July 11, 2018
South Burnett political leaders were taken on a “listening tour” of some of the region’s businesses on Monday by the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO).
BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm said the event was designed to give participants an opportunity to hear first-hand from those directly involved in business and community in the region, and learn more about the challenges they faced and opportunities they would like to explore.
“The tour also provided a great chance for business and community to engage with our political leaders and regional/economic development representatives to grow their networks, ask questions and provide insights,” she said.
Joining in the tag-along tour were Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien, Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett executive officer Scott Rowe and South Burnett Regional Council senior economic development officer Craig Tunley.
The group met at South Burnett CTC’s Australian Disability Enterprise “The Gumnut Place” in Murgon.
SBCTC Disability Services Manager Barb O’Hanlon escorted the visitors through the facility, which employs 22 people with permanent disabilities as well as 10 volunteer workers.
Gumnut consists of a range of businesses, ranging from pallet construction and trophy engraving, to document destruction, a laundry and a commercial kitchen.
Many of the employees work two days a week, but some work a full five days from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
After morning tea, the group moved on to paramedic Grant Geddes’ first aid training services business, FAIS Training, which is also located in Murgon.
FAIS runs commercial first aid courses and sells first aid equipment but also supports financially the not-for-profit South Burnett First Aid Volunteers Inc which provide first aid services at local events.
The BIEDO group then headed to Cherbourg.
While some of the party attended the Cherbourg Council NAIDOC Day awards, others enjoyed a tour of The Ration Shed Museum.
While there, Mr O’Brien announced Federal Government funding to support the creation of a new “Pottery House” in the Historical Precinct to provide a home and gallery for the successful Barambah Pottery artists.
The $59,000 grant came from the Federal Government’s $115 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs fund.
Cherbourg Council Economic Development Officer Sean Nicholson then led the group on a tour of various Council enterprises, including a construction site in town where 10 new houses are being built.
These are the last of a group of 54 houses which Council has built in Cherbourg over the past five or so years.
The group then inspected Cherbourg’s “MRF” (“materials recovery facility” or recycling centre) which is currently sorting loads of recyclables delivered from Gympie Regional Council and Stanwell.
Already 200 tonnes of recyclables have been sold out of the facility.
Manager Andrew Beckett said the facility was separating out PET and HDPE plastics, glass, paper and cardboard, aluminium and steel.
Cherbourg Council is now gearing up for the introduction of the State Government’s deposit refund scheme on November 1.
A designated drop-off point is being established at the old dairy site on the Cherbourg Road.
From Cherbourg, the group then travelled to the Hidden Gold Homestead (the former Bridgeman Downs) at Moffatdale where they had lunch with proprietors Clint and Tina Kenyon.
Hidden Gold Homestead is a farm, B&B and cafe located adjacent to Bjelke-Petersen Dam.
After lunch, the BIEDO tour then continued to the nearby Moffatdale Ridge Winery for a discussion with proprietors Jason and Sue Kinsella who have been exploring export opportunities for their wine.