When I reflect on the year 2020, first and foremost I want to thank everybody for your strength of character and shared commitment to staying healthy as individuals and together as a community.
The highlight was seeing how resilient the Bundaberg Region was during the pandemic lockdown and immediately afterwards.
I was touched by the many random acts of kindness, knowing that neighbours were caring for each other and supporting people they had never met.
We saw validation of this in December when Bundaberg was crowned the most generous town in Australia
Our strength steered us through the first wave of coronavirus. We’re not fully out of the woods but thank you to all who follow public health directions and made safety a priority.
Despite the year being dominated by forces outside our control, there were many other highlights which augur well for the future.
Our housing and construction industry is thriving thanks to government support and huge demand from people wanting to share our enviable lifestyle.
When construction booms the economy does too. The benefits flow through to tradies, suppliers, other businesses and workers.
Our agricultural sector continues to flourish despite the challenge of finding labour.
They used to say that Australia rode on the sheep’s back. Today the Bundaberg Region enjoys the fruits of success from avocado, macadamia, sweet potato and high-value crops.
We’re seeing increased diversification, which helps to future proof growers against market shocks from trade disputes, commodity prices and weather.
Council continues to build for the future through our investments in water infrastructure such as Gregory River to improve water quality and meet the needs of a growing population.
We’ve also undertaken streetscape improvements in Gin Gin following good work at Burnett Heads and Elliott Heads.
In the year ahead I’m hopeful there will be state and federal government support for flood protection, water security and building a new regional aquatic centre.
Best wishes to everyone for a safe, happy and prosperous 2021.