The National Visitor Survey, released today, held good news for the region.
There was a 16 per cent increase in Mackay visitor numbers over the past twelve months, and those visitors are staying longer and spending more.
The National Visitor Survey showed 883,000 Australian tourists visited Mackay, staying an average of four nights and spending $380 million for the year ending June 2017.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2017: LEGISLATION introduced into the Federal Parliament last week paves the way for greater economic benefits for the businesses of the Whitsundays from the lucrative superyacht industry. Amendments… read more →
The Liberal National Government has today announced a number of new measures to support regional and small publishers and create local jobs.
The new measures, which are in addition to the Government’s media reform package, and subject to its passage, include:
•A $50 million Regional and Small Publishers Innovation fund;
•a Regional and Small Publishers cadetship program to support 200 cadetships ($8 million) and;
•60 regional journalism scholarships ($2.4 million over three years)
A number of new measures introduced by the Liberal National Government will further support employers and seasonal workers to access the Seasonal Worker Programme.
The new measures will help overcome local labour shortages in the agricultural and accommodation sectors, and will be phased in from 1 July 2018.
We will be introducing a multi-entry visa for seasonal workers, thereby offering greater flexibility in the granting of visas, and piloting new ways to lower upfront costs for employers seeking to access the programme.
The measures will reduce red tape and save time within the Seasonal Worker Programme, and will be a welcome support for businesses in centres such as Bowen, the Burdekin and Townsville who are struggling to fill vacancies at critical points in their business cycle.
In the Australian Defence Force (ADF) our personnel work in high-pressure environments and learn skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and the ability to adapt to new technologies.
Those talents are in demand in a modern economy and I know businesses in Townsville are employing veterans and using their skills to succeed.
I’m encouraging local businesses and local veterans to look at the award categories and nominate so their achievements can be recognised.
I RAISED the issue of load limits on Townsville’s troubled Bowen Road Bridge with the Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester during his visit to Townsville today.
I am concerned to hear that the load limit on the Bowen Road Bridge (over the Ross River near the Murray Sports area) may soon be restricted from 26 tonnes to 24 tonnes.
The traffic issues around the Bowen Road Bridge near the Murray Sports area are well known in this community and I have regularly lobbied for action here.
I joined Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, as well as Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson to inspect work on an upgrade to Glenella Road in Mackay.
The Australian Government had committed more than $2.52 million toward this project, under the Roads to Recovery program, which gives councils certainty when they need to upgrade and repair local roads.
The Glenella Road upgrade near Jane’s Creek will involve resurfacing of the road and pavement rehabilitation to make it less prone to damage from flooding, installing off-road bike paths, and upgrading street lighting – improving safety in the major sporting area around the Magpies Sporting Club.
TODAY’S announcement of an additional $37.6 million in Federal Government disaster relief funding to repair critical infrastructure and damaged beach and river frontages is a victory for the battered communities of Mackay and the Whitsundays.
I took up the fight, along with local mayors Andrew Willcox and Greg Williamson, for a fairer funding distribution under Category D of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) which now totalled more than $96 million.
The important thing to focus on today is that there’s an extra $15.2 million to restore the Shute Harbour Marina and get this business and tourism hub back up to speed.
AUGUST 22, 2017: The Liberal National Government delivered on an election promise when the first Ministerial Statement on Veterans and Their Families was delivered to Parliament. The Statement, which can be… read more →
I NOW have great confidence that there will be further NDRRA Category D funding provided for cyclone recovery in the Whitsundays, Bowen & Mackay.
Today, further discussions have been held between the Federal Government and the State Government about certain aspects of the Category D funding package.
Extra information which was needed regarding funding for Shute Harbour has been supplied and further discussions have also been undertaken regarding the Bluewater Trail.
Later today I will join with our Vietnam Veterans at a memorial service in Mackay which marks Vietnam Veterans’ Day and the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
Today we remember nearly 60,000 Australian men and women who served in the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1975, including 521 who lost their lives and more than 3,000 who were wounded.
Today is also the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan involving 105 Australians and three New Zealanders of D Company 6RAR in one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War.
In the Battle of Long Tan a total of 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds.
OUR REGION’S government and independent school students are set for, on average, an additional $1149 each by 2021 under the Liberal National Government’s student-centred Gonski funding plan that recently passed Parliament.
The new funding is part of a $283.63M funding boost for government and independent schools over the next decade that will see a $270 average increase next year for every student and around $1149 on average extra for each student by 2021.
Catholic and non-government systemic schools in Queensland will get an additional $2852.9M under the plan over the next decade that their education authorities will distribute to their schools.
We’re delivering a school system that’s entirely focused on students and what they need to be their best.
Moves by NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm to reverse a hard-fought decision to introduce a sugar marketing code of conduct are both ignorant and arrogant.
Senator Leyonhjelm wants to scrap the Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct, and he claims he has the support of Labor senators to do so.
This is an arrogant stance by a NSW Senator with no experience or understanding of the sugar industry.
He calls cane farmers ‘socialists’ and he says their arguments for a right to a say over who markets their sugar are ‘piss-weak’.
Got something to say about education for country kids?
Now is the time to speak up as the Liberal National Government is undertaking a landmark review into regional, rural and remote education initiated by the Liberal National Government.
I invite families, students and the wider community to take a look at what’s being discussed and then tell us what you think.
We need your input on the challenges faced and the ways you get around them.
WE reached a major milestone in the Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 project today with the announcement that CPB Contractors have won the major tender.
This project will remove heavy vehicles from the Mackay CBD and residential areas by providing a bypass for all vehicles without a destination in Mackay.
This is a massive project for the region – we’re going to see 13 new bridges being built as part of it – and I believe an average of 534 jobs will be supported during construction of the bypass.
We need jobs, jobs, jobs in this region and I have already had discussions with CPB and heard firsthand that they’re very keen to engage the local suppliers, subcontractors and workers in Mackay.
They have said that it is naturally more efficient for them to source supplies where they can up here in this region rather than elsewhere.
CPB will also be advertising for expressions of interest in due course for locals interested in being involved in the project.
This is a very big infrastructure project for our region and we can look forward to seeing the flow-on effects of business dollars and job opportunities for a number of years.
THE introduction of more superyacht anchorages in the Whitsundays, to take effect from today, is a welcome step on an issue I have lobbied for extensively over the past two years.
I was very pleased to hear the announcement from Federal Minister for the Environment Josh Frydenberg that amendments to the Whitsundays Plan of Management have been finalised, opening the way for 21 new superyacht anchorages in this world-class tourist destination.
I have met with superyacht industry representatives on numerous occasions in the past two years and discussed the case for change with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) as well as the current and former Environment Minister.
One superyacht spending a week in port has the potential to inject $50,000 into the local economy and support a number of small businesses. When we see places like Noumea hosting 200 visits a year of a week or more each, we can appreciate the potential for the Whitsundays.
THIS morning I’ve announced that Mackay Regional Council has been successful in attracting funding of $1 million under the Building Better Regions Fund for the their Mackay Skate Park & Wheeled Sports Plaza Project.
This all came to pass due to the efforts of a pair of 12-year-old Mackay boys who dreamed of a quality skate park in their city, and they approached politicians at all levels to make it happen.
Flynn Bushell and Ethan Leval started a petition for a skate park, and they came to see me as well as Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson.
Today they’ve got the good news that their dream will become a reality.
Mackay Regional Council will contribute another $1.2 million to make the project a reality and it will be built at the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) in Scriha Street, North Mackay.
Mackay will receive great benefits from this project, as it will deliver the region’s first competition standard skate park and wheeled sports plaza.
NO-ONE pulled any punches at a teleconference which was held today with Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan in relation to concerns over Category D NDRRA funding approvals.
It was a frank and fearless discussion as it had to be because we are talking about funding to assist the community in recovering from a natural disaster.Both Mayor Andrew Willcox and Mayor Greg Williamson did a fantastic job in ferociously advocating for the region.
While there was a lot of disagreement around specific statements that were being made, a way forward was mapped out.
The Federal Government has unanswered questions about a number of projects that were rejected for funding.
A FUNDING programme which provides as much as $20,000 for non-profit community groups to undertake capital projects is up and running again, I’m calling for applications.
We are now embarking on Round 3 of the Stronger Communities Programme, an initiative of the Liberal National Government, which has provided funding for 28 different community groups throughout the Dawson electorate over the past two years.
The programme provides between $2,500 and $20,000 under a 50/50 funding arrangement for small capital projects being undertaken by not-for-profit groups which deliver social benefits in our communities.
We are now taking Expressions of Interest, so if you have a project that might fit the bill please call my office on 4944 0662 and we can provide the EOI form and answer other questions.
JULY 18, 2017: Townsville motorists now have a safer and more streamlined road network with the newly improved William Angliss/Mervyn Crossman Drive intersection now reopened to traffic. This is one… read more →
13 JULY 2017: The Federal Government’s axing of the Green Army was a disastrous decision for North Queensland. I’m not going to play the government’s line on the Green Army program, which will cease on June 30 next year, because, frankly, I was ticked off when the government announced the Green Army was axed.
JULY 13, 2017: The Liberal National Government’s Seasonal Work Incentives Trial offers a range of incentives for unemployed people to undertake seasonal horticultural work to help them gain experience and… read more →
12 JULY 2017: Community and ex-service organisations can now apply for grants to deliver sustainable services for younger veterans. The Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program recognises the importance of the transition phase for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as they leave the military.
I would encourage community and ex-service organisations to apply for grants which are now available for projects that deliver sustainable services for younger veterans.
The Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program recognises the importance of the transition phase for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as they leave the military.
$1 million is available in the second round for projects that build community support and service the unique needs of younger veterans transitioning to civilian life.
Applications are invited for a range of initiatives including mentoring, team building, self-improvement, and creative activities that promote social inclusion and peer-to-peer support for younger veterans.
6 JULY 2017: Two preferred tenderers have been shortlisted to deliver the $515 million project to upgrade the notoriously dangerous and flood-prone Haughton River Bridge on the Bruce Highway, about 50km south of Townsville. The Australian Government’s $412 million commitment to the project is funded under the 10-year, $8.5 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Program.
5 JULY 2017: THE Liberal National Government’s Seasonal Work Incentives Trial offers a range of incentives for unemployed people to undertake seasonal horticultural work to help them gain experience and improve their skills. The trial will support those looking for work and businesses keen to give workers a start.
4 JULY 2017: Work is progressing on the establishment of the North Queensland Regional Training Hub, which will provide medical students the ability to study, work and live in Mackay and Townsville. Significant progress has been made in establishing the Hubs, and the James Cook University will focus on a ‘grow your own’ model to facilitate regionally based vocational training and career paths.
3 JULY 2017: Another leading industry organisation has backed in the Liberal National Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program with a commitment to deliver thousands of internships for young Australians. The Australian Retailers Association has confirmed it will partner with the Government and deliver up to 10,000 internships to young Australians looking to get into work through the Youth Jobs PaTH program.
19 JUNE 2017: Today, I introduced a private members bill to parliament that would protect penalty rates for all workers and would restore penalty rates that have already been traded away through dodgy deals between big business and big unions.