Welcome to the June 2018 issue of the WBBROC newsletter. Don't forget that the WBBROC website www.wbbroc.org.au also has up-to-date information about our organisation, projects and events.
Region leads the State in agriculture
2017 ABS statistics for irrigated production confirm that the Wide Bay Burnett (WBB) leads the State’s high-value irrigation industry with 21% of gross irrigated production totaling $775 million.
While the regions’ fertile soils, favourable climate and significant water resources enable this industry, it is only possible through application of skills and technical specialisation by the region’s 2,763 irrigation enterprises and supporting industries.
Employing over 20.68% of the State’s agricultural workers and producing 14% of Queensland’s total agricultural crop production, the WBB’s potential for expansion and diversification is attracting widespread interest from agricultural investors and downstream processors seen in Bega’s recent acquisition of Peanut Company Australia.
Irrigated tree-crop industry sectors including macadamias, avocadoes, mandarins and mangoes were the main drivers contributing to this outcome. However, other sectors including peanuts, dairy, pork and pineapples illustrates the diversity of less water-dependant production in the region.
WBB’s competitive advantage in high value irrigated cropping underpins the region’s solid economic potential as the ‘food-bowl’ of SE Queensland.
WBBROC is regularly raising the region’s economic potential through increased water reliability with State Government Ministers.
Ministers taking notice
WBBROC members travelled to Brisbane again recently to meet with State Government Ministers. These Brisbane visits are building constructive relationships with Ministers and creating results. One example is WBBROC’s frustration in the hold-up of the First and Last Mile project, critical in identifying key future freight routes and the transport restrictions at either end.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey brought along 2 of his General Managers and they agreed to help us work around the hold-ups, created by the delay in the work TMR is finalising on heavy vehicle network planning.
This is just one example of the benefits of working with Ministers, which WBBROC will continue to do. WBBROC also met with Opposition Members.
Back L to R: Mayor Jack Dempsey and Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor (Bundaberg), and Mayor Keith Campbell (South Burnett)
Front L to R: Mayor George Seymour (Fraser Coast), Mayor Mick Curran (Gympie & WBBROC Chair) and Mayor Rachel Chambers (North Burnett)
Cherbourg wins Reconciliation Award
Cherbourg has won the 2018 Queensland Government Reconciliation Award for its Reconciliation Fun Run. The Murgon to Cherbourg fun run along the “Reconciliation Road” is in its fifth year and over 400 people participated this year. The fun run helps to demonstrate that the road is now seen as a symbol of unity.
Saying goodbye to old friends
WBBROC is this month saying goodbye to 2 “old friends” (2 people who have worked with the WBBROC for many years, and are now good friends). Both have been clear that they are not retiring – they are simply going to be pursuing new endeavours!!
One of those old friends is Gary Wall, who is currently the CEO at South Burnett Regional Council and a member of WBBROC.
Gary started with Kingaroy Shire Council as a Cost Clerk in November 1971, straight from school. Over his 47 years of service he moved through the ranks to achieve his present position.
Along the way, Gary’s focus has been on areas like efficiency reviews across the organisation. One his strengths has been that he has always led and put in place processes to improve communication both internal and external to Council.
As a long-term Kingaroy resident, Gary has held executive positions within school P & C’s and a number of sporting clubs, board member of South Burnett Care Board and South Burnett Community Hospital Foundation.
The other old friend is Neil McPhillips, who has been the independent Chair of REDAC – WBBROC’s Regional Economic Development Advisory Committee - for the past 7 years.
In November 2011, Neil McPhillips & Street Ryan presented the “Wide Bay Burnett Strategic Directions Report” (known as the "Street Ryan" report) to WBBROC.
The Street Ryan Report stressed the need for WBBROC to recognise the regional leadership role it must fulfil in regional economic development. WBBROC subsequently agreed “that the fostering of regional economic development should be a function of WBBROC,” established REDAC and requested Neil to be the independent REDAC Chair, a role he accepted.
In the role of REDAC Chair, Neil has led the work of delivering on WBBROC’s key regional priorities.
WBBROC now says a heartfelt thanks and well-wishes for the future to both these old friends.
Water Coordinator role to continue
Following negotiations with the LGAQ, the Queensland Government has agreed to continue the QWRAP funding that has enabled WBBROC to employ Steve Brown as the Regional Water Coordinator for the past 2 years.
This will ensure that WBBROC continues to benefit from the hard work that Steve and his supportive Urban Water Technical Committee members have been providing. This includes initiatives like regional sewer relining tenders (managed by Fraser Coast Regional Council) and the finalisation of a Regional Water Strategy.
….And more to come
WBBROC, in partnership with BMRG, has been advised that it has been successful in a funding application that will greatly assist the region in implementing its Regional Biosecurity Strategy and see the employment of a regional biosecurity project officer for 2 years.
The employment of a dedicated regional biosecurity officer should see many successes in the biosecurity area, similar to the successes enjoyed in the water area with the employment of a dedicated Regional Water Coordinator.
Hinkler Innovation Series
The inaugural Hinkler Innovation Series will feature a panel discussion hosted by internationally recognised leader in urban development Professor Edward Blakely.
When: Friday 22 June 2018
Time: 9 am – 10.30 am
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre, 177 Bourbong Street, Bundaberg
More information: http://businessbundaberg.com.au/Events/hinkler-innovation-series-103292
Wide Bay Burnett Regional Economic Development Growth Forum
Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Industry & Planning, Regional Development Australia (Wide Bay Burnett) and WBBROC present the 5th Annual Regional Economic Development Growth Forum. This year's forum will focus on showcasing the businesses from across our region.
When: Thursday 11 October 2018
Where: Bundaberg Multiplex Centre, 1 Civic Street, Bundaberg West
Further details regarding registration will be posted in the coming months but also ensure you like the facebook page Wide Bay Burnett Regional Economic Growth Forum.
WBBROC MEETING DATES
WBBROC will be meeting on the following dates in 2018: