Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker reflected on 2020. Picture: Daryl Wright
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker reflected on 2020. Picture: Daryl Wright

‘Year of sadness’ to make way for opportunity in CQ council

The Isaac region hopes to move from a “year of sadness” to one of opportunity as residents are asked to take charge of the future in their communities.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said this year was about recovery and resilience.

Cr Baker said in the first six months of the year the Isaac region would set out its vision for the next five years.

She said the council would touch base with all its communities to discuss the infrastructure, social elements and community facilities needed.

“We’re going to the community and asking what do you see for your communities future,” Cr Baker said.

“What does the future look like for us?

“There’s changes afoot.”

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker welcomed Alliance Airlines CEO Lee Schofield (right) and Peabody Energy General Manager Mark Turner from the first of the scheduled Brisbane-Moranbah-Brisbane flights operated by Alliance.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker welcomed Alliance Airlines CEO Lee Schofield (right) and Peabody Energy General Manager Mark Turner from the first of the scheduled Brisbane-Moranbah-Brisbane flights operated by Alliance.

Cr Baker said that period of community consultation was the most important part of the five-year strategy.

Critically, she said the council would plan how mining communities could manage the wave of automation about to hit the mining industry.

Cr Baker said the council was balancing its budget with a $1 million strategic recovery plan.

“While the mining industry continued, all our businesses and community groups were heavily impacted,” she said.

“Recovery takes a long time.

“It will take a good few years to reinvigorate public events.”

Cr Baker said the council’s Shop Isaac campaign had distributed 4500 cards, the equivalent of $35,000, to be spent at Isaac businesses.

Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker says the region's resilience and determination will be its greatest assets. Picture: Contributed.
Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker says the region's resilience and determination will be its greatest assets. Picture: Contributed.

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She said the council would also chase funding for some major projects, including for the Phillips Creek bridge upgrades and the Moranbah community centre.

She said the council had also invested $12 million on water and waste projects, particularly in Clermont.

She said Clermont would benefit from major water projects after residents faced weeks of yellow and brown coloured water in February.

Cr Baker said away from the spotlight, council workers continued conducting critical maintenance and repairs “ to keep things running”.

Residents at a community town hall held by the Isaac Regional Council at Carmila, regarding the proposed new Planning Scheme in 2018.
Residents at a community town hall held by the Isaac Regional Council at Carmila, regarding the proposed new Planning Scheme in 2018.

She said one of victories of 2020 was the council being recognised for its quiet work on environmental and sustainability in its coastal planning policies.

Cr Baker said the award was a satisfying conclusion to a two-year community consultation period, with more than 100 residents in Carmila and Clairview.

“It’s been extremely long and not easy,” she said.

Cr Baker said the new year would also bring a new chief executive officer, with the council to open formal interviews in January and February.

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Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said “2020 has been a year like no other in living memory”. Picture: Zizi Averill
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said “2020 has been a year like no other in living memory”. Picture: Zizi Averill

Cr Baker said she hoped 2021 would be a return to a “pre-COVID normal”.

“2020 has been a year like no other in living memory,” Cr Baker said.

“It’s been a year of sadness,” she said.

“I have a little philosophy, to have a challenge it makes you think and grow and mature.

“But I’m literally crawling to the end.”

Cr Baker said often the council had been forced to take strong positions, even in opposition to mining giants.

When fly-in fly-out workers were trying to be allowed to travel in from hot spots, the Isaac region led the charge to close the loophole.

“I’m proud that stood firm,” she said.

“If underpinned with facts and not a knee-jerk reaction, you gain a lot of respect.”

The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright
The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright

And it was not just the pandemic that had shaken her community.

Eight months on from the Moranbah underground blast at Grosvenor Mine and Cr Baker was still reduced to tears at the memory.

“That was just terrible,” she said.

“People just don’t realise how hard it was.

“That accident really affected everyone here.

“It’s still on our mind.”


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