THE main street of Airlie Beach needs upgrading but money is needed before any work can start.
This was the message that Airlie Beach business people gave to the Premier Anna Bligh when she visited the region last week.
Ms Bligh was in the Whitsundays and Mackay as Parliament was not sitting so she took the opportunity to visit regional areas.
She said she knew the importance of tourism to the economy in our area and that main streets were all about first impressions.
“First impressions count,” she said.
Ms Bligh was addressing about 40 business people who joined her for morning tea with Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt at the VMR at Cannonvale last Thursday.
She said she had spoken to the CEO of Whitsunday Regional Council, John Finlay, about the plans to revitalise Airlie Beach.
Ms Bligh gave a commitment that she would look at the proposal.
“We'll have a really good look at it and work with you,” she said.
Mr Finlay said Council was currently working on the costings for each of the components with a view that some of the project could be started if the money was available.
He said Council would then be lodging submissions with both state and federal governments.
He said he was pleased that Ms Bligh had recognised the importance of the project for the tourism sector and thanked her for her interest in the project.
Chairman of Tourism Whitsundays, Chris Jacobs, was among those at the meeting and he said the revitalisation project was essential.
“It's an important part of the mix going forward,” he said.
“It's not the only thing that needs to happen but the face of Airlie does need to change and the Premier endorsed it as a worthwhile project,” he said.
Ms Jarratt said she was pleased to have the Premier visiting Airlie Beach.
She said it was good for local people to be able to talk to the Premier and hear about what was happening to the economy on a general level.
Ms Jarratt said it was also good for the Premier to hear from local people that Airlie Beach was still struggling economically at some levels.
Meanwhile, Whitsunday Regional Mayor Mike Brunker officially launched his campaign as the Labor candidate for Dawson this week.
As part of the launch, he announced that he would lobby hard for the refurbishment of the main street, saying that he recognised that tourism was vital for our regional economy and he believed strongly in this project.
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