Weekender: Chelsea saddles up for rodeo queen

Council steps up to protect reef


Bundaberg Regional Council has joined a state-wide research project to protect the Great Barrier Reef from silt washed from thousands of kilometres of unsealed country roads.

Led by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), the innovative Cleaner Road Runoff initiative has already started monitoring unsealed roads and their impact on water quality at test sites in Whitsunday Regional Council and Gladstone Regional Council in the Reef catchment.

With an estimated average 25mm of road material washing off the top of 38,000km of unsealed roads in the reef catchment every year, the project could have a massive impact on the health of the reef as well as benefit the communities that cherish and rely on it.

Fine sediments like those washed from unsealed roads and drains are one of the three greatest water quality risks to the reef, reducing light to seagrass beds and inshore coral reefs.

The Cleaner Road Runoff project results are expected to form the basis of guidelines to improve road design and maintenance.

LGAQ CEO Alison Smith said it was terrific to expand the project to additional council areas.

“This research will give councils critical information to help advocate for funding to create cleaner road runoff to protect our Reef and better roads for communities,” Ms Smith said.

Bundaberg Region Mayor and LGAQ Policy Executive member Jack Dempsey said the Bundaberg Region had a focus on sustainability and participating in this research project would help to enhance that commitment.

“Mon Repos is renowned as one of the world’s most significant turtle nesting sites and just off the shore of the Bundaberg Region coastline lies the start of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Our community is aware of the significance of this positioning and we’re proud to be among the Councils leading the push to protect the reef.

“This initiative is about taking a collaborative approach to dealing with issues of runoff to work together towards the common goal of a healthier reef now and in the future.

“Achieving this goal not only means great things for the environment but will maintain the Bundaberg Region’s status as a leading eco-tourism destination.”

Bundaberg Regional Council one of three welcomed into project

The program expansion comes after the Local Government Association of Queensland secured an additional $1 million of funding from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF), extending the research until May 2024 and including the extra reef catchment councils.

Bundaberg Regional Council Water and Wastewater portfolio spokesperson Jason Bartels attended the LGAQ’s inaugural Coastal Leaders Forum in Gladstone where the commitment to the research project was made.

“It was fantastic to be a part of the discussions held throughout the forum and the official announcement of the Bundaberg Region’s involvement in this program,” Cr Bartels said.

“Bundaberg Regional Council is always looking for innovative ways to better serve our community and the local environment and the Cleaner Road Runoff Project is another way we’re achieving that.”

Isaac Regional and Cassowary Coast Councils also signed on for the research project at the forum.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said the extra partnerships and innovation were critical to solving the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef.

“If we can improve the quality of the water flowing out to the Reef, we can improve the health of the Reef and the marine life that depends on it," she said.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Cassowary Coast, Isaac and Bundaberg regional councils as Clean Road Runoff project partners which will allow us to expand the impact of this important research already underway with LGAQ in the Whitsunday and Gladstone regions.”

The Cleaner Road Runoff Project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with support from Griffith University, IPWEAQ, Department of Environment and Science, Office of the Great Barrier Reef, Bundaberg Regional Council, Whitsunday Regional Council and Gladstone Regional Council.

Surprise win as pickleball gains advantage

Emma Turnbull

As the region’s love of pickleball grows Bundaberg tennis legend Brian Doughty’s trip to gain coaching credentials saw him battle it out against one of the best.

Tennis Bundaberg already has one dedicated pickleball court but with its popularity booming work is underway to add another four courts.

Born in the region, Brian recalls first playing tennis as a 12-year-old.

Now more than half a century later his passion for the sport is as strong as ever.

A retired farmer, Brian is known to spend his time volunteering for Tennis Bundaberg, with other members describing him as a “club legend”.

“I’ve been on the committee for about 20 years, I have a life membership, but I only do it because I enjoy it,” Brian said.

“I have been secretary for 12 or so years, and president for about six.”

As the secretary Brian is currently busy overseeing the redevelopment at Tennis Bundaberg, adding an additional four pickleball courts to the facility, which will allow a capacity increase to 300 pickleball members.

Although relatively new in Bundaberg, pickleball is similar to tennis and is becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

Two or four players use a paddle to hit a perforated hollow polymer ball over a 36-inch-high net.

The appearance of a pickleball court, and the manner of play, resemble tennis, but the court is the size of a doubles badminton court, less than a third the size of a tennis court. 

To cater to the expected increase in player numbers 67-year-old Brian travelled to Yeppoon to take part in a pickleball coaching clinic.

Last-minute pickleball entry secures Brian silver medal

It was there he made a last-minute decision to enter the Queensland Pickleball Tour where he secured a silver medal, pipped at the post by Mike Newell, described as one of the best pickleball educators in the world.

Brian said he was astounded by his surprise triumph over the experienced pickleball competitor and coach.

“I went up to do a coaching course and on the Thursday night we did a skills training to learn how to play the game properly,” Brian said.

“The coaching course was on the Friday and then a bit of a serious tournament on the Saturday and Sunday.

“I was late entering, as usual, and all I got into was the Men's Over 50s Singles.

“Then I came home with a silver, the only person to beat me was the coach and he was only 54 (years old), so I reckon I should have had a 10-point start!”

Brian said he hadn’t played much pickleball in the past as his main focus was tennis, but this was slowly changing.

“I only went up to Yeppoon to learn how to be a pickleball coach – from the man who actually beat me,” he said.

“I am hoping the competition will give me a grading now – it should give me a good grading as I was beaten by one of the best.”

Nine competitors entered the Men's Over 50s Singles competition.

Brian went down against Mike in two sets: 11-0, 11-5.

But Brian was happy with that result saying Mike was a pickleball pro after transitioning to the sport following 29 years of coaching tennis in 41 different countries and running the Pat Cash Tennis Academy. 

Pickleball gains advantage among tennis fans

Tennis Bundaberg committee member Barry Franklin said work was underway to add more pickleball courts and once complete there would be five stand-alone pickleball courts in Bundaberg.

“It’s pretty big for us and Bundaberg as we will have one of only two purpose-built pickleball courts in Queensland – the other is in Yeppoon,” Barry said.

“Our membership has grown significantly over the last few years, pickleball and tennis go hand-in-hand.

“There’s a huge social aspect for older players and then when you see players like Brian bring home a medal – it’s fantastic.

“Brian is inspiring to our club; he never stops and is known as a real legend around here.”

Students celebrated at QATSIF ceremony

Ashley Schipper

Year 12 students were celebrated at an early graduation ceremony this week as part of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation (QATSIF) scholarship program.

QATSIF was created to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families increased educational choices and life opportunities.

A number of Bundaberg Region students have been involved in the organisation's scholarship program which provided them with ongoing resources to cover the costs of uniforms, shoes, vocational education and training and more.

QATSIF's Michael Nayler said students from seven local schools attended the graduation ceremony at Shalom College on Friday.

“We are really proud to see these young people get to Year 12 and achieve,” he said.

“Here in Australia we still have a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders not making it to Year 12 so to see these young people doing it is absolutely brilliant.

“Our graduation is a bit early here, held in August, because when the students come back to school in Term 4 they only have a few weeks before they start their exams.

“We choose to celebrate their graduation early so to not jeopardise the busy exam period ahead.”

Delysha Tanner from Bundaberg State School and Isis District State High School's Courtney Jackson were two of the graduating students.

They said the ceremony had them thinking about the reality of finishing school and the opportunities that lay before them.

“It's been amazing,” Delysha said.

“It's insane, it has come around really quick,” Courtney added.

The pair already have plans for work after Year 12 and said they were excited to see what the future had in store.

“I was offered a job at the language centre, I am very excited about that,” Delysha said.

“It is a permanent job straight after I finish school.”

“I want to be an electrician and after I have done my trade I want to be working in the mines,” Courtney said.

What is the QATSIF scholarship program?

QATSIF provides two-year scholarship funding to support students commencing in Year 11.

QATSIF funds successful schools which then provide scholarships to individual students.

The program aims to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander student retention in Years 11 and 12 rather than simply sustain existing retention rates.

The funding is used to complement and build on existing school and community programs and provide support for individual students.

Find out more here.

Can-do attitude for Containers for Change site


Two local businesses with a focus on recycling have teamed up to make turning household containers into change even more accessible for the region’s coastal community.

With a specifically modified 40ft shipping container, IMPACT Community Services and Green Solutions Wide Bay have opened a new Containers for Change refund point which is located at 417 Windermere Road, Qunaba.

The container refund point has been fitted out with solar power complete with a back-up battery system.

It will create six employment positions for local people.

Local businesses partner for Containers For Change

IMPACT Community Services already coordinates a Containers for Change site on University Drive in Bundaberg and manages Bundaberg Regional Council's Material Recovery Facility.

Social enterprises manager Rob Henderson said the collaboration demonstrated a commitment to recycling and would result in great results for the environment along with job opportunities.

“This new refund point will be run by IMPACT in addition to the refund point at University Drive,” Rob said.

“IMPACT hopes the Qunaba site will make recycling containers for change more convenient for residents throughout the region.”

Green Solutions Wide Bay general manager Nathan Freeman said he was thrilled about the new partnership.

“We are super excited to be working with such a wonderful local organisation in IMPACT Community Services,” Nathan said.

“This partnership will benefit the environment and our wider region, which is the heart of our business.”

The new refund point will be stationed at Green Solutions Wide Bay’s composting facility on Windermere Road.

Opening times will be Monday to Friday 8 am until 3.30 pm and Saturdays 9.30 am to 1.30 pm.

The Qunaba Containers for Change sit can be contacted on 0418 800 398.

About Containers for Change

The Containers for Change scheme in Queensland is run and founded by Container Exchange (COEX), a not-for-profit organisation.

Under the scheme, residents can take their eligible containers, which generally display a 10c refund mark, to a container refund point to cash in their recyclables.

Community members can request this refund via cash, or they can sign up for a scheme ID and choose the refund to be paid to their bank account, PayPal or favourite cause.

This innovative and collaborative approach to the mobile container refund point is understood to be the first of its kind for COEX.

For more information click here or phone 4304 8135.

Residents can search for nearby Containers for Change locations here.

Food van wanted for Crawford Park

Ashley Schipper

An exciting opportunity for a local food van to cater to hungry beachgoers is now available at Crawford Park.

Bundaberg Regional Council is calling for expressions of interest from food van operators interested in a permit to serve food and drinks from the beachside location.

Access to a food van is part of Council‘s commitment in enhancing its recreational spaces for the community to enjoy.

Crawford Park is situated in Bargara, with Kelly’s Beach and Moneys Creek to one side and Archie's to the other.

It provides central location for visitors to relax and enjoy the coastal surroundings.

The food van permit is an opportunity for a small local business to enhance its customer base.

The permit will be issued for a one-year period with the option for two additional years by mutual agreement between Council and the successful operator.

The evaluation will be based on a number of categories such as type of products to be supplied and experience of the operator.

Applications are invited to submit for the food van site at Crawford Park via Bundaberg Regional Council’s e-procurement platform VendorPanel here.

Drive for Life to help students get licence

Georgia Neville

A new Salvation Army initiative has been introduced in Bundaberg supporting learner drivers to gain experience behind the wheel in simulated and on-road situations.

The Drive for Life program is set up at the Tom Quinn Centre, primarily for people ages 16 to 25, and supports them in getting their licence by facilitating driving and road safety lessons while providing a safe and well maintained vehicle to learn in.

The program has been running in Bundaberg for just over a month and currently has about 10 students taking part.

Tom Quinn Community Centre Manager Richard King said Drive for Life was a program that was in demand in Bundaberg, and had proven popular just five weeks after starting.

“It has been identified that a lot of the young people we have here are looking for and need a licence so we saw the need for it and now we have the program running out of Bundaberg,” Richard said.

“We currently have three cars that are assigned to the program and we are really excited about the interest we have had so far.”

Drive for Life already popular

Richard said the driving simulator had been popular amongst participants, with the opportunity to get behind the wheel in a safe environment well received.

“We have a driving simulator which for the young people it is great as it is like playing a PlayStation, but it actually gives the participants the chance to practice on a screen while still feeling quite real,” he said.

“You can choose the type of car and the weather, which gives participants the chance to practice in a range of conditions.”

Drive for Life Coordinator Ian Kearton said the initiative had been well received within the community, with students excited to get on the road.

“Everyone we have spoken to so far has said it is a fantastic initiative, they have been very excited and they are really keen to get out on the road and get started,” Ian said.

“There are a range of activities we do with students, including giving them ten hours of lessons with an instructor, which equates to 30 hours as it counts for triple time, and is a great start to reaching the 100 hours.

“Then after that we have a mixture of time with a mentor, or volunteer and time with instructors.”

Ian said the program provided more than just the ability to drive, it also gave students more opportunities in gaining employment.

“The students can gain a lot out of the program including confidence and independence,” he said.

“It goes a long way to having them find a job so there are a lot of bonuses further to just getting a driver’s licence.”

Ian said the program was always looking for volunteers to become mentors who could assist in taking students driving to reach their 100 hours.

“This program is a combination of instructors and mentors who are volunteers, and we are always looking for volunteers,” he said.

“So, if anyone is available to help these young people out, you do make a big difference to these kids.”

You can find out more about the Drive for Life program here.

Judges needed for Australia Day Awards

Ashley Schipper

Locals with a love for the community, like proud resident Phil Oakley, are encouraged to submit an expression of interest to help judge the annual Australia Day Awards.

Hosted by Bundaberg Regional Council, the awards recognise the actions and abilities of groups and individuals that have enhanced the social connectivity of the community through personal contribution or through an event.

The community judging panel forms a vital part of the process, with the seven-person committee responsible for choosing winners in each award category.

Each of the committee members represent a different section of the community, ensuring a wide range of experience and local knowledge.

Council is currently looking to appoint two judges, one with experience in sports and recreation and another judge who currently resides in Gin Gin.

Australia Day Awards judges give back

Art Plus owner Phil Oakley has been a judge since the committee was formed in 2018.

He said it was a fantastic opportunity for members of the community to have their say while meeting a range of different people.

“You get a diverse group of people who you wouldn't normally meet and then you get to chat about local topics,” Phil said.

“While you don't necessarily know any of the other judges and you come from different backgrounds, being involved allows you to feel like you can make an impact on the local community.

“It is a great way to give back to the community.”

Australia Day Awards judges will have the following skills and attributes:

- Living in the Bundaberg Local Government Area

- Community-minded

- Have time to dedicate to support the award

- Identifying suitable candidates or groups to be awarded in the various eligible categories

The panel currently consists of judges from diverse backgrounds and experiences, including but not limited to people with lived experiences that encompass:

- Arts

- Tourism

- Sports and recreation

- Community

Thorough understanding of Bundaberg Region, including Gin Gin, Childers, Moore Park Beach, Woodgate etc.

If you have the skills, time and interest to contribute to this key event in Bundaberg complete the expression of interest form here.

Submissions for Australia Day Awards judges close on 23 September 2022 and applicants will be notified on 14 October 2022.

Nominations for the awards are also open with more information to be found here.

What's on

Ekka Country Music Showdown big win for Keely

Georgia Neville

Bundaberg musician Keely Sliwka has strummed her way to success, taking out first place at the recent Ekka Country Music Showdown.

The win has seen Keely awarded a cash prize, along with a new guitar and the opportunity of a lifetime to be mentored by a number of country music legends in Tamworth as part of the Troy Cassar-Daley scholarship.

Keely said the chance to perform at the Ekka was fantastic and she did not expect she would come away from it with such success.

“I entered the year before last but the Ekka got cancelled due to Covid, so we saw the entries come out again and I put through a couple of songs and I got accepted and made it to the grand final,” Keely said.

“At the final we got a band to play with and we had a bit of practice time with them first then we got straight into it and performed.”

Ekka Country Music Showdown scholarship a boost

As part of her prize, Keely won a Troy Cassar-Daley Scholarship which will see her travel down to Tamworth for a week and take part in song writing workshops.

“I won $500, a recording spot, a guitar and an academy scholarship,” she said.

“I am going to go down to Tamworth and will write songs for a week and get mentored by many artists who are considered some of the best in the country music business.

“It is very exciting and something I have been wanting to do since I was 12 so it is a great opportunity.”

Keely said the prize would help her to get a start on writing her own songs.

“I am hoping to release music of my own and release my own songs into the world and show who I am as an artist,” she said.

Keely encouraged anyone who was wanting to take part in competitions like the Ekka Country Music Showdown to “just give it a go”.

“If anyone is thinking about entering a similar competition, just do it as it gives you a lot of confidence,” she said.

“Obviously, it is all about the experience but when you get your first win it really makes you want to work harder!”

You can find out more about Ekka Country Music Showdown winner Keely here.

Nurture on display at Gin Gin Gallery

Georgia Neville

Local artist Maryanne Watts is paying homage to the support and friendship she has received from the Gin Gin Fine Arts Group in her next exhibition, Nurture.

On display at the Gin Gin Courthouse Gallery in September, Maryanne has been part of the group for five years and said member had helpt to nurture her hidden talents for drawing.

Through the group’s friendship, encouragement and instruction, Maryanne’s love of drawing and has continued to grow.

“The whole exhibition I have called Nurture because I totally believe I would have never come this far in my art and loved it this much if it hadn’t been for the support of the Gin Gin Fine Arts Group,” Maryanne said.

“I come here every Wednesday, and sometimes I might just come and drink coffee and talk about art and do a little bit here and there, and other days I come in and do more art.

“Without that support and without that nurturing I would not be here.

“I moved to the region five years ago and I had hardly tried to draw before that and coming here consistently, it is like ‘wow, I can actually do it’.”

Maryanne said her pieces were done with pencil, and usually focused on the details of small items.

“I have found that I love pencil in all forms, whether it be coloured, graphite or charcoal,” she said.

“I like doing slightly unusual things, so taking really small, detailed sections of something and making that large and including a lot of detail.

“I love rocks and roses and flowers because their textures are amazing, but I then go and draw a part of the rose for example, not the whole rose, and make it bigger.

“The small things that you may not always notice but when you put them on a bigger scale, you notice them.”

All the pieces in the exhibition are for sale.

Nurture will open on Saturday 3 September at 2 pm and will be on display until Wednesday 28 September.

The gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday, 9 am until 4 pm daily.

Got You Covered library column

In Our Garage with Andrea Baldry's 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650

Morgan Everett

After purchasing a Kawasaki at 40 years of age, Andrea said the ride offered her everything she needed and would be her bike for life.

Tell us about your bike?

It's a 2013 Kawasaki Ninja and it's a 650.

I've had this Ninja for, must be coming on close to ten years now.

It is my first and only bike and I see no need to upgrade.

What got you into motorbikes?

Well, I actually blame my brother.

When he was young, he had a motorbike and used to put me on the back and take me around to all the parties and drop me off.

So I think that was the only real exposure I had to motorbikes and the year I turned 40 I decided I was going to learn to ride a motorbike and I've had the best ten years.

Why did you choose this bike?

The Kawasaki I think personally is a beautiful looking road bike and it served its purpose for me.

I needed a little bit of speed. I'm on the Port Road, so I've got the 100km zone out there and the sugar trucks.

I needed something with a bit of grunt so I've gone for the 650 and I think for me it's a bike for life.

I won't feel the need to upgrade at all. I'm very happy with it.

What do you love about riding?

I love the serenity.

It just brings peace to me.

I get to work and I've got a big grin on my face the days I ride the bike in. So yeah, it's just pure pleasure.

Would you recommend riding a motorbike?

I definitely encourage others and also, the more females on the road the better.

I think the hardest thing for me was when I first mentioned to colleagues that I was going to get a motorbike, that was the thing that cemented in my brain.

I had to action it.

I've said it out loud, now I'm going to go and get this bike.

Do you have family and friends that ride?

No and that's the odd thing I think, that my husband doesn't ride.

I have very few friends that ride.

For me it was all about self-empowerment and seeing if I could actually do it.

And yes, I can.

To have your vehicle featured in In Our Garage email us at news@bundabergnow.com

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