What’s the best way to sell our region?
What’s the best way to sell our region?

ASPIRE CQ: How do we best sell our region?

LAST week I ended my column with the suggestion of Livingstone and Rockhampton councils doing a joint campaign to more effectively sell the region (rather than running separate campaigns) to those residents of identified Brisbane suburbs looking at making a shift within the next three years to regional centres, believing it would also be a positive sign of collaboration, some six and half years after de-amalgamation.

Last week while a well-produced video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Atv7IHXf2tU&feature=youtu.be) was distributed promoting the economic strength and further promise of Central Queensland, it didn’t include any regions west of the Central Highlands Regional Council, nor Rockhampton Regional Council.

Is this the way to effectively sell Central Queensland?

CQ doesn’t stop at the Drummond Range.

The video was produced by CQROC (Central Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils) - a collaboration of five councils in Central Queensland, that from watching the start of the video appear to be encompassed within a small circle along the Queensland coast line.

Well done to these councils for getting together as one to push the economic merits of CQ - those being Livingstone, Gladstone, Woorabinda, Banana and Central Highlands, but when did Central Queensland not stretch from the islands of the southern Great Barrier Reef to the Northern Territory border?

I thought the northern and southern lines on the map were always a bit fuzzy, does or doesn’t CQ include Mackay and Bundaberg?

But, the western side of the Drummond Range, places like Alpha, Barcaldine, Longreach, even Boulia, they’re part of Central Queensland, aren’t they?!

If you are going to call yourself the Central Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils and say on your (out of date) website that you are going to work together to enhance the economic growth, social capacity and environmental sustainability of our region (which you are strongly led to believe from their web site is Central Queensland, not just parts of it) shouldn’t you accept the full responsibilities of this self-created charter and not just the geographic parts of it you choose, those parts being your five council areas?

If not call yourself CEQROC (Central East Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils – maybe even change ROC to something else so not to confuse the exclusion of Rockhampton) to better identify your geographic scope.

Are the parts greater than the whole?

This goes to the issue I’ve mentioned in previous columns, CQ not getting the respect it deserves (in comparison to other regions) from federal and state governments, big business, and tourists.

Even the new political party that expects to win Central Queensland seats in the next state election calls itself North Queensland First.

Part of the reason for the lower respect is that we don’t have something that brings us together to strongly identify us as Central Queenslanders (though credit to the CQ Capras in working towards being a team Central Queenslanders can get behind by not playing all their home matches in Rockhampton, even playing some west of the Drummond Range).

This affects our pride of CQ, where many of you reading this will only have a passing interest that an organisation (basically funded by us) set up to enhance CQ economic growth, social capacity and environmental sustainability (all very important factors in our quality of life) appears to be only focused on five geographic parts of it, their own council regions.

If CQROC isn’t driving this agenda for the whole of CQ, who is then?

Are we continuing to allow the parts to be greater than the whole, thus depriving ourselves of that different quality CQ can achieve when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts?

The quality that the CQROC video indicates as Australia’s next regional powerhouse!

If you paid for something (the production of the video) and others haven’t, why include them? It is this kind of thinking that is holding Central Queensland back from fully delivering on the promise the video promotes.

Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM), but this means more than getting other councils to join (which I believe CQROC have tried), it requires our interest and ideally involvement as well.

Without this we won’t get the true collaboration needed to fully deliver on the promise CQ offers.

Is the west of the Drummond Range, Central Queensland or outback Queensland?

Later this year national attention will focus on Longreach as QANTAS celebrates its 100th birthday, culminating in a week long party in Longreach, outback Queensland.

Do the councils of Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Diamantina, Winton and Longreach see benefits in being identified with Central Queensland or the outback?

Interestingly these seven councils call their organisation, Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board.

Its aim is to foster, facilitate and promote the sustainable growth and development of our Central Western Queensland region (as per their web site).

Carefully chosen words that appear to indicate a willingness to be identified as part (and pride) of Central Queensland.

You would hope that there is regular communication with CQROC.

Communication that includes examining how the whole of Central Queensland can benefit from the national attention Longreach and hopefully Winton will get in the remainder of this centenary year.

With a new chairperson of CQROC this year it will be interesting to follow what level of collaboration is achieved and how geographically visionary the organisation will be.

Granted, not an easy task (ask Scott Morrison about National Cabinet), hopefully though CQROC can become greater than the sum of its current five parts and in achieving its different quality as a unified organisation, and working with CWQRAPAD, Central Queensland is a step closer to doing likewise and we have more reasons to be proud of it and the respect of its importance to the state and national economy grows.

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