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Mayor's Column - Longreach Leader 4 June 2021

Published: 7th June 2021

This column first appeared in the Longreach Leader on Friday 4 June 2021.

I’d like to start this fortnight’s column by offering my thanks to everyone who came out to one of our Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea events in Longreach and Ilfracombe last week.

The events are part of a national campaign in aid of the Cancer Council. In Ilfracombe, the Councillors, senior staff and I took a break from the monthly Council meeting to join the community for the event. It was great to catch up with our community and have a cuppa for a good cause – thank you to everyone who donated.

At our Council meeting last week we formally adopted the Thomson River Master Plan. It’s a very exciting long-term vision for the future of our river. Plans like this one are important, acting as a guide for both government and private investment for decades to come.

Our community have had input into this plan at every stage of its development, so it’s fair to say this is really the community’s plan. I think it’s vitally important that the Thomson River precinct becomes a destination for locals first, and then visitors will follow.

The full level of detail in the plan will take decades to fully realise, but our community will be able to at least some minor improvements by the end of this year, thanks to some modest state and federal funding we’ve set aside for early works.

The Councillors and I took some time while we were all together last week to tour some of the important developments and work in progress around town. We visited WQLX, where we are partnering with the operators on some major upgrades to the facilities, including an extension to the rail siding. Our partnership with WQLX on the Longreach Saleyards and spelling complex has the potential to be a rewarding one for the whole region.

We also accepted an invitation to visit the newly renovated accommodation developed by Outback Pioneers. The rooms are finished to an incredibly high standard, and it’s just the sort of product development that’s required to take advantage of the shifting demographics we’re currently seeing in our visitor market.

Finally, we took the opportunity to inspect the Outback Hubs Skills Training & Innovation Precinct, at the site of the former Longreach Pastoral College. As many of you would be aware, RAPAD are working hard to put together a compelling case for ongoing development and use of the site.

My fellow Councillors and I value the opportunity to get around and see things for ourselves as much as we can. I’ve been driving the roads in our region a lot lately to see for myself the state of them – and, for the most part I’ve been impressed.

Council has also been playing host to representatives from Get Ready Queensland, the state disaster preparedness initiative, and visiting schools throughout the region with our emergency services. I’m told the children have relished the chance to learn about the role of our emergency services. Disaster management is a role we take very seriously at Council – the CEO, Craig Neuendorf and I are off to the state Disaster Management Conference in Brisbane next week for some important training and updates. 

Before I go, I’d just like to recognise the performance of local shearer Jovan Taiki, who won the speed shears in Thargomindah recently, fleecing a sheep in an incredible 29 seconds – well done!

Until next time, you can find email and direct phone numbers and email addresses for me and each of my fellow Councillors on our website at longreach.qld.gov.au/elected-members. If you want to know anything at all, reach out to one of us - or contact Council directly on (07) 4658 4111 (24hrs), or email assist@longreach.qld.gov.au

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