Grant paves way for switchboard upgrade

Burdekin Shire Council has received a Queensland Government grant to upgrade its aging South Ayr Water Treatment Plant Switchboard.

The upgrade will improve the reliability of the Burdekin’s water supply network for years to come.

Burdekin Shire Council Manager Operations Wayne Saldumbide said the project was co-funded by the Queensland Government and Council on a 50/50 basis, thanks to a grant provided through the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning’s Community Resilience Fund.

“The works will include the provision of an emergency backup generator which will enable continuous service supply during power outages and natural disasters,” he said.

“Council thanks the Queensland Government for helping to the fund this important project, which will boost the reliability of our water supply network heading into the future.”

Preliminary works will commence on Monday 29 May 2017.

The South Ayr Water Treatment Plant will need be taken completely offline between Monday 19 June and Friday 23 June, 2017 to allow electricity supply mains to be cut over to the new switchboard.

Council requires the cooperation of residents, who are asked to limit their water usage to essential purposes to ease demand during this week, as the townships of Ayr, Brandon and Alva will be relying solely on Nelsons Lagoon borefield during this period.

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

Townsville Enterprise Limited briefs Council on opportunities

Burdekin Shire Council has been briefed on Townsville Enterprise Limited’s (TEL) plans to grow and develop the region.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin yesterday welcomed TEL Chief Executive Officer Patricia O’Callaghan and members of her team, who visited Council to deliver a presentation and update on current and future projects.

Cr McLaughlin said the Burdekin was seen as an important part of the bigger regional picture for North Queensland, with unique opportunities for agriculture, aquaculture and tourism.

“Burdekin Shire Council would like to thank TEL for visiting us yesterday to provide an update on their work and to present on some of the opportunities for our Shire and for North Queensland going forward,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“These opportunities include looking at how we can build and develop our presence in areas like agriculture, aquaculture and edu-tourism, and what skills and support resources are available to make that a reality.

“The need for energy and water projects to secure North Queensland’s future have been highlighted by TEL as key priorities for the wider region.

“While all the individual councils will have their own specific priorities, working together to create a vision for North Queensland as a whole was spoken about as a key strategy going forward.”

First Cane Fire of the Season to light up the night

A paddock to plate long-table dinner and live music will add to the festivities when the First Cane Fire of the Season lights up Gudjuda Home Hill Showgrounds on Wednesday 31 May.

Burdekin Shire Council is staging the celebratory event with support from the Queensland Government, Burdekin Tourism Association and Gudjuda Reference Group.

The Burdekin remains one of the only places to still burn sugarcane before it is cut and the Shire’s spectacular cane fires have become a unique visitor experience for the region.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the First Cane Fire of the Season event was a way of engaging tourists and the wider community with the cane farming history of the Burdekin. “Visitors can talk to a local cane cutter and experience the sight and feel of a cane fire up close,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“For the first time, this year we will be presenting a long-table dinner. Guests will be able to purchase paddock to plate food provided by Claredale Pastures, while enjoying live music.

“For anyone who hasn’t seen a cane fire before, it is a spectacular sight to behold.

“We extend a warm invitation to visitors from Townsville and around the wider region to join us and see what it’s all about.”

Greg Miller from Burdekin Farm Stay will provide insight into the significance of cane burning in the Burdekin region and, after the main cane fire, guests will be invited to sit around a fire pit and share stories.

The cane will be burnt for the Australian Hand Cane-Cutting Championships being held on Saturday 3 June.

People are invited to arrive at Gudjuda Home Hill Showgrounds, Sixth Avenue, Home Hill, from 5.30pm, with live music starting at 6pm.

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

Burdekin celebrates Queensland Small Business Week

The Burdekin’s small businesses will be the focus of a week-long celebration, starting today.

Queensland Small Business Week (QSBW) runs from 15 to 20 May and, with its theme ‘Time to Thrive’, is full of events and workshops designed to help business owners learn and acquire new ideas, skills and tools.

As part of the festivities across the State, the Burdekin will host a New Ideas Forum at the Burdekin Theatre, Ayr this Wednesday 17 May from 7am.

The forum will bring together industry leaders to share their advice on how to grow small business ideas into big opportunities, and is an initiative of the Queensland Government’s Office of Small Business. Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said QSBW was a time to celebrate and support the Burdekin’s small businesses.

“Small business is such an integral part of our community,” she said.

“I’d like to congratulate all the small business owners in our Shire who have shown the determination, commitment and passion to build and grow their businesses. The Burdekin is stronger because of their efforts.”

Launching QSBW today, Small Business Minister Leeanne Enoch announced a fresh round of funding under a $3 million program helping small businesses grow, innovate and employ.

“Recipients of the Accelerate Small Business Grants receive matched funding of up to $10,000 to engage business mentors, coaches or an advisory board to work closely with the business for six to 12 months,” she said.

For further information and eligibility criteria visit

To discover more about 2017 QSBW or to search for an event near you, visit or download the 2017 QSBW app.

To book your seat at Wednesday’s Burdekin Industry Breakfast: New Ideas Forum at Burdekin Theatre contact Eliza on (07) 4783 9800.


Get involved: 2017 Queensland Small Business Week


Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships

The Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships are getting an exciting makeover, as Burdekin Shire Council looks to develop them into an iconic event for the region.

Council, with support from the Queensland Government, Burdekin Tourism Association and Gudjuda Reference Group,  will be presenting this year’s event and it is going to be bigger and better than before, with free entertainment on offer throughout the day, children’s activities, food stalls and more shade and seating.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the day would be a celebration of the traditions and joys of a bygone era when sugarcane was cut by hand.

It will be held Saturday 3 June from 10am – 5pm at the Gudjuda Home Hill Showgrounds.

“The Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships is a truly unique event that highlights the rich history of the Burdekin,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Each year it draws competitors from across Australia who vie for the title of champion hand cane cutter.

“We believe this event has the potential to become an iconic event for the Shire so we are introducing a full program of entertainment and activities to give residents and visitors plenty of reasons to come out and see what it’s all about.

“Entry is free and so are most of the activities, so we believe it’s going to be a fun and affordable day out for the whole family.”

Vintage tractor and machinery displays, wood working workshops, live demonstrations and old-school games will help to create a heritage atmosphere. Children will be able to get their face painted, take part in an array of art and craft activities, feed a farm animal, or bounce in the jumping castle.

There are seven cane cutting competitions held throughout the day featuring age group categories, a ladies category and a top and load relay.

“Council recognises the hard work of volunteers who have devoted their time and resources to make this event possible and looks forward to working with all the groups involved to grow the event,” Cr McLaughlin said.

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

Booklet launch to commemorate Burdekin soldiers

A memorial booklet commemorating the service and sacrifice of Burdekin soldiers who enlisted in World War 1 will be launched at Burdekin Library Ayr in time for Anzac Day.

The booklet was created as a collaborative effort between Burdekin Shire Council, local historian Glenis Cislowski and members of the Home Hill RSL Sub-Branch and lists the names and details of the more than 400 Burdekin soldiers who enlisted for service in World War I, as well as photos.

Descendants of the soldiers will be presented with the books at a public launch event at the library on Monday, April 24 at 11.30am.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Council received a $4717 Queensland ANZAC Centenary Spirit of Service grant to fund the project along with a historical display of World War I memorabilia.

“Coinciding with the Anzac Centenary, this booklet has been created as lasting tribute to the many Burdekin solders who enlisted and fought for their country in World War 1,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Fifty copies have been created and are being offered to descendants of the soldiers for free.

“Any descendants interested in receiving a copy of the book are asked to come forward. At this stage there are still a limited number of copies available.

“We will be presenting them at the official launch event on the eve of Anzac Day.”

Residents can also now visit the display of World War 1 memorabilia at Burdekin Library Ayr, which was put together as part of the project.

“The display of photographs, medals and other memorabilia offers even more insight into the experience of Burdekin soldiers who served and fought in World War 1,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“I thank the Queensland Government for its support in helping to get this important project off the ground.”

For more information contact Robyn Elphinstone at Burdekin Library Ayr on or (07) 4783 9977, visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

Aurizon offers Cyclone Debbie grants

Burdekin community groups can apply for Aurizon Community Giving Fund grants of up to $20,000 to assist with the recovery and rebuilding process following Cyclone Debbie.

Aurizon Managing Director and CEO Andrew Harding announced a special round of the Fund had opened this week to help Queensland communities impacted by the cyclone.

“We are announcing a one-off special round of the Fund targeted exclusively for communities in North, Central and South East Queensland affected by the weather impacts of Cyclone Debbie,” Mr Harding said.

“This special round of the Giving Fund will pump money straight into those towns and regions that have been hardest hit and help fund grassroots projects and initiatives to help the community rebuild.

“After the waters recede and communities start the rebuilding process we would encourage them to consider our Giving Fund and the financial assistance we may be able to provide.”

Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin encouraged eligible community groups to consider the opportunity.

“I’d like to thank Aurizon for opening this special round of grants through its Community Giving Fund,” she said.

“We know our community groups have important roles to play in building community spirit and providing opportunities for residents to access facilities and services.”

“This funding should go a long way towards assisting any groups in their efforts.”

Applications for the round close Friday 2 June 2017. Eligible community groups, charities and not-for profits will be able to apply for assistance online at

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

Lock up and win this Christmas

The Burdekin Building Safer Communities Action Team (BSCAT), with support from Queensland Police, is running a ‘Lock It or Lose It’ campaign throughout the Burdekin region over the holiday period.

The campaign aims to raise awareness and reduce the number of vehicles being left unlocked, and subsequently being easy targets for vehicle and property theft.

Council’s Community Development Manager and BSCAT Chairman Tony Vaccaro said a similar campaign in Bundaberg had proved successful.

“The campaign will include local police officers doing random vehicle checks from December through to February to ensure people have adequately secured their vehicles,” he said.

“The checks will be made in the Ayr and Home Hill CBDs as well as the smaller suburbs of the Burdekin or in back streets where cars are parked on the footpaths.

“Cars found to be secure will receive a congratulatory note on their windscreen along with an entry ticket to win gift cards from local businesses.

“We hope this will encourage everyone to lock up and secure their vehicles and personal property.”

Mr Vaccaro said tickets for the prize draw could then be placed in the entry boxes at the Burdekin Library Ayr and Home Hill branches.

“Vehicles not adequately secured will be given a list of tips on how to better secure their vehicle and personal property,” he said.

Burdekin BSCAT is a group of state and local government representatives together with business and community representatives who have developed a community partnership approach to crime prevention and community safety.

Burdekin BSCAT provides the opportunity for our local community to take positive action to prevent crime and build a safer community. This team is an advisory group to Council.

Council trials collecting fertiliser bags for recycling


Burdekin farmers are being encouraged to drop their used fertiliser bags to Council waste disposal facilities as part of a free recycling trial which will see the bags turned into alternative plastic products.

The trial is being run by Farm Waste Recovery in conjunction with the Council, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Incitec Pivot Limited, Impact Fertilisers and Canegrowers.

Governance and Local Laws Manager Dan Mulcahy said there would be special collection cages at Council’s waste disposal facilities in Ayr, Home Hill and Giru.

“There are more than 350,000 one-tonne bags and 2 million 25 kilogram bags being used by the sugar cane industry each year,” he said.

“Although some are returned to the manufacturer, most are dumped, burned or stockpiled on farms.

“This trial collection would be an ideal way for farmers to help our environment by clearing the bags from their farm.

“All you have to do is empty the bags, roll the bags up and tie them with the bags own string ties before taking them to your nearest collection cage.

“This will allow for easy collection by the recycling processers and minimise the risk of bags being blown around in strong winds.

“The trial will run until mid-December this year so hopefully farmers will have plenty of time to clear their farms of the bags.”

“The aim of this trial is to see if it is feasible to continue collecting these bags,” he said.

“If it gets sufficient support it is likely that Council will continue to act as a collection point for the fertiliser bags.”

Fertiliser bag collection locations are:

  • Ayr Waste Transfer Station – Open 7 days from 9am-5pm
  • Home Hill Waste Transfer Station – Open 7 days from 10am-5pm
  • Giru Waste Transfer Station – Open Fridays and Sundays from 3pm-6pm

For more information on Farm Waste Recovery go to


Minister to open Ideas@108


Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland, Minister for Seniors and Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke will officially open the Burdekin Library’s new innovation hotspot, Ideas@108, next week.

The opening celebration will be held on Wednesday, August 12, at 9am in the Music Loft, which adjoins the creative space.

Burdekin Shire Council Library Services Manager John Scott said Ideas@108 would benefit Burdekin small business, start-up business and local youth.

“This is a great space where businesses and community members can come to explore, create and grow ideas,” he said.

“This is an exciting development for the Burdekin and I thank the State Library for funding the $36,500 project.

“We want people to come in the space and ask ‘Can I?’ and use the latest technology we have on offer, like the 3D printers, 3D scanner and computers, to achieve their aim.

“There will be a number of programs will operate in this innovation space.

“A TAFE Queensland North _ Burdekin Campus representative has expressed an interest in being part of an industry liaison group for the life cycle of this project and beyond.

“We have also partnered up with the Ayr and Home Hill Chambers of Commerce who will provide access to business mentors for those wanting to start-up a business and innovators.”

Mr Scott said the State Library of Queensland also was bringing along a humanoid robot.

“The NAO robot has been used in schools in the United Kingdom as part of their IT studies and this one will be here for a couple of weeks to allow our schools the opportunity to see and use it,” he said.

“The sky really is the limit as to how our community can use this space and what ideas can be created here.”

The Burdekin community is welcome to join opening of Ideas@108 celebrations, but are asked to contact the Burdekin Library on 4783 9970 for catering purposes.


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