McKINLAY Shire Council in northern Queensland has been refused funding
to double the size of its popular free rest area.
The council said it was "extremely disappointed" to learn that its
application for a $3.2 million grant from the Federal Government’s
Building Better Regions Funding has been unsuccessful.
It had submitted extensive details of its plan to double the capacity of
its thriving Julia Creek RV Friendly site, where travellers in
self-contained caravans can stay for free for up to 96 hours at the
The plans also incorporated a new 4km walking trail to enhance "community
liveability and visitor experience".
"We feel that it is imperative that we grow this site to continue to
propagate our tourism industry to not only appeal to the senior drive
market but also the family market," Mayor Belinda Murphy said.
Crucial project for community's
liveability, economic sustainability
Plans for community consultation were released last November.
"This is a crucial project for both our community's liveability and
economic sustainability which tick the priority boxes of the funding," Cr
About 383 self-contained vehicles used the site in 2012, but the number
soared to 2363 permits being issued in 2016.
Already, more than 1921 caravans have utilised the site this year, and
with three months remaining it is expected that this year's figures will
exceed last year's record by more than 20 percent.
Whilst McKinlay Shire Council earns no revenue from the site, the economic
benefit to the community has become a welcome source of income for local
businesses, particularly during the last four years of drought.
Cr Murphy said that visitor surveys showed an injection of $104,000 into
the economy in July this year alone.
The proposed plan to extend the facility was not feasible for the council
to take on without additional funding.
“Although the project benefits are undeniable, the council is not in a
position to fully fund the project with its small rates base," Cr Murphy
She acknowledged the competitive nature of the fund, which received over
545 applications asking for $998 million.
Only 110 applications totalling $289 million were successful.
“We will certainly be pushing hard in the next round," the mayor said.
"This is a project that is extremely important to the economic and social
fabric of our shire."