Council meet with Turnbull
FOLLOWING the Prime Minister's visit to Jacqui and Cameron Tickell's property last Tuesday, Malcolm Turnbull and Agricultural Minister David Littleproud met with the Murweh Shire Council.
Greeted by a wave of adoring school students from Charleville State School and St Mary's Catholic School, Mr Turnbull and Mr Littleproud were ready to listen and discuss items about the Charleville township.
In a closed meeting, Councillor Robert Eckel discussed the topic of 457 visas and working out a strategy to keep families with the visa in town.
"What we are trying to do and what we have been hearing from other rural communities is, work a way to keep the 457 visa workers in town for longer than just the visa's mandatory four years and then moving to the city.
"We want them to stay here in our rural communities and we asked the Prime Minister if there was anything they could put in place so, once they finish the four years, they have to stay a few more years and support the rural communities,” Cr Eckel said.
Cr Lyn Capewell mentioned the small business aspect of Charleville and how the drought had affected the downturn of businesses.
"When we are in drought, we have a downturn of about 30 per cent business-wise and have to put staff off who then leave town.
"Then when times are up, those staff aren't in town to re-employ and, by having those people leave town, we have a decline in our economy in town,” she said.
"However, Turnbull is really on board to decrease the small company tax rate and they are working out some form of referral system.”
Cr Shaun Radnedge discussed economical development and how the community benefited from its tourism industry.
"Our council is trying to drought-proof our tourism season to try and put things in place for summer and it seems, when it doesn't rain, tourism is one of the only industries that is going alright,” he said.
"I think it is really great the Prime Minister chose to come out our way and give our community a bit of an uplift.
"And I am very privileged that I got to meet him and put our ideas forward.”
Murweh Shire mayor Annie Liston was grateful that the Prime Minister had taken the time to visit Charleville.
"We are extremely grateful for our government heads coming to see us and see firsthand the issues we are experiencing with our drought,” Cr Liston said.
"The number one thing we wanted to highlight with the Prime Minister was our drought, but we also wanted to discuss the financial assistance grant.
"Other topics we raised included mental health in relation to the drought, the stimulus grants package and what it did for the community.
"And I felt the Prime Minister really listened to us.
"I think this is a big milestone for Charleville because I think the last Prime Minister that came to Charleville was in about 1990, so at least they now understand where we are,” she said.