Forum looks to future
THE attraction and retention of staff, the region’s best products, and the implementation of the Burdekin economic strategy were some of the issues discussed at the Ayr Regional Forum on Monday.
The forum was chaired by tmember for Thuringowa Aaron Harper and Member for Mundingburra Les Walker, and Police and Corrective Services and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan, Minister for Resources Scott Stewart and the Assistant Minister for Hydrogen Development and Member for Bundamba Lance Mccallum also attended. Mr Harper described the Burdekin as an “absolute powerhouse”, and said the forum was beneficial in examining the progress of the Burdekin, as well as providing opportunities to forge new partnerships that may benefit and grow the region.
“What we know is that the Burdekin certainly punches above its weight in terms of output from an agricultural point of view, but there’s some exciting opportunities,” he said.
Mr Walker said every regional area was unique in its own right.
“What’s impacting on these regional areas is the youth moving to the bigger centres,” Mr Walker said.
“Today, a key point that was made was about lifestyle and retaining young people and creating those jobs that are quite unique moving forward.
“We have a changing economy, a green economy, we’ve got to gear up not only for those industries here and now but having youth and training and a workforce that’s moving forward to meet those emerging industries to keep those young people here.”
Burdekin Mayor Lyn Mclaughlin said it was important for people in small regional communities to feel like they were part of a community.
“We have talked about the shortage of skilled workforce and also workforces that aren’t skilled, but it’s not something unique to here, it’s felt across the state,” Ms Mclaughlin said.
Mr Stewart said a key focus of the forum was ensuring the Burdekin would take advantage of the 2033 Olympics in Brisbane.
“How do we actually present this region as being top shelf and make them aware of the opportunities that exist,” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s about positioning yourself in the long game. We got to start planting those seeds about the North and about this
region and about what opportunities exist and how unique that is, particularly on that international stage for future trade.”
Mr Ryan said the forum gave him confidence that the council and community were doing a great job setting themselves up for the future and attracting people to the region.
“There are no vacant houses, there are no vacant rentals, there is great investment in the economy here, and they are also building a plan around the future for more job opportunities, diversifying the crops, getting into advanced manufacturing,” Mr Ryan said.
“Those aspects will support getting more people to come to the regions.”
The Regional Community Forums are part of the Queensland government’s Advancing Queensland’s Regions strategy, supported by the Office for Rural and Regional Queensland.