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Items of Interest – Ordinary Council Meeting 17 May 2023

The following items were addressed at the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 May 2023.


At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, Mayor Toppin and Councillors congratulated the Great Wheelbarrow Race Committee and Volunteers on a successful twentieth Great Wheelbarrow Race.

Mayor Toppin said the race was a tremendous success, and she thanked the Committee, volunteers and Council staff on an incredible job in bringing this event together.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the race’s evolution over the past 20 years. To the former committee chairs and members, volunteers, supporters, community groups and Council staff – thank you for your massive contribution and enthusiasm in creating such a wonderful event for the Shire.”

“The event has always been a motivation for many to raise money for their chosen charity or cause, and this year $189,389 was raised, bringing the total amount raised over the years to $2,543,601.”

Committee Chair Cr Bensted said the race saw the return of some familiar faces with the addition of several new teams. “The road to Chillagoe was as gruelling as ever, but all 38 teams fought hard, and three records were broken.”

“Last year’s winners Rusty Wheels, were dethroned by Tune Squad in a rush to the finish line, and I would like to congratulate all the teams who came out and joined us along the Wheelbarrow Way,” Cr Bensted said.

“The winners of the categories were, Angela Willett for the solo category, Ebony & Ivory for the Duo’s and Missy’s Donors for the Trio’s. Fit Bucks, back for the sixth year in a row, were crowned the champions in the men’s category and Wheelin’ for Willy broke the record and took the win in the female category. Dad’s Army were back this year as the winners of the over 55’s category, with an average age of 77 years old. QFRS Blazers were the winners of the Corporate Category and broke the Corporate Services Category record by over one hour.”

“As always, the schools were competing for the podium position and the fastest team across the line was Tune Squad from Mareeba State High. CA Architects from Cairns were back for the second year and were the winners in the social category.”

“With a totally unique sense of camaraderie and fun, competitors are encouraged to fundraise for their chosen charities and the race provides vital support for the smaller communities in our Shire.”

“If you have ever thought about giving it a go, I invite you to join us on the road in 2024,” Cr Bensted concluded.

Click here for an action-packed gallery of race images.



At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, Council adopted the Mareeba Community Three Year Action Plan and Progress Report 2022.

A joint initiative of the Mareeba Shire Council and Mareeba Chamber of Commerce, this outcome-focussed taskforce aims to promote Mareeba’s economic growth and wellbeing by tackling three big issues.

Mayor Angela Toppin said the issues addressed are the growing of the economy, overcoming disadvantage, and creating healthy and active communities.

“The three-year Action Plan was prepared with community input and listed five big priorities for improvement.”

Mayor Toppin explained, “They were health services, transport connectivity, workforce attraction and retention, housing affordability, and community safety.”

“Following the success of the first forum, Council and the Chamber hosted a second forum in November 2022 to identify a wide range of actions that many organisations have taken and are continuing to take to address these five priorities.”

Mareeba Chamber of Commerce President Joe Moro said the Chamber was pleased to partner with Mareeba Shire Council to grow Mareeba’s economy and wellbeing.

“It’s critically important that our community owns and drives the key priority actions which will contribute to building our local economy and liveability,” Mr Moro said.

“There was some great input provided at the forums and the Taskforce has compiled this information to develop a Progress Report to attract state and federal government buy-in, where required,” Mr Moro concluded.

Mayor Angela Toppin said the report lists more than 70 targeted actions that was undertaken and achieved by multiple agencies, over and above their standard day to day operations.

“This report is by no means exhaustive and there is much more work to be done. The report is available on Council’s website and organisations are encouraged to reach out to connect with the Taskforce about other actions and outcomes in these areas,” Mayor Toppin concluded.


At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, it was reported that usage of the Shire’s aquatic centres was trending up.

“At a Shire level, the patronage at the pools shows a 17% increase compared to March 2022, and a 78% increase when compared to February 2023,” Mayor Angela Toppin explained.

“The swimming pools are vital assets for our communities and the health and wellbeing benefits that they bring are remarkable.”

The 50-metre pool at the Mareeba Sports and Aquatic Centre will be fully heated in the coming months which means the pool will remain open year-round.

“We are delighted to heat the Mareeba pool as the community has been crying out for this for many years,” Mayor Toppin said. “The pool heating has been completed in conjunction with the major works at the Mareeba Aquatic Centre to construct the new Splash Park.”

“Council received funding for the design and construction of the Splash Park in Mareeba, and it is worth noting that the funding received will not contribute to the ongoing maintenance of this new facility.”

Also on the agenda today was the tender to approve the operation and management of the Council’s Aquatic Facilities and the Dimbulah Caravan Park.

Mayor Toppin said, “To ensure the long-term operation of these facilities, Council resolved at its meeting on 25 January 2023 to invite EOIs prior to inviting written tenders from short-listed respondents.”

“Three short-listed respondents were invited to provide submission through VendorPanel on 30 March 2023, and I am pleased to announce that the contract was rewarded to Marlin Coast Swimming and Fitness.”

“The preferred agreement is anticipated to commence on, or about, 1 July 2023 and the entrance fee to the Mareeba Aquatic Centre will be negotiated with the new pool lessee following the start of their contract.”

“Council looks forward to the opening the Splash Park and I would like to reassure residents and visitors that the entrance fee will remain affordable, and the cost will not increase exponentially.”

“I would like to thank the Queensland Government for their support of this project. Residents and visitors will be reaping the benefits of this project for years to come,” Mayor Angela Toppin concluded.


At the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, Mareeba Shire Council awarded the contract for the Western Roads Package, Mid-Western Roads Package, Eastern Roads Package, and the Dimbulah Roads Package.

Mayor Angela Toppin said, “Council received financial assistance from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) after a natural disaster event was declared for 1-7 February 2022.”

“As Australia’s third largest fruit producer and a producer of off-season temperate zone produce, there is a need for large volumes of freight to move from the region to southern and overseas markets.”

“Council would like to thank the State Government for the funding received and their support will be used to bring the above-mentioned roads back to pre-existing conditions and to meet current engineering standards.”

“ARO Industries was engaged to undertake the necessary site investigations and following their visit, approval was received for the scope of works associated with the projects, including the budget.”

“Works include the reinstatement of carriageway and shoulders and associated stormwater infrastructure on various roads.”

“The condition of our roads is of utmost importance, and I look forward to the completion of these important projects,” Mayor Toppin concluded.