Council investment to help stimulate economy during recovery

It was important for council to invest in infrastructure and the community, despite the challenges created by COVID-19, Mayor Greg Williamson said.

Spending on capital works projects and initiatives like the Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction program would help stimulate the economy during recovery, he said.

The 2020-2021 budget includes $7.6 million to progress signature projects – the Mountain Biking Strategy, Northern Beaches Community Hub and the Mackay Waterfront PDA.

This includes $1.8m towards design of a new mountain biking facility at Eungella-Finch Hatton and $2.5 million for Northern Beaches Community Hub master planning and design.

There is $3.3m for design and initial construction of public realm upgrades in the Riverside precinct of the Mackay Waterfront.

That public realm works will complement any nearby private developments in the Priority Development Area (PDA).

Council recently resolved to undertake an expressions of interest process for six freehold parcels of land it owns in the Mackay Waterfront to test market appetite for private investment.

The budget also earmarks $113 million for capital projects.

Mayor Williamson said it was critical that council maintained that sort of investment for 2020-2021.

“About 80 per cent of our spend each year is local, so those capital works and other initiatives will help support local businesses and create jobs as the region recovers from COVID-19,’’ he said.

Council’s budget also includes about $7 million in State Government funding through a special COVID round of the Works For Queensland program.

Cr Williamson said the $1 million earmarked for council’s successful Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction program was also a key to help with economic recovery.

“This is especially important to help our tourism industry get back on its feet as restrictions ease and we can again attract major events to our region,’’ he said.