I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone in Noosa and surrounding areas for a safe and merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ whose love brought salvation to all. His message of peace and goodwill is more important than ever as we reflect on a year of great achievements for Wide Bay, and also recognise the challenges that have been presented.
For the producers affected by drought and Mother Nature’s fury, it has been a difficult time financially and emotionally as they face ongoing poor conditions and damage from storms.
Our community has thrown its support behind those who are struggling, with significant fundraising for drought relief and by buying local produce, and I urge everyone to continue these efforts into 2019.
This community spirit has been rewarded in a year of achievements for Wide Bay and the Noosa region. I've worked with local groups and businesses to secure federal funding for Vinnies Noosaville, Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club, Tewantin Noosa RSL Sub-Branch, Noosa Coast Guard and other community groups.
Together we've chalked up some really big wins, including working with the community and media to secure $800 million in this year’s Budget to fast track the construction of the Bruce Highway, Cooroy to Curra Section D project which will save countless lives.
The Coalition Government is also investing $2.4 million to upgrade and replace Noosa Council’s Mary River Road Bridge, Orealla Bridge, and Old Noosa Road Bridge, helping keep people safer on our roads and ease congestion.
Noosa Council’s Digital Hub at Peregian Beach is receiving a $2.5 million boost to become a centrepiece of innovation and encourage more digital entrepreneurs, helping Noosa to diversify its economy, creating new jobs to ensure it continues to prosper into the future.
The Coalition Government is also extending the mobile phone network through Wide Bay, with new base stations at Kin Kin, Boreen Point, and along the Wide Bay Highway, Cootharaba Road, Pomona - Kin Kin Road; and more are on the way.
As we celebrate Christmas with family and friends, it is also important to remember the people in our community who may be suffering – those who have lost someone dear to them, the jobless, the sick, the homeless and the lonely - and consider how we might assist those in need.
We remember also those who sacrifice time with their own loved ones during this festive period to keep our communities healthy, safe and secure – our nurses, doctors, emergency workers and police, and those to care for the aged and disabled.
If you’re on the roads in the coming weeks, please stay sober, pay special attention and be cautious and courteous to ensure everyone arrives at their destination.
My wife Sharon and I hope everyone is able to celebrate a safe, peaceful Christmas, and wish all in Wide Bay a successful and prosperous 2019.