Happy New Year, and welcome to 2020. I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing and enjoyable Christmas and New Year.
Thank you to all of those who attended our New Year's Eve Family Night event at the Civic Centre and farewelled 2019 and welcomed in 2020 with our free movie night.
It was fantastic to see so many people join us to celebrate the opening of the new Isa Street Bridge in December. The restored and classic cars on the bridge were a crowd-pleaser and the montage of photos spanning the history of the old bridge and turned into a video by local history enthusiast Barry Merrick were fascinating.
Sadly, the end of 2019 and the start of 2020 have proven especially difficult for those in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia with the long-running bushfires that have devastated so many lives and destroyed hundreds of homes.
All of our hearts go out to those who have been affected by this disaster.
We at Council have decided to do our part by including a bushfire relief appeal fundraiser in our Australia Day Pool Party later this month working with the Mount Isa Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, Rural Fire Brigade and Salvation Army.
We'll be having a rubber-duck race where people can sponsor a duck for a $5 donation, with the funds raised to be donated to the Salvation Army to assist the bushfire victims.
We had a very impressive turnout at last year's Australia Day Pool Party and I'm hopeful many people come along to this year's event and show their support for this great cause.
We have recently launched an educational campaign that aims to keep people safe during this and other Wet Seasons by encouraging them to stay out of floodwaters, whether they're in a vehicle or on foot.
There are a couple of informational videos, which we are expecting to be shown on free-to-air TV shortly, as well as handy fridge magnets that provide tips on what you can do around the house, or before travelling, to stay safe during the Wet Season.
Next month we will be launching our 2020-25 Tourism Strategy, which has been developed to provide strategic direction for Council, tourism industry stakeholders and the local community to plan for the sustainable development and marketing of Mount Isa's tourism sector over the next five years.
I am excited by the possibilities the Tourism Strategy holds for the city's tourism market and look forward to its launch.