Close to 50 guests from the Charters Towers district and beyond attended the Grow Queensland community forum held at the showgrounds in the Gold City on Thursday, June 16.
The forum which is an initiative of the Queensland Country Life was designed to give community members in town’s across the state the opportunity to express their views on issues that affect them, and how we can maximise the potential of all industries in our great state.
A group of panelists with extensive and varied industry expertise were assembled for the forum which covered four key topics or ‘pillars’ which are: growing agriculture; growing our towns economically and socially; growing the resilience of our young people and growing the health and well-being of rural and regional Queenslanders.
Those on the panel included: Senator Matt Canavan, Minister for Northern Australia; Craig Burkhardt, Townsville Branch Manager, Rabobank; Tony O’Dea, General Manager of Program Delivery, QRAA; Cath Walker, Mental Health Worker, RFDS; Mo Pedersen, Rural Training Instructor, QATC; Scott Mawn, Area Manager, Northern Pastoral, Elders; Professor Tarun Sen Gupta, RDAQ Foundation Liaison Officer; Cr Liz Schmidt, Charters Towers Mayor; Emma Robinson, Beef Producer, RIRDC Qld Rural Woman of the Year, Caerphilly Station, Charters Towers and Kylie Stretton, beef producer, founder of Ask An Aussie Farmer website, Charters Towers.
Forum mediator Fairfax Media, Group Managing Editor for QLD and NT Brad Cooper posed questions to the panel regarding some of the big issues affecting the Charters Towers community and those living in the outlying districts including mental health, the ongoing affects of the drought, cattle prices, vegetation management laws, water availability and infrastructure project viability to name a few.
After the four themes were covered the floor was given to the guests in attendance who came prepared to raise awareness for the issues that they want to see more attention given to on a local, state and national level.
After the forum concluded guests and panelists mingled while enjoying a great spread put on by volunteers from the ICPA Charters Towers branch.
The Grow QLD forum series will next head to Emerald in July to coincide with the AgGrow Field Days.