GW3 go­ing into bat for the Whit­sun­days

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Car­ruthers Peter.Car­ruthers@ news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

JOHN Glanville is keen to find out what the peo­ple of the Whit­sun­days want.

The chair­man of the newly formed Greater Whit­sun­day Al­liance (GW3) posed the ques­tion at the board’s bi-monthly meet­ing last week and its first held in Air­lie Beach.

De­scrib­ing the group as a “join­ing the dots” or­gan­i­sa­tion, he re­flected on a time in the 1970s when Air­lie Beach lo­cals bucked all pos­si­bil­ity of de­vel­op­ment and wanted the town to re­main a sleepy fish­ing vil­lage.

Then along came Hamilton Is­land de­vel­oper Keith Wil­liams, who was con­se­quently able to re­align the is­land as the hub of the Whit­sun­days, mean­ing many years later there are still some visi­tors to the re­gion who don’t set foot on the main­land.

The GW3, which has se­cured $500,000 in com­bined fund­ing from the Isaac, Mackay and Whit­sun­day coun­cils, is about fos­ter­ing eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity – in line with what the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties want.

The role of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is to col­lec­tively pro­mote busi­ness and ex­ploit grown op­por­tu­ni­ties across the three re­gions.

Can­non­vale’s Bob Bo­gie and Bowen’s Paul McLaughlin are in­cluded in a board made up of busi­ness leaders rep­re­sent­ing Isaac, Mackay and the Whit­sun­days.

“The GDP per­cent­age, which comes out of the greater Whit­sun­day re­gion, is mas­sive and yet the gov­ern­ment fund­ing we re­ceive is not com­men­su­rable with that,” Mr Glanville said.

“Part of our job is to try and get a bet­ter share of that and part of our job is to try and di­ver­sify our in­dus­tries so when you get a min­ing down­turn the place doesn’t fall on its knees.”

The al­liance cov­ers a geo­graphic foot­print of 98,000sq km, which con­trib­utes $50 bil­lion to the Queens­land econ­omy.

Cur­rent top­ics of fo­cus for the GW3 in­clude wa­ter se­cu­rity, in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing, cheaper power and in the Whit­sun­days specif­i­cally the de­vel­op­ment of the cruise ship in­dus­try on the main­land.

The group also planned to tackle what it de­scribed as “post­code dis­crim­i­na­tion” by lenders.

DIS­AS­TER Re­lief Fund­ing is still on the agenda, with QRAA seem­ingly soft­en­ing their stance and al­low­ing ap­pli­ca­tions that were pre­vi­ously de­clined.

I en­cour­age ev­ery­one who feels they have a le­git­i­mate claim that was de­clined to con­tact the cham­ber. QRAA have an­nounced one-on-one ap­point­ments this week.

If you need help with ap­ply­ing, phone Michelle Palmer on (07) 3035 7329. You can claim your in­sur­ance ex­cess through this fund­ing.

Last week the cham­ber at­tended an In­dus­try Fo­rum at the TAFE and dis­cussed train­ing re­quire­ments for the re­gion mov­ing for­ward.

The TAFE is look­ing at some pro­gres­sive cour­ses and in­no­va­tions sure to ben­e­fit the re­gion.

On Mon­day, the Cham­ber at­tended the Par­lia­men­tary hear­ing in Can­non­vale in­ves­ti­gat­ing Op­por­tu­ni­ties and Meth­ods for Stim­u­lat­ing Tourism.

Con­cepts for tourist pro­jects and ideas to build diversification and re­silience

AD­VO­CATES: The Greater Whit­sun­day Al­liance is Isaac Mayor Anne Baker, North Queens­land Bulk Ports gen­eral man­ager Dr Rochelle Mac­don­ald, so­lic­i­tor Bob Bo­gie, Out of the Blue Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Kylie Porter, chair­man John Glanville, prop­erty valuer Jor­dan Miller, Vas­sallo Con­struc­tions owner Vic Vas­sallo and Rose Bay Re­sort man­ager Paul McLaughlin.

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