Charters Towers Regional Report

Adani’s Carmichael mine grinds to a halt

Federal environment minister Greg hunt is moving quickly to see this week’s federal court decision blocking Adani’s Carmichael mine project overturned.

The federal court said that the commonwealth could not prove that environment minster Greg hunt could not prove that he physically considered the impact that the proposed mine had on endangered species, the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

While green groups have claimed the decision as a victory Mayor Frank Beveridge believes it’s a disappointing decision.

“We’ve got the third year of drought, we’ve had the down turn in the resources industry which has meant layoffs in the coal mining sector, iron ore and gold,” says Mayor Beverdige.

“This delays things further, we were obviously looking forward to the time where Adani would start up, in conjunction with centurylink closing down.

“That would have meant while we lost 1000+ jobs in one area it would be only a short waiting period until we picked them up in another area. Obviously that won’t happen in the short term so we will have to wait a little longer,” he says.

The commonwealth now restates its case in an attempt to have this, the fifth related project, overturned.

Council leads Palm Island delegation

Charters Towers Regional Council led a delegation to attend the annual North Queensland Local Government Association conference on Palm Island this week.

There were more than 150 delegates who attended the conference from around North Queensland. It was an opportunity for councils to discuss current issues & learn new initiatives.

Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth was also in attendance, he says the event was an opportunity to bring our regions concerns to light.

“I’ve been communicating with some of the mayors and CEOs here in regards to the flying foxes,” Mr Knuth says.

“To ensure that councils have greater powers to remove flying foxes.

“And likewise more funding from the state government to help councils remove flying foxes,” says Mr Knuth.

The conference wrapped up on Wednesday giving Councillors and state members the opportunity to assist local governments in developing North Queensland and the welfare of its residents.

Record number of local students enrolling in tertiary education

Charters Towers continues along the 2014 national trend, in which, a record number of student enrollments for higher education, has been recorded.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a record rise in high school students seeking tertiary education.

Blackheath and Thornburgh Principal Nigel Fairbairn has confirmed the same trend for our students.

He says approximately two thirds of the grade 12 population go onto tertiary studies, an increase that is due to the school’s encouragement.

“It’s what were working towards yes. Importance of lifelong learning. Importance of getting the highest qualification you can,”says Nigel.

“It’s really a matter of acknowledging peoples strengths and then trying to make sure that we as a school are working with the students and their parents to help them go in the right direction,” he says.

 

Minister Pyne also announced an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrollments, something he says is essential for closing the gap that exists between health, education and employment outcomes and that is a key focus for our region.

An update on our electoral boundaries

Shadow Attorney General & Shadow Minister for Justice Ian Walker met with Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth {pronounced Knute} this week to discuss a bill Minister Walker moved in parliament two weeks ago.

We spoke to both parties about how the changes will affect us locally.

Mr Knuth and Mr Walker met on Monday to discuss the issues our region faces and the difficulties Mr Knuth faces serving such a large region.

“What we will see in this distribution is at least 3 or 4 more rural seats abolished and those rural seats will then be merged into the Brisbane area,” says Mr Knuth.

“Us MPs in the rural seats are travelling further and further, it’s getting harder and harder,” he says.

Mr Walker says the bill aims to increase the size and background of the Redistribution Commission giving it the tools and power to ensure that large seats like ours do not get even bigger.

“It’s certainly in rural and regional Queensland where I think the challenge is greatest,” says Shadow Attorney General Ian Walker.

“So, this bill will allow the Redistribution Commissioners to look at rural and regional Queensland & if they don’t think that rural and regional Queensland are getting a fair go, they’ll at least have the tools to do something about it, instead of having the straight jacket of 89 seats which is there at present,” says Mr Walker.

Mr Walker continues his travels around rural and regional Queensland’s largest seats and both parties are hopeful the bill be pass through parliament in October.

NBN could hit the Towers even sooner

Better internet across the Towers could become a reality sooner than we might think, following the announcement of an additional 4,500 workers being hired by to ensure the network can be rolled out sooner.

Last month NBN announced our region would be connected to the network by the end of 2016. Now the network is set to embark on one of Australia’s largest workforce training initiatives which will see the current project construction workforce doubled to around 9,000 workers employed at the peak of the rollout.

The announcement has been applauded by Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Frank Beveridge who welcomes the prospects set to benefit our region following the rollout.

“In a lot of areas in Charters Towers we have adequate internet but it can certainly be improved,” says Mayor Beveridge.

“We do have black areas and various areas in town.

“4G is preferred use at the moment. This will certainly open up a lot of opportunities that aren’t there now,” he says.

As it currently stands, it won’t be until December 2016 until we see NBN connections roll out throughout the region. And, although no precise connection date has been set, we remain hopeful that connection will come to fruition sooner than expected.

If you think we missed anything in this Regional Report don’t forget to give us a call on 07 3821 7440 & let us know!