A year of landmarks for region but more to come in 2015

Ken O'Dowd

Member for Flynn

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

INFRASTRUCTURE is named as the key achievement for our federal MP Ken O'Dowd this year, following the opening of the Calliope Crossroads and several other motorways across his electorate.

Members of the Flynn electorate were plagued by drought, however, causing a great deal of concern for him and those he represents.

"The drought has hit hard in Flynn, as it has for many country people around Australia, as have the mine closures and resulting loss of employment in the area," he said.

"I have worked hard to try and improve the situation of those affected. Despite the challenges, this government has worked hard and achieved much. We have overcome difficulties in the senate and passed many of our bills to the benefit of ordinary Australians."

Forecasts for the year ahead indicate Mr O'Dowd plans to realise the benefits of a Free Trade Agreement with China.

"As of 2015 the benefits of our Free Trade agreement will come into effect, which will see increased export volumes, more growth and more jobs," he said.

"This along with the prospect of cutting more red tape that will see the economic reform in motion will see a better deal for the people of Flynn."

Liz Cunningham

Member for Gladstone

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham
Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham Christopher Chan GLA130812DRIV

IT HAS been a year of successes for our state member Liz Cunningham, who has campaigned for a more comprehensive list of services available at Gladstone Hospital.

"While some actions of the Queensland Government have been disappointing, the very positive attitude of the Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, the proactive decision-making of both Len Richards in Rockhampton and Dr Nicki Murdock in Gladstone in partnership with the Mater Hospital we have seen a substantial increase in specialist employment," she said.

"Additionally, the new, state-of-the-art CT scanner was announced. This piece of equipment is the best in Australia and will significantly increase the range of procedures which can be carried out in Gladstone."

Health was a common factor for the year gone by in the office of Mrs Cunningham, with the first draft report card of Gladstone's harbour and waterways another key achievement.

"While only a first step, this process I believe will rebuild confidence in the community and provide more effective monitoring of the harbour's health," she said.

"Looking forward to the new year, I certainly believe we can increase that positive attitude that is characteristic of this area."

Gladstone's resilience will be once again the focus of a new year, according to Mrs Cunningham.

"While the numbers of workers on the LNG projects will decrease, our region retains a buoyancy which gives us all optimism for the future."

Nicki Murdock

Executive director Gladstone Hospital

Nicki Murdock is the Galdstone Hospital's new Director of Medical Services. Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer
Nicki Murdock is the Galdstone Hospital's new Director of Medical Services. Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer Brenda Strong

A MAMMOTH 12 months for Gladstone Hospital will be eclipsed by an even more ambitious new year, spearheaded by a dedicated team of professionals.

Dr Nicki Murdock reflects on the year that was.

"One of our most exciting developments has been the recruitment of new specialists including a general surgeon, two paediatricians, an emergency specialist, an anaesthetist and further part-time physicians and surgeon," she said.

"We have also appointed a new director of nursing who is a great addition to the team, as is our new nurse practitioner in the emergency department."

Dr Murdock also hailed new state-of-the-art equipment as a win for patients and staff.

"A new state-of-the-art computed tomography scanner has been installed in our medical imaging department. This is the first of its kind in Australia, using low doses of radiation to create good-quality imaging which is safer for patients, particularly children," she said.

"The refurbishment of the High Dependency Unit is almost complete, thanks to a generous donation from Santos GLNG.

"We expect to move into this much improved unit in February, providing a fresh new space with better work flow. We were also able to purchase a pool for use in the birthing suite as a pain-relief option for women during labour, thanks to a donation from John Holland."

The list of achievements is extensive, but Dr Murdock says it will not stop Gladstone Hospital from setting the bar even higher for 2015.

A new emergency department worth $500 000, an upgraded operating theatre suite and even potentially a cafe to move in are among the forecast highlights for 2015.

"I want to personally thank our wonderful team of dedicated and professional staff for the exceptional way they have served their community all year," she said.

"I know we will continue to kick goals into 2015. I wish the whole community a very happy and safe festive season, and a prosperous and healthy new year."

Leigh Zimmerlie

GAGAL general manager

Leigh Zimmerlie, GAGAL's General manager, is working to help apprentices in Gladstone.
Leigh Zimmerlie, GAGAL's General manager, is working to help apprentices in Gladstone. Luka Kauzlaric

THE premier apprentice and traineeship organisation in the Gladstone region is celebrating a series of accomplishments in the year gone by, and welcoming an even bigger 2015 with open arms.

General manager of Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Limited Leigh Zimmerlie cites placing the youth into stable and long term work arrangements is often a challenge, and 2014 was no different.

Ms Zimmerlie says returning GAGAL to the number one apprentice and traineeship organisation locally was a superb achievement by staff and clients.

"These young people are our future," she said.

"Placing our local apprentices into roles in the Gladstone area is a consistent highlight, despite having to compete against FIFO apprentices from out of town."

Working alongside the Chamber of Commerce and the Buy Local campaign served as additional highlights for the group, while ensuring enough host businesses were nurturing Gladstone's youth was an obstacle overcome in the year past.

"We have a wonderful group of current hosts who we truly appreciate," she said.

"(In 2015) we will celebrate 30 years of being the local apprenticeship company employing and training apprentices and trainees, place more youth into apprenticeships and traineeships and the Gladstone office launch our new logo and uniforms."

Owen Nevin

Associate vice-chancellor CQUniversity

Professor Owen Nevin heads up CQ University’s Gladstone campus. He is mad about big predators and spent the past few decades researching everything from brown bears in North America to tigers in India.
Professor Owen Nevin heads up CQ University’s Gladstone campus. He is mad about big predators and spent the past few decades researching everything from brown bears in North America to tigers in India. Mike Richards GLA050214NEVI

MERGING with CQTafe was undoubtedly a huge milestone for the CQUniversity family and was just the beginning, according to associate vice-chancellor Professor Owen Nevin.

"It was especially exciting to host our biggest ever CQUniversity Gladstone Open Day in August," he said.

"Hundreds of locals enjoyed the showcase of all our offerings, from Engineering to Education, Hairdressing to Accident Forensics, and our popular STEPS university pathway program."

Professor Nevin noted that with the merger came hundreds of new staff and vocational teachers, introducing an impressive standard among the Gladstone faculty.

"It has been inspirational to watch teams pulling together to meet our common goals," he said.

"The Gladstone region now includes Gladstone City campus and the Biloela Study Centre, and the quality of staff and students who joined us quickly became obvious."

Watching CQU students and teachers win an array of awards throughout the year also rated as another highlight for Gladstone's only university.

Implementing training programs to support Traditional Owners in the Port Curtis Coral Coast Traditional Use Marine Resource Area (TUMRA) members also served as another highlight of the year.

Looking ahead to 2015, expanding resources to support students will become a reality on the Gladstone campus, with all four years of the engineering degree to be offered on-campus for the first time.

"2015 will be our first full year as a comprehensive university; the new certificates, diplomas, degrees and research projects which have been ideas and proposals in the second half of 2014 will begin to roll out as reality."

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