Pat Laws, The Observer Boyne Tannum Hook Up committee member, says there is a need for more volunteers or Hook Up may not run next year.
Pat Laws, The Observer Boyne Tannum Hook Up committee member, says there is a need for more volunteers or Hook Up may not run next year. Christopher Chan

Keep our Hook up and running: GAPDL

CONCERNS have been raised about the future of the Observer Boyne-Tannum HookUp in 2014 with a lack of volunteers threatening to bring an end to the competition.

The event first took off in 1996, and has been a major fixture in the local event line-up for the past 18 years.

The HookUp has turned into more than just the biggest fishing competition in the country.

The economic benefits are undoubted, with visitors spending vital money in the region.

The HookUp committee said that over its 18-year history, millions of dollars had been injected into local businesses.

To lose an event of this magnitude could cripple some businesses, and if another region were to pick up the event, it could drive tourist spending away from Gladstone and surrounding suburbs.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd (GAPDL) CEO Glenn Churchill said it would be tragic to see the event lost so close to its milestone 20th anniversary.

"It's a major event and it is not just about fishing, it's about people connecting with people and it brings a lot of economic benefits," Mr Churchill said.

Mr Churchill said GAPDL had been a long-time supporter of the HookUp, having partnered the event since its inception.

"The HookUp contributes substantially to the positive image and appeal of our region for locals and a large number of visitors," he said.

Mr Churchill was quick to praise the work of volunteers in the past, and said they should not receive criticism for the current state of the situation.

"Perhaps it may be time to look at whether the event has outgrown volunteers and is it time for professional event management to take over organising it."

He expressed concern that should the HookUp disappear, another region would create a similar product.

"If we let it go, some other place will start its own."

About the Hook Up

  •  Event began in 1996
  •  Multiple major tourism award winner
  •  Over $250,000 in cash and prizes last year
  •  Been running for 18 years
  •  Community forum to be held July 22 to discuss future of the Hook Up
  •  Volunteers encouraged to come forward at forum, to be held at Boyne Tannum Community Centre