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Mackay Whitsunday - New Chairman’s vision

June 4, 2011 Australia,Whitsundays

‘One of the most liveable regions in Queensland’

Turning the region into one of the most liveable places in Queensland is the aim of the new Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mackay Whitsunday Chairman Graham Smith.

Born and raised in the Mackay district, Mr Smith has a passion for the growth and sustainability of the region and improving its recognition on the national stage. He now hopes to be able to put actions to his words as Chairman of RDAMW, which is a partnership organisation that brings together Federal, State and Regional Government with the aim of developing and strengthening the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Region.

“Essentially, we need to raise the profile of the area on the national stage and ensure that we get a good rate of development in keeping with the rest of the country,” said Mr Smith, who is Executive Chairman of G&S Engineering Services, a mining services company founded and headquartered in Mackay.

“It’s pretty evident that the infrastructure services available are not in keeping with the rate of development in Mackay and surrounding district, which is developing very fast, particularly the Hinterland and Isaac region, where there is a lot of mining activity. “The infrastructure available is not adequate to support the existing needs, let alone able to support the future planned growth.”

Mr Smith said one of the aims of RDA Mackay Whitsunday was to raise awareness about the region
at a Federal and State level. “Our aim at RDA Mackay Whitsunday is to present a united voice for the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Region and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”

Mr Smith praised the work that RDA Mackay Whitsunday has undertaken since forming at the end of
2009. “The work that the RDA has done up to now – the CEO Rebecca Andrews and the board – is a great
job. My aim as Chairman is to support that work.” Going forward, he said RDA Mackay Whitsunday needed to ‘forge ahead’ and fulfil what’s in the Regional Roadmap, a document containing the region’s key priorities, created by RDA Mackay Whitsunday after extensive consultation with the community.

“The Regional Roadmap is a dynamic and evolving document – things change – so we need to ensure
we stay on top of the developments and respond to opportunities and needs as they arise. “

Mr Smith said his vision for the future was to assist in improving the region – already one of the leading regions in Queensland – so it continues to be a desirable place to live and work with a very high ‘liveability’ factor.
“With the amount of money generated through tourism, agriculture and mining, we need to ensure that we are building the infrastructure to sustain this, and the community, into the future.”

Mr Smith brings to the position of Chairman years of experience gained from operational and managerial positions in construction and service related companies, both nationally and internationally, which has given him wide experience in enhancing business growth and sustainability.

As a board member of the Mackay Hospital Foundation, and working closely as an avid supporter
and advocate for the CQ Rescue helicopter service, Mr Smith is able to engage in his passion for
improving the liveability of the regional community.

Mr Smith is joined on the RDA Mackay Whitsunday board by two new board members: Dr Pierre Viljoen, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community & Engagement) at Central Queensland University and Head of Campus Mackay; and Peter Freeleagus, a former Belyando Councillor and Mayor and community advocate, currently working for BHP/BMA Peak Downs Mine.

For more information about RDA Mackay Whitsunday – and profiles of all board members – please