Like always, it’s been busy one for locals this past week, so check out all the action in our Charleville Regional Report.
We cover all the big events this week including an update on the local government election, the 2nd/14th Lighthorse Regiment, why we should boycott the Easter Bunny this year plus more!
Local Government Election
Three locals in contention for the top job and a result still too close to call.
At the conclusion of counting last Sunday lunch, there was still 150 postal votes to be delivered to the Council Chambers tally room.
And those 150 postal votes will determine, officially, who will be our Mayor and Councillors for the next four years.
For those counting the votes it has been a long few days.
“Well it’s not hard, it’s just time consuming more then anything, bearing in mind that we’ve had a Mayoral vote, a councillor vote with 16 candidates and the referendum.
“So it hasn’t been hard it’s just been trying, I wouldn’t even say it’s been difficult I’d just say it’s been a time consuming process,” says Des Nielser, Returning Officer.
According to the Electorial Commission of Queensland Website 2527 ballots have been counted, a total of 84.54%.
This afternoon when we checked the results, it was Annie Liston who still remains at the lead of the vote tally with 1,031 ballots and 41.52%.
Incumbent Mayor Denis Cook falls behind with 843 ballots and 33.95%.
Challenger John Jones receiving an impressive 609 ballots and 24.53% of votes.
“We haven’t finished counting yet there are still primaries outstanding.
“We should be having a preferential here but with primaries outstanding we can’t do that as far as a time that will depend on the ECQ because they determine the time,” says Mr Niesler.
And the four councillor positions still cannot be declared either, but with current trends it looks as though Murweh will be seeing Robert Eckel and Peter Red Alexander returned to their seats and welcoming Shaun Radnedge.
The fourth councillor position is a close race between Lyn Capewell who leads Jake Sullivan by just 46 votes.
It’s been a riveting election and we’ll hopefully know the final result by tomorrow but if not it will be the 29th of March.
NB: Amendment to be made to the video: the race between Lyn Capewell and Jake Sullivan, the gap has now become smaller. Lyn now takes the lead with just 46 votes.
2nd/14th Lighthorse Regiment come to town
The 2nd/14th Lighthorse Regiment holds a special place in the history of Charleville, and they were back on Sunday to make sure it stays that way.
The tanks that rolled in this time round are a little different to their first visit, but the crowds that turned out were much the same.
“And our forefathers in the unit history were actually out here in 1891 just north of Charleville and around the area during the Shearers Strike,” says Major Andrew Bassingthwaighte, Officer Commanding A Sqaudron of 2nd 14th Lighthorse Regiment, QLD Mounted Infantry
The 2nd/14th Lighthorse Regiment visited Charleville 125 years ago…and will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Wherever they go, they’ll always have a little bit of Murweh to go with them…
“We’re not wearing the same headwear that we sometimes do wear, the big slouch hat with the emu feathers in it but that actually comes from this area. So during the shearing strike it turned out they had a fair bit of spare time and so the soldiers would occupy their time by chasing the emus and it was a sign that you were a good horseman if you could ride along at the emu at full flight and pluck the feathers out of it,”says Major Andrew Bassingthwaighte.
119 men and women, brought 31 armoured vehicles out from Brisbane for training and finished up their stay by treating local kids, and adults, to joy rides.
Our landscape just so happens to be the perfect fit and we’re more than happy to host them!
“It’s ideal for armoured operations in that it’s quite dry so we don’t have any problems with recovery, not too much mud.
“But also it gives us the space and a little bit of a challenge about how we can work better as a team and things like that for future exercises and operations,” says Major Andrew Bassingthwaighte.
While there may be a few more unconventional names this time round…it was a chance for our older citizens to reflect on the last time the regiment rolled through town…and for our young ones to get a little glimpse into life in the armed forces.
Boycott the Bunny this Easter
The Save the Bilby fund is on a campaign to turn Australians around to a different kind of Easter treat.
What will be in your basket this Easter?
A bunny? Or a Bilby?
While many look forward to the chocolate treats at this time of year, Alys Haines from the Save the Bilby Fund is on a mission to make sure there’s a different cute creature helping us celebrate.
“Bilby’s are a native Australian animal that are suffering we haven’t got many of them left. And the reasons that our native animals are doing it so tough, a lot of those reasons are because of the introduced species that we’ve put into this country that are competing with them and predating upon them,”says Alys Haines, Save the Bilby Fund Project Officer
Instead of hunting down eggs, hunt down some Pink Ladies chocolate!
Every dollar counts when it comes to conservation of the endangered species… and it’s no fun celebrating with the very animal that causes them so much damage.
“Rabits are one of those animals that have caused a lot of devastation to this country and celebrating them over Easter time is…it’s just pretty rough, we really should be celebrating our native animals and by buying an Easter Bilby money from that sale goes towards conservation and supporting our native animals and the work we do in keeping them around,” says Alys.
This is the fourth year that Fyna Foods has partnered with the fund, and you can buy the Pink Lady chocolates from local retailers.
Look out for the bilbies with the little green tag to make sure you’re supporting a good cause.
“So buy an Easter bilby this year, boycott the bunny, support our natives, you’re home of the bilbies so why not embrace it,” says Alys.
Charleville is home to the Bilby, so this Easter give the bunny a miss and let the Bilby have a go.
Reinstated Vegetation Management Laws Bill
Farmers across the state are scathing at the reintroduction of vegetation management legislation to Qld Parliament last week.
Murweh graziers have endured 5 years of drought, and many have employed the use of mulga as a way of feeding their cattle.
Now, with the proposed reinstatement of Labor’s vegetation management laws, graziers now face uncertainty when it comes to tree clearing.
“This legislation, Vegetation Management Legislation changes by the Palaszczuk government, they are effective immediately. That is the important thing.
“There is an awful amount of uncertainty for people, free hold and lease hold land holders across the state some of which have never been affected like they are now affected by this legislation,” says Ann Leahy, Member for Warrego.
The bill came to a deadlock last week, which forced Independent Speaker Peter Wellington to use his casting vote, and he moved that the decision-making be left to the Agriculture and Environment Committee.
“Originally the government proposed that, that committee would travel the state within 19 working days. Totally impractical. You just can’t do it, you can’t travel the whole state and listen to people across that period of time.
“So we were successful in parliament in getting that date extended to the 30th of June but landholders must understand that this legislation does have a retrospective component, it is effective at the date it was introduced into parliament last Thursday,” says MP Leahy.
Agforce North Regional Manager Paul Burke says Agforce will work alongside farmers to block the legislation change.
“We maintain that these laws have been successful, the current ones, the government really shouldn’t be doing anything. This is more about suring up a green presence deal for their inner city seats rather than having any real outcomes on the ground,” says Paul Burke, Agforce North Regional Manager
For local graziers the reinstatement of this Bill is the last thing they wanted to hear before heading into what appears to be another drought stricken winter.
Outback Queensland Tourism Roadshow
We’ve got a wealth of tourism providers in town…but just what could we achieve if they all joined forces.
As the Mercury starts to drop ever so slightly, it’s a sign the tourism season is here.
Local providers are gearing up for the season ahead and showed their solidarity at the outback tourism roadshow.
They’re out to create a stronger tourism hub here in Charleville…and join with the rest of the west and the state as a whole.
“As a state we need to be all together so that we’re trying to promote the whole state, then it drills down to the townships as well so I think you have to work together.
“There is no point in working against each other, especially in the outback we have our own challenges, distance but I think they’re easily overcome but you can only overcome those challenges if you work together,” says Peter Homan, General Manager of Outback Queensland Tourism Association.
Charleville is poised to play a major part in the Natural Science Loops traffic flow … A route connecting our town with the likes of Eromanga and Quilpie.
“There are some fantastic dinosaur experiences already so we’re going to try and bring them together for a tourist experience so, you know how do we join them all together.
“That’s some work that we’ve done a lot of work in the background, but it’s still about 3 years …2 -3 years away but we told everybody where we were at,” says Peter.
In the meantime our local favourites will continue to entertain crowds but it’s that country hospitality that’s always the true draw card.
What’s On This Easter Weekend
There is a lot happening around our Shire this Easter Weekend, so we’ve compiled it all in the one place.
Get your fishing rods and reels ready because the Charleville Fishing and Restocking Club is hosting their Easter Fishing Competition.
The competition kicks off tomorrow and finishes up on Easter Sunday, and with a $1000 adult major prize and $500 junior major prize…it’s worth entering!
To nominate simply pick up a form from Judey’s Browse In, Cost for adults is $20 and for kids just $10.
Augathella Diggers Rodeo
If fishing’s not for you, then it’s on with the boots and big hats because the Annual Augathella Diggers Rodeo kicks of Saturday morning from 9am.
This event is free entry for everyone and it’s a full rodeo program with $12,000 worth of prize money up for grabs.
A bar and canteen will be operating and there’ll be entertainment until late!
There will be a bus leaving from Charleville at 11am and returning 6pm.
The Association will be putting on a big recovery breaky on Sunday morning so be sure to stick around.
Augathella Easter Races
And what better way to finish up your Easter Weekend then by dressing up in your best racing attire and heading to the Augathella Easter Races.
There is a reduced $5 admission to the races all thanks to the Murweh Shire Council, pensioners and under 18s get in free of charge.
It’s a 5 race-program with fashions on the field, bar and canteen and DJ Curly until late into the evening.
So there you have it, a wrap of all things Easter this weekend!