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Reflections on 2021 and Christmas wishes from NQ’s pollies

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JENNY HILL – Townsville MayorI would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2022. As with years past, 2021 posed its fair share of challenges but, once again, the Townsville community has risen to the task and overcome those challenges together. As we look back on the year that was, it’s fair to say that we shared many highlights – hosting a State of Origin game and Rugby Championship double-header and a very successful North Australian Festival of the Arts, just to name a few. As we enter the festive season, there is much to be thankful for, especially for those families who are reuniting after being separated by Covid-related border closures and restrictions. I will be spending Christmas with my family, some of whom have been locked down in other parts of the country during the year. While Christmas is a joyful time of the year, for some it can be difficult and I encourage everyone to spare a thought for those less fortunate and support those charities who provide vital outreach services to them. I hope that whatever you and yours have planned for Christmas, it is a time of celebration, togetherness and relaxation. PHILLIP THOMPSON – Member for HerbertWhat a year we’ve had.After the challenges of 2020, who thought 2021 would prove to be even more challenging for many.Together, we’ve endured isolation from loved ones and ongoing uncertainty about the future.Businesses owners have been tested and felt the brunt of ever-changing restrictions.But our community has done what it always does – we’ve risen up, supported one another and tackled our difficulties head-on.We’ve innovated, with reports business confidence is at its highest in 14 years.Our local Defence family has done us proud – answering the call to Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Covid Assist.We’ve celebrated our first Townsville State of Origin and held international sporting events that have put us on the world stage.This Christmas I’ll be spending quality time with my beautiful wife Jenna and our two daughters.It’ll be extra special after being separated for most of the month. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been separated from loved ones for much longer.For many in our community, this time won’t be so easy.So, let’s ensure we support one another. Facetime a friend. Reach out to a support service.Remember, it’s OK not to be OK.Let’s take hold of the hope that Christmas offers and be open to next year’s opportunities.From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and God bless.SCOTT STEWART – Member for TownsvilleI want to take this opportunity to wish everyone in Townsville and North Queensland a merryChristmas and a happy new year.It’s the time of the year to look back.For Townsville this year there were many highlights for the city and it’s a sporting year nobody will forget.It was fantastic to be part of a government that brought State of Origin to Townsville as well as numerous other high-profile events.However, everyone knows Covid-19 is still impacting many people and businesses in Townsville.This year, this global pandemic has directly impacted the city.But like anytime there is a problem here, the community came together.When Magnetic Island, Townsville and Palm Island was placed in lockdown so many of us came together to respond which is the North Queensland way.Covid is still a real threat throughout the world and that’s why it’s been amazing to see people step up when it comes to getting vaccinated.This is how we can keep Townsville safe and it’s how we will continue building on our economic recovery.We are a strong and resilient community and it’s important to remember that as we come together to celebrate Christmas, the year that was and the year that’s coming.AARON HARPER – Member for ThuringowaWhat a whirlwind of a year it’s been. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a great year ahead.We are still in the middle of the Covid-19 global pandemic but there is a way forward.I’m proud to see vaccination rates in Townsville still rising.Ours is a community that bands together during a crisis and this global pandemic has proven no different.Townsville was impacted by Covid this year when we were put into lockdown.It was difficult, but the community came together and did the right thing, and we’re doing it now by getting vaccinated.For me personally, I’m excited to be delivering already on my election commitments like Townsville Ring Road Stage 5.This $230 million project is supporting nearly 400 jobs and is important to Thuringowa.Another thing that’s been great to see is work at our local schools, like Weir State School, where we have upgraded the tuckshop and learning blocks, and installed security fencing.Projects like these keep our economy strong and make Townsville a great place to live.To everyone in Thuringowa and across Townsville I hope you have a great Christmas with friends and family and an amazing 2022.LES WALKER – Member for Mundingburra I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in Townsville a merry Christmas and a happy new year.Although we are still in the middle of a global pandemic the response from everyone in Townsville has been amazing.Like in times of natural disasters, the community came together when we were thrust into lockdown earlier this year.Now we’re coming together to get vaccinated as this is what will protect people from COVID-19.For the people of Mundingburra there’s been some fantastic news this year with announcements to upgrade and add to the fantastic Townsville University Hospital.It’s been exciting to deliver this news to so many people in the electorate.There is a lot to look forward to in 2022 as well. We have a clear plan for driving Townsville forward.NICK DAMETTO – Member for HinchinbrookAs 2021 draws to a close, I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this year.Hinchinbrook’s resilience has shone through despite the constantly changing COVID-19 health directives.It has been a challenging year for many however, it is important to note some of our key industries are thriving. Our farmers have enjoyed high prices across a range of horticulture commodities, the property market is booming, and locals have been supporting our small businesses through these tough times.I’m sure everyone is counting down the days until Christmas to unwind and recharge.The festive season is a time of joy and happiness for most however there are people less fortunate who struggle during this time.In line with the Christmas spirit, if you are in a position to do so, I encourage you to donate to charities to support those in need, check in on your neighbours and mates or maybe even invite someone over for lunch who may be spending Christmas alone.It is important to remember your worst day may be someone else’s dream. I believe Christmas is the perfect time to reflect and be grateful for what we have.I look forward to bumping into many of you over the Christmas break at the numerous community events being held during the holiday season.From my family to yours, I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.I’d also to take the opportunity to urge everyone to be safe over the Christmas period and into the new year.There’s already been a lot of rain in Townsville and throughout Queensland so we need drivers to adhere to the message – if it’s flooded forget it.Don’t risk it, it’s never worth it.So, to everyone in Mundingburra and across Townsville, I hope you have a merry Christmas and a great new year.SUSAN MCDONALD – Queensland SenatorIn what has been a year full of ups and downs, Northern Australia continued on, to ensure everyone was supplied with all the essentials needed to keep the country going.Tourism and hospitality were hit hard but the Federal Government spent billions on JobKeeper, guaranteed loans for businesses, cheap airfares, subsidised export flights and special visas for fruit and vegetable pickers.This, combined with the sheer will and ingenuity of business owners to find ways to keep operating is why our economic future has a solid foundation, better than many other nations. There is more to do and we can succeed.We in the North were spared the worst of Covid and it is testament to the expertise and determination of so many that mines kept operating, crops were picked and cattle were sent to market, contributing a huge amount of royalties, taxes and jobs to ensure Australia is primed to bounce back strongly.For families that have been separated, this Festive Season will be especially joyous.Lockdowns have affected everyone in some way, and we welcome this return to at least a semblance of normality.I wish you all a happy, holy and safe Christmas with plenty of fresh North Queensland lychees, mangoes, dairy products and seafood.GEORGE CHRISTENSEN – Member for DawsonChristmas will be a relief to many in our community after the turmoil of 2021 where we continue to see disastrous impacts on businesses, workers, families and freedom, due to COVID-19.Border closures kept loved ones apart, especially in times of need. I recall a former North Queensland family being denied the ability to return home to see their dying father, because of draconian border restrictions. As it turned out, they weren’t even able to attend his funeral. We’ve sacrificed so much in the fight against this virus, that the question needs to be asked: what is it all for? That question is all the more poignant at Christmas.During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ; God become man. The perfect man. His message was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind and love your neighbour as you love yourself.”That kind of love certainly does not keep families apart, force people out of a job or urge on discrimination. And so I hope and pray that 2022 will see a return to the values of love, which is what this season is all about.ROBBIE KATTER – KAP State Leader and Member for TraegerThe Christmas and New Year festivities are a time for one to reflect on the 12 months just gone.We had all hoped our fortunes would change this year after the troubles of 2020, but 2021 hasindeed brought its challenges.I have never witnessed such a high level of political engagement from the broader community than in the past 12 months, with the pandemic-related decisions by our leaders – on lockdowns, mandates and restrictions and so on – affecting everyone’s lives and some in deeply personal and irrevocable ways.As we navigate our changing world, we still have to battle the everyday issues that impact regional Queensland and, as always, we must celebrate the little wins.Personally I am buoyed by the advances on CopperString, which will revolutionise NorthQueensland’s economy once built.The year has delivered some real joy to me, with my wife Daisy and I welcoming our second child – a little girl we named Rosie Elizabeth Frances who is a sister to Peaches Grace.Please take this festive period as a chance to have a break, unwind and be with those you love.Merry Christmas and I will see you in the New Year.God Bless.BOB KATTER – Member for Kennedy On occasion, I ask the question ‘Why are our young people so unhappy with life that they just leave this life? What is wrong?”I feel it is a complete lack of understanding of what are the important things in life. All the beautiful Christmas trees, decorations and presents can be found in our bushland. The beautiful wildflowers, the yellows, purples, oranges, and greens – the magnificent 90ft gum trees. So let us enjoy the glitter and fun.One of my greatest joys when I get down and depressed is to simply go down to the pub, team up with a few mates and tell funny stories. And in those moments, you realise, what does it matter if you have no money? What does it matter if you get laid off? Or you end up in the school of hard knocks? These are just things that happen.We Australians, down the pub, we couldn’t care less about all of these things. We just enjoy the company of others. That’s what’s important.Jesus came to give the message of eternal life: that there is something bigger than me and this thing we call existence. And that is a wonderful message whether you are an atheist or a believer. For me, this Christmas, I’ll find joy in a game of touch football with my son, daughters, grandsons, and my aggressive, cheeky granddaughters.May God’s Christmas blessings be upon you all.FRANK BEVERIDGE – Mayor Charters Towers Whether you celebrate Christmas or other traditions, I’m sure many of us are ready for a break and reset!Christmas means different things for each of us, but in the spirit of Christmas, I hope each of us will have the opportunity to stop, rest and reflect on all that has been achieved over the past 12 months, and to pay attention to what is most important in life.Please, be kind to one another, especially those who may be separated from family and friends or who just need that little extra support.There is much to look forward to as a Region in the New Year, including our 150 Year celebrations. 150 years is a significant milestone in our history, and we are looking forward to celebrating with a great range of activities throughout 2022.I would also like to take a moment to thank our amazing emergency services who will be working and on call over the Christmas Period. Their efforts to look after us and keep us safe should not go unspoken.For all those heading away over the break, please travel safely and take extra care during thisbusy time on our roads.On behalf of Councillors Graham Lohmann, Alan Barr, Sonia Bennetto, Kate Hastie, JulieMathews, Bernie Robertson and all Staff, I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.Stay safe and enjoy the festive season.MISLAM SAM – Mayor Palm IslandComing from humble beginnings, my grandparents always ensured that Christmas was highlight of the year. Those were the happiest times of my life, when all the family came together to feast on a freshly prepared Kup Murri and just enjoy each other’s company.Now, my grandfather was sent from Erub (Darnley Island) to Palm Island, so the Kup Murri was detailed in preparation, precision and basically hard work. Now, my grandmother was raised in the dormitory system and trained as domestic after she finished grade four, so you can imagine the accompaniments and especially those desserts.I suppose the moral of my best wishes – negative impacts can have positive consequence but most of all enjoy this time with family, especially those less fortunate.AND as Covid-free as possible.RAMON JAYO – Hinchinbrook MayorWith the year coming to a close I would like to recognise and thank our committed volunteers, community groups and organisations who give their time to help others. It is heartwarming to see so many who care about our community.To the volunteer servicemen and women involved with the SES and the Rural Fire Brigades who generously give their time to help the community in times of need, your efforts are appreciated.To those involved in providing essential services – our power, our water, our council workers, the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, hospital and medical staff, who will work this festive season to keep our vital services running, thank you.I also make special mention of our harvesting and mill sector workers who have worked so hard towards getting this years crop off. As a district whose economy relies so much on sugar, it is imperative that we harvest the maximum potential of our crops yearly to ensure the financial resource of the district. Your efforts this year reflect your dedication. Thank you.On behalf of all councillors and our council staff, I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year.LYN MCLAUGHLIN – Mayor Burdekin Shire Over the past two years, there has been a lot of discussion around the idea of a new normal – that the world around us has changed in such a way that we may not return to how things were. While this is quite daunting, I want to take this opportunity to remind readers that we have the opportunity to make our new normal better than the old normal: this is the responsibility of each and every one of us, to continue to innovate, collaborate and spread kindness in everything we do. On behalf of all Burdekin Shire Council councillors, staff and residents, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas, happy new year, and happy holidays. I hope you find time over the coming weeks to reflect on both your achievements and everything you’ve overcome in 2021, and set your goals high for 2022. No matter what those goals are, I hope they lead to our paths crossing here in the beautiful, bountiful Burdekin.DALE LAST – Member for Burdekin It has been another trying year filled with uncertainty for so many people, so this Christmas please do your best to spread some cheer with your family, friends and people who are doing it tough.Christmas is about travel for a lot of people and, if you are one of them, please stay safe and remember it’s better to arrive late than not at all.I’d like to send a big pat on the back to our charities, community groups and emergency services staff for their help in making Christmas more merry and safe for us all.No matter what, I hope this Christmas is a joyous for you and yours and here’s to a 2022 that delivers happiness and prosperity for us.NAT – Stay Informed – Social Medialeighton.smith@news.com.au



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