Airlie Beach forum to focus on regional vaccinations

Premier and Minister for the Olympics The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Airlie Beach today will host the fourth and final Regional Community Forum for the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region for 2021, with local forum members, Ministers and Members of Parliament to work on increasing vaccination rates to protect the region from COVID-19.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said since 2019 the forums have been a platform to elevate regional voices in the State, and the local community representatives could now help to increase vaccination rates.

“With just weeks to go until our border reopens and greater freedoms flow for vaccinated Queenslanders, we are getting the message out – vaccines are safe, effective and our best defence against COVID-19,” the Premier said.

“We want to ensure people living and working in regional Queensland are fully vaccinated to protect their health and the health of their family, friends and community.

“That’s why the vaccine rollout and sharing the opportunities that come with reopening our State will be a key focus of the final round of Regional Community Forums for 2021.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said other local leaders including Hospital and Health Service representatives have also been invited to all seven forums today to focus on the health and economic benefits of vaccinations.

“The Palaszczuk Government values the contributions that forum members make as community leaders,” she said.

“So now we ask them to do what they do best – help us to ensure more of our communities are vaccinated.”

Airlie Beach will host Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday forum members, with Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman and Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport Stirling Hinchliffe

Forum Chair and Member for Mackay Julianne Gilbert said today’s eighth round of Regional Community Forums will also be the last for existing forum members, with their terms to conclude at the end of 2021.

“In the first and second years of the program, our forums have explored industry development, skills and training and the exciting economic diversification of the region,” Ms Gilbert said.

“And our forum members have been very active, highlighting obstacles to mental health support, sharing critical COVID-19 messaging, linking local businesses to available grants, and sharing insights about the region’s economic recovery.

“This final round of forums for 2021 will be an opportunity to thank forum members for their service, celebrate their achievements to-date, and lay solid foundations for our forums to build upon in 2022 and beyond.”

Expressions of interest for new members on the Regional Community Forums can be made on the Advancing Queensland’s Regions website.

Regional Community Forums will also be held today in Far North Queensland, North-North West Queensland, Western Queensland, Central Queensland, Wide Bay-Burnett-Fraser Coast and Darling Downs-South West Queensland.

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