Bowen Collinsville Enterprise

Chairman’s Report 2022

12th December 2022

 Re: Chairman Report for AGM December 2022

 Yet another year has passed and this is now my 6th Chairman’s report after agreeing to the chairman’s role for a 2-year period.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all BCE members for your input and a special thanks to Stephen Darwen for undertaking the role of secretary. Also, to John Finlay as role of Treasure and Kyle stepping into the role of vice chair.

I would also like to thank the Whitsunday Regional Council for their ongoing support and assisting with funding to cover our expenses for the year. I also acknowledge our strong support from our new Mayor Julie Hall and councillor Michelle Wright who always find time to attend our BCE meetings and are active supporters of BCE.

On a local front BCE have been working on the following projects.

Urannah Water Scheme

The Urannah Water Scheme has continued to move forward. Bowen River Utilities are the lead project managers and while it was disappointing to see the new Federal government remove the allocated $483M grant to help build the dam, it is business as per normal and the project moves on. Some the highlights of what has been achieved are:

  • Federal Capital Grant – Have commenced re-engagement with Federal Government on Capital Grant, working towards full funding by private sector. Not on fast track, but still continuing Business as usual.
  • Lodged Preliminary Draft EIS in June 2022. Responding to Government feedback. Going out for public consultation in March 2023 – Best practice Environmental studies completed.
  • First ILUA signed with Widi Aboriginal Corporation for Bowen Renewable Energy Hub
  • Completed update to Detailed Business Case with new economic modelling on benefits
  • Agreements in place with CS Energy
  • New time line for build –Start construction 2024 /2025.
  • Report sent to all BCE members

Bowen Harbour

 BCE have continued to work with the WRC and TMR to focus on improvements in the Bowen Harbour. It is fair to say not a lot of traction has been obtained this year with very little commitment or going support from TMR. Although we have exchanged a number of emails and held face to face meetings, we are no closer to solving many of the issues in the Bowen Marina. Through the council, there have been two face to face meetings with the Minister to raise issues with the Bowen Marina and also issues with dealing with the current TMR and MSQ staff. BCE also commissioned an external consultant, (Paul Coomer) to conduct an independent review of our concerns.

 Wave action. BCE disputed the finding from JCU that the largest wave was just 40 mm and that the harbour was safe and did not have a wave action issue. This is not what stakeholders see in the harbour. I have sent videos to TMR showing wave issues in the Harbour. TMR said they were going back to JUC, however we have not heard back from them after the meeting we had with them in August.

Lease Arrangement. TMR mentioned they were very close to finalising a lease with NQCYC, however after another 4 months, there is still no new lease in place and NQCYC are still trying to negotiate a suitable outcome with TMR. No other stakeholder has had any success in obtaining a new lease.  Our independent consultant (Paul Coomer) made a couple of very valid observations and I have passed onto TMR and asked them for comment, however they have not responded. Below are comments from Paul Coomer with regard to the lease agreements.

  • Clarify with DTMR as to whether boat harbour tenants were consulted with regarding the 2014 tenure renewal process changes and were the implications and changed requirements clearly articulated at that time;
  • Ask DTMR to review their current boat harbour tenure renewal process with the view to appropriately recognising and giving weight to existing tenants who in the main have complied with their tenure obligations during the term of their tenure, including the timely payment of rent, and at the time of seeking a tenure renewal are currently not in breach of their tenure obligations.
  • Requiring boat harbour tenants to undertake material capital investment as part of a tenure renewal process when a tenure site is in effect fully or largely fully developed is not likely to be a viable option for such tenants.  It is also understood DTMR indicated at the BCE meeting on 8/6/22 that if a tenant’s capital investment was not completed in the required timeline, the tenant’s tenure could be terminated.  This approach does not seem to recognise changing market conditions, e.g. in the last 15 years the word has experienced the Global Financial Crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic which has had a material impact on business conditions without even considering local business conditions impacting boat harbour tenants during this time.

 Clean and Green Area. At our site meeting in August. TMR said they were going to use a trailer to water the grass once per month in the dry season instead of installing a sprinkler systems. This was absolutely rejected by BCE as being totally ineffective and one a month watering would never keep green grass around the harbour. I have asked TMR for an update, however not received a response from them.

 Piles and Buoy Moorings. We have asked TMR on a number of occasions if they will complete repairs on the piles in the harbour. There comment has always been, there are ample piles available and there is not need to repair the piles that are decommissioned. TMR have now gone out to tender to start removing piles from this area. TMR no doubt have a fundamental desire to get rid of all the piles in the Harbour.

Relocation of Bowen Tugs.

We have been lobbing NQBP with regard to the relocation of the Tugs. BCE’s preferred option is for these to be relocated into the Bowen Boat harbour. NQBP are looking at three options, Being the current Bowen Jetty, Bowen Marina and Abbott Point.

If the Jetty appears to be preferred, the region needs a way forward for the Abbot Point Port and Marina

If the Abbot Point Port appears to be preferred, the region needs a way forward for the Marina and the Jetty

If the Marina appears to be preferred, the region needs a way forward for the Jetty and the Abbot Point Port

NQBP have put the consultation and decision-making project on hold until after the master plan for Abbott Point is underway. I have written to NQBP again and asked for an update now that the Draft Master Plan has been released, and it seems there is noting in the Master Plan that will impact on the tug relocation.

 Bowen and Collinsville Housing issues.

BCE worked with stakeholder and put together a submission to the Whitsunday Regional Council with regard to the housing shortage in our region. The recommendations from this report were as below.

Recommendation:  WRC should complete a review of all regions and benchmark the types of incentives that will work for our region and attract investment while at the same time ensuring ongoing LGIP can be achieved.

Recommendation: Review options to ‘Free up’ subdivision for development.

Recommendation:  WRC to develop a Retirement Age Attraction Strategy

Recommendation: WRC to provide easy-to-access clarification on splitting large blocks for ease of development

Recommendation: WRC to investigate the reduction of minimum block size for duplex development

Recommendation: WRC review Council building application fees to ascertain fit for purpose

BCE Breakfast

BCE have organised and run another two breakfast forums this year with a range of presenters. These are still being well supported and we will continue to run next year with the first breakfast to be held in March.

Thanks again to all our members and I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy new year


Paul McLaughlin


Bowen Collinsville Enterprise

Bowen Collinsville Enterprise