Media Release Media Release

3rd November 2015 Leading the way at the OQTA Awards Night

McKinlay Shire Council has been recognized for its contribution to outback Queensland tourism, collecting five accolades at the 2015 Outback Queensland Tourism Association (OQTA) Awards Night in Barcaldine on Saturday night.

McKinlay Shire Council won the Local Government Award for Tourism and the Cultural Tourism Award. The Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre, ‘At the Creek’, collected the gong for Visitor Information and Services whilst McKinlay Shire Council Tourism Coordinator, Georgia Fleming, was recognized as the Young Achiever in Tourism.  McKinlay Shire Council is also an active member of the Overlander’s Way who was inducted into the OQTA Hall of Fame.

McKinlay Shire Council Mayor, Belinda Murphy, and Tourism Coordinator, Georgia Fleming, accepted the awards held in Barcaldine on the weekend.

Elated with the results, Mayor Murphy commented, “These awards are a reflection of the outstanding achievements made by Council and the entire community over the last 12 months.”

“We have built on momentum previously achieved and really polished our offerings to provide authentic outback experiences to our guests,” Mayor Murphy added.

Council has further developed the success of the free RV Friendly Site, volunteer Camp Host Program, Julia Creek Caravan Park Bush Dinners to name a few. New to 2015, Council innovated to offer our guests Town Tours with an authentic outback smoko, Paddock to Plate Long Table Lunches featuring local beef and red claw producers.

“This year was very special in that we were able to immortalise our servicemen and women with the unveiling of a new cenotaph in McKinlay and the Spirit of the Light Horse statue at the Julia Creek RSL for the 100 year anniversary of our First World War campaign,” Mayor Murphy said.

“Our local stockmen were naturals on a horse thus we were very well represented in the Light Horse Brigade making this statue, created by Townsville artist Sue Tilley, so special for the community,” she added.

Extensive research into each of these servicemen led to uncovering some amazing examples of heroism and the development of profiles which are on proud display at the McKinlay Centenary Museum and Julia Creek RSL.

“We have also worked with community groups across the Shire to raise the profile of local events.

“McKinlay Shire is very fortunate in that we have six race meetings, three campdrafts, three rodeos, the iconic Julia Creek Dirt n Dust weekend and many other exciting cultural events.

“These events are major draw cards for our guests as they get to meet and share a story with the local characters that make the outback so special,” Mayor Murphy added.

Caption – Tourism Coordinator, Georgia Fleming (middle) and Cr Belinda Murphy (right) receiving an award from OQTA Chairman, Stuart McKenzie (left).