Queensland Government statement - 19 November 2019

The future prosperity of the North West Queensland economy has been further boosted today thanks to a $33.3 million investment by the Palaszczuk Government.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the North West Queensland Economic Diversification Strategy Implementation Plan 2019–2021, developed in consultation with local stakeholders and the community, sets out actions to deliver 13 diversification initiatives.

“This government is delivering for North West Queensland,” he said.

“Together, we have done the necessary work to develop a blueprint and a strategy to understand, investigate and prioritise initiatives that will diversify and grow the economy. This implementation plan is the culmination of that strategic work.

“Importantly, it is backed by significant funding of $33.3 million: $5 million through the blueprint, plus a further $28.3 million of new funding to deliver key initiatives that will boost jobs and prosperity for the region.”

Mr Dick said the funding includes $14.5 million for Australia’s first commercial drone-testing facility.

“The facility, to be built by the Queensland Government at Cloncurry Airport, is scheduled to open in mid-2020 and already has the world’s largest aerospace group, the Boeing Company, signed up to test their drones.

“Mineral resources will continue to be the mainstay of the North West economy, and the implementation plan sees an ongoing and expanded commitment to drive exploration activities and attract new investment through a new economy minerals package.

“This includes $13.8 million to encourage exploration to find new deposits for the minerals needed for advanced electronics and renewable technologies, such as cobalt and rare earth minerals, for which global demand is set to increase.

“Alongside this, our government is continuing to grow the region with the $110 million Supply Chain Strategy to improve freight handling and efficiency on the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line.

“This investment provides $80 million to reduce rail access charges over four years and $30 million to support construction of Port of Townsville’s new container terminal.”

Mr Dick said the implementation plan released today details the roll-out of initiatives over the next two years.

“We are setting out the economic diversification of the region to ensure continued growth and momentum is maintained.”

“We have also identified additional economic growth sectors for North West Queensland – agriculture, tourism, and business and industry,” he said.

They include:

  • agriculture projects in fodder production, irrigated cropping trials, identification of opportunities for common-user facilities and the development of a global investment attraction program
  • accelerating local government tourism projects to an investment-ready stage
  • delivery of new tourism packages in partnership with industry and support local itinerary development
  • delivery of local action plans that support projects identified by North West communities.

“We want to see a region that has a stronger, more diversified economy featuring more agricultural production, tourism ventures highlighting outback experiences, and new businesses in emerging industry sectors, such as aerospace.”

Mr Dick congratulated all stakeholders for their work in identifying key diversification strategies for the region.

Jack Bawden, Mayor of Carpentaria said: “The implementation plan gives us a clear path to follow so we can deliver new investment, jobs and opportunities to the communities of the North West region.”

Mr Dick said the total investment in the region is $170 million, including the $110 million supply chain strategy and the $39 million Strategic Blueprint, with an additional $28.3 million of new funding to drive strong and prosperous industries, businesses and communities.

For information about the NWQEDS and Implementation Plan visit www.dsdmip.qld.gov.au/NWMP