Bowen Collinsville Enterprise

Chairman’s Report 2023

11th December 2023

 Re: Chairman Report for AGM December 2023

 Yet another year has passed and this is now my 7th 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 Mayor Julie Hall and councillor Michelle Wright who always find time to attend our BCE meetings and are active supporters of BCE. I also acknowledge our new WRC CEO, Warren Bunker for his commitment to BCE, and of course a big thanks to Gary Warrener who is always keeping us informed and involved in economic projects across the region.

This year, BCE had a reset and we workshopped what and how we wanted to function moving forward. After a survey of all members and a facilitated workshop, we agreed to a revised format for our meetings and also identified 5 priority projects to move forward with. Each of these projects were then allocated a champion and I thank all of these champions for putting up your hand and taking on this role. I will comment on each of these projects from my view and open up to each of the champions should they wish to add further comment from their perspective.

Bowen Boat Harbour – Champion Ashley Darwin

BCE have continued to work with the WRC and TMR to focus on improvements in the Bowen Harbour. Although we have pushed hard to try and get TMR / MSQ to the table, we have had a very disappointing result with them. After putting a number of opportunities on hold waiting for a Master plan to be started in July 2023, we have now been informed by TMR that the Bowen Harbour has been put on the back burner and we will not see a Master plan delivered for another 4 -5 years. This is extremely disappointing and as a result, I have reached out to our LNP State Member and asked them to commit to fast tracking this project should they win power in the October 2024 State Election.  In the meantime, Leese holder will continue to be offered short term leases until such times as the Master Plan is completed.

Front Beach – Bowen Jetty – Champion Tony Bale

BCE have been working with NQBP and supporting the Bowen Chamber on a stagey for the Bowen Jetty. NQBP announced that there preferred option for the tug location moving forward was to relocate to Abott Point. This triggered the State Government to announce a $50M funding allocation from the Coal Royalties, to go towards the future of the Bowen Jetty. NQBP have completed comprehensive studies which show the Jetty is in bad shape and the best option would be to build a new fit for purpose jetty incorporating the history from the old jetty. NQBP have engaged a consultant to work with our community in the new year to develop a design which will provide a outcome to all our community going forward.

 Bowen Pipe Line – Water for Bowen – Champion Ry Collins

While the Bowen Pipeline has been progressing, it seems to be now stalled waiting for approvals. In my view, it will be hard to get this project over the line now that Sunwater are back in the game and looking at water options for the State Development area and in particular, hydrogen projects. I have reached out and had discussions with Deb Freckington, who is the shadow minister for Water and will be the new water minister if there is a change of government in October 2024. I have organised a meeting for  the first quarter next year to talk about where this water for Bowen is sitting and also to how we get Urannah back on the table.

 State Development area – Champion Allan Brown

Abbot Point Operation continue to be the main business in this area and they have continued to increase their output. A record 33.42M tonnes exported through the port in the FYE June 2023. It was also great to see $10M tonnes of coal exported by the Carmichael mine this year. A conservative calculation is this equates to $10M per week in coal royalties that the State government take from just the coal going through Abbot Point. Our challenge to get more of this royales returned to the regions where it is generated. One $50M announcement for the Bowen Jetty equals to 5 weeks of royalties from Abbott point. Gilmore Space continues to tick boxes and have set up most of the infrastructure required to launch their rockets in the SDA. They are just waiting on final approves and we can expect to see a rocket launch in the first half of 2024. Energy Estate also continue to move forward with their hydrogen project and work will continue in this area next year.

 Whitsunday Paradice – Housing – Champion Kylie McRea

We are still waiting on a judgement from the court case between Whitsunday Paradise and the WRC. In the meantime, Whitsunday Paradise have moved onto other projects and the capital funding has moved with them. The WRC have offered to work with ‘Whitsunday Paradise and look at submitting funding grants to pay for the capital required to build water and sewerage infrastructure.

 BCE Breakfast

BCE held one BCE breakfast this year and we have another breakfast scheduled for Friday 16th February. We have 4 great speakers locked in for February and I will send out invites early in the new year

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