he Longreach Leader is an independent weekly newspaper and the only locally owned newspaper dedicated to reporting the issues affecting people of Central West and Western Queensland.
The paper was founded in 1923 and the majority of its shareholders still live in and around Longreach. When family-run newspapers folded in the surrounding towns of Winton, Barcaldine and Blackall the Leader extended its reporting and advertising to cover them. Its footprint now includes the shires of Flinders, McKinlay, Boulia and Diamantina as well.
The area has witnessed a slow decline in population as the sheep industry collapsed under increased predation by wild dogs followed by three years of drought.
But the Central West is not just bouncing back from drought but actively growing its population. Graziers are returning to sheep and wool behind dog-proof cluster fences, built with financial assistance from the State and Federal governments. The first 18 clusters approved (in 2016) involve 95 properties, enclose 1.2m hectares and will protect 500,000 sheep. It will inject $6 million a year into wages alone, and bring shearers and their families back into towns across the region.
hese people will rejuvenate demand for housing with the myriad of trades and services this involves, but will also spur retail demand for fittings, furnishings and household goods.
Cattle producers adjusted to a smaller workforce by an increasing investment in technology – for monitoring, cattle handling, mustering, mapping etc. Tourism is now an important industry for many communities, fuelling economic activity for much of the year.
The Longreach Leader is a strategic meeting place for residents and merchants. We welcome new businesses and services to the region; publicise field days and visiting specialists; advertise innovative and useful products; promote learning and welcome every new job.
With a limited supply of goods and services available locally, there is a huge potential for visiting professionals and trades people, specialist retailers, pop up stores and lively mail order businesses.