09 July 2023



Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan


Minister for Housing
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon


Assistant Minister for Education
Mrs Julieanne Gilbert


  • The 2023-24 Queensland State Budget provides billions of dollars for the Mackay Isaac Whitsundays region
  • $613.1 million invested into Mackay Hospital and Health
  • $623.4 million invested in infrastructure, supporting about 2,100 jobs
  • $32.8 million to maintain, improve and upgrade schools


Regional infrastructure and service delivery, workforce attraction and retention, and housing accessibility and affordability are among the priorities for the members of the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Regional Community Forum who meet in Moranbah on Monday.


Health services are a priority for the Palaszczuk Government, which is why more than $613 million is in the 2023-24 State Budget for Mackay Hospital and Health, and presentations to the forum members include HEALTHQ32, the Palaszczuk Government’s 10-year vision for the future of healthcare in Queensland, announced in May.


There will be a regional-specific update on the Queensland Vocational Education and Training (VET) Strategy, which is a key action under the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032.


The forum includes a site visit to Signature Beef based at Sondella Station, which is a fourth-generation family business providing local employment and school-based apprenticeships.


An update on government investment in the region resulting from coal royalties, and a panel discussion, will also be presented.  


Quote attributable to the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Chair, Assistant Minister for Education Julieanne Gilbert: 

“The Palaszczuk government is investing billions of dollars across the region, and I’d like to thank the forum members for providing important advice and working so hard to ensure all community voices are heard.”


Quote attributable to the Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan: 

“The forum members work very hard to ensure all of the communities in the region are in focus because we are here to listen and act to drive the region forward.”


Quote attributable to the Minister for Housing Meaghan Scanlon: 

“The Palaszczuk government investment in Mackay Isaac Whitsunday emphasises the importance of the region, and this is supported by the great work of the regional forum members who contribute so much time and advice.”


Further investment in Mackay Isaac Whitsunday:

  • Approximately $1.5 billion invested in renewable energy supporting approximately 1,400 construction jobs.
  • $250 million invested in the Mackay Hospital expansion
  • $54 million invested in a new helipad, expanded emergency department and staff accommodation as part of the Moranbah Hospital redevelopment
  • $497.4 million for Stage 1 construction of the Mackay Ring Road Project in partnership with the Australian Government.
  • $28 million invested to expand and improve social housing in the region
  • $4.4 million to provide services for people experiencing homelessness.
  • $5.7 million on the Ngaro Walking Track in Whitsunday Islands National Park
  • $3.5 million to support students to undertake reef-based learning and help regional tourism operators to enhance educational experiences.


Success story:

Forum members have valued the senior government decision makers attending the forums to engage directly and to hear and experience first-hand the issues, opportunities, and challenges of the region. This emphasises the importance the Queensland Government has placed on responding to local priorities.


Further Background

  • The forum is chaired by the Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure Julieanne Gilbert.
  • The Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan, and the Minister for Housing Meaghan Scanlon are also attending.
  • The Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Regional Community Forum is one of seven to be held in regional centres across the state, with similar forums for Central Queensland, Darling Downs South West Queensland, Far North Queensland, North and North West Queensland, Western Queensland, and Wide Bay Burnett Fraser Coast.
  • This is the second meeting of the forum members in 2023, with two more Regional Community Forums scheduled throughout the year.
  • The Regional Community Forums are supported by the Office for Rural and Regional Queensland.


For more information about Regional Community Forums, visit Advancing Queensland’s Regions




Media contact: Nicola Field - 0497 940 285