lasts between two to four minutes and involves liquid nitrogen, either in a single chamber where the person's torso and legs are confined but their head is exposed or a small room where several people can sit or stand.

As with any alternative therapy, please consult your doctor before trying new treatments.

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CANEGROWERS Mackay Welcomes Our Region’s Biofuture

January 19, 2023

CANEGROWERS Mackay Chairman Kevin Borg has welcomed Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles announcement on Monday of significant developments for the Mackay region’s emerging biofutures economy. (More on page 7).

The Deputy Premier has announced a partnership with Cauldron Asia-Pacific’s first large-scale precision fermentation manufacturing launchpad, to develop a business case working towards a contract manufacturing facility for Future Foods, as well as Queensland Government funding to expand the QUT Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant

Mr Borg said the developments were a welcome and exciting step towards a strong and diversified sugar industry.

“The Mackay region has a strong and highly productive sugar industry, and we are in the box seat to meet the needs of any emerging technologies and industries that will strengthen and diversify our economy,” he said.

“When looking to renewable resources in Queensland – whether for Future Foods, fibres or fuels - sugar is an obvious choice. It makes sense to build on the sturdy economic base that sugar offers in the Mackay Region.”

“CANEGROWERS Mackay elected representatives and management have been working towards the realisation of this for our growers through the development of the Sugar Plus Industry Roadmap, and through the Mackay Biofutures Leaders Working Group.

“We look forward to the opportunity to work with industry, adding value for all involved from paddock to port.”

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January 19, 2023

The 2022 Harvest has wound up, with Plane Creek and Mackay Sugar milling districts now both crushed out, despite a plan to push hard into January.

No doubt about it, the 2022 Harvest has presented challenges and lessons for growers and millers alike.

While we have been graced with the silver lining of sugar prices maintaining an unprecedented high right across the season, we have battled issues and delays brought about by unseasonal rain during harvest, mill under-performance, and high costs for fuel and fertiliser This all ran counter to what was a bumper crop, and a crop that dramatically increased over winter with the influence of wet weather.

The rain and some warmer temps meant the plants energy was often going into growth and not sugar production: CCS (sugar content) was down throughout the season, with cane quality sharply declining mid-December, as would be expected. Science shows the optimal crush finish time is the second week of November, for sugar content and ratooning of the plant.

It meant that there was a lot of lost opportunity in the 2022 harvest, so it is to be hoped that we learn from these as we move into 2023, because that too looks as though it will be a big crop. There remains quite a bit of standover cane from the 2022 harvest, and the ratoon cane cut early in the harvest is already looking great for 2023.

Plane Creek Mill crushed out for the season in the small hours of Saturday, January 7. Across the 2022 harvest, the mill has processed 1.49 million tonnes, its largest throughput since 1999. The final season CCS was 12.8 units- and that low figure tells the lost opportunity for growers and for millers. Working from crop estimates, there will be over 150,000 tonnes of standover in the Plane Creek mill area.

In Mackay milling district, where crop estimates have leapt by 800,000T to 5.9Mt from initial season estimates of 5.1Mt. As of January 12, there remained a massive 370,000t still in paddock. Crushing ceased at midnight on January 13, following extremely heavy rainfalls across the district damaging the rail network and saturating paddocks, rendering harvesting and supply to mill impossible.

CANEGROWERS Mackay representatives have maintained a strong voice on behalf of growers in meetings with millers, taking arising issues to the highest levels of management.

It is clear that 2022’s climate pattern of winter rain and warmer temperatures had an impact on the way cane crops developed, particularly when talking about timing and growth. There is a clear need to learn from this, and be ready to take full advantage of time available to harvest and process cane whenever we can across the winter months. This requires an industry-wide effort of co-operation – by growers and millers - to see our crops off efficiently and maintain profitability for all parties.

On the safety front, it has been excellent to see that there were no road incidents related to harvest vehicles over the Christmas Heavy Vehicle Curfew period. CANEGROWERS Mackay ran community safety messaging and ensured relevant harvest contractor members were supported in gaining permits. We thank the community for their understanding, patience and care, and also growers and harvest contractors for their diligence through the busy festive season.


Finalday of the 2022-23 crush at Racecourse Mill. Picture: Contributed

 Duckscalled it on Friday, January 13

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Wet End To Season Crush

January 19, 2023

Mackay Sugar last week called an end to its 2022 crushing season, with all three mills – Farleigh, Racecourse and Marian – crushing out of sugar cane by midnight last Friday.

The decision to call an end to the season follows recent heavy rainfall across the region, which has left sizable sections of railway track damaged, bins and locos stranded, and cane paddocks waterlogged and unable to be harvested.

“Our people have worked tirelessly to see 94 per cent of the total crop harvested and processed this season, but we have made the decision to stop crushing as the safety of our cane supply, rail infrastructure and harvest teams is our priority,” said Carl Morton, Mackay Sugar General Manager Operations.

“The season has also extended several weeks beyond our initial predicted finish date due to early season rain, mill performance issues and a 13 per cent increase in crop size, so I know our workforce, growers and harvesters are all looking forward to a well-earned break,” he said.

Whilst official numbers weren’t available at time of print, Mackay Sugar’s initial season summary reports a total 5.54Mt of cane crushed over the 31-week period, producing more than 664,000 tonnes of raw sugar.

Mackay Sugar also generated approximately 121,080 MWh of renewable electricity throughout the crushing season via its cogeneration facility, with some 89,340 MWh of that being exported into the national grid and supplying local Mackay households.

“That said, the season presented more challenges than expected, however we have prioritised the key performance issues that impacted the 2022 crush and have plans in place to address these,” explained Mr Morton.

“We commenced detailed planning for our maintenance period several months ago, and as a result we are ready and equipped for the upcoming maintenance season despite the ongoing challenges arising from the tight labour market that we continue to manage and deal with,” he said.

“As part of our ongoing continuous improvement focus, we have identified improvement opportunities in maintenance and operations which we have prioritised leading into the 2023 season.

“This year our crews have already been working on the maintenance program with split rosters to ensure we work on critical path jobs and we know we have a lot of work to do to see another successful crop crushed in 2023,” Mr Morton said.

“We are very proud to have a truly dedicated workforce who will work extended hours over the maintenance season and we acknowledge the people who have moved their planned leave to ensure critical path jobs are prioritised so that we have a timely commissioning and start to 2023 crush,” he said.

The rain event halted the 2022 crushing season. Photo credit: Bureau of Meteorology

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Bente And Bente: A Coincidental Friendship

January 19, 2023

In the waiting room of a Mackay doctor’s surgery in the early 1990s, a GP called the name of his next patient, Bente, pronounced “Benta”.

When two women who shared the name responded, a decades-long friendship began.

The women, Bente McDonald and Bente Christensen, spent the next few minutes conversing in their native Danish, much to the amusement of the waiting doctor.

They discoverIn the waiting room of a Mackay doctor’s surgery in the early 1990s, a GP called the name of his next patient, Bente, pronounced “Benta”.

When two women who shared the name responded, a decades-long friendship began.

The women, Bente McDonald and Bente Christensen, spent the next few minutes conversing in their native Danish, much to the amusement of the waiting doctor.

They discovered that they were both born four months apart and, as children, lived in the same town of Hareskov, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark.

It wasn’t until that chance meeting on the other side of the world that the beautiful friendship flourished, with the pair agreeing that they were commonly confused for one another.

Bente McDonald’s family migrated from Denmark to Mackay when she was 12 years old.

She now lives in Walkerston, where she worked as Walkerston Library Coordinator for 32 years before retiring in 2017, the year both women celebrated their 70th birthdays.

Ms McDonald’s passion for literature continues to this day through her involvement in Walkerston Rotary's Little Libraries, erecting ten little libraries in the beautiful front gardens of Walkerston and surrounds over the past four years.

Bente Christensen came to the area later, migrating to Australia in 1972 with her husband at the time.

After living in Ipswich and Glenden, they moved to the Mackay region in 1991 as Ms Christensen wanted to concentrate on her ceramics and establish a gallery in Mackay.

They moved into the old general store in North Eton where Ms Christensen opened the North Eton Pottery Store and Gallery, the chance for a coffee and chat just as alluring to friends and customers as her bright, practical pottery.

The North Eton store was the first property Ms Christensen inspected, saying she fell in love with the area on sight.

“The valley quite reminds me of Denmark in one sense,” Ms Christensen said in 1993.

“You go a little way and there’s one little town, go again and there’s another town and, if you visualise the cane as wheat, it’s very similar.”

Ms Christensen sold the store around 20 years ago, moving to Mackay and continuing her creative pursuits in the way of silk screening projects and photography.

Sadly, Ms Christensen passed away in November 2022.

Ms McDonald was in Denmark at the time, where she regularly visits her two children and grandchildren who now live there.

She joined the funeral via a live stream and returned for a moving Scattering of the Ashes Ceremony held at a later date.

“I don't think my brain has, even now, caught up with the fact that Bente is no longer here to get together with and have a good old conversation with, in both of our languages,” said Ms McDonald.

“It is immensely sad not to have my funny, crazy, very clever friend, and namesake, around anymore.

“I am sure the lovely Bente Christensen would also have had a big smile, wherever in the universe she may be.”

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A Helping Hand From Walkerston Rotary In Cambodia

January 19, 2023

Last year, Walkerston Rotary Club member Col Baldock joined Rockhampton Fitzroy Rotary club members, other Rotarians and non-Rotarians for a ten-day trip to Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and Siem Reap regions.

The Rocky Fitzroy club has several projects going on in these areas, building schools, establishing water wells to supply water for a handful of residences; and also educating and supplying birthing kits and delivering sanitary kits for women and girls, supplied by Walkerston Rotary’s affiliated group Mackay Days for Girls. Donations-in-kind such as repurposed stretchers and first aid kits were also presented.

A stand-out event was the Rotarian volunteers who delivered and fitted the Helping Hands prosthetics which have been produced for landmine victims in Cambodia, as well as Sri Lanka, Kenya and Laos.

A short but extremely interesting tour of the local area was also presented as part of the visit. Vision Cambodia coordinates this project.

As a result of Col Baldock’s promotion of his visit to Cambodia, the Rotary Club of Walkerston has donated financial support to the Vision Cambodia Organization to assist with building schools and water wells in rural areas of Cambodia (RAOAF).

The next Cambodia trip, to assist with this project, is planned for April 2023.

Col Baldock in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Fitting a Helping Hand prosthetic

Installing a water well

Rotary members in Cambodia

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Get Your Name On A Future Sporting Legacy

January 19, 2023

The time has nearly come for the Great Barrier Reef Arena (GBRA) to officially open!

With the launch of Mackay’s own world-class sport, entertainment and leisure destination, there’s a chance for you to be a part of history.

Harrup Park have just released exclusive GBRA Foundation Memberships. This includes a 25-year membership to the club, a GBRA foundation members card, along with an engraved plaque with your name on it to be installed on a stadium chair.

General Manager, Adrian Young mentioned, “the opportunity to become a foundation member only happens once in a lifetime, the Arena is a great asset for the Mackay region and we can’t wait to share what we have in store over the next few years.”

Australian Cricket Legend, Michael Kasprowicz has been working with the GBRA team to develop new opportunities for the Arena and region. Kasprowicz believes, “with the Great Barrier Reef Arena’s state of the art facilities, it gives Mackay the ability to host cricket at any level, and it’s very exciting for a centre such as Mackay.”

Adrian Young stated, “without the ongoing support of the community, the GBRA wouldn’t have been possible.

“We wanted plaques on the chairs as a reminder of why this project started in the first place.”

To get your own piece of the Great Barrier Reef Arena, you can purchase your Foundation Membership here,

Australian Cricket Legend, Michael Kasprowicz and Harrup Park General Manager Adrian Young

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Well, It’s Come Down To This…

January 19, 2023

Friday January 20 is my last official day of holidays, and I must now return to work on Monday, and yes, the kids must return to school too! Ha-ha!

Let’s just say I’ve had a great couple of weeks off exploring Mackay and the Whitsundays. I’ve been up to Airlie, stayed in a tent at Eungella (before the big wet), drank way too much coffee at home while eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, after sleeping in.

I’ve even taken a quick trip down to Sydney to spend a week with Dad. He’s had a difficult 18 months since Mum left us, so it was good to spend some quality time with him. We watched a bit of cricket together, took a drive up to Lithgow to say hello to Mum, and we also ate way too much, but hey, that’s holidays right?

I reckon if I weighed myself today, I would have put on a few kilos over the holidays for sure.

Are you in the same situation? Ate too much but haven’t done the extra exercise to lose it?

I guess you may see it with the numbers on the floor scales, but I want to ask, does it really matter? Does the number matter?

I reckon if you look at yourself in front of the mirror in the bedroom, do you like what you see? If it’s a yes, stuff the number. If it’s a no, well, change something. Simples.

I look at myself in the mirror every day in South Mackay and I giggle when I see myself. I laugh because, well why wouldn't you when your head looks like a smashed crab caught in Cremorne.

With the return of work on Monday and a new year of fun on the radio, comes heaps of new and exciting things to do and play with. I’m sure I’ll get to play plenty of music, have a few laughs and most importantly find out from you what makes your life tick.

That’s why I love what I do.

I wish you and yours a fabulous 2023 and all that comes with it.

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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Community Grant Funding Is Now Open

January 19, 2023

Firstly, before I begin my column, I would like to take this opportunity to wish our residents a most wonderful new year.  My hope for all is for 2023 to be filled with new opportunities, new goals, new dreams, and successes.

One of the most rewarding areas of my role as a councillor, is being involved in local government committees that benefit our community.

One of those committees I am proud to be involved in is the Community Grants Assessment Committee.  These grants assist local, not-for-profit community groups/and or volunteers of organisations who make positive contributions to the quality of life for people within their community, an opportunity to provide better facilities or equipment which they could not otherwise afford.

During my term so far, we have allocated funds to local sporting and community clubs and groups for requests as diverse as ride-on mowers, defibrillators, computerware, to upgrades of facilities to assist with the elderly (disability toilets), extensions and renovations.

Councillors have received invitations to visit these organisations on completion of their projects, and there is certainly a feeling of pride to realize the small role you played in the process of providing a positive outcome for these often-small not-for-profit organisations.

Categories available are as follows:

● Small Equipment Grant – up to $1,500

● Community Grant - up to $7,500

● Minor Asset Grant Category - up to $30,000

● Minor Infrastructure Grant Category - up to $30,000

If you are a not-for-profit organisation and require funding to assist with your project, I encourage you to visit the following website, which will provide you with the Grant Application Form, Grant Guidelines and the Community Grants Help Guide:

If you have any further questions regarding the application process or guidelines, please contact council on 1300 MACKAY (622 529) during business hours or email

Applications are now open for the first round for 2023 and will close at midnight, February 3.

Good luck and I wish you every success in your application.

Cr Pauline Townsend

Mackay Regional Council

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January 19, 2023

Kath and Kim Drag Bingo is coming to the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre Friday, February 17th 2023 - hosted by Sydney Drag Queen’s foxiest morons: Prada Clutch and Conchita Grande.

Prada and Conchita have been touring New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory with their Kath and Kim themed drag bingo playing to full houses of fanatical Kath and Kim fans – and now they’re enroute to Mackay!

“We started touring just as COVID-19 hit our shores. The pandemic changed our plans slightly but despite this we’ve been touring the show since 2020.” Prada says.

One thousand dollars cash and prizes are given away each night whilst punters play absolutely hilarious games of drag bingo that you would expect to hear on the main stage at Westfield Fountain Gate.

“Come along dressed as your favourite Kath and Kim character to win our fancy dress prize – who knows you may even go home with our major $1,000 cash prize!” Prada says.

As well as hosting Kath and Kim themed drag bingo Prada and Conchita perform to Kath and Kim favourites that you know and love.

“Performing the chart-topping hit as seen on TV at The Logies, is definitely a highlight of the night.” Prada says.

If you’re looking for a fun night out that will leave you in stitches and maybe even a little more effluent, then this is the show for you, Hornbags!

What: Sydney Drag Queen presents Kath & Kim Drag Bingo

When: Friday 17 February, 8pm

Where: MECC Auditorium


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RSL Farleigh And Northern Beaches Sub Branch Meeting

January 19, 2023

The RSL Farleigh and Northern Beaches Sub Branch will hold its monthly meeting next Wednesday, January 25 at the Northern Beaches Bowls Club, commencing at 6:30pm.

Sub Branch President Cameron Dorward said the Sub Branch is always looking for new members.

“Younger veterans have got different needs and we need a transgression of younger members to take it on and keep it going for the next 100 years,” he said.

“The reason the organisation has survived so long is because of the ongoing commitment of service personnel and we need to keep that going.”

Contact Mr Dorward on 0488 425 557 or email Ruth Wickham at for more information.

Caring for our Defence Family.

WHAT: RSL Farleigh and Northern Beaches Sub Branch Meeting

WHERE: Northern Beaches Bowls Club

WHEN: Wednesday, January 25 at 6:30pm

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Real Aussie Spirit At The Ambassador

January 19, 2023

The Ambassador Hotel is a stunning entertainment venue in Mackay, renowned for its fascinating historical background. Hosting a variety of special events such as outside festivals, parties and celebrations, corporate events and charity fundraisers, the Ambassador is sure to create an unforgettable experience this Australia Day Eve.

On Wednesday 25th Jan from 6 pm, MOJO Rooftop Bar at the Ambassador, will be opened to showcase the real Aussie spirit. Everyone is welcome to come wearing their best Australia Day outfit, bikinis and boardies included, to indulge in Smirnoff Slushies and traditional Aussie snacks like meat pies and sausage rolls. Adding to the Aussie-style celebration, DJ Funky will be on the decks pumping out tunes from 7pm. And since Thursday is a public holiday, why not kickstart the weekend a little early?

Mackay's only rooftop bar, MOJO, promises the perfect evening out with stunning views of the Pioneer River and a vibrant atmosphere. Open every Friday and Saturday, MOJO offers top-notch service and an extensive selection of cocktails. The tranquil evening bar transitions into party central as the lights dim down and the DJ music commences. MOJO is the crown jewel of the Ambassador Hotel and is the perfect destination for a night out special event or celebration.

The Ambassador offers two other entertainment venues which can be found on the lower level of the hotel. LUSH function room and G's Bar, bursting with personality, are an ideal place for a range of events from hens, bucks and birthday celebrations to comedy nights and office parties, tailored to suit all demographics and planners. Both venues can be privately hired for any day of the week.

Everyone is invited to come and celebrate Australia Day Eve on Wednesday, 25th of January at the Ambassador Hotel starting from 6pm. For function or event enquiries, email or phone 4957 7522.

On Australia Day Eve enjoy cocktails from Mojo’s rooftop bar

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Come And Try Bridge

January 19, 2023

Wet weather provides a perfect excuse for a game of cards and Mackay Contract Bridge Club are inviting visitors to come and learn the game of bridge on Australia Day.

While members will be playing their regular bridge, the Come and Try Day invites guests to come and watch, learn how the game is played and even pick up some cards and have a go.

Joy Block and her husband have been playing bridge for two years and still consider themselves beginners, saying the club has been very welcoming.

“It’s very challenging, it keeps your mind going,” Ms Block said.

“We’re a very friendly club, lots of lovely people there.

“If you love cards, you’ll just love bridge, but it is challenging, it’s not an easy game, you have to be persistent.”

People of all ages are welcome to participate, with the club’s youngest member being 10 years old.

“It probably helps if you’ve played cards of some description before, but you don’t need to have any specific knowledge because it’s different to any game that anybody’s probably played,” Ms Block said.

A free morning tea and sausage sizzle will also be on offer thanks to sponsorship from the Mackay Regional Council.

For more information, email or call Anne on 0439 436 533.

WHAT: Mackay Contract Bridge Club Come and Try Day

WHERE: 414 Shakespeare Street, West Mackay

WHEN: Thursday, January 26 from 10:00am to 2:00pm

Mackay Contract Bridge Club invites visitors to come and try bridge this Australia Day

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You Can Teach Teens NEW TRICKS

January 12, 2023

Caption: Teen Shed Mackay members enjoyed a day at Wake House Australia. Photo credit: Photos by Nell

Offering a safe space for all teens to socialise, Teen Shed Mackay is proving that you can get teenagers outdoors and teach them new tricks.

Their latest excursion was to Wake Park Australia in Andergrove, where teens from roughly 12 to 18 could meet new friends and challenge themselves to the skill of wakeboarding.

Teen Shed Founder Lisa Versaci said Teen Shed’s mission is to help teenagers lead healthy, happy and safe lives.

“We want to create a space where we can empower and nurture teenagers, support and guide them, listen to and enjoy them,” Lisa said.

“Our goal is to reach as many local teenagers as possible, to inspire them to reach their full potential through peer-inspired environments, social inclusion and relationships.

“The reason why we do what we do is I got tired of hearing teenagers complain about living in Mackay saying there’s nothing to do, when there is so much to challenge them. They just need that guidance and inspiration, so our activities are age-appropriate and provide the fun and challenge they are craving.”

Inspiring The Next Generation To Do More

Caption: Teen Shed Mackay enjoyed a day of friendships and challenges at Wake House Australia as part of the group’s regular outings. Photo credit: Photos by Nell

Teen Shed Mackay is an inclusive space for all teenagers to meet and mingle, with no prerequisites on who can and can’t join in on the group’s activities.

Lisa Versaci said it’s simply a place where teenagers can have a voice, grow through self-discovery and lead enriching lives through a number of community-inspired activities.

“We want to work with our local community to provide personal development skills for our teenagers to survive and thrive throughout the teenage years,” she said.

“To raise awareness around teen issues and format strategies which can be applied to improve their development, life skills, health and wellbeing.

“Also to increase the positive representation teens have within the community by participating in fundraising, volunteer and community activities.”

Recently members of Teen Shed Mackay have been making sleeping mats for homeless people by recycling plastic bags. The group also regularly cook breakfast at Orange Sky for the homeless, they volunteer at Run 4 Mi Life by handing out water bottles throughout the event and volunteer at Rumble on the Reef.

“The kids really want to be an important part of the community and volunteer more, so any event or organisation is welcome to reach out,” Lisa said.

As well as volunteering opportunities, Teen Shed members enjoy a varied range of activities, from outdoor adventure to art and craft, catering for all teen personality types.

“Activities are constantly changing but will include discos, movie and karaoke nights, reading groups and craft sessions, cooking sessions and training skills. We are hoping to make the Wake House day a regular outing as well as the Ninja Hub,” Lisa said.

There are sponsorship opportunities for businesses looking to support our local teenagers, keep an eye on the Teen Shed Mackay Facebook page for more information, or email Lisa at

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Embrace The Chase

January 12, 2023

A generous donation to the Neighbourhood Hub was more than enough for Brent Stephenson to be nominated for this week’s Good Deed Feed, but this generous local with a passion for fishing went one step further just before Christmas.

Through his fishing apparel brand, Mudskippa, members of Mackay’s fishing community donated their second-hand fishing gear as part of Mudskippa’s ‘Combos4Kids Mackay’ initiative.

A range of gear was donated to the Neighbourhood Hub to give less fortunate children the opportunity to go fishing.

On top of this initiative, Brent donated a fishing charter and Tackle World gift vouchers to those in need.

He had been donated a full-day fishing charter for two people, which he wanted to gift as a Christmas present to someone who was genuinely struggling. He also purchased four Tackle World gift cards to give to four more people who may need a Christmas gift for their child.

His generosity was posted on the Mackay Noticeboard on Facebook on Christmas Eve, a kind gesture which no doubt made Christmas a little brighter for in-need Mackay families.

If you’re passionate about fishing, Mudskippa is more than a brand, it’s a community. Check it out at

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Editor's Note

January 12, 2023

Seeing the list of nominees in this year’s Australia Day Awards was a jaw-dropping moment.

As I scrolled through the pages and pages of names, I saw many people I recognised, and many people who were nominated more than once or in multiple categories. But it was the sheer number of overall nominees that left me with a feeling of awe and respect for our community.

Most of these people go about their day with little pomp or praise. They do what they do because they have a genuine passion for what they do, and go out of their way to help others.

I read a negative comment online with a resident asking why council didn’t concentrate on ‘more important things’, and I thought to myself, what could be more important than recognising the people who go above and beyond in our community? They are the very people who promote change, they speak up for others, they push for improvement, they help people in need, they represent our town on international stages. They are the pieces of fabric that come together to make a diverse tapestry of culture and care for the region.

We have a full list of the 2023 Australia Day award nominees on page 11 of this edition.

I don’t know about you, but if it means I have to put up with a pothole or two in order for these people to be thanked, I’ll take the bumpy road any day.


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Even In Opposition We Can Achieve For Our Regions

January 12, 2023

Happy New Year!  

I hope everyone has had a fantastic time over the festive season and if you are lucky enough to still be on holiday, please stay safe and enjoy your well-earned break.

2022 was a big year.

The start of the year saw our borders reopen and families reuniting at long last. It was the year that we farewelled our beloved Queen Elizabeth II and welcomed our new King Charles III to the throne. In 2022 our mighty NQ Cowboys came so close to the premiership. Fingers crossed that the silverware falls into the right hands in 2023.  

Of course, it was also the year our nation’s political leadership changed. I respect peoples’ choice to elect a Labor Government under Albanese, however I have significant concerns about the direction that Labor is leading us.

The Dawson region punches well above its weight in terms of tourism, agriculture and mining. Our resources sector, made up of our hardworking men and women, contributes in droves to the wealth and prosperity of our nation, keeping our lights on and our businesses running.

In the last days of 2022, Federal Labor introduced price caps to our coal and gas supply. History has shown that this jeopardises supply, jobs and businesses, and discourages investment. It’s not good news. This issue is squarely in my sights, and I will continue to hold the Government to account on their promise of cheaper (and reliable) energy for all Australians.

In 2022, the previous Liberal National Government committed to key projects being delivered locally including $5 million set aside for veterans’ wellness, including a new RSL for Mackay.

It was disappointing when Labor revealed they were canning projects from across our region. But it’s not game over. I will continue to put pressure on the Government to fund these much-needed services across Dawson.

Speaking of pressure, when Labor turned their back on the north through the abolishment of the Northern Australia Committee, along with my Coalition colleagues, I made a racket of this disgraceful decision. Within a week, it was reinstated. I am proud to be on this committee, which works to ensure the north gets a fairer share of government spending.

Another win for our region includes the Coalition’s Ag Visa agreement with Vietnam being honoured. This shows even in opposition we can achieve for our regions.

I’m 100 per cent committed to growing a stronger future for Dawson. There is a lot of hard work ahead but none I will shy away from.

As your Federal Member for Dawson, I want to hear from you about your ideas and insights for our region. I’m here to take your voice to Canberra and fight for our great region.  

Member For Dawson Andrew Willcox

Andrew Willcox’s office is at Level 2/45 Victoria Street, Mackay. His office is contactable on 4944 0662 or via email at

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Crime Watch

January 12, 2023


Between 11pm on January 9 and 6:30am January 10 a home on Treloar Place in Marian has been broken into leading to the theft of a car.

Entry was gained into the home after damage was sustained to the two front doors.

Once inside the intruder has located and stolen a set of car keys. These keys were used to steal a car which was parked in the home driveway.

The stolen car is a gold/brown coloured 2018 model Nissan Navara dual cab, registration number 519 FX4 (nil image available to share)

Two large tyres are fitted to the rear of the stolen car.

Anyone who might have information about the current location of the Nissan Navara or the offence itself is encouraged to contact police as soon as possible.

Refer to police report number QP2300052109.

Police again urge vehicle owners to consider storing their car keys in secure and out of sight locations within the home as thieves continue to show interest in seeking them out.


The secured door of a workshop on Braeside Road in Nebo has been forced open with an implement, resulting in damage to the locking mechanisms.

This happened between 4pm on January 7 and 4:30pm on January 8.

The intruder has stolen several Milwaukee commercial tools and batteries from a shelf inside the workshop.

Anyone who may have information about either the current location of the stolen items or the offence itself is encouraged to contact police as soon as possible.

Police report number QP2300045622 refers.


A 37-year-old resident of Sarina has been stopped by police for an alleged speeding incident in a Toyota landcruiser at about 10:25am January 5 on Fitzroy Developmental Road in Middlemount.

The alleged speed was 142 kilometres an hour in a 100 kilometre an hour speed zone (42 kilometres above the posted speed limit).

Police have issued the driver with an on the spot fine of $1,653 and the loss of 8 demerit points.

Police will continue to perform speed enforcement patrols across the Mackay police district and are encouraging all drivers to work towards keeping roads as safe as possible in 2023.


Someone has gained entry into a home on Leslie Drive, Moranbah via an unlocked door.

Once inside, the intruder has spray painted a wall and a bench. Some contents were disturbed and thrown onto the floor also. Nothing has been confirmed as stolen at this time.

Entry was gained between 12am on January 3 and 10am on January 4.

Anyone who might have information about the matter is encouraged to contact police as soon as possible.

Please refer to police report number QP2300019906


A 38-year-old male who resides in Cairns city has been stopped by police for an alleged speeding incident at about 2:51pm on January 9 on the Bruce Highway at Koumala.

It's alleged police were performing speed enforcement patrols by way of mobile radar when the speed of a Jaguar sedan was checked as being 145 kilometres an hour in a 100 kilometre an hour speed zone (45 kilometres an hour above the speed limit).

After police spoke with the 38-year-old driver, he was issued with an on the spot fine of $1,653 and suffered the loss of 8 demerit points.

"There is often only a small chance of a positive outcome while travelling at very high speeds on our roads here in the Mackay police district," Sergeant Nigel Dalton from the Crime prevention unit said.

"The risk to yourself and other road users is undeniable. Speeding will not be tolerated, it's that simple," he added.


A business situated on Macalister Street in the Mackay city area has been broken into and vandalism has taken place inside.

Entry was gained after an implement was used to force a locked door. This happened between 11pm on January 8 and 10am on January 9.

Once inside, tea pots and multiple bottles of spirits have been thrown onto the floor as was a cell phone.

It does not appear that anything has been stolen.

Anyone who might have information about the matter is encouraged to contact police as soon as possible. QP2300047501.


A car has been stolen from an open farm shed at a property on Kinchant Dam Road in North Eton between 9:00am on January 6 and 3:30 pm on January 8.

The stolen car is a silver coloured 2004 model Honda accord sedan, registration number 978 CJ5.

The victim became aware of the theft when he was advised the car had been sighted driving erratically - a check of the farm shed at that time revealed the car was stolen. The keys for the stolen car were stored within the shed.

Anyone who might have information about either the current location of the stolen car or the offence itself is encouraged to contact police as soon as possible. Refer to police report number QP2300043754.


A 28-year-old resident of Kuttabul has been arrested and charged for an alleged drink driving offence.

At about 4:38am on January 8 it's alleged that police stopped a Nissan utility on Sams Road when they observed its headlights were turned off and it was swerving within its lane.

It's further alleged that the driver was subjected to a roadside breath test which returned a positive reading. The driver was detained and taken to the Mackay police station for a further test.

It's alleged the 28-year-old's breath alcohol concentration was determined as being .206% (more than four times the legal limit).

The driver was charged with being under the influence of liquor and will appear at the Mackay Magistrates Court to have the matter heard on January 24.

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Black Spot Funding Stripped

January 12, 2023

Image: Federal Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox at the Holts Road and Pioneer Street intersection in Richmond

Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox has slammed the Federal Government for stripping $69 million from the Black Spot Program.

The road safety scheme provides funding towards lifesaving works on identified crash zones which drastically decreases road incidents in hazardous areas.

Mr Willcox said the decision was a demonstration of poor governance and Labor’s disregard for Regional Australia.

“Last year Australia’s road toll reached over 1,190. People are dying on our roads every day, and if these incidents can be prevented, they should be. Bringing down the national road toll must be a top priority for all sides of politics, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the Albanese Government,” Mr Willcox said.

“In rural and regional Australia, the Black Spot Program has had an enormous impact.

“Dangerous intersections in Dawson like Richmond and Holts Road in Glenella will miss out as a result of the Labor Government’s cuts. The previous Coalition Government allocated $1.8 million to this section in April 2022 to improve the safety.

“Regional councils have thousands of kilometres of road to maintain, and this federal funding makes a monumental difference to deliver safer roads and intersections.

“I’m calling on the government to reinstate this funding at the upcoming Budget in March.”

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A Lucky Christmas Present Helps Mackay Woman Make Dent In Mortgage

January 12, 2023

A Mackay woman is ready to make a huge dent into her home mortgage after scoring $150,000 on an Instant Scratch-Its ticket she received from her husband for Christmas.

The top prize-winning $10 Unwrap The Cash Instant Scratch-Its ticket was purchased at Nextra Caneland News & Gift, Shop 2066, Caneland Central, 2 Mangrove Road, Mackay.

“My husband bought it for me for Christmas. I got him some Instant Scratch-Its tickets and he got me some,” the winning woman explained.

“But I didn’t end up scratching them until Boxing Day.

“When I saw the prize, I couldn’t believe it.

“I thought, ‘that can’t be right – I must be seeing things’.

“I had to get other people to confirm and to check it for me. It was just too good to be true. It’s incredible.

“We’ve still got a bit on the mortgage, but this will make a big dent.

“It’s a great way to start 2023.”

In FY22, there were 139 Instant Scratch-Its top prize winners across The Lott’s jurisdictions who collectively took home more than $14.51 million in top prizes.

During this same time, Instant Scratch-Its players enjoyed more than 28.7 million wins across all prize tiers worth more than $261 million. This equates to almost three-quarters of a million dollars won on Instant Scratch-Its every day.

Last financial year, Australia’s official lotteries contributed more than $1.6 billion via state lottery taxes and donations to help community initiatives, such as hospitals, health research, disaster relief and education.

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Not A Lucky Number For Chopper Rescue Crew

January 12, 2023

Images: RACQ CQ Rescue flew eight missions last weekend including retrieving patients from Keswick Island, Cape Hillsborough, Carmila and Olive Downs, bringing the total number of tasks already completed for 2023 to 18. Images supplied: RACQ CQ Rescue

While it’s revered around the world as a lucky number, eight ended up being an exhausting figure for our region’s rescue helicopter service.

It’s the number of missions flown last weekend alone by RACQ CQ Rescue, with rescue crews stretched across the length and breadth of our expansive Mackay, Isaac, Whitsunday region.

The incredible tally of rescue operations meant the helicopter service flew more than 2,300km in just two days. The busy weekend brings the total number of missions completed in the first nine days of the New Year to 18.

Two patients suffered life-threatening lacerations and blood loss in two serious accidents involving an angle grinder and a filleting knife last Sunday.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked to meet Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics on the oval at Carmila, about 80km south of Mackay, after a 68-year-old man suffered serious gashes to his hand and jaw while working with an angle grinder.

It was an incredibly lucky escape from what could have been a potentially life-threatening injury as the patient reported he was using a circular saw blade on an angle grinder to cut wood.

The tool ‘kicked back’ slicing both his hand and jaw, narrowly missing his neck.

He was treated, administered pain relief and transported to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.

Then at 10pm Sunday, the rescue chopper was tasked to Hamilton Island, about 90km north of Mackay, to airlift a 60-year-old man who had lacerated his left thumb while filleting fish.

He sliced a chunk of flesh from the webbing of his hand between the thumb and forefinger and told the medical team had no feeling in his hand.

He was flown to Mackay arriving in a stable condition at midnight.

Earlier on Sunday, the Mackay-based chopper flew 270km to the new Pembroke mine site Olive Downs, 40km south-east of Moranbah, to airlift a 51-year-old Sunshine Coast man. The contractor suffered a cardiac issue and required urgent hospital treatment in Mackay.

RACQ CQ Rescue also flew more than 1100km on Saturday on four missions across the region, including two primary tasks on Saturday’s day shift which started with two back-to-back missions to treat and transfer two teenagers injured at popular local holiday spots.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked just after 9.30am by Queensland Health to assist a 16-year-old girl who had dislocated her knee at the bottom of a walking track at Cape Hillsborough.

The teen, from Rural View, was stranded on the beach with the tide coming in quickly. Walking back up the track or along the rocky shoreline was impossible.

After a 000 call, the Mackay-based chopper was dispatched with a doctor and critical care paramedic on board to fly 45km north to the popular national park and camping area. The chopper orbited the shoreline near Wedge Island several times before the decision was made to winch down a paramedic and rescue crewman onto the beach to secure the patient into a rescue harness. The teenager was then winched up into the helicopter and flown directly to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.

Directly upon return to base about 11am, the helicopter crew was again tasked, this time offshore to Keswick Island, 30km east of Mackay, after reports a swimmer had suffered a suspected Irukandji jellyfish sting. The helicopter landed in the rain at the island airfield, near Basil Bay, and the 13-year-old, believed to be on holiday from Biggera Waters, was treated with pain relief and flown to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition. The teen was accompanied by a parent.

About 1.45pm Saturday, the helicopter flew to Collinsville to airlift a man with a serious cardiac condition and also later transported a patient from Clermont to Mackay Base Hospital who suffered injury from a fall from height while he was removing Christmas decorations at his home.

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PROBLEM PARKERS Mackay Shopping Centre Listed In Top 3 For Car Park Collisions

January 12, 2023

Image: Caneland Central was named as the third worst car park in Australia for car park collisions according to data released by insurance company AAMI

Suncorp Group's AAMI brand has conducted an analysis of more than 21,000 AAMI car park insurance claims across Australia to reveal the most dangerous car park destinations.

Mackay’s Caneland Central came third in Australia and Mackay topped the list of Queensland suburbs for car park collisions.

AAMI’s data revealed that in Mackay, Thursday afternoon was the most likely time a car crash collision occurred, not surprising with late night shopping extending hours on that day.

Interestingly, when it comes to car park etiquette, the majority of Australians (59 per cent) say they would leave a note – regardless of how bad the damage was if they accidentally hit someone’s car in a car park and no one saw.

AAMI’s Top Tips for a prang-free parking experience:

o Take your time when parking or reversing out of a car space.

o Take particular care to watch out for children, especially when reversing.

o Watch out for stationary objects including pillars and trolleys.

o Obey the car park signage on speed limits and directional arrows.

o Don’t let impatience get the better of you and make sure you keep a safe distance between you and the car in front or reversing.

o Resist the urge to park quickly, particularly in shopping centre car parks where turning circles are a lot tighter.

o Avoid peak-times for shopping to avoid the crowds and increase your chances of finding a car park quickly.

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A Helping Hand For Remote Indigenous Communities

January 12, 2023

Do you have books you no longer need?

Or other items that could benefit remote indigenous communities?

The Hunters Initiative is a Mackay group inspired to help indigenous communities in remote parts of Queensland.

Local school groups and individuals have come on board, with generous donations of books, footwear and clothing to be distributed to those in need.

As well as collecting helpful items for remote communities, the Aboriginal Dance Group Tchundal Malar regularly visit local schools and childcare facilities to teach the younger generation about indigenous culture, educating people about different vibrations from the didgeridoo and stories to accompany traditional dance.

St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Sarina is still accepting donations of books this month, which will be delivered to the Hunters Initiative in Mackay.


1 - St Anne’s Catholic Primary School Sarina donated books to the Hunters Initiative

2 – Mercy College Mackay donated 10 cartons of books to be distributed to remote indigenous communities

3 – Marvin Pace donated brand new shirts, polos, hats and football jerseys

4 – Wonder Kids Early Learning Centre donated rugby boots

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Wire And Water Help Landholder Become Reef Champion

January 12, 2023

Photo 1: Jason Bradford accepting his Reef Conservation Champion Award at the 2022 Queensland Farmers Federation Awards

Photo 2: A fishway under construction on the Bradford property, south of Mackay

Working to improve wetlands within his grazing and sugar cane property has earned local landholder Jason Bradford recognition as a Reef Champion at the 2022 Queensland Farmers Federation Awards.

Mr Bradford, who owns a mixed enterprise property near Sandringham Creek, has been working with Reef Catchments over the years with funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust VII Coastal Priorities Project, which has allowed him to remove invasive weeds and construct fishways to improve connectivity between the freshwater and marine environment.

He said that in addition to these works, changes as simple as fencing and off-stream watering points can have dramatic results.

“Wire and water - those two things have allowed me to radically change how I manage the place and have resulted in benefits to the landscape and my operations.

“With the right infrastructure and the right management you can have a financially viable enterprise and also look after the environment. In fact, the two can go hand-in-hand - when it’s managed correctly, the natural landscape enhances the financial outcomes.

“My advice to other landholders is to look at your operations, and ask yourself if you’re doing everything you can to get the best of both worlds.”

Growing up on the property he now owns and manages, Mr Bradford’s connection to the land is what drives him to look after the natural environment while ensuring his farm continues to be successful.

“I spent many hours down here exploring and I guess I fell in love with it. It’s in my blood. I spent a lot of time in the marine environment here, in the creek fishing and exploring. It was really a great childhood,” he said.

“Because the property is on the highway and it’s pretty visible, people see the work happening and they ask me all the time, what are you doing here, and why are you doing it. For me, it’s about the ability to bring a vision to life.

“We’ve got an asset here that’s pretty special, and I think if it was in the best condition it could possibly be in, in terms of biodiversity and function, what would that look like? That’s what I’m aiming for.”

Reef Catchments’ Project Officer Carlos Bueno said he nominated Jason for the award as he was a great advocate for improved practice and a great example for fellow landholders.

“From the outset of this project, Jason has been fundamental in exchanging knowledge, learnings and experiences,” he said.

“Jason’s presence and active participation has influenced the engagement of his neighbours and greater network. He has been very vocal in sharing his knowledge and vision to other landholders and stakeholders, allowing for a greater understanding of this sub-catchment area.”

The Reef Champion Awards is an initiative of the Queensland Farmers Federation with support from the Australian and Queensland governments. The awards recognise and celebrate the achievements and efforts of outstanding individuals and organisations who have taken action to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef.

Read more about this project at

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Raw, Thought-Provoking, Soul Inspiring

January 12, 2023


1 – Award winners from the 2022 JSP Women’s Awards with JSP Founder Fallon Drewett central

2 – JSP Founder Fallon Drewett. Image credit: Coffee & Hops

It’s time to give a shout-out to the ladies in your life who make a difference.

Off the back of a highly successful launch in 2022, the Just Saying Project (JSP) is calling for nominations for its JSP Women’s Awards – and nominations close this Sunday.

JSP Founder Fallon Drewett said it is a chance to recognise the women who fly under the radar, that go about their work and projects often unnoticed.

“These awards are for every woman and their big and small wins. It is a way to showcase the role women play in our lives and a perfect way to celebrate International Women’s Day.”

It’s not necessarily about grand gestures or milestones, these awards are curated to recognise the women who keep showing up, for themselves and others, every day.

Award categories are designed to champion women from an array of lifestyles.

The Resilient Rebel

A woman who has been through adversity and has spun her pain into something beautiful. This is a woman who is a rebel at heart and has decided to live her life differently, and march to the beat of her own drum. This award is for the woman in your life who has stood her ground and inspired others around her to be resilient; to learn from life’s challenges and keep moving forward.

The Visionary

A woman who leads by example and demonstrates exemplary leadership. This woman has made significant contributions to her work and community. She is not afraid to make waves; is respected and leads the way for inclusion and diversity in the Greater Whitsunday region. This woman is helping change the landscape for women across industry, career or business.  She is a change maker, respected in her fields, friendships and community. She is a mentor and is an advocate for women's rights.

Magic Maker

A woman who has a passion for and contributed to the arts, through performing, visual arts, fashion, photography, broadcasting and literary community. Their talent, whether emerging or well-known, is used to make an impact in the lives of others through their creativity. This woman has the ability to create magic and inspire others to be the best version of themselves through the power of art and the skill to make people rediscover hope.

Health And Wellbeing Warrior

A woman who has a purpose and a passion for health and wellbeing. A woman inspires through her work in health, medical or fitness careers. Perhaps they are a woman who leads by example through sport or advocacy work with mental health and/or charity.

The Modern Muse

In the era of social media, this is a woman who is a muse for other women. This woman inspires other women through her dedication to positive body image, fosters self-esteem in others, and encourages other women to be who they are. This woman is a truth teller, a woman who doesn’t need filters or reel highlights, someone who uses her voice for the greater good for women, their rights and creating a space for them to love who they are. Her voice and words are helping to create lasting change.

The Mother Of All Mothers

This category is to recognise a Mum in the Greater Whitsunday region, who is a formidable role model as a mother and a woman. A woman who volunteers her time, and gives back to her community. A woman who leads by example, who shows what it means to be a modern Mum. Maybe she is a mother who has worked hard despite adversity or hardship. A woman who might be a single mother, a foster or adoptive mother, a woman who is a female figure we can all learn from.

The Rising Star

This is for a young woman who is the face of #thefutureisfemale. A young woman who is making an impact in their community inspiring other young women and girls to follow their dreams, take action and stand up for what they believe in. This award is for a disrupter, performer, athlete, volunteer or trailblazer. This award is for young women aged 15 to 25 years old.

Remind you of anyone? If so, get your nomination in by visiting

Nominations close 11:30pm Sunday, January 15, 2022.

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Our Everyday Heroes Acknowledged

January 12, 2023

Australia Day Awards Attracts Overwhelming Nominations

An impressive list of Mackay residents has been revealed for the 2023 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards, hosted by Mackay Regional Council.

From encouraging others to building resilience, volunteering, excelling in sport or being a voice for others, the list of nominees showcases their dedication to the community.

This year, the most highly contested categories include the Lori Burgess Community Volunteer Award, the Citizen of the Year Award and the Community Group Award.

The list of nominees across all categories displays undeniable talent and heart, people who have proven throughout 2022 that despite facing adversity, there are opportunities to rise above.

All award winners and nominees will be recognised at a special awards ceremony at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on Wednesday, January 25.

2023 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Nominees

Citizen of the Year

Lauren Costello

Dr Kerry Summerscales

Djordje (George) Banic

Fallon Drewett

Geoffrey Baguley

Dr Judith Wake

Earl Neilsen

Murray Gibbs

Luke Mathews

Penny McMahon

Edie Weiss

Frances Eiteneuer

Col Benson

Krysten Butcher

John Mansfield

Tegan Philpott

Kathryn Andrews

Stephen Oberg

Eunice Armstrong

Jody Burrows

Katrina Hoare

George Newton

Raj Sharma - Roshni Restaurant

Nicole Pasquale

Tracey Hackfoorte

Kay Thrupp

Gary Minter

Robert Kidd

Narelle Klazema

Doug Petersen

Jay Shipston

Leslie Kemp

Allison Blines

Justin Rule

Linda Nugent - Coach of the Stingers, Mackay Dragon Boat Club

Brenda Windsor

Nigel Dalton

Young Citizen of the Year

Adam Lamb

Keira Brown

Matthew Vella

Dominic de Moura McCarthy

Tayla Hunt

Sana Syed

Clancy Morgan

Sara Marie Herringe

Rosie Cook

Benjamin Penning

Tiffany Vella aka Tiffany Grace Music

Clancy Morgan

Arts and Culture Award

Tiffany Vella aka Tiffany Grace Music

Clancy Morgan

Max Kingsbury

Clancy Morgan

Sara Marie Herringe

Rosie Cook

Zoe McLellan

Alison Richardson from Crossroad Arts

Glenda Hobdell

Tiffany Vella

Geoffrey Baguley

Community Group Award

Happy Paws Happy Hearts

Special Olympics Mackay Fire

By Your Side: Chronically Ill Ladies

Mackay Riding for the Disabled

The Scout Association of Australia, Queensland Branch, Hibiscus Coast District

Australian Street Aid Project Ltd

Mackay Northern Beaches Neighbourhood Watch

Mackay Pet Rescue Incorporated

Australian Navy Cadets

Project Booyah Mackay

Pioneer Valley Machinery Preservationists Inc

Orange Sky Laundry Mackay

St Anne's P&F aka FOCUS Group

Queensland Multicultural Lions Club

Rotary Club of Mackay North Inc.

Just Saying Project

Special Olympics Mackay Fire

SNAGS Special Needs and Group Support

North Mackay Saints AFC

St Paul's Uniting Church, Mackay, Queensland, Uniting Church in Australia

Save Our Northwall

Sana Syed

SNAGS Special Needs and Group Support

Habana Carols Under the Stars subcommittee of HADPA

Environmental Achievement Award

Dr Judith Wake

Earl Neilsen

Earl Neilsen

Robert Gregg

Murray Gibbs

Suzanne McCormack

Luke Mathews

Penny McMahon

Edie Weiss

Frances Eiteneuer

Save Our Northwall

Irene Champion

Robert Gregg

Lori Burgess Community Volunteer Award

Col Benson

Krysten Butcher

John Mansfield

Tegan Philpott

Kathryn Andrews

Stephen Oberg

Eunice Armstrong

Jody Burrows

Katrina Hoare

George Newton

Raj Sharma - Roshni Restaurant

Kelvin Richard Clulee

John Edwards

Wendy Baynton

Carmelo Pasquale

Kimberly Doyle, Special Olympics Mackay

Brenda Windsor

Nicole Pasquale

Tayla Hunt

Kathryn Andrews

Tracey Hackfoorte

Kay Thrupp

Gary Minter

Neil Wallace

Dominic de Moura McCarthy

Lisa Jamison

Karen Turner

Robert Gregg

Robert Kidd

Narelle Klazema

Damien Watts

TJ Straw

Matthew Vella

Doug Petersen

Jay Shipston

Leslie Kemp

Jeanne Ronald - Bakers Creek AFC

Les-Lee Reid

Allison Blines

Keira Brown

Peter Bonaventura

Denise Scarpelli

Robert Gregg

Senior Sports Award

Luke Van Den Heuvel

Hamish Wright

Kelvin Richard Clulee

Justin Rule

Janine Wood

Linda Nugent

Brenda Windsor

Tara Smyth

TJ Straw

Nigel Dalton

Jeanne Ronald

Les-Lee Reid

Young Sports Award

Cooper Whitestyles

Jaxon Maluga

Rosie Cook

Harper Shields

Adam Lamb

Luke Reedman

Connor Parish

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ATV Robbery Escape Gone Wrong

January 12, 2023

An ATV was upended in a failed escape attempt at the Magpies Sporting Club in Glenella last Sunday night

Brazen thieves have broken into the shed of a popular Mackay sporting club earlier this week, but the escape seemingly didn’t go to plan.

Jock Hansen, Facilities Manager at Magpies Sporting Club said thousands of dollars’ worth of damage had been caused to club facilities and a new ATV.

It’s believed the thieves broke into an equipment shed on the Magpies Sporting Club grounds and attempted to use the club’s ATV, which was locked in the shed, to escape with petrol and power tools.

With damage sustained to a padlocked gate, it’s thought the thieves tried to use the ATV to ram the gates open. When unsuccessful, they then turned their attention to a fence, however were unsuccessful at breaking through, with the ATV getting caught in mesh wiring and upending into a vertical position.

It is thought the unknown assailants then escaped on foot with petrol and power tools, which are missing from the equipment shed. The ATV was a new vehicle and was the club’s first aid transportation.

Police are calling on the public to share any information they may have, or to submit dashcam footage from last Sunday evening (January 8) if they drove past the sporting club in Glenella.

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Allowance For Farmers Doing It Tough

January 12, 2023

Are you a farmer experiencing financial difficulty from recent flooding events, labour shortages or rising input costs?

You may be eligible for the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).

FHA is an Australian Government support package for farming families doing it tough.

Applying for the FHA can provide you with financial breathing space while you work through flooding events on crops, animals and pasture, and labour shortages – especially during harvest time.

Every eligible person gets paid the full allowance.

The program provides eligible farmers and their partners with a package of assistance that includes:

• up to four years of fortnightly income support (in every 10 year period)

• ancillary allowances such as Pharmaceutical Allowance, Telephone Allowance, Rent Assistance and Remote Area Allowance

• a professional financial assessment of the farm business (worth up to $1,500)

• funding to help develop skills, access training and pay for professional advice (up to $10,000 and can include reasonable travel and accommodation to undertake training).

• regular support of a case manager.

You can get Farm Household Allowance for up to 4 years (1,460 days) at any time between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2024. You can apply for your second tranche of four years from 1 July 2024.

FHA gives you time to improve your circumstances. You do not have to receive all payments in one go. You can stop and start your payment as many times as you like. Stopping and deferring your payments can save them up for future hardship.

You will also get ongoing support from your own:

Farm Household Case Officer (FHCO)

Rural Financial Counsellor (RFC) (if you choose).

To find out if you’re eligible for FHA, call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday – or visit:

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Fitness Tips For Families

January 12, 2023

By the end of the school holidays, you may be feeling a little frustrated.

The excitement of Christmas has been and gone, finances may be a little tight, and the kids have been ‘bored’ ever since they left school.

While it’s tempting to keep them occupied online, there are some simple activities families can do together to break the boredom. As an added bonus, they’ll help everyone to get fitter and feel better.

Let’s get moving!


Let’s face it, dragging kids away from their screens can be a challenge, so what if you combined screen time with fitness?

There are a number of apps that make getting active fun. Pokemon Go has been around for years now and is still a fun way to get walking. Catch imaginary creatures on your screen as you walk, and visit public places like parks to top up with special items. It’s amazing how far the kids will want to walk to ‘hatch an egg’ to get a new Pokemon!

Treasure Hunt

Whether you create a competition to see how many shells can be collected at the beach, or create an actual treasure hunt with clues and prizes, these mystery games can eat up hours of a day and keep the kids active for longer than they realise.

Get Crafty

Remember Mary Poppins? Well, there’s still joy in flying a kite, especially if it’s one the kids had a hand in making themselves. Scour the internet for instructions on how to build a kite, then pick a breezy day to try it out down at the beach. Pack a cricket set or frisbees and watch the hours melt away.

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How Bad Do You Want It In The Northern Beaches?

January 12, 2023

Images: Artist impression of the new Muscle Garden gym opening soon in Bucasia

Kay Nyenuh

Hi, this is Kay from Muscle Garden.

I’m very excited to announce that we will be opening our fourth gym - Muscle Garden Bucasia this April!

When I first started Muscle Garden Personal Training right here in parks around Mackay in 2012, I had no idea that we’d be where we are today - three gyms in Mackay, Marian, Andergrove and a fourth, Bucasia opening soon!

And I’m very grateful for all the support we’ve received from our town so far.

It is this support that has helped us to be in the position where we are able to reach more everyday people and make fitness accessible for them in an environment that is free of intimidation, where they feel welcomed, comfortable and supported to train so they can achieve their health and fitness goals.

As much as we’d love to open Muscle Garden Bucasia sooner, our hands are tied. We have to wait for our state-of-the-art technogym gear to be delivered from Italy - pushing our official open date to either April 16th or 29th.

Muscle Garden Bucasia is located in the Hibiscus Shopping Centre on 52 Downie Avenue.

We will be open 24/7 with plenty of parking. We will also run some of our beloved classes in Bucasia, and as with our existing facilities, Fitness Passport members are gladly welcomed.

We are currently looking into the possibility of providing a space for parents to leave their kids while they workout. It is something we hope to confirm over the coming weeks.

Members are now welcomed to take advantage of our presale offer. Join today and pay absolutely NOTHING until we open. $0 Joining Fee plus a FREE 2023 Muscle Garden T-shirt/Singlet.

Can’t wait until we open? No problem! Join today and start using our existing branches in Mackay, Marian and Andergrove on our Premium Membership option and lock in a discounted rate of $20.95 per week! That’s a saving of at least $7 per week!

The discounted flat rate will not change for the life of your contract. But you must sign up before February 28th, 2023 to lock it in!

Go to for more details or contact us at / 07 49440119.

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New Year, New You? Mental Health Tips To Set You Up For 2023

January 12, 2023

The start of a new year can unveil a mixed bag of emotions for many people.

While some are excited at the prospect of a fresh beginning to set themselves up for a better year than last, others struggle with financial strain following Christmas, loneliness of partners returning to work and back-to-school anxiety.

Sometimes the smallest changes can bring about the best outcomes for your mental health and wellbeing.

1. Don’t Hold It In

Bottled up emotions tend to explode like a bad batch of ginger beer. Instead of letting problems simmer, talk them through with someone you can trust. Often we feel a situation is ‘all on us’, yet, talking to a friend, colleague or partner may present a solution you hadn’t considered. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

2. Make time for self-care

Choose a list of things that make you happy and schedule them into your lifestyle, as if they are just as important as other tasks, because they are! It could be a weekly bath, a weekly walk on the beach, a monthly massage or time daily to read a book. Clarity through relaxation will help you to tackle life’s bigger issues.

3. Set achievable goals

If you are struggling financially, seeking the help of a budget guru may help you to get your bank balance back on track. Often this stems from setting achievable goals and brainstorming solutions to help you cut back on unnecessary items while you get your bills under control.

The new year does not have to be a brand new you straight away.

These things take time.

If you find yourself not making progress over time, consider reaching out to a mental health professional to arm you with the tools you need to unlock your potential.

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Codeine Consumption Plunges

January 12, 2023

Switching the painkiller codeine to a prescription-only medicine in 2018 led to a 37 per cent overall drop in its consumption across Australia, according to new findings from wastewater sampling published in the journal Addiction.

The samples, taken from 49 wastewater treatment plants, which cover catchment areas for 10.6 million Australians, show the dramatic effect of withdrawing the country’s most misused legal opioid from pharmacy counters, cutting dependency, and potentially saving lives.

Scientists from the University of South Australia and University of Queensland compared wastewater samples taken between 2016 and 2019, 18 months before and after codeine was rescheduled and low-dose formulations removed from over-the-counter (OTC).

Codeine concentrations were converted to per capita consumption estimates, revealing an immediate decrease of 37 per cent nationally after the rescheduling and between 24 per cent and 51 per cent in all states and territories.

UniSA scientist Associate Professor Cobus Gerber says the samples – representing 45 per cent of the country’s population – demonstrate the effectiveness of the Federal Government’s decision to take tough measures on the popular painkiller.

Opioids are among the most widely used analgesic medicines globally, with more than 61 million people using them in 2018.

Their misuse is responsible for two thirds of all drug-related deaths, due to abuse and dependence.

Codeine has been the most widely used legal opioid in Australia, with its per capita use steadily increasing. 2013 data showed Australia took more codeine as a country than the United States, despite having roughly seven per cent of the population.


The study is the first to evaluate a national drug policy change via wastewater sampling.

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Is Covering Books In Contact Still A Thing?

January 12, 2023

Welcome to 2023!

This is my first article of the year and I’m setting the intention in writing that it’s going to be a good one.

While I cannot guarantee that, because some things are out of our control, what I can guarantee is that you’ll have plenty of fun and laughs to listen to every weekday morning starting the 23rd of January! This is when the new brekkie show, Scotty and Rach with Kaley, returns to the airwaves. Rach is off on maternity leave with a new bundle of joy so I’ll be keeping her seat warm.

I do not have children myself but I know all you parents out there that are starting to return to work probably want to pull your hair out and crawl your way to the finish line that is school holidays, and with that comes back to school shopping! I’m only 27 so I still have fond memories of that time. The new pencil case and bag – that have to be aesthetic and match, otherwise what’s the point!

Who doesn’t love the smell of a new pencil and the way a fresh pen glides across the paper, new books, shoes and uniforms as well! One thing my mum used to do when I was in school is make sure I had themed books. I still remember to this day her staying up way too late after getting all her jobs done for the day to cover my books in contact. It was mainly cartoon themed – my favourite was the pink SpongeBob contact she did one year.

But is that still a thing? Or is everyone just going raw nowadays?

If you do cover in contact let me know about it at Star 101.9 Mackay on Facebook or Instagram.

Happy New Year to you,

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Hello 2023

January 12, 2023

Well, it’s hard to believe the Christmas holidays are over.  I hope that everyone had a great Christmas break and that 2023 is prosperous for everyone.  

We are continuing to progress our major capital liveability projects.  December saw the completion of the first stage of the River Wharf project, the development application lodged for the Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Trail, architects appointed to undertake the detailed design for the Northern Beaches Community Hub stages 1A and 1B, and civil works have begun for the road and drainage works.  The Seaforth Esplanade upgrade is progressing well, along with the upgrade to Woodlands Park.  Council has more than 700 projects in its Capital Works program for this financial year.  However, COVID-19, inflation and shortages of material and human resources continue to impact the delivery of the program.

Let’s turn our focus to Australia Day.  The awards night is held on Wednesday, January 25, where the Australia Day Award recipients for 2023 will be announced.  I’d like to congratulate all nominees and thank those who have taken the time to nominate someone.  A citizenship ceremony will then be held Thursday morning to welcome new Australian Citizens to our region.

Council also offers grants to community organisations to hold Australia Day events.  This funding will support 13 true-blue Australia Day celebrations by local not-for-profit groups. Be sure to attend one or a few of the following events:

● Armstrong Beach Progress Association – 2pm to 8pm, Llewellyn Hall

● Eimeo Surf Lifesaving Club – 11am to 2pm, Eimeo Surf Lifesaving Club

● Finch Hatton Progress Association – 10am to 3pm, Finch Hatton Showgrounds

● Habana and Districts Progress Association – 3pm to 7pm, 1091 Mackay-Habana Road

● Mackay Bowling Club – 9am to 4pm, Mackay Bowling Club, Nebo Road

● Mackay Contract Bridge Club (come and try) – 10am to 3pm, 414 Shakespeare Street

● Mackay Junior Motocross (come and try) – 8.30am to 1pm, Riverside Track, 2 Hume Street

● Mackay Sailing Club – Sail Away, 11am to 3pm, Kinchant Dam

● Mackay Surf Life Saving Club – Beach Party, 10am to 4pm, Mackay Harbour

● Sarina Surf Lifesaving Club – 1pm to 5pm, Sarina Beach

● Seaforth Bowls Club – 1.30pm till late, Walsh Avenue

● St Helens Beach Progress and Environment Association Inc – 9am to 4pm, Repulse Esplanade

● Banksia Scout Group – Open Day, 10am to 1pm, Jaycee Park, Bedford Road.

Cr Karen May

Deputy Mayor

Mackay Regional Council

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Day-Trip Destination | Coral Sea Resort Hotel

January 12, 2023

Image: Pool passes make Coral Sea Resort Hotel an attractive day-trip destination from Mackay

A day-trip destination which delivers on style, service and spectacular views; Coral Sea Resort Hotel provides a plethora of places to perch for the day, whether you seek shade under an oceanfront umbrella or the sun on the white sand beach loungers.

The iconic hotel ranks as one of the most picturesque resorts within Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, successfully combining an enticing array of facilities, outstanding hospitality and a passionate team dedicated to delivering you a wondrous experience that exceeds expectations along with memories to treasure.

With the re-introduction of pool passes, Coral Sea Resort Hotel is now an appealing day-trip destination from Mackay. For only $25 per person, pool pass guests are able to use the pool facilities while enjoying the spectacular views of the Coral Sea.

Continuous upgrades at the hotel means the pool now has more seating options than ever, with seaside loungers and umbrellas as well as built-in 2-people lounger beds at each end of the pool. Not to mention the abundance of seating on the lawn, the beach and at the restaurant.

The restaurant, The Rocks, is located by the pool and offers an amazing location to wine, dine and relax whilst enjoying the best views. The poolside lawn area includes a tropical beach located on the water’s edge as well as an Insta-worthy swing for capturing the setting sun.

Poolside ordering has been made easy with a QR code at every poolside seat. Enjoy the convenience of cool beverages and tasty casual fare being delivered to your lounger as you relax in complete bliss.

Once you arrive, there’s nothing left for you to do other than dip, sip and relax. Of course should you choose to extend the bliss, the hotel offers a range of accommodation options, including configurations with spa baths on the balcony, for the ultimate getaway.

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Captivating Comedy Circus At Canelands, With More Magic On The Way

January 12, 2023

Image: The Comedy Circus Stunt Show at Caneland Central. Photo source: Caneland Central Facebook page

The Comedy Circus Stunt Show at Caneland Central proved to be a hit over the school holidays, with children and parents packing in the Centre Court area near Myer to watch free entertainment.

The family friendly comedy show had people of all ages chuckling, with hilarious comedy, incredible circus stunts and entertaining tricks. The 45-minute Comedy Circus Stunt Show had spectators 'oohing' and 'aahing' at the mind-blowing contortions, impressive juggling and ludicrous comedy.

On top of the free entertainment, Caneland Central is also hosting Kids Magic Workshops.

The 30-minute Magic Workshops will run four times daily, from Mon 16th Jan – Sat 21st Jan, located in Centre Court, near Myer.

Workshop One 9.30am – 10.00am

Workshop Two 10.30am – 11.00am

Workshop Three 1.00pm – 1.30pm

Workshop Four 2.00pm – 2.30pm

Limited spots are available, so book in now to avoid disappointment!

Book your tickets via Eventbrite, visit the Caneland Central Facebook page for the link.

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Historic Homestead A Hinterland Hit

January 20, 2023

Image: Visitors to the Homestead at Lotus Creek enjoy tasty milkshakes and hearty country fare. Photo credit: Photos by Nell

Nestled in the southern hinterland of the Mackay region, sits a historic homestead offering travellers and day-trippers an oasis to refuel and refresh.

The Homestead at Lotus Creek is becoming a favourite place to take a drive, see wildlife as you meander through the bush and then enjoy country hospitality and hearty tucker.

Owners, the Kemp family, are third generation graziers who have been in the area for 52 years.

Their family-operated business is positioned just a few kms down the road from The Homestead, and their ties to Lotus Creek go way back to the 70's when David can remember buying a paper bag full of lollies for just a few cents, or selling homegrown eggs for a bit of pocket money.

The old Lotus Creek Service Station which for decades was an iconic stop for fuel, milkshakes and ham-and-cheese toasties, had been lost to the community following Cyclone Debbie in 2017, leaving no stopping point for travellers on the stretch of highway between Marlborough and Sarina.

“Living remotely there's a lot you learn to live without, but we felt the community needed a connection point, a central hub to bring everyone together, and a destination for those travelling through,” the Kemps said.

When Lotus Creek Tourist Park hit the market, the prospect of bringing some life back to the place was exciting, so the Kemps embarked on a new adventure.

The Homestead at Lotus Creek is located less than two hours from Mackay via a picturesque journey through the Sarina Range.

For those wanting a real rural experience, there are powered, non-powered and caravan camping sites ready for you to switch off and slow down. If you have a well-behaved pet, you're welcome to bring them with you.

Caravanners and campers can spend their days swimming, kayaking, fishing and wildlife spotting, and their evenings catching up around a campfire.

The newly renovated Homestead has an onsite cafe/restaurant, guest laundry, and shower/toilet facilities. Based on online reviews, the food is great and the milkshakes are touted as being among the best people have ever had.

Koalas are regularly spotted in the surrounding trees, making it a great place for a family adventure.

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