From the Desk of CHDC

2024 off to a flying start

21 February 2024

Hi folks,

I know it’s been a very tough summer for many – particularly those impacted by bushfires and rain. To our landholders, disaster management services, supporting agencies and communities – THANK YOU!

Noting these impacts, I do hope those of you who had a chance for a break in recent months enjoyed it before the new working year picked up pace.

It certainly didn’t take long to be in full steam ahead mode for CHDC, with a number of items driving our efforts:

  • Our board meeting in late January had a strong focus on financials and the FY25 Budget. The meeting also included a briefing from the Emerald Airport team, with a renewed Airport Master Plan on the horizon this year.
  • We further advanced our Workforce Development Program. This project was born out of our Central Highlands Resources Roundtable (CHRR) and is a deliverable within the group’s Statement of Commitment. At present, we’re ground-truthing regional and comparative data to better understand the complexity that is workforce development. If I throw in recruitment, accommodation and childcare – you all know the challenges in the space. We look forward to engaging with the CHRR to workshop this information and target some useful actions to progress. Be assured this project goes beyond the resources sector and has a recruitment campaign attached to it.
  • Agtech has been prominent for the CHDC team, with our recent workshop and networking session focused on Smarter, Stronger Ag Through Farm Data. The events stimulated robust discussion amongst the 40+ attendees, who represent all parts of the agtech ecosystem and travelled from Innisfail in the north, Orange in the south, and many parts in between. CHDC’s next big event in this space will be AgTeCH24 on 13 and 14 November. Planning is under way and a partnership prospectus especially for this event will be released soon.
  • CHDC’s regular business networking events kicked back into gear earlier this month, with 17 people keen to connect and catch up following the festive season break. The informality made the event a winner and I was pleased to have good chats with Alistair and Jenny. The next session will be held on 1 March – check our website’s events section for more information.
  • Speaking of CHDC events – yes, we have another busy calendar for the year, with a focus in 2024 on workforce development, major projects and regional transformation, amongst others. We’d love for you to be an event partner. Packages start from $275 and you can find out more in CHDC’s new Partnership Prospectus.
  • With decarbonisation being an important driver to transform our region, CHDC’s participated in the State Government’s Decarbonisation Strategic Technology Roadmap. We also expect to hear from the Government’s Low Emissions Investment Partnership Program and the resources sector about regional initiatives planned in this space at our next board meeting in early March.
  • As a member of the Regional Australia Institute’s Regional Activators Alliance, we participated in the National Regional Housing Summit. There were some very interesting sessions and this media release is a good summary of the day.
  • From the world of tourism, representatives of our new Regional Tourism Organisation, Queensland Country Tourism, have recently been in the Central Highlands gathering many insights from stakeholders. The information is going to help shape the new Queensland Country brand and the destination management plan, to drive the required outcomes for the larger region.
  • We also said farewell to CHDC’s Administration Officer Sarah Chicalas and, like many of you, are now in recruitment mode to find her replacement.

This is just a sample of what’s happened in the first 6 weeks – there’s so much ahead.

Go well!

Contact: or (07) 4982 4386.