Report card shows remarkable investment returns for region

Published: 04 Jan 2022

Events supported by council generated a 40-times return on investment in 2020-2021.

The 2020-2021 Economic Development and Tourism Report Card, which dropped today, revealed that council’s Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction Program supported 42 events and conferences during the financial year.

Deputy Mayor Karen May said those events and conferences attracted 186,342 visitor nights to the region.

“That equates to an economic injection of about $40 million for the Mackay region, which is 40 times our investment into this fund,” Cr May said.

“There are very few investments that can equal those sorts of returns for a community,” she said.

“I’d like to acknowledge council’s Economic Development and Tourism team for their work over the last financial year and for what they have already achieved in the second half of 2021.”

Cr May said council had again allocated $1 million to events attraction in the current budget and revealed a slew of high-profile events had already been locked in for 2022.

“From the Gold Coast Suns vs GWS Giants AFLW game to the Bowen Basin Symposium, to national events like the Australian Off-Road Championship and even an international event, the Oceania Athletics Association Championships, 2022 is shaping up to be huge,” she said.

Economic Development and Tourism manager Teona Cousin said it has been a busy financial year and the report card showcased some of the big goals council had kicked for the region.

“Our Recreational Fishing Strategy is going from strength to strength, with our Hooked on Mackay brand building on its considerable social media and mainstream media traction,” Ms Cousin said.

“A large body of work has been conducted around mountain biking, with detailed planning and community consultation undertaken to ensure we get the best possible economic benefits from the Pioneer Valley trails,” she said.

“We have launched a Small Business Mentoring Program to help rural entrepreneurs upskill and tap into the mountain bike tourism market.

“Sarina Sugar Shed also had one of its best years to date with three of the highest revenue months in its operating history and a $148,000 increase in gross profit, which included and $44,000 increase in ticket sales.”

Development Services director Aletta Nugent said there had also been increased development activity across the Mackay region, and employment numbers had continued to increase with an estimated 6000 jobs regained during 2020, even under COVID-19 restrictions.

“Council also approved six new developments through our Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy,” Ms Nugent said.

“These new developments have a combined estimated economic output of $83.86 million and are expected to create 155 construction jobs,” she said.

Click here to view the full 2020-2021 Economic Development and Tourism Report Card. 

Other key achievements in Economic Development and Tourism

  • $30,000 was invested into three community placemaking projects thanks to Activate My Place! (AMP!) placemaking grants.
  • 157 participants took part in an eight-part webinar series on Tourism and Events Recovery
  • 50 local event organisers attended an Event Bootcamp Series covering best practice guidelines for event management
  • The Economic Development team continued to work collaboratively with Split Spaces to mentor start-up businesses and support innovation
  • Council endorsed the Small Business Friendly Councils Charter in March 2021
  • 13 Building Improvement Rebates were granted to support the revitalisation of commercial facades.