The Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce took a tough stance in the recent Queenslanders Unite Rally, calling on government to recognise the value of the regions and to invest in it accordingly.
The event took place on Queensland Day (June 6), which is intended to celebrate the achievements of the regions, and to give voice to their interests.
Many of those addressing the rally spoke about the impact of political policy on local communities, and the importance of the primary industries to the prosperity of regional Queensland.
In his speech, Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce Treasurer Simon Vigliante demanded change in how the regional areas are dealt with by government.
He spoke about how all the jobs in areas such as Mackay are interconnected, and that interruptions to primary industries, such as coal, sugar and beef, hurt everyone.
“There are 120,000 people in the Mackay region, and you can say there’s 120,000 pairs of hands on every ton of coal that leaves a port. The success of that industry feeds the success of the others around it – from my wife who teaches the kids of miners, to my mother-in-law who sells cars.
“If you cut the head off the primary industries, you cut the head off that ecosystem. So when a government steps in and increases taxes or puts on red tape, it hurts the whole ecosystem.”
He went on to emphasise the contribution that regional areas make across the country, sending a clear message that local people deserve to benefit from the wealth they create for the state.
“For a long time, the regions have been neglected. We don't want our kids to have to move to Brisbane for a job. We just want a fair go for the regions”
After the rally, he spoke about the people he had met there, commenting how powerful it was to see such a strong turnout of passionate individuals.
“A few people made a joke that they’re all introverts. They don’t normally rally. When introverts rally you know something’s wrong. So hopefully this shows the government that we have a voice and we aren’t afraid to use it. Hopefully this is how we get change for the regions.”
For more information about Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce’s presence at the Queenslanders Unite Rally, visit Chamber’s Facebook page.