In today's Bundaberg Now podcast we learn about the Arts Summer School, what's happening with the Bundaberg Region economy and hear a recap of the year's parks projects.
Local news highlights include Council's approval of the Burnett Heads Gateway Marina development, Bundaberg Growers “Pick of the Crop” program, the adoption of the Active transport Strategy, and more!
Dana Maggacis 0:07
Hello, and welcome to the weekly Bundaberg Now podcast. I'm Dana Maggacis from Bundaberg Regional Council. And today we have another interesting programme full with news and information from across the Bundaberg region. Soon, we'll hear about the art summit school and economic update for our region. And a pox recap for the but first. Here is Michael Gorey with the news headlines.
Michael Gorey 0:38
Thank you, Dana. Making news this week Council has approved the Burnett Heads Gateway Marina development. The project includes a residential precinct with low rise apartments, waterfront villas and a hotel resort. Dredging is underway to deliver a state of the art Marina with more than 300 berth. Bundaberg growers have teamed up with schools to get local kids eating more fresh fruit and veggies Pick of the Crop was launched last week at Kalkie State School. Here's Bree Grima from Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.
Bree Grima 1:09
This programme is really about empowering the schools, the students the caregivers into making healthier food choices. And what better place to do that in Bundaberg, which is the food bowl of Australia. We can provide the entire meal from start to finish. And by creating that connectivity between the schools and the students and the farmers so they can understand where their food comes from, how it's grown and most importantly the people behind it, then that creates a real appreciation for the food that ends up in the lunch boxes and on their plate.
Michael Gorey 1:42
Bundaberg Regional Council has adopted an Active Transport strategy to enable a healthy, safe and inclusive community. It's a roadmap to develop, plan, build and maintain a well connected convenient network that meets the needs of all residents. Active Transport includes footpaths, trails cycleways and access for people with disabilities. Bundaberg State High School is undergoing an $8.6 million redevelopment. Let's hear from principal Karen McCord and Mayor Jack Dempsey.
Karen McCord 2:12
It was funded through state government grants so that the $11.5 million that schools received across the state four years ago. This is the very last part of the project.
Jack Dempsey 2:22
All this $8.6 million dollars investment is a great coup for the Bundaberg Region. It means that our students will have greater opportunities and great opportunities not just in work but also ensuring that they have the facilities that meet the modern standards of educational needs.
Michael Gorey 2:39
Ashfield Country Practice doctor Associate Professor Brad Murphy has won a top award from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Dr. Murphy was recognised for creating a National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Congratulations. Finally the Royal Australian Navy came to the port of Bundaberg on Monday as part of Operation Resolute ADV Cape Inscription contributes to fisheries protection, border control and drug law enforcement Council is seeking to establish a formal ceremonial relationship with the vessel. Here is left hand and commander Richard Carry, Mayor Jack Dempsey and divisional counsellor Tanya McLaughlin. Then back to you, Dana,
Richard Carry 3:30
Good morning. Firstly, thank you very much for having us in your foreign city. Today we are here for a log visit as part of Operation resolute and it vaycay prescription is conducting a maritime patrol of the cry battery in support of the Great Barrier Reef marine parks authority. And she's a cape class patrol vessel one of two that they are in leased for operations in Northern Australia. She's 57.1 metres long. I've got 20 people on board today.
Jack Dempsey 3:58
It's been great to welcome Cape Inscription here to the Bundaberg port, and also to be able to assist them with future endeavours to be able to have this as a possible site for more visits into the future.
Tanya McLaughlin 4:11
It's great to see the ATV cave inscription vessel here today. It'd be really great to have a good relationship between Bundaberg Regional Council and the Navy to come to our ANZAC Day services. They have a really beautiful service here in the afternoon at boneheads and really great to have them on board during ANZAC Day services.
Richard Carry 4:29
The Navy's had a very proud association with Bundaberg for the last 78 years starting with the naming of HMS Bundaberg in 1942 ADF cape inscription hopes to continue this tradition over the coming years and increase the relations between our ship and your foreign city.
Jack Dempsey 4:47
The Navy's very strategic for the future, endeavour and enrichment of the Bundaberg port area to have cape inscription here as well as protecting our waters from everything from border protection to costumes to just looking after our environment is a great credit to Lieutenant Commander Korean exchange. Thanks, Michael.
Dana Maggacis 5:08
Now, let's check out the Bundaberg Regional Council has some great ideas to keep your creative kids busy the school holidays with performing and visual arts workshops with some of Queensland's leading creatives.
Rod Ainsworth 5:21
Good. I'm Rod Ainsworth, the manager of arts and cultural services. And we're here today to have a chat about our art summer school. So, through the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre and the Galleries, we've collaborated through the Regional Arts Development Fund to support an art summer school right throughout January. So this is a great time for the kids of Bundaberg to get themselves involved in some great art activities, is performing arts activities like circus and puppetry and stand up comedy. And we've also got some visual arts experiences, which creating some new street art activities around the community, all of which have a price, it works out to be about $25 a day. So fantastic value, you'd pay four times that in the city to be involved in this type of school holiday activity. For some of the activities, it's required that people are there for the whole time, because what they're doing right through the week is creating a performance and then making the performance happen at the end. So for example, the circus and the puppetry, those workshops around for an entire week, because it requires everybody to be involved, and everybody to be involved in the performance at the end. The stand up comedy is just one day. And then the the street art activities happen over a week as well. So it's really great to get a cohort of people together like minded young people together making some really cool stuff for the Bundaberg region. So we're really looking forward to it. It's from January the fourth right through the to the 23rd with lots of different activities. And we're really looking forward to filling all of those very small number of available seats with some great young people who are really keen on the arts in this region. So the kind of artists we're working with, we're working with some of the country's best artists. So cluster arts is a Brisbane based agency of circus artists. Now the circus artists who are coming up here are usually touring through Europe at this time of year, every year. But because of COVID they're not they're coming to Bundaberg to teach our young people over a week and to put on a great, great circus performance. We've got dead puppet society, which is a again a Brisbane based company, but they're touring all over the world doing some great things most of the time. This January, they're coming to Bundaberg to be running some puppetry workshops. So young people will make puppets. They'll make a show though, they'll present the show at the end of the week. We've got Anthony Lamont who's a stand up comedian working around the traps and he's on the road he'll come that he's got a one day calm stand up comedy workshop. So the workshop happens during the day. And then all of those participants are able to perform that night at a little comedy gig which will be fantastic. Simon Degroote again, a Queensland based artists one of Australia's most exciting artists, who does some really cool abstract street art and visual art. He's coming up to work on a mural which is down the laneway next to the Moncrieff, the the access laneway on billabong Street. So young people will be able to see the results of their work for some time to come. And then we're working with a local group team snips who do some pay stubs and they do stencil work. And so they'll work with young people for a week on creating credit creating some new work down a bigger IRA. So there's some public art street art circus, there's puppetry, there's stand up comedy, anything that you could possibly be interested in counsels got happening this January from January the fourth to January the 23rd. And as I said, it works out to be about $25 a day on average, which is fantastic value. And of course, if you just go to artsbundaberg.com.au you'll find more information. Or you could give the Moncrieff box office a phone call on 4130 4100.
Dana Maggacis 9:19
Thanks, Rod. These workshops sound like they could be a great gift idea for Christmas if you know a creative young person. These workshops are suitable for children aged eight years and over and tickets very limited to get in quick to grab some great holiday fun. Now, I'm joined by Ben Otto, Executive Director of strategic projects and economic development to chat about the economic performance of average and during the past year. Thanks for joining me today, Ben. So to start off, currently due to the COVID-19 the nation is in a recession. Can you explain a bit about what that means?
Ben Artup 9:55
Thanks, Dana. Yeah, as most people would have heard Australia is in a technical recession. What a recession is it is, by definition, three consecutive quarters of the economy getting smaller and not growing. So three consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. Australia hasn't been in a recession since 1991. Most people might remember the GFC, where we closely avoided going into recession where we had only two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. And then the government of the day handed that money to everybody. And they started spending that in shops, and that helped the healthy economy up. So now the nation's in this recession. It's the first time in almost 30 years that Australia's technically been in this position.
Dana Maggacis 10:35
So what does that mean for our region?
Ben Artup 10:37
Well, the National pitches are often quite different to the local regional pitcher in our economy across Bundaberg and the wide Bay were faring a lot better than the national economy according to the statistics. So for example, over the last 12 months, which is the bulk of the COVID-19 period, the Australian economy is shrinking by about 4.5 to 4.7%. Whereas the Bundaberg economy over the same period only shrunk by about 1.2%. So our economy has done a lot better than the rest of Australia by comparison.
Dana Maggacis 11:06
And can you explain why we have done better than elsewhere?
Ben Artup 11:09
Well, if you look at how our economy has grown over the last 12 months, we've actually grown jobs during the COVID-19 period. In health, as you'd expect us there was a greater demand on health services, we've grown jobs in education as people went and did short courses. But we've also we have lost jobs in that period in areas like tourism, retail, and construction, which dropped off initially. But obviously, the big part of our economy is agriculture. In that period and agriculture during the last 12 months, the output or the size of agricultural economies stayed about the same. So when you net that out with growth in health and education and job losses and a shrinking economy in tourism and construction in those areas, the effect has been quite small overall, that 1.2% shrinkage as opposed to the 4.7% shrinkage, which the the national economy has suffered.
Dana Maggacis 12:00
You mentioned job losses there. And we've heard a lot about that due to COVID-19. But what does that actually mean for our region?
Ben Artup 12:07
Well, in April, if you look at the ABS data, the Wide Bay lost about 13,000 jobs overnight as the economy went to lock down a lot of people lost jobs. And that represented about an 11% job loss in one single month. The next month obviously bounce back. But our unemployment rate for the wide Bay peaked at about 7-8% in July in Bundaberg. If you remember we lost 11% of jobs overnight or across the board Bay. Bundaberg lost his job loss was about 4.2%. So we lost jobs, about half the rate of the broad, wide bad economy during that period, which is which is a really good sign for our region, meaning that we didn't suffer the effects of job losses like other places because of that, that diversity of our industries that I spoke about.
Dana Maggacis 12:51
And then just to finish today, it all sounds fairly positive for Bundaberg. Can you explain what the outlook is for the next 12 months for the Bundaberg Region and how we will recover?
Ben Artup 13:02
Yeah, so I think over the next 12 months, given that resilience and that diversity of industry that we've got here and how we fared through the last 12 months, we're better positioned than most to recover so our agricultural output will pick up. We're already seeing construction take off with a lot of the building grants having a big impact here. We've seen tourism return pretty quickly, it's hard to hard to get a room in many cases. As Queenslanders realise, having a holiday in Bundaberg is a great idea. But we've also seen the federal government do a great job with handing out money. We saw the job keeping the job maker programmes get money into the economy quickly. And we've also seen a lot of those big funding programmes, their capital infrastructure programmes by the government announced which council will go forward and make sure next year we're building things that get the economy going as well.
Dana Maggacis 13:46
Thanks so much for joining me today. Ben.
Ben Artup 13:47
Dana Maggacis 13:49
To finish up today, here's Ro and Brett from the parks team to tell us about all of the projects that have been achieved this year.
Roana O'Neill 13:55
Hey, everyone. It's been a really busy year for the parts team and we're talking with Brett Kronk to find out about some of the projects that have just been finished recently. And also to find out what's in store for the Bundaberg region for 2021 Brett, how are you going?
Brett Kronk 14:09
Yeah, you're on
Roana O'Neill 14:11
I'm really good. Thanks. Now you've got some projects that we've just recently finished and I know one of them has been at Kookaburra Park over in North Bundaberg.
Brett Kronk 14:19
Yeah so the the playground upgrade really Nicobar Park was a unique upgrade for us. We were able to use the the slope of the park to grade A t playground with some activities for the kids to get from the top to the bottom tier. Which is unique for Bundaberg is it so far here we don't really get the opportunity to do that too much. So it is exciting and seems to
Roana O'Neill 14:38
So it is exciting and seems to be well received by the community. And I know that you've also got some shadesails coming for that park.
Brett Kronk 14:43
Yeah, so have some shades sails put up there early in the year, which will really complement and improve the usability of that park and so we're excited to get that up.
Roana O'Neill 14:53
That's great to hear. Now another part that I know we've been receiving some great feedback already, which only just opened is Palm Park, whereabouts is that one?
Brett Kronk 15:02
So Palm Park is over and walk about just off Lloyd and Pitt Street. So yeah, we did a playground upgrade there and were able to incorporate some nature play elements in that playground. We also able to install a new basketball court and hoop and some shade and seating for parents, and we'll look at putting a shade sail over that playground as part of our programme for next year.
Roana O'Neill 15:25
That's terrific. And what about a little bit further afield?
Brett Kronk 15:29
Yeah, so also, during the past six months, we've been able to install some shade at six different local parks in around the region, from parks in town, it also parks along the coastline, which has been a great, great benefit, especially leading into summer and school holidays.
Roana O'Neill 15:45
And I know next year is gearing up to be a really busy year for you. So I'd love to hear what does your team have in store for families?
Brett Kronk 15:52
Yeah, so we've got some really exciting projects kicking off in 2021. One of our big ones is car park and toilet upgrade for the Gin Gin Recreation Reserve. These two upgrades are really finish off that area and be a real asset to the Gin Gin community.
Roana O'Neill 16:09
Because I know back in 2015 and 2016 that's when a lot of the upgrades happened to the playground.
Brett Kronk 16:14
Yeah, so during that time, we yeah, we installed a big playground and the shelters that have been there. So yeah, it's it's been a guest feedback from the community of one and some improved facilities and amenities. So a car park and toilet block will be really, really well used out there.
Roana O'Neill 16:29
And I understand there's going to be a new pedestrian pathway that people will be able to access to take them from the carpark through to the toilet area and also to the skate area and also up to the barbecue shelters.
Brett Kronk 16:40
Yeah, so that whole area now will be much better connected, especially from formed pathways, in a way won't be the dirt or grass network pathways that are there at the moment. And the access to building in that area would definitely be encouraged.
Roana O'Neill 16:53
And how about Alexandra Park? What's happening over there?
Brett Kronk 16:56
Yes, Alexandra Park, we've got a new top block going in early next year, the top block that's there at the moment. Although it's an iconic feature, the park is in need of an upgrade. And the upgrade that we're doing there will improve access and usability for not only Alexandra park but also for the zoo next door. And we've also got a shade sail going in and around the swing area, just next door to the Colonial guns as you enter the park.
Roana O'Neill 17:23
And understand obviously with any upgrades to the toilet blocks, there's going to be disability access. And with the Alexandra Park toilet upgrade to understand there's going to be adult change facilities too.
Brett Kronk 17:33
Yes, we're really excited to start putting those sort of facilities in our parks, especially with a level of use not only Alexander Park gets, but also the Zoo gets from disability groups and and service providers throughout the region.
Roana O'Neill 17:48
Now the Botanic Gardens we've got a lot happening at the moment. And that's going to be extending into next year with obviously opening up the park again so families can access the playground over the Christmas break. And in January and then next year, we're doing a few more upgrades.
Brett Kronk 18:04
Yeah, so the upgrades at Botanic Gardens, especially in the playground on the corner of Mount Perry Road and Young Street will definitely improve the user safety for both parents and children in that area and also provide better access to the other facilities throughout the Botanic Gardens including Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
Roana O'Neill 18:19
And on that aspect of safety, I know that you've got some plans that you're looking at for Lake Ellen.
Brett Kronk 18:25
Yeah, we're also looking at undertaking some upgrades for you safety in Lake Ellen and improving the connectivity to and from the car park to the playground area. And just making sure we can keep the community safe as we possibly can in that space.
Roana O'Neill 18:39
And also heard that you've got a completely new playground happening with the habitat.
Brett Kronk 18:44
Yeah, so the Habitat Estate is over in the rapidly growing suburb of Branyan, and we're excited to be able to deliver a completely new local park area, which will service the Habitat Estate as well as the surrounding estates in that for that community.
Roana O'Neill 18:59
That's really exciting. Now what's happening at Childers?
Brett Kronk 19:04
Yeah, so at Childers we've just finalised the Apex Tramway Park, which is on Crescent Street. So that's a park manufactured for young kids. And we've also got shade sailsto be put up over the Childers skate bowl hopefully early next year, which will really improve the usability of that space.
Roana O'Neill 19:22
And I heard that there's some also some upgrades happening, out at Cordalba.
Brett Kronk 19:27
Yeah, so we're we're putting a new playground in and put our park which is the main Central Park in Cordalba on Queen Street, where the Anzac memorial is and that will be a nice little playground for the community to use out there.
Roana O'Neill 19:41
And of course, he's still working on upgrades to Boreham Park, which will kick off again next year, and also with Central Park.
Brett Kronk 19:49
So the two big projects we have for next year for 2021 are the Boreham Park upgrade and Central Park which we'll go look at kicking off after the Christmas school holidays, we're looking forward to opening both of them next year.
Roana O'Neill 20:04
Brett, thanks for talking with us.
No worries. Thanks.
Dana Maggacis 20:07
Thanks, Ro and Brett. That's all for today. We hope you enjoyed the programme. Join us next week for more news and stories from across the Bundaberg region. Bye for now.