Annual report reveals a year of opportunities and growth

Published: 09 Nov 2022

A review of council’s annual report reveals a year of recovery and growth bolstered by a return to normalcy following a reduction of COVID-19 restrictions.

The report, adopted at an ordinary council meeting today, includes information on the usual roads, rubbish and rates, and also details key achievements and exciting major projects.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the 2021-2022 financial year was not without challenges.

“In March 2022, we were rocked by the news of CEO Michael Thomson’s cancer diagnosis,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Michael took extended leave for treatment before officially resigning in May to focus on his cancer battle,” he said.

“And, of course, COVID-19 was the all-consuming challenge for our nation.

“However, while the challenges of the pandemic were huge, there were some unique opportunities for our region.

“Council successfully bid to host three NRL season games as well as two NRL semi-finals games in front of near-capacity crowds at BB Print Stadium Mackay in 2021.

“Another major success for the year was the adoption of council’s new Corporate Plan, which will provide an exciting blueprint for the region over the next five years.”

Acting CEO Angela Hays echoed the Mayor’s sentiments.

“Our facilities have bounced back well from COVID-19 restrictions, with strong visitation, sales and attendance since programs resumed in March 2022,” Ms Hays said.

“Sarina Sugar Shed had a standout year. Despite the impacts of the pandemic, the facility achieved the highest visitation on record (29,005) and had a 6.81 per cent increase in ticket sales and a 7.85 per cent increase in retail revenue,” she said.

“The MECC used the closure period to complete several state-of-the-art upgrades, including technical production upgrades and an increase in live streaming capabilities.

“These works are already paying dividends, with strong future event and conference bookings secured until 2025.”

Additionally, many of council’s major projects reached exciting milestones.

The highly anticipated Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Project continued to gain momentum with a master plan concept for the Finch Hatton Trailhead site developed using feedback from the Pioneer Valley community.

Council also received $4.1 million in funding through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund to put towards the $9 million transformational project in the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area Riverside precinct.

In January 2022, council announced that Woollam Constructions had been successful with its tender to complete the first stage of public realm works in this precinct.

Contractors WHF Group Pty Ltd completed the first stage of council’s new Animal Management Centre in December 2021, with work on stage two commencing shortly after.

Mayor Williamson said the report was full of interesting and diverse facts about council and the types of services, support, and facilities it provided the community and ratepayers.

“We’ve racked up some impressive numbers in 2021-2022,” he said.

“Libraries processed 866,948 loans; council’s website had 742,848 visits; we maintained 2957 roads and 288km of footpaths and shared paths; grew 86,990 local native plants and had 64,280 attendees at our Mackay Festival of Arts.

“It’s been another busy year!”

All this information and more can be found in the 2021-2022 annual report on council’s website.