The FNQROC Board met in Yarrabah for the first time in at least 12 years. Firstly, thank you to the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council for hosting us on the day and taking us through the Art Gallery and Museum. I know I certainly learnt a number of new things from this visit.
Key discussions from this meeting included:
1. Adoption of the FNQROC Strategic Directions
2. Discussion re RDA Roadmap
3. Revival of the Rivers to Reef Proposal (this is the proposal which was put together when River Improvement Trusts began to dissolve)
4. Further investigation into Regional Waste Solutions
5. Collective Reseal Project
6. Two motions to the LGAQ Annual Conference regarding NDRRA issues (note, both these motions were adopted unopposed at the conference in late October 2012)
7. Timely access to road accident data, and
8. A submission regarding the future management of Siam weed.
Mountain bike tracks and trails are a significant new economic tourism industry for this region. The time is right with the State and Federal Governments eager to present our unique natural environment and provide a new tourism product. This is then backed up with the potential to host World Championships and National Titles between 2014 and 2018. We have a number of local organisations who have done a phenomenal job over a number of years to develop trails and studies backing their initiative – of significant note is TIMBA from which we have gleaned a lot of our supporting data. What was recognised was the need to work collaboratively to support these groups and drive the initiative forward from a whole of region perspective. As a result, FNQROC has coordinated a task force to do just this. This taskforce is designed for organisations to work together – know what each other is doing, allocate bite size tasks to relevant organisations (we are all resource scarce) in order to bring together this whole of region view. Our website page soon will contain all the minutes, agendas and documents developed to date to provide further information. Membership on the taskforce at this stage includes: FNQROC, TTNQ, Advance Cairns, Tablelands Tropical Futures, Tourism Tropical Tablelands, National Parks Sport and Recreation, Events Queensland, Tourism Queensland, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Tablelands Regional Council, Cairns Regional Council and Cook Shire Council.
Advance Cairns under the FNQROC / Advance Cairns performance contract held the first Local Government Economic Development Meeting in October. Representatives at this meeting are the economic development personnel from councils which contribute to Advance Cairns. At this first meeting representatives worked through the objectives they would like to achieve through these meetings. One of the biggest things I would like to see is increased communication both into and out of Advance Cairns to assist councils in leveraging off opportunities which occur within the region. Agendas, minutes and documents are posted on our website's Local Government Economic Development page.
The Regional Development Manual has been finalised and the amendments have been sent to councils for adoption. Included in the package of information sent to councils is a public consultation report on the proposed changes to the manual. Please do not hesitate to contact me should there be any issue or concerns. Note...the 2009 version will need to be used until such time as applicable councils adopt the new 2012 version. Our website will keep you updated on these adoptions.
A number of State initiatives were discussed at the FNQROC Planners meeting in October, including:
• the one single State Planning Policy which will encapsulate all the state interests for planning schemes
• Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning as the one stop shop for referrals
• Draft Coastal SPRP
A big thank you to Tracy Haynes (LGAQ) for keeping us all abreast of the significant number of changes that are occurring – Tracy has been a wealth of knowledge for all of us.
The Regional Road Group Assembly was held in Brisbane in late October 2012, and we were advised of:
• Budget cuts to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS). We have lost about 36% of our funding for 2012/2013 and our works program will need to be reworked (Gerard talks more about this in his update). We did hear this funding will be the first to be restored when the budget is back in surplus.
• Proposed boundary reviews of the RRG's. As a result of recommendations from a 10 year review (de Chastel and Associates) and altered DTMR regions, the Roads Alliance Board has proposed new RRG boundaries and is seeking comment.
The above items will be the focus of recommendations by the RRG Technical Committee (its next meeting is on Wednesday 14 November in the afternoon!) to the next FNQRRG Board Meeting (10 December) for endorsement.
I thought it prudent that we include briefs from Far Northern stakeholders or agencies in our newsletter...
TTNQ welcomed an influx of 1300 Japanese students coming in on four JTB/Transaero School Excursion charter flights during October. These students participated in farm stay programs on the Atherton Tableland for two days, injecting $1.95 million into the local economy. The trips are designed to immerse the students in Australian culture and they love it. They return to their country as ambassadors for our region. Some of the comments we hear include how kind and friendly people are in Tropical North Queensland and how they enjoy experiencing the natural environment.
North Queensland ATEC hosted 50 inbound tour operators from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in Cairns in late October before taking them on a familiarisation to Cooktown. TTNQ and 52 industry suppliers met with the operators. This North Queensland event has been running for more than 10 years and is always a very successful inbound tour operator program with a different area chosen each year for the familiarisation.
The 'Ultimate Adventure Crew' landed in Tropical North Queensland last week and experienced eight days of action-packed fun exploring the reef and rainforest. The four crew members were chosen from 8,000 entries to be the winners of Tourism Tropical North Queensland's Ultimate Adventure Crew competition, which gathered so much momentum on Facebook that the region's main site, Tropical North Queensland, now has more than 50,000 fans.
Who’s who in the region following the State Government deconstruction? Below are some of the state agency updates from the last RMCN meeting. They identify who is in the region, who they report to and what their priorities are.