G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day was a huge hit last weekend.
G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day was a huge hit last weekend. Contributed.

Not too big, not too small ... Mackay is just perfect

MACKAY is a 'Goldilock's town' - not too big, and not too small, it is just right.

A term coined by demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt, it describes a town that is prosperous, affordable, civic minded and diverse.

Mackay is a city with everything you could dream of without the hustle and bustle of a capital - steady employment rates, job opportunists and an idyllic lifestyle with national parks on one side and the Great Barrier Reef on the other.

But encouraging people to live, work and holiday in the region is a struggle that businesses and organisations are still trying to address.

While domestic and international tourism figures are rising, there is still work to do to future proof both the tourism and business industries.

The Demographics Group managing director Bernard Salt talks at the Future Northern Rivers event at SCU.
Demographer Bernard Salt. Marc Stapelberg

Australian Industry Group membership executive Mel Ireland was in Mackay to talk about how businesses and organisations could future proof the city.

"How do we sell (the region)? That is what everyone needs to think about,” she said.

"As far as industry goes, you've got really great start because your G and S (Engineering) and BB Print they are significant businesses here that are already supporting each other and supporting the wider community.”

Read more on Our Future Mackay

Ms Ireland said she hoped to provoke thought within the key businesses and organisations about how they could impact the future of Mackay.

"If nothing else, if it means they pinch ideas from other cities that are future proofing now ... and (look at) the comparison between other cities around the world that have similar attributes from Mackay and what they are starting to do,” she said.

"I think that is something that can be embraced, if we can get the community and industry groups on board to embrace that.

"If you've got a big vision and then everyone work towards that.”

Aerial iphone image of Mackay city and Pioneer River
Aerial iphone image of Mackay city and Pioneer River Stuart Quinn

AI has visited Cairns and Townsville to speak about developing what was special about each region.

"For a state the size of Queensland, for us, that is what we need to get the rest of Australia and the capital cities to understand, that Mackay or Townsville or Cairns isn't just 20 minutes up the road and it has got its own little quirks and each region has its own attributes and strengths,” Ms Ireland said.

"It's about finding two or three key strengths and getting a group of forward-thinking and passionate people to work on those strengths.”

Ms Ireland said it was refreshing to see some Mackay organisations and businesses were already taking steps to make the city flourish.