In a remarkable year of progress throughout 2023 the Bundaberg Region has soared to new heights, achieving milestones that exemplify its resilience and innovation.
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey has shared a New Year message reflecting on the successes for the Bundaberg Region community throughout 2023.
He said a spirit of collaboration and determination within the community had propelled the region forward, showcasing a diverse range of accomplishments.
From groundbreaking advancements in sustainable agriculture to the flourishing arts and culture scene, he said the Bundaberg Region had continued to lead the way.
“As an unforgettable 2023 draws to a close, let’s remember to celebrate how far we have come as a community,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“While, just like many communities throughout Australia and indeed the world, we have faced challenges in 2023, in true Bundaberg Region fashion we have come through it with resilience, generosity and innovation.
“During the festive season it’s important that we celebrate the positives and we have certainly had a number of extraordinary successes that defined 2023 for our community.
“I wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year.
“Remember to stay connected, stay proud and be kind to one another.”
Bundaberg Region highlights for 2023
January 2023 highlights
In January the Bundaberg Region hit the ground running by achieving ECO Destination certification through Ecotourism Australia. The region was just the second in Queensland and the fifth destination in Australia to receive this recognition.
February 2023 highlights
Council was awarded the Snap Send Solve Environmental Award in February, beating 90 organisations across Queensland, with the quickest response to dumped rubbish reports.
Council’s FOGO trial also got the green light in February.
March 2023 highlights
March brought us Philippe the rockstar cotton-top tamarin at Alexandra Park Zoo. Phillipe is now best buddy to Turbo, and together they have formed a cheeky duo while also playing an important role in conservation efforts of the species.
April 2023 highlights
In April, the Gregory River Water Treatment plant opened significantly improving the water quality for the Childers and Woodgate areas. It was one of the largest Local Government infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the area.
After a successful trial in 2022, the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock program was launched in April. Throughout the year the program saw almost 30 local high school students provided with an alternative path to education, through interactive learning from industry mentors.
May 2023 highlights
In May, statistics from the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research showed that the Bundaberg Region was experiencing its strongest economic growth in 16 years – following two consecutive years of record breaking growth.
The month also marked the launch of Bonza flights at Bundaberg Regional Airport, connecting Bundaberg to Melbourne with direct flights for the first time.
Local scientists discovered the critically endangered white throat snapping turtles in Baffle Creek. This discovery of Australia’s largest freshwater turtle in local waters showcased the potential of a self-sustaining population of a critically endangered species.
June 2023 highlights
June saw the launch of Australia’s first hydrogen powered garbage truck – built at Bundaberg’s very own Superior Pak. Through an introduction by Council, Superior Pak partnered with Hyzon Motors to develop the Hydrogen Powered Sideloader – an electric vehicle which runs entirely on hydrogen and produces zero emissions.
Council also released its 2023/24 budget in June, with a zero percent rise in general rates. The budget also included a doubling of the pension rebate, and a $167m capital works program.
Also in June, Tourism Research Australia reported record-breaking growth in domestic visitation to the Bundaberg Region.
July 2023 highlights
July was a month of festivities, with the 2023 Childers Festival marked as one of the biggest yet.
Local crowds were treated to a nail-biting afternoon of NRL action as the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs claimed a 23-22 victory over the Redcliffe Dolphins right here at Salter Oval.
August 2023 highlights
The good times continued in August with the Taste Bundaberg Festival spanning over 10 tantalising days.
A partnership between Council and the National Basketball League was a slam dunk for local sports fans as the Brisbane Bullets took on the Cairns Taipans in a pre-season NBL game at the Bundaberg Multiplex. It was the first time the region has had two NBL teams visit at the same time.
September 2023 highlights
The month of September marked the opening of Stage One of the Pacific Marine base at the Port of Bundaberg, representing significant investment in the region and serving as a catalyst for further development.
In September, the hardworking team at Bundaberg Tourism was nominated as the most popular tourism office at the 2023 National Travel Industry Awards. The team joined a prestigious list of nominees including Destination Canada, Switzerland Tourism and Tourism New Zealand.
October 2023 highlights
The iconic Bundaberg Brewed Drinks opened its super brewery. The opening of this new facility helps keep the production of the drinks brand solely in the region and allowing for increased production.
The 2023 Milbi Festival launched this month, celebrating local arts, culture, and the environment. The Milbi Festival’s message stick and Welcome Home Elders program received highly commended at the 2023 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.
November 2023 highlights
November was a month of celebration, with the much-loved Pageant of Lights returning to the 2023 Christmas program. Over 60 floats joined the parade showcasing the creativity of our schools, youth groups, community organisations, clubs and businesses.
The Boolboonda Railway tunnel marked 140 years since its official opening on 12 November 1883. The structure remains a marvel as the longest and one of the earliest examples of an unsupported tunnel in Queensland.
December 2023 highlights
The Christmas cheer continued to wrap up the year with the inaugural Christmas in the Precinct which included a fantastic community feel along with first class entertainment including Ricki-Lee, Marina Prior and The Diamonds.