Register Now for the Burdekin Water Forum

A major water forum will bring farmers, scientists and government representatives from around Australia to the Burdekin Theatre next week.

The Burdekin Water Forum is being held from Monday 9 October to Wednesday 11 October 2017 and will focus on managing irrigated agriculture in Great Barrier Reef Catchments.

The forum will include presentations and discussions that showcase projects and initiatives that have been developed in various communities and environments to manage irrigated agriculture. A field trip has been planned for Wednesday 11 October which will tour the Burdekin district showcasing some of the best practices in irrigation management, water storage and supply infrastructure.

The management of irrigated agriculture in Great Barrier Reef catchments comes with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. The forum will showcase initiatives that have been developed in various communities and environments across the country.

Delegates of the Burdekin Water Forum will hear from a range of local, state, national and international speakers including Professor Dr Anthony Turton from the Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, South Africa. Dr Turton is one of South Africa’s leading water experts in integrated water resources management.

Registrations for the forum can be completed online at or alternatively attendees are able to register on the day.

For further information please visit the Burdekin Water Forum website.


Burdekin Shire residents to Get Ready for disaster season

This week is Get Ready Queensland Week and Burdekin Shire Council is urging residents to check their ‘WHAT-IF?’ plans and get ready for the upcoming disaster season.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Get Ready Queensland Week, this 8-15 October, was the perfect time to get thinking about how to prepare for any surprises summer may have in store.

“I encourage all residents to visit our Get Ready Burdekin display in the foyer of Council’s Customer Service Centre in Young Street, Ayr,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“We’ll have a range of useful resources, including posters, Get Ready guides and cyclone tracking maps, on display for the duration of the week.

“It is vital that every household has a ‘WHAT-IF’ plan. This week, take the time to ask yourself what are you and your family going to do if a cyclone, bushfire, flood or other disaster strikes.”

Since 2011, Queensland has been hit by more than 50 significant natural disasters resulting in devastating loss of life and more than $14 billion in damage to public infrastructure.

Cr McLaughlin said when it came to extreme weather events in Queensland, it was not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

“The best time to prepare for a disaster is well before one is even on its way. Planning well means nothing is left to chance and that everyone knows what they need to do and where things are,” she said.

The 2017-18 the Get Ready Queensland program is managed by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, the state’s permanent disaster recovery agency.

Learn more about preparing yourself, your family and property from disasters by visiting or by contacting Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

More information on Get Ready Queensland Week is available at

Burdekin residents to band together for Great Northern Clean Up

Burdekin Shire residents are being encouraged to descend on Alva this 14 October for the Great Northern Clean Up Day.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Alva’s beaches were important recreational and tourist drawcards for the Shire however they were also impacted by litter.

“The Great Northern Clean Up Day is one day where the community can get together and help the environment by collecting the rubbish that is accumulating on our beaches,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Council runs the Great Northern Clean Up Day annually in partnership with Tangaroa Blue and Reef Blitz. So far, over one tonne of rubbish has been collected from Alva Beach in three separate clean-up efforts, with glass and plastic bottles being the most abundant litter.

“This enormous effort was done by just a handful of good-willed volunteers.

“We’d love to see even more people get involved in this year’s clean up day.”

Volunteers are asked to meet at the Ayr Surf Life Saving Club in Sandowns St, Alva, at 8.30am.

Cr McLaughlin said people should bring closed in shoes, sun safe clothing and a hat. Gloves and other equipment will be supplied.

“A free barbecue and cold drinks will be supplied to all volunteers at the Alva Beach Park after the clean up to thank them for their efforts,” she said.

The Great Northern Clean Up Day is supported by NQ Dry Tropics through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

Cr McLaughlin said the event aimed to get people thinking about the effect of human activities on the environment.

“It’s an opportunity to spend some time caring for our local community and taking pride in Alva Beach by cleaning up,” she said.

For further information please visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

Breakfast to update community on Haughton Solar Farm

Burdekin Shire Council’s next Industry Breakfast will shine a spotlight on one of Australia’s largest solar farm projects, proposed to begin construction in the Burdekin early next year.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Pacific Hydro’s Haughton Solar Farm would be built in three stages over eight years and reach up to a maximum capacity of 500MW, enough to power about 170,000 homes.

“Much interest has been shown in this job-creating project since its approval by Council earlier this year,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Council is delighted to announce that, as part of the upcoming Burdekin Industry Breakfast at Burdekin Theatre on Wednesday, 4 October, we’ll have a representative of Pacific Hydro attending to share even more about the plans for this large-scale solar farm” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Since commencing this year, the Burdekin Industry Breakfasts have provided an excellent opportunity for Council and other Government agencies to engage with local businesses and update them on infrastructure and new business opportunities in the region.

“The Pacific Hydro solar farm represents a major investment in our Shire and in the Burdekin’s potential as a solar energy powerhouse of the future. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about this project first-hand.”

The scheduled presentation by Greg Tonner, Cowboys NRL Club CEO, has been postponed due to the weekend’s NRL Grand Final.

However, Cr McLaughlin said Townsville Enterprise Policy and Investment Director Michael McMillan had come on board as the second guest speaker.

“I will join Mr McMillan in providing a recap of the recent delegation of North Queensland community and business leaders to Singapore,” Cr McLaughlin said.

The Burdekin Industry Breakfast is on 7am – 8.30am, Wednesday 4 October at the Burdekin Theatre, Ayr. Cost is $10/person which includes a hot breakfast.

To RSVP please contact Eliza Lovell at the Council on  4783 9831 or .

Mount Inkerman upgrade reaches milestone

Burdekin Shire Council’s major upgrade of the Mount Inkerman lookout has reached an important milestone, with Council awarding two new tenders for works at the site.

Two new lookout structures and additional car parking were installed at the top of Mount Inkerman in August.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said next stage of works would now complete the public concourse area surrounding lookout structures. Mount Inkerman Road will also be upgraded to provide a safer journey to the top for motorists.

“Mount Inkerman is a fantastic natural attraction from which locals, tourists and investors can take in spectacular views of the entire district,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“It’s one of the best lookouts in North Queensland that we’re working on. This picture-perfect spot will be even more accessible for tourists to gain a birds-eye view of our district and for locals to use for fitness and recreation.”

Laser Electrical has been awarded the contract for the final work on the lookout area and East Coast Civil has received the contract for the road improvements to Mount Inkerman Road.

Cr McLaughlin said the concourse area was designed as a space at the summit where people could gather to enjoy the view. “The final work on the lookout includes the construction of the coloured concrete concourse and entry footpath, along with the installation of fencing and sign posts,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“It finishes off what is a great lookout location.

“Roadworks will also be completed on Mount Inkerman Road, the route to the top of the lookout, and involve the construction of several passing lanes. When the roadworks commence, the road will be closed for up to eight weeks.

“There is also going to be a nature-based walking trail built so people can enjoy the walk up the hill. Tenders will be called for this in coming weeks.”

Cr McLaughlin said Council had received shared funding from the Queensland Government to support the completion of the $1.5 million project.

“Council was fortunate to have received two State Government grants – $200,000 from the Scenic Lookout Program and $541,000 from the Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Program (SRIPP),” she said.

“This project is a wonderful example of two levels of government working together for the benefit of the community. Council thanks the Queensland Government for its support.”

Community Tournament takes steps towards fitness

Burdekin residents can nominate now to join the free 2017 Burdekin 10,000 Steps Community Tournament and step their way to fitness.

The six week challenge will kick off on Monday, October 9 and finish Sunday, November 19.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said 10,000 Steps was a national health promotion initiative encouraging Australians to increase their physical activity.

“The Community Tournament is a great way to raise awareness of the 10,000 Steps program and promote physical activity in the Burdekin Shire,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Everyone who participates will be loaned a pedometer to use throughout the six weeks, so you’ll be able to log your steps every day.

“We are seeking 20 teams of 10 people. There are great incentives and prize packs up for grabs.”

Cr McLaughlin said the challenge was for each participant to notch up at least 10,000 steps a day.

“Reaching 10,000 steps every day will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Regular physical activity is an important contributor to good overall health, including promoting healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease.”

Registration forms are available from Council’s website and the Burdekin Library Ayr and Home Hill branches. Team registration forms must be completed and emailed to by 5pm Thursday 28 September, 2017.

For further information please visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

Works for Queensland delivers $3M boost for Burdekin Shire projects

Burdekin Shire Council will construct a new visitor information centre as part of a $3 million Works for Queensland funding boost supporting 14 projects across the Shire.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Council had identified tourism as an economic driver for the Shire and a new visitor information centre at Plantation Park in Ayr was seen a key step in growing this vital market.

“The Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland funding program supports regional councils to undertake job creating projects,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Our Council submitted a wish list of 14 projects to be considered for the 2017-19 program earlier this year. I’m delighted to announce we were successful.

“We’ve been awarded $3 million in total. This includes $1 million to demolish and remove the existing visitor information centre at Plantation Park and construct a new one, along with $200,000 to continue extending the Nature Based Play Space at Plantation Park.

“We’ve also been allocated $350,000 to carry out an infrastructure and drainage upgrade at Ayr Showgrounds, $100,000 for the installation of a fuel facility at Ayr Aerodrome and
$100,000 to upgrade the public toilets in Queen Street.”

Cr McLaughlin said some of the other projects earmarked for funding included $200,000 to replace footpaths around the Shire, $60,000 to replace the existing softfall at Anzac Park Playground, $50,000 for public artworks and $50,000 to install exercise stations along the Burdekin Be Active Trail.

She said a new visitor information centre had been identified as a priority for the Burdekin Shire.

“Ayr’s visitor information centre should be a showcase for the region – unfortunately, we’re limited by what can be achieved within the existing building,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Visitor information centres are a first point of call for tourists.

“They play an important role in engaging with and providing information to our visitors, but also in promoting our tourism products.

“A new tourist information centre will be a game changer for our Shire.

“Along with the Burdekin Gateway Visitor Information Centre at Home Hill, it will ensure drive tourists from both the north and south have the best opportunity to acquire information about our tourism products.

“Council is grateful to the Queensland Government for making all of this possible.”

Council will have until June 2019 to complete all of the projects.

For further information please visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

Colouring the Ayr fountain gold for childhood cancer awareness

Liquid gold will flow through the Ayr CBD fountain this month, as Burdekin Shire Council joins with the Golden Octopus Foundation to help raise awareness of childhood cancer.

Golden Octopus Foundation founder and Burdekin teenager Keely Johnson helped Council to colour the water in the fountain gold today in support of the Gold September campaign.

Cr McLaughlin said gold was chosen as the colour for children’s cancer in recognition of their strength, courage, and resiliency. “Keely has an incurable bone marrow cancer that caused a tumour in her brain, but she doesn’t let this stop her,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Keely’s strength, courage and resiliency has seen her raise $600,000 for childhood cancer charities to date. This includes an incredible $150,000 raised for the Golden Octopus Foundation since it was founded in 2015.”

Keely was named the winner of the LGIAsuper Community Award at the 2017 Queensland Young Achiever Awards for her incredible efforts.

Cr McLaughlin said Council was proud to support the Golden Octopus Foundation and its founder.

“The Foundation aims to upgrade paediatric oncology facilities in regional hospitals and help supply childhood cancer nurses in communities across Australia,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“So many children and families are touched by childhood cancer. Colouring the fountain gold is just a small gesture that we can make to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to show support for all the families and children who have been affected by it.”

Keely called on the community to get behind the Gold September campaign.

“With everyone getting behind the Gold September campaign there will be more awareness, which leads to more research, which leads to a cure,” Keely said.

“We are aiming to help families by letting kids with cancer fight from home and getting nurses in our communities, like the breast cancer nurses, which will help this to happen.

“I have just returned last night late from Perth where we lit Western Australia’s Parliament House gold for the first time and the Queensland Parliament House is gold as well.”

Home Hill art trail a bright idea for CBD

Three walls in Home Hill’s central business district are being transformed into vibrant art attractions, as part of a new street art trail in the Burdekin.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Council had engaged North Queensland artists Nicky Bidju-Pryor and John Bradshaw to create the eye-catching murals, which have been painted onto the side walls of three buildings in close proximity to the Home Hill Comfort Stop.

“The Home Hill Comfort Stop is known around Australia. It is used by thousands of travellers every year, so we wanted to give these visitors every reason to venture out, explore the CBD, frequent our shops and extend their stay in the region,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“These artworks really add to the unique identity of the area. It’s about rejuvenating and brightening up the streetscape and it’s also about growing cultural tourism in the Shire and all of the opportunities that come with that.”

Cr McLaughlin said the project wouldn’t have been possible without the Queensland Government, which provided $15,000 through its Works for Queensland initiative.

“The feedback has been fantastic. A lot of people are excited by what has been created here,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“We’d like to eventually have a Burdekin-wide art trail extending into Giru, Brandon, Clare, Ayr and Home Hill. Council is already investigating ideas for more artworks across the Shire.”

For further information please visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

Ayr Swimming Pool reopens after upgrade

The Ayr Swimming Pool has reopened after receiving a major upgrade to future-proof the popular aquatic facility for years to come.

Burdekin Shire Council Environment and Health Coordinator Linda Govan said as part of the works, the pool’s ageing pump and filtration system had been replaced, ensuring the pool water would continue to be clean and up to user expectations in years to come.

A new chair lift has also been installed providing a more comfortable way for reduced mobility users to access the pool.

“In the last swim season 14,529 children and adults came through the gates of Ayr Swimming Pool,” Ms Govan said.

“The pool was also used by 4,265 school children, in addition to being accessed by the swim club and for events.

“It’s one of our most popular community assets. After extensive refurbishment works, we have been pleased to reopen the facility this week, in time for the September school holidays.”

Ms Govan said much of the refurbishment work involved the upgrading of infrastructure that couldn’t be seen, but which was essential to the pool’s operation.

“Many pools from the 1950s, like Ayr Swimming Pool, were built with their pipes running directly underneath the pool.

“We’ve relocated these pipes to feed in from the sides. If we ever have a leak, it’s something we’ll be able to get to.

“We’ve also improved the storage for chlorine and other chemicals and completed a temporary fix on the pool’s scum gutters.

“The fix is temporary because we wanted to ensure the pool would reopen in time for the warmer months, but we are looking at a long term fix in the near future.”

Ms Govan said the works wouldn’t have been possible without shared funding from the Queensland Government.


Chair lift improves disability access

Pool users with reduced mobility will be able to more comfortably access Ayr Swimming Pool thanks to the installation of a new, modern chair lift.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the new chair lift featured a comfortable seat with a foot rest and adjustable arm rest.

The addition of a safety belt will also provide a more secure lift into the water.

“This new chair lift replaces the older-style lift previously installed at Ayr Swimming Pool. It is a great asset and ensures that everyone has a chance to access and enjoy the pool, which is provided for the benefit of everyone in the community,” she said.

The Queensland Government’s Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program supports local governments by assisting with infrastructure costs as well as creating jobs and contributing to building safe, caring and connected communities.

Cr McLaughlin thanked the State Government for its contribution of more than $400,000 towards the pool upgrades

“The estimated total project cost is $850,000 with the State Government providing more than $400,000 towards these works,” she said.

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