Central Highlands tourism talks
TOURISM is everyone's business.
That was the message driven home by Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Peter Maguire at the CHDC luncheon in Emerald at the end of last week.
The Year of Opportunity in the Central Highlands was the theme and Cr Maguire spoke accordingly.
"We need to look forward to some of the positive in our region especially with all the bad news about coal mines," he said.
"We need to position the Central Highlands as a great place to visit.
"It's always been hard in this region to get people to understand that whether you're the service station or the cafe, you might not be a motel or travel agent but everyone gets something out of tourism."
Cr Maguire spoke of the importance of shopping locally and supporting local business and said that the council had adopted a local preference policy.
"We want to hand in the contracts and the supply of goods and services to local businesses," he said.
"So it needs to be owned or operated by a local resident or ratepayer, there are a few more things too but this is the basis… it needs to be within the area and it must solely or primarily employ local residents.
"There are categories from one to five… so if you're living in Brisbane then you're a one so there is a clear preference for dealing with local businesses."
The policy works using a Central Supplier Register, which already has 215 local businesses, and it is designed to provide local suppliers with better access to council work opportunities.
Projects like the East Nogoa water treatment plant, which is currently under construction, was used as an example of council using local business.
"It is a $33 million dollar project and its due for completion next year and part of the process was that we wanted local businesses supported," he said.
Local businesses such as Simon Contractors, Concrete Pumping Queensland and Emerald Home Improvements.
Cr Maguire said a meatworks feasibility study was under way.
"We are really hopeful that something comes out of that," he said.
The inland port near Yamala also rated a mention.
"We think it's a fantastic opportunity," Cr Maguire said.
"We are certainly doing a lot of work with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and we will be looking at all the logistics."