The National Visitor Survey, released today, held good news for the region. There was a 16 per cent increase in Mackay visitor numbers over the past twelve months, and those visitors are staying longer and spending more. The National Visitor Survey showed 883,000 Australian tourists visited Mackay, staying an average of four nights and spending $380 million for the year ending June 2017.

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Plan to boost jobs for journos in regions

The Liberal National Government has today announced a number of new measures to support regional and small publishers and create local jobs. The new measures, which are in addition to the Government’s media reform package, and subject to its passage, include: •A $50 million Regional and Small Publishers Innovation fund; •a Regional and Small Publishers cadetship program to support 200 cadetships ($8 million) and; •60 regional journalism scholarships ($2.4 million over three years)

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Boost for seasonal worker programme

A number of new measures introduced by the Liberal National Government will further support employers and seasonal workers to access the Seasonal Worker Programme. The new measures will help overcome local labour shortages in the agricultural and accommodation sectors, and will be phased in from 1 July 2018. We will be introducing a multi-entry visa for seasonal workers, thereby offering greater flexibility in the granting of visas, and piloting new ways to lower upfront costs for employers seeking to access the programme. The measures will reduce red tape and save time within the Seasonal Worker Programme, and will be a welcome support for businesses in centres such as Bowen, the Burdekin and Townsville who are struggling to fill vacancies at critical points in their business cycle.

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Businesses urged to nominate for Vets’ awards

In the Australian Defence Force (ADF) our personnel work in high-pressure environments and learn skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and the ability to adapt to new technologies. Those talents are in demand in a modern economy and I know businesses in Townsville are employing veterans and using their skills to succeed. I’m encouraging local businesses and local veterans to look at the award categories and nominate so their achievements can be recognised.

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