The Mackay personalities who made headlines in 2020
What a massive year it has been for the Mackay region with COVID-19 and the local and state elections undoubtedly the guiding forces.
With that there has been a renewed vigour on speaking out on the issues that mattered.
So without further ado, here are some of the Mackay region personalities who featured in the headlines throughout 2020:
Vicki Blackburn, a mum plagued by "what ifs" since her daughter was brutally killed in Mackay almost seven years ago, has never stopped fighting for justice.
The mum then publicly named him for the first time as the person she believed to have killed her daughter when she was the guest speaker at the Mackay Says No to Domestic Violence fun day.
Sarina Sugar Shed distiller Sarah Parrott has many accolades to be proud of this year.
The distillery and tourism destination won silver at the coveted Australian Tourism Awards in March, followed by a silver in the Australian Distilled Spirit Awards in November for a lychee-flavoured spirit.
Ms Parrott also concocted a limited edition SB13 rum that sold out in four days when it was released in August.
Most recently, she and the team produced a luscious rum with notes of Christmas.
Have you secured your bottle yet?
In what year since George Christensen became the member for Dawson has he not made the headlines?
And most recently, he was urging US President Donald Trump to pardon Julian Assange before he left the White House.
Sarina Surf Lifesaving Club president Neil John splashed in the headlines for excelling in the sport and giving back to his community.
The Mackay Regional Council mayor was front and centre of many stories this year for his role leading residents through the COVID pandemic.
He was also the spokesman for many council-related headlines whether they highlighted issues like the fish kills at the Gooseponds or celebrated milestones like the reopening of Queens Park after an $8.86 million upgrade.
The Broken Ballerina Foundation founder was a huge voice for women this year as she spoke out against domestic and family violence.
Tash Wheeler and Tas Webber
From lockdowns to border closures to travel bubbles and most recently, the reopening of interstate travel, the pair has been there representing regional tourism through every twist and turn.
Amanda Camm made the headlines this year for her journey to become the new Whitsundays MP.
It was a tight race as just 39 first preference votes separated the two frontrunners days after the community cast their votes.
During her election campaign, Ms Camm pledged to upgrade the Conway Circuit mountain bike trail, addressed climate change, spoke out about domestic violence and pushed for a $500,000 revamp of the Proserpine showgrounds - among other things.
The Mackay MP was in the news for a wide number of topics this year including road projects like the Eton Range and the Ring Road, how the region was responding to the coronavirus pandemic and more recently, the situation at Keswick Island.
Ms Gilbert also became a regular - as did all the region's politicians - throughout the Mercury's extensive coverage of the Queensland election.
Lance Payne featured in the news in 2020 for his environmental activism beginning with applying for an Administrative Appeals Tribunal review into coal spillage.
The former Whitsundays member dominated the headlines this year especially leading up to the state election as he campaigned for north and central Queensland's "fair share".
He also made the news for his mission to rename the Bruce Highway to Captain Cook Highway and for airing in parliament how Mackay families were being forced to wait to bury loved ones due to a pathologists shortage.
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew was the sole One Nation candidate to secure a Queensland seat in the recent election.
He was also unable to contact his extended family earlier this year after category five Cyclone Harold battered the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.
Canegrowers Queensland chairman Paul Schembri was in the headlines for his passionate advocacy of Mackay region sugarcane growers, harvesters and mill workers.
This year, he campaigned against a proposed sugar tax, pushed back against "zealous" reef regulations, and championed India being brought before the World Trade Organisation for "blatantly" breaching global trade rules.
Matt Cielens and the Harrup Park Country Club team
What a year it was for the Harrup Park Country Club team with headline after headline until they secured $10 million of funding for the Great Barrier Reef Arena project.