Mayors talk up Whitsunday message

Chair of the Whitsunday Regional Organisation of Councils (ROC) and Mackay Mayor Deirdre Comerford have received assurance that the election funding commitment for the Mackay Ring Road will be honoured in the May Federal Budget from Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss during recent talks in Canberra.

During a two-day visit to the nation’s capital along with Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker and Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney, the funding commitment was confirmed.

“Whilst the Federal Government is facing a tough budget this year, it is certainly pleasing that we received confirmation from the Deputy PM that the election commitment made last year will be honoured in the May Budget,” said Mayor Comerford.

The three Mayors also held positive talks with a range of Federal Ministers and senior policy advisors to push the importance of the Whitsunday region and its infrastructure needs.

Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney said the delegation gained strong support from several Ministers.

“We’ve managed to secure a commitment that two Federal Ministers will visit the region this year to liaise with business and tourism leaders.”

Small Business Minister Bruce Billson and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb have confirmed that they will visit later this year to discuss issues relating to their portfolios.

“This will provide many of our business operators with the opportunity to talk directly with key Cabinet Ministers and put local issues on the national agenda.”
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss also provided positive news regarding the Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) issue, confirming that he had elevated the FIFO Inquiry Report and was working with government departments to review the Federal inquiry’s 21 recommendations.

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker said the feedback was encouraging.

“I think it indicates the importance of the issue from a national perspective and I eagerly await the Deputy PM’s whole-of-government response.”