Burdekin Shire Council condemns “vile” poster targeting backpackers

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin has condemned a racist, anti-backpacker poster found in the Ayr CBD yesterday, declaring that those responsible do not represent the views of the community and should be “ashamed of their deplorable actions”.

Cr McLaughlin said the “vile messaging” contained in the poster in no way represented the views of the Burdekin community.

“We wholeheartedly welcome backpackers to our region, not only for the crucial work they do in our horticultural industries but for the cultural diversity they add to our community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Our friendly community embraces backpackers and appreciates their wonderful contribution to our shire. We hope that while they are with us, the backpackers enjoy our country hospitality and authentic Australian lifestyle.

“Many of the backpackers who come here to work get to know our local families and become part of community life.”

Cr McLaughlin said she was “appalled” by the messaging contained in the poster, which suggested that backpackers would not be welcomed in the Burdekin.

“Backpackers are most welcome,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“I am appalled by the vile messaging in this poster. The person or persons responsible should hang their heads in shame.

“The poster is certainly not in keeping with the friendly and welcoming nature of our community, which celebrates cultural diversity. Our cultural diversity makes the Burdekin a great place to live and enriches our way of life.”

Cr McLaughlin said the police had been contacted and were investigating the matter.

“I encourage anyone with information about the poster and those responsible to contact the police by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” Cr McLaughlin said.

Burdekin Shire Council responds to PFAS detection

Burdekin Shire Council is working closely with the Queensland Government and the water supply regulator to determine a cause of PFAS detected in two bores that were connected to the Ayr town water supply. Both bores were isolated immediately and remain switched off.

Council can assure residents that there is no health risk from consuming the town water supply, which has since been tested and is compliant with national water standards.

However one decommissioned bore in the Nelson’s Lagoon Borefield is still showing elevated PFAS results and requires further investigation.

The bore is one of six bores, in one of three bore fields, that supply water to Ayr.

Burdekin Shire Council Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Nick Wellwood said the six bores were initially sampled by Queensland Health on 29 March, 2018 as part of a wider water quality monitoring program. All results were compliant with national water quality standards.

“However, a second round of quality assurance test results received on Friday 25 May returned elevated levels in two out of six bores,” Mr Wellwood said.

“Both bores were removed from service immediately by Council until further testing could be conducted.

“Test results received yesterday show that only one bore is still affected, however Council has elected to keep the two bores offline until further investigations can be conducted.

“Burdekin Shire Council is working closely with the Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Health and other State Government departments to determine the source of the potential contamination.”

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin assured residents that the town water supply was safe to drink.

“I want to reassure our community members that the town water continues to be safe to drink and test results received by Council yesterday confirmed this,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“There is no disruption to the town water supply as a result of the two affected bores remaining switched off and Council will continue to update residents as more information comes to hand.”

Per-and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used since the 1950s in household and industrial products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water.

National health-based guideline values have been established for PFAS in drinking water. These guideline values are very low, and are based on an assumption of lifetime consumption at the maximum tolerable daily intake.

An independent expert health panel established by the Australian Government concluded there is mostly limited, or in some cases no evidence, that human exposure to PFAS is linked with human disease.

For further details about perfluorinated chemicals please visit: www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/investigation-pfas/about.

Expo to showcase fun and fitness in the Burdekin

Burdekin sporting and recreational groups will come together to showcase the great array of health, fitness and lifestyle activities on offer in the district at the 2018 Queensland Day Fun & Fitness Expo this Sunday 3 June.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said families could head down to Hutchings Lagoon from 10am to 2pm for a free morning of fun and health-and-fitness-inspired activities for all ages.

“The expo is an excellent opportunity for residents to come along and talk to the providers about the different sport and recreational opportunities they can get involved with throughout the Shire,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“It’s also going to be a lot of fun. We’ll have musical entertainment by Megan Law, a huge range of free children’s activities, come and try demonstrations by sporting clubs and more than 30 different stalls from community groups, local businesses and schools. Captain Active will also be stopping by for a special visit.”

Cr McLaughlin said Queensland Day was held annually and commemorated Queensland’s official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony on 6 June 1859.

“It is an opportunity to share a sense of pride as Queenslanders and to celebrate what is great about our community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“The expo will showcase many of the fantastic activities that are on offer in our Shire.”

Cr McLaughlin said this year’s event at Hutchings Lagoon coincided with the 60 year anniversary of the Lower Burdekin Ski Club.

“Hutchings Lagoon is a picture perfect setting and the home of Lower Burdekin Ski Club, which will be putting on some great ski demonstrations in the lagoon for spectators on the day,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Our special guest will be NRL legend Steve Renouf, who still holds the record for most tries for the Broncos. Steve will lead a ball kicking competition for children 10 years and under, giving them the chance to test their kicking skills with one of the greats of rugby league in Queensland.

“Queensland Cricket will also be running come and try sessions, there will be free blood pressure checks by Burdekin Community Association, and a whole range of local clubs, from tennis to dance, will be represented with interactive activities.

“This event is possible thanks to funding from the Queensland Government’s Queensland Day Sponsorship Program. I encourage all residents to come down and join us for what will be a fantastic morning of free family entertainment.”

First Fire to light up sugarcane field with multimedia spectacular

Films and photographs depicting the sugarcane industry in the Burdekin will be projected onto the purpose-grown cane crop at Home Hill Showgrounds before the first fire of the season lights up the sky, at the spectacular opening night of the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival this Wednesday 30 May.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the unique multimedia installation would use high powered laser projectors to emblazon still and moving images onto the cane field.

“Just as large urban events such as the White Night Melbourne festival are using projectors in this way to transform buildings into art installations, the Burdekin Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival will use the cane as the canvas,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“We are excited to be introducing this very unique attraction to the First Fire of the Season this year. The fire, when it is lit, will actually form part of the installation.”

McLaughlin said Sweet Days, Hot Nights was a new festival in the Burdekin, incorporating the First Fire and the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships.

The First Fire of the Season will see festival-goers enjoy food, live music by Rene Le Feuvre and cultural activities before experiencing the raw power of a cane fire up close.

Entertainment and activities will commence at Home Hill Showgrounds from 5.30pm.

“In keeping with the fire-theme of the evening, festival-goers will be able to participate in our very own Burning Man ceremony. We’ll be encouraging everyone to write down a secret, a fear or a concern – anything you’d like to get off your chest – before we set it on fire with our Burning Man sculpture,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“The main event of the evening will see a roaring cane fire light up the night sky as our purpose grown crop is set alight, marking the first cane fire of the season here in the Burdekin.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to safely view a cane fire up close. It is an awe-inspiring sight.”

The celebrations continue at the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships from 11am to 4pm this Saturday 2 June, when Home Hill Showgrounds is transformed into a fun-filled festival of entertainment, food, children’s activities, fresh local produce and historical displays.

“During this event, festival-goers will witness a true test of skill and endurance as the competitors line up in Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships, bringing to life the back-breaking work of a by-gone era,” Cr McLaughlin.

The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival is being launched in partnership with the Queensland Government Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors and will kick-start a three-year campaign aiming to drive visitation to the Burdekin region.

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

Sweet Days, Hot Nights ahead

The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival is set to bring good old fashioned fun to Home Hill Showgrounds this 30 May and 2 June with food, entertainment and cultural activities for the whole family.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Sweet Days, Hot Nights would incorporate the First Fire and the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships and package them with a range of family-friendly, festival-styled events.

“We wanted to ensure there would be lots of entertainment for children and families while celebrating and showcasing what is great about our region,” Cr McLaughlin said.

The First Cane Fire of the Season is set to light up the Showgrounds on Wednesday 30 May.

Cr McLaughlin said festival goers would enjoy food and live entertainment. “Adding another layer to the event this year will be the opportunity to take part in some cultural activities including a drum circle led by Rhythm Connection and a Burning Man ceremony,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“The main event of the evening will see a roaring cane fire light up the night as our purpose grown crop is set alight, marking the first cane fire of the season in the Burdekin. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to safely view a cane fire up close. It is an awe-inspiring sight.”

Entertainment and activities will commence at Home Hill Showgrounds from 5.30pm, with live music starting at 6pm.

The festivities continue at the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships on Saturday 2 June, when Home Hill Showgrounds is transformed into a fun-filled festival of entertainment, food and market stalls, fresh local produce and historical displays.

“Back bigger and better than ever before, this free, family-friendly event will have entertainment, food and market stalls not to mention seven cane cutting competitions featuring age group categories, a ladies category and a top and load relay,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“There will be lots for children on the day including an animal farm, duck races, face painting and a craft tent.”

Cr McLaughlin said the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival was being launched in partnership with the Queensland Government Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors and would kick-start a three-year campaign aiming to drive visitation to our region.

“We are very excited and look forward to the event growing over the years and becoming a feature festival in Queensland,” Cr McLaughlin said.

Activities for all ages this Library and Information Week

Burdekin Shire residents are encouraged to explore their local library as part of a week of free activities kicking off Tuesday 22 May for Library and Information Week.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Burdekin Library would participate in National Simultaneous Storytime, an event which would see libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres and bookshops across Australia read a book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, simultaneously.

“This fun and colourful event aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children’s book,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This year National Simultaneous Storytime takes place on Wednesday 23 May 2018 at 11am. We would love it if you could join us at Burdekin Library to share Hickory Dickory Dash written by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood and have fun with some Hickory Dickory Dock inspired activities.”

Library and Information Week is a partnership between the Australian Library and Information Association and Booktopia with this year’s theme being ‘Find yourself in a library’.

Cr McLaughlin said as part of the celebrations an Afternoon in Ideas@108 session for children aged 5-16 would be held in Burdekin Library at 3.30pm on Tuesday 22 May.

“Then, on Thursday 24 May we’ll be putting on a community Morning Tea and Library Information session at 10am. It will be a great opportunity to find out more about Burdekin Library’s online resources while enjoying a cuppa with friends,” she said.

Library and Information Week provides the community with the opportunity to find out more about the wide range of services that libraries offer.

For more information please visit Council’s website www.burdekin.qld.gov.au or call Burdekin Library on (07) 4783 9970.

Free workshop to kick-start Volunteer Week

The Burdekin’s sport and recreation volunteers are invited to a free skills-development workshop to kick off National Volunteer Week this 21-27 May.

Burdekin Shire Council is teaming up with the Queensland Government to deliver a Building Active Communities workshop, which will be held at the Burdekin Shire Council Chambers in Ayr from 5.30pm-8.30pm on Monday 21 May.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the theme of National Volunteer Week was Give a little. Change a lot which represented the millions of volunteers who made a profound impact on their communities, through giving a little time.

“This free workshop is aimed at sport and recreation volunteers and volunteer managers and is all about supporting them in the work they do by equipping them with new skills and knowledge,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“I encourage all of our local sport and recreation volunteers and volunteer coordinators to make the most of this great opportunity.”

Cr McLaughlin said organisations could improve participation through a committed and dedicated team of very important people – volunteers.

“Volunteers are one of the most vital assets of any club or organisation and looking after them is a priority,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This workshop covers best practice in developing, promoting and embracing excellence in volunteer management.

“Topics include recruitment and retention, achieving results with limited volunteer numbers, strategies to increase volunteer numbers, training, recognition and reward, and tools to support your club’s volunteer management program.”

Register at http://ems.gs/3noe0dxbNCH or by visiting the Burdekin Shire Council website www.burdekin.qld.gov.au.

Anzac Park playground to gain softfall upgrade

The playground at Ayr’s Anzac Park will be updated with new softfall, creating a softer and safer play space for park users.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Council would carry out the works following the July school holidays for convenience of families.

“Anzac Park is a great community space that is very popular with families, attracting a high level of usage year-round,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“In addition to increasing the cushioning effect, the replacement of the softfall will rejuvenate and brighten up that whole area around the playground.

“I thank the Queensland Government for providing $60,000 in funding towards the works as part of the second round of the Works for Queensland program.

The playground at Arch Dunn Memorial Park in Home Hill is also currently receiving a major upgrade.

Council has closed the park for the duration of the works, which will see new playground equipment and a new picnic shelter and barbecue installed.

Solar lights to extend Ayr Skate Park hours

New solar lights will be installed at the Ayr Skate Park, increasing safety and extending the hours the facility can be used.

The lights, which will be activated on a timer system, will allow families to continue using the skate park longer into the evening before being switched off later at night.

“It means skate park users who wish to avoid the heat of the day, particularly in those hotter summer months that we experience here in the Burdekin, will be able to enjoy the facility in the evenings too,” Cr McLaughlin said.

Council is able to purchase the lights after recent works to install shade sails at the skate park were completed under budget.

“We’re pleased to be able to use the remaining funds on this new lighting project,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“I’d like to thank the Queensland Government for making all of this possible though funding from its Get Playing Places and Spaces program.”

Cr McLaughlin said Council staff had noticed more activity in the skate park since the installation of the shade sails prior to Summer last year.

“The increased number of people using the Ayr Skate Park over Summer indicates the shade sails have been very well received,” she said.

“The shade sails, and now the addition of new solar lighting, will together serve to extend the usability of park for the benefit of the community.”

Council has ordered the lights, which will be installed in the near future.

Festival to showcase home grown produce, handmade goods

Visitors to the Burdekin Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival will experience locally grown produce and handmade goods from the homes, kitchens and gardens of North Queensland growers and artisans.

The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival, on at Home Hill Showgrounds this 30 May and 2 June, will incorporate the Burdekin’s First Fire and the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships and package them with a range of family-friendly, festival-styled events including food, music and entertainment.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the festival was all about showcasing what was great about the Burdekin and North Queensland region, with applications now invited from stallholders offering unique, locally sourced dishes and products.

“We’re looking for stallholders with handmade products such as arts, crafts, homewares and jewellery; vintage and antique items; home-baked and homemade culinary treats; and delicious home grown vegetables, fruits and plants,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“The Burdekin offers truly unique experiences which stay with you forever; we hope that Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival will provide visitors the opportunity to experience what the Burdekin has to offer. This is the beginning of our strategy to promote the Burdekin and to drive visitation as an economic stimulus for the community. We are very excited and look forward to the event growing over the years and becoming a feature festival in Queensland.”

Marking the commencement of the sugar cane season, the First Fire on Wednesday 30 May, 2018 offers visitors and residents the chance to experience the raw power of a cane fire up close while enjoying live entertainment, paddock to plate food and cultural activities.

On Saturday 2 June, original cane cutters and those new to the game will test their skill and endurance at the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships, a competition bringing to life the back-breaking work of a by-gone era. Spectators will have the chance to see, smell and taste all things sugar related, enjoy boot scooting entertainment and children’s activities, wander the market stalls and step back in time with vintage machinery displays.

The festival is held in partnership with the Queensland Government Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

To obtain a Stallholder Application please emailor message @sweetdayshotnights. For further information please visit Council’s website www.burdekin.qld.gov.au or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

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