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Mayor's Column - Longreach Leader 13 August 2021

Published: 16th August 2021

This column first appeared in the Longreach Leader on Friday 30 July 2021.

While it’s good news that the lockdown in South-East Queensland was lifted this week, the Premier did advise people in the south-east to avoid unnecessary travel for another two weeks. A few weeks ago, when our region had what turned out to be a false alarm, we saw visitor numbers drop significantly. By the time we had got the message out, most of our visitor market were in lockdown anyway, which had a significant impact on our tourism industry.

It’s been our first taste of what every other tourism region in Queensland has been experiencing for a long time now. We have been performing very strongly, and we can again, but it’s plain to see this ongoing uncertainty will have an impact.

Meanwhile it’s more important than ever that we keep increasing the vaccination rate in our region. No matter where you live - in town or on the land - we all have a role to play in keeping our region safe. The next Pfizer clinic in Longreach will be at the Civic Centre on Tuesday 24 August. Email cw-covax@health.qld.gov.au or call 1800 953 703 for more information. You can also follow Central West Hospital and Health Service on social media to stay up to date with local developments. Don’t forget to use the Check In Qld app everywhere you can.

Like all of you, I was shocked and sickened by the discovery at Yanburra Station last week. We live in an area famous for its livestock– we love our animals. Detective-Sergeant Cooke is leading the investigation, and I urge the whole community to support his team in any way they can. If you have dash-cam footage or indeed any piece of information that may help, no matter how trivial, please ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Olympic Live event last week in Longreach, and a big thanks to the Australian Olympic Committee for bringing the event to our region. We had a good crowd of about one-hundred-and-twenty people at the showgrounds, watching the diving and the soccer on the big screen. Brooke Hanson was signing autographs and chatting with people, and she even tried her hand at commentating some of the action. So it sounds like it was a great event, thank you to everyone who got involved.

Some good news came in last week – Council has received $150,000 from the Australian Government to help fund an expansion of the Longreach Childcare Centre. The expansion will roughly double the capacity of the facility. It will all take place within the existing centre footprint, without the need to construct any new buildings. All in all, the project will create 108 extra childcare places and support the employment of up to five additional roles. 

It’s so important that we continue to support the centre, and keep up with demand. The centre supports vital workforce participation outcomes in our communities. It’s one of the most important things our Council does to support the local economy. 

The Central West Hospital and Health Service have told us that just over 100 babies will be born in Longreach this year, at least half of which will be born to families in the Longreach region. We applied to the Australian Government Community Child Care Fund, and our application was high on the agenda when the CEO and I met with various ministers in Canberra earlier this year. Securing this investment in the future of Childcare for our region is a great result.

Until next time, you can find email and direct phone numbers and email addresses for me and for 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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