The North West region has certainly been through a lot in the past few weeks, with devastating floods in the wake of long periods of drought. However, the floodwaters have receded and now is the time to focus on the big task of cleaning up and repairing flood-damaged infrastructure, including stretches of washed-out roads and highways.
My heart goes out to my fellow mayors across North and North West Queensland who are facing this major undertaking. It is a timely reminder that this is the Year of Outback Tourism and I urge everyone to support events throughout the North West this year, as that bring money and tourism back into the areas that need it the most after these devastating times.
Representation on behalf of flood-affected mayors and councils to senior members of government is a vital part of ensuring the region gets the assistance it needs. That’s why myself, Townsville City mayor Jenny Hill, Burke Shire mayor Ernie Camp and North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils executive officer Greg Hoffman were part of a delegation that met and spoke with senior federal ministers, including deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and opposition leader Bill Shorten, shadow ministers including Joel Fitzgibbon, Jason Clare and Stephen Jones, and Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, in Canberra earlier this month.
We sought commitments from both the federal government and opposition to ensure the region gets its fair share of the short- and long-term funding that will help it get back on its feet, as well as a commitment to a long-term plan for the future improvement of the North West.
Closer to home, the council are in the process of sealing parts of the Frank Aston Hill, on Rodeo Drive, to convert the base of the hill into an area where caravans and campervans can park during the day. I was pleased to acknowledge International Women’s Day recently. As first female mayor of Mount Isa, I am proud of the wonderful women in our community and hope we can continue to inspire and encourage the next generation of young women to achieve great things.
I’d like to encourage everyone to take some time each day to acknowledge our everyday people who are out there doing great things for our community, from excellent service in sectors such as health and education, to our army of tireless volunteers.