Community & Business

10 January, 2023

Year in review - January and February

A look back on 2022 and a compiled list of all the important events that happened over the year in our region.

Year in review - January and February - feature photo

Things began to return to some normality when it came to Covid in 2022, but when it came to global events, there was nothing normal about the last 12 months.

The world witnessed the start of a new war between Ukraine and Russia, setting in place a series of events and chain reactions that would affect global supply of goods and make the cost of living soar in our own towns.

Everything from wheat to oil was affected and coupled with China’s “No Covid case” policy which was just recently overturned, it became difficult to do your business – whether that was building a home, running a farm, stocking supermarket shelves or paying for the weekly fuel bill.

The other major world happening was the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, allowing King Charles to finally take the crown after waiting seven decades.

Meanwhile in Australia, we voted in Anthony Albanese as our new Prime Minister at the May election, putting in the first Labor Government in 12 years. Locally, Bob Katter won his Kennedy seat again, making him one of the longest serving politicians in the Federal Parliament.

Floods plagued much of Australia, finding a house to rent became one of the most difficult tasks, as was finding people to fill the thousands of jobs vacant across the nation.

Locally, we have also felt the effects of national and world events but we have also made our own news in 202. Here’s a snapshot of what the last 12 months has been like in our region.


As the new year rolled around, community leaders outlined their plans for the year, placing a high priority on new infrastructure for both Tablelands Regional Council and Mareeba Shire Council, but it was always going to be a tough start to 2022, with high Covid infection rates, strict mandates resulting in the closure of some local businesses - some due to the lack of staff but some because they refused to force their staff to police the mandates on their customers. Among the casualties was the iconic Majestic Theatre which re-opened later in the year when restrictions eased.

Lotus Glen Prison was also feeling the effects of the virus, with a significant number of officers unable to do their duty and visitors temporarily banned, while children started to get vaccines and masks became the fashion of the day.

While all that was going in, State MP Craig Crawford and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter were having a war of words over the alternative route from the Northern Tablelands to the coast.

Meanwhile, the costs of Covid started to hit, with the price of fertiliser nearly triple what it was a year before and supply shortages experienced in most sectors. That didn’t stop the delivery though of the massive turbines which were being transported from Cairns to the Kaban wind farm near Ravenshoe.

Rentals in the region became almost non-existent as Tablelands Regional Council proposed a new planning policy that would allow caravans to be hosted by landowners with more than 2ha. Later in the year, council would radically change the proposal.

Crime was again in the headlines, with Mareeba Shire Council announcing its response to December’s crime rally, failing to appease rally organisers but council continued to stand up on the issue, particularly in October at the annual Queensland conference of local councils.


The month started with big news for Mareeba, with developers announcing a major new shopping complex that would house a Woolworths supermarket. The other good news was Mareeba Shire being named as one of the fastest growing LGA’s in Queensland, rating sixth out of 77 councils, with the only ones above it all big councils in South-East Queensland.

But the release of a State Government study that concluded the Kuranda Range Road did not need to be replaced for three decades quickly brought everyone back to reality. With the sobering thought there would not be a better option for 30 years, community leaders slammed the $1.65 million report, saying it would constrain the region from realising its true economic potential.

As we pondered that, an alternative route to the coast was unveiled, with the proponents of the Reddicliffe Highway proposing a four-lane road from Davies Creek to Redlynch without the need for a tunnel.

Later in the month, the Mareeba Shire made it clear it wanted action on the range road, seeking an urgent meeting with the then Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. The National MP travelled to Mareeba for the meeting before the May election, declaring the road a disgrace.

Crime again grabbed the headlines, with a visit to Mareeba by Shadow Minister for Police and Corrective Services Dale Last and Cook MP Cynthia Lui bombarded about the issue during one of her drop-in sessions.

Meanwhile, Chillagoe locals called for helping to protect their historic smelters that were falling down and complaining about the Mareeba Shire’s “unfair” dump fees which were adjusted by the council later in the year. The time to build a house increased to a year due to staff and supply shortages, putting more pressure on a very tight rental market, while Mareeba Shire announced a record spend to upgrade and create more recreational spaces and parks in the town.


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