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Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox is determined to not die wondering in his desire to ensure the Whitsunday region proactively advocates for any joint funding initiatives or partnerships.
Mayor Willcox and CEO Barry Omundson flew to Brisbane last Thursday morning for two full days of back-to-back meetings with State Ministers, Director Generals, and senior departmental staff on a range of matters important to the Whitsundays.
A highlight of the trip was talks progressing the concept of a Whitsunday Marine Centre of Excellence at Bowen.
Mayor Willcox said this project has grown legs quickly over the past 6 months and is shaping as a major economic driver for the region.
“The concept is that the Whitsunday Marine Centre of Excellence will be a state-of-the-art service centre for super yachts at the second basin of Bowen Harbour.
“We have also held preliminary talks with the Australian Maritime College (AMC) for a complementary maritime college for students wanting a career “on the sea”.
“This is exciting because it is a partnership with state government, local government and private enterprise that could see our Marine Centre of Excellence create a unique mix of education, jobs and service industries.
“The green light on this project would be a game-changer for Bowen and the wider region, creating thousands of jobs during construction and operation, and complementing the world-renowned tourism facilities that exist in the Whitsundays.” he said.
Mayor Willcox said he had a private meeting with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to pitch for additional funding on a range of infrastructure projects and talks were positive.
“I had a similar meeting with Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business & the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones.
“This was a positive talk where we canvassed a range of matters and gained the State government’s support of the Whitsundays as the only region put forward for the Federal/State Regional Tourism Infrastructure Investment Attraction Strategy,” he said.
“We also held meetings with senior Adani executives for an update on the Carmichael Mine project and caught up with Sunwater CEO Nicole Hollows regarding our Proserpine Master Plan ideas for developing Lake Proserpine as tourism attraction.
“To round out a busy few days of meetings the CEO and I sat down with Queensland Reconstruction Authority head Brendon Moon for an update on our progress with the disaster funding infrastructure projects,” Mayor Willcox said.
“The reality is to drive this great region forward council needs to collaborate with State Government and private enterprise to deliver a bright future for our residents and we will continue to advocate strongly for our community.”