GW3 going into bat for the Whitsundays
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.