Former Mackay MP Tim Mulherin at the Mackay Showgrounds, which he fought to have redeveloped. Picture: Lee Constable
Former Mackay MP Tim Mulherin at the Mackay Showgrounds, which he fought to have redeveloped. Picture: Lee Constable

‘Great bloke’: Tributes flow for Mr Mackay, Tim Mulherin

A STREAM of heartfelt tributes has flowed in for Mackay's Tim Mulherin, who passed away early this morning.

Treasurer Cameron Dick was among those to pay respects to the man known as Mr Mackay.

The Mackay Hospital and Health Service chairman and board member had been fighting for his life after being diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2019.

Mr Dick said the former Mackay MP was loved "more than anything" by wife Erin and their three children.

"Tim made an enormous contribution to our party, he was a great bloke to have a beer and yarn with," he said.

"The current face of Mackay was, to a very large extent, chiseled by the hands of Tim Mulherin.

"He made an enormous difference to his community - he loved his community.

"It's a deep loss that all of us in the Labor Party will feel."

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Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick paid tribute to Tim Mulherin. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick paid tribute to Tim Mulherin. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Long-time friend and former campaign manager Frank Gilbert described the news as a "shock". 

Mr Gilbert had visited Mr Mulherin in hospital the night before he died.

The former Mackay MP was hoping to leave hospital the following day, if his doctor gave the go ahead.

"He was talking about his hopes and plans; right until the very end he never gave up working," Mr Gilbert said.

"Even when he was gravely ill, his thoughts were about trying to improve things here in Mackay.

 "I'm saddened to see such a strong advocate for the Mackay region pass.

"We owe Tim a great debt for his dedication and service to the Mackay community." 

In a statement, Dawson MP George Christensen reflected on Mr Mulherin's long list of achievements.

Mr Christensen said this included Bluewater Quay, the construction of the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, the showgrounds redevelopment and the courthouse expansion.

"In 2015, when Tim announced he was retiring from politics, the Premier said 'In Mackay, Tim is known as Mr Mackay. He has served the community here for over 20 years, that's two decades as a member of Parliament and many years as a minister'," Mr Christensen said.

"Having heard about the sudden deterioration in Tim's health only yesterday evening, I texted him late asking if I could visit him today and he responded asking if I could come later in the afternoon.

"Sadly, that catch up will never happen in this life and I am all the poorer for it."

Former Mackay MP Tim Mulherin is embraced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as he announces his retirement from politics in Mackay. Picture: Lee Constable / Daily Mercury
Former Mackay MP Tim Mulherin is embraced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as he announces his retirement from politics in Mackay. Picture: Lee Constable / Daily Mercury

Mr Christensen said his heart went out to Mr Mulherin's family during this difficult time.

"In his maiden speech to the Queensland Parliament back in 1995, Tim said Mackay's greatest resource was its people," the Dawson MP said.

"That certainly is true and, sadly, our collective resources as a city are now diminished by the passing of this great man."

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Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert described Mr Mulherin as a "great champion for Mackay", as well as a tireless advocate and mentor.

"He garnered the respect of his colleagues and the Mackay community and all others who knew him," Mrs Gilbert said.

"I know he will be greatly missed across our community and my deepest condolences are with Erin, his wife, their three children, and the rest of his family." 

In a statement, the Australian Sugar Milling Council said the state of Queensland had lost a long-time supporter of the sugar industry.

"Tim Mulherin was a strong advocate for the sugar industry during his twenty years as the member for Mackay and as Minister for Primary Industries," it read.

"The Milling Council staff and its members extend their condolences to Tim's wife Erin and their three children."

Mackay Cricket Association chairman Terry Doolan said the news had left him with a "deep sadness and a heavy heart".

Mr Mulherin was deputy chairman of Harrup Park and the Mackay Cricket Association.

"Tim was extremely well respected in the local community and surrounding regions," Mr Doolan said.

"He was recently made a life member of Mackay Cricket due to his tireless work on the board of directors." 



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