Rae Wilson, Daily Mercury editor
Rae Wilson, Daily Mercury editor

Our commitment, we're for you

TRUST is built over time. It's not easily won.

As editor, I'm entrusted to continue a conversation between the Daily Mercury and its loyal readers that has endured for 153 years.

As the Federal Election draws nearer, we will hear from a lot of politicians trying to secure your vote.

In their bid to serve your community, they will say a great many things; much of what they say will be true, much will be their version of the truth and, heaven forbid, some may even be untrue.

We want you to put your trust in the Daily Mercury as a source of information to help you make the choices that will decide who leads our nation.

You can trust us to ask the questions you want answered.

You can trust us to test the claims and counter-claims.

You can trust us to get to the truth.

It is one of the reasons newspapers have been part of the towns and cities they are published in almost from day one.

In recent years, how you access your newspaper has changed in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago and we are all participants in a communication and information revolution.

But in all that change one thing that has not changed is the fundamental contract between this newspaper and the people it lives for - its readers.

Unlike the digital giants that revolutionised access to information but have no physical presence nor employ reporters in real streets or real communities, Daily Mercury journalists live in the same region as their readers and you can trust we always will.

Flying over St Bees and Keswick Island with Steve Davis from Whitsunday Helicopters
Flying over St Bees and Keswick Island with Steve Davis from Whitsunday Helicopters Tony Martin

This newspaper is written, sub-edited, printed and published online by real people living in the same region as you.

Our team is made up of ordinary people.

People with families, with mortgages, with bills to pay.

We ride the same real estate roller coaster, send our kids to the same schools and cheer on the same sporting teams - well most of the time anyway.

People like Loris Wall, our chief sub editor, who has worked for the Mercury for 35 years, and was born and grew up in the region.

Her pioneering family members first set foot in Mackay well over 100 years ago.

Joining the Mercury as a cadet reporter in 1970, Loris later spent 10 years living in Africa, England and North America, before returning to Australia.

It's a combination that gives her an understanding of the history, heritage and issues that mean the most to Mackay's long-time residents and an insight into what most concerns those new to the region.

And people like Sandy Marchetti whose roots are also firmly established in this region.

Her great great grandfather worked in the fire service in Mackay in the late 1800s.

Her grandparents owned a sawmill and cane farms at Kuttabul.

Her dad, who grew up on those farms, also went into cane harvesting and then mining - both industries that play a big role in our economy and lifestyle.

North Mackay Lookout. Racecourse Mill and Ring Road site in background
North Mackay Lookout. Racecourse Mill and Ring Road site in background Stuart Quinn

To this day, there's even a caricature of her father on a tractor in the Kuttabul Hotel.

Starting with the Mercury in 1979 as a Girl Friday, she has worked in nearly every department from circulation and distribution to administration and now editorial.

She knows nearly every aspect of our business and fervently believes people should buy our paper to stay connected to their community.

"We wouldn't have been here for as long as we have unless we were a trusted news source," she says.

We love this area as much as you and we celebrate the same triumphs.

We believe in our community and what is best for it.

We have a proud history of campaigning for essential services.

And we celebrate along with the community when long-standing campaigns finally reap rewards - campaigns like that for the Mackay Ring Road, which is taking shape on the outskirts of the city and bringing much-needed employment to the region.

There's been success, too, with our concentrated push for the Walkerston Bypass, which is set to follow.

Now we await the outcome of the Daily Mercury's backing for Mackay's outstanding bid for the Qantas Group Pilot Training Academy, confident the group's proposed second training centre, to be announced soon, will come our way.

And in March the region's new state-of-the-art Aquatic and Recreational Complex, a project we have long championed, will open to the public.

In past years, we also fought for and won a new Mackay Base Hospital, funding to fix the Bruce Highway, the showgrounds redevelopment and Mackay's headspace facility for those at risk of depression and suicide in our community.

We also took a firm stand against 100 per cent FIFO at several Bowen Basin mines and our fight to lower the road toll is ongoing.

While we will always push for those services the region needs and wants, the Mercury also has another vital role - keeping the community informed.

As a newspaper with a history spanning a century and a half, we have a proven track record when it comes to delivering vital news on natural disasters, politics, industry, the economy, health, crime and law enforcement and a myriad other topics that matter to our readers.

We've covered elections at all levels of government, delivering meaningful profiles on hopeful candidates and extending our reach to stage community forums and debates to give voters greater insight into those candidates. We've also worked to keep our elected representatives accountable.

The region's councils, too, are subject to scrutiny, with annual budget breakdowns and contentious issues reported in detail.

Ongoing issues, like the fluoride debate in recent years and council amalgamation, also are covered in depth.

Economically, the Mercury has kept a close eye on the waxing and waning fortunes of the mining, sugar and tourism industries.

For decades we've charted the progress of the sugar industry, from its rudimentary beginnings to the point where the grower-owned company is poised, pending shareholder agreement, to enter a new era under majority ownership of a major German sugar manufacturer.

Mackay relying as heavily as it does on coal, the Mercury also keeps the community well informed on all aspects of the industry.

BMA Hay Point Coal Terminal.
BMA Hay Point Coal Terminal. Emma Murray

We've been there every step of the way, charting the development of mines, ports, mining townships and the city itself.

The meteoric escalation of the resources boom and its equally rapid decline is well documented, but so too are the hundreds of instances of innovative people who have played a part in making Mackay an internationally recognised mining services hub.

We also take every opportunity to further our tourism industry, promoting the region's not inconsiderable attractions and championing initiatives like the recently announced world-class mountain biking trail in the Pioneer Valley and the Kangaroos on the Beach experience at Cape Hillsborough.

Community information is key, also, when it comes to the weather and the Mercury has been there for the people of the Mackay region through a century of disastrous weather events.

We delivered vital information and covered the aftermath of the 1918 cyclone, which last year marked its centenary; the 1958 flood that roared through the Valley to obliterate a riverside township; the 2008 flood, which inundated much of the city; as well as the fury of Cyclone Debbie in 2017, from which some areas are still recovering.

It's why we want to make a commitment to you. A promise we will objectively identify injustices, doggedly work to right wrongs and fight for the lifestyle we have come to love.

The two main parties have already promised money for the next stage of the Mackay Ring Road but we want more.

We want commitments to floodproof the Bruce Highway, revitalise the Sarina community, invest in the Pioneer Valley trail, create a Northern Beaches community hub and a path forward to develop the Mackay waterfront precinct.

Whales having fun in the Whitsundays.
Whales having fun in the Whitsundays. Sharon Smallwood

We want to help secure these wins through our passion for a better city.

And we believe that's worth fighting for.

The process of news gathering may at times be messy, because that is how news happens. Early details give way to more precise data as a story unfolds.

And as a daily newspaper with an ever-growing audience online demanding news as it happens, the Daily Mercury does not have the luxury of resting for weeks at a time before committing to publish.

You can trust our news will never be fake. It will never be insincere. And it will never be contrary to what we know to be the facts.

Our news will always be from the heart and delivered with consideration and conscience.

Because the Daily Mercury lives for Mackay and its people. It always has and it always will.

And that is our commitment ... We're for You.