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With thousands of jobs being lost over the past decade as a result of cyclones, monsoonal floods, commodity downturns and now COVID-19, Townsville Enterprise in partnership with TaskforceNQ and NQROC will today provide a roadmap that urges Government to unlock the North and invest and support key industries that can play a critical role in Australia’s recovery.

The ‘Unlock the North: Townsville North Queensland Projects and Policies’ document, developed with TaskforceNQ and the regional councils of Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, and Palm Island outlines how Government can fast-track support to ramp up private investment and jobs for Australians.

The Port of Townsville expansion, the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line upgrade, the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, Big Rocks Weir and Hells Gates Dam, CopperString 2.0, the Museum of Underwater Art and the Defence Centre of Excellence for Joint Amphibious Force Capability are just some of the nationally-significant projects and opportunities deserving of Government support at a critical time in the nation’s history.

Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said North and North West Queensland have the foundations for not only Australia’s recovery but also its growth.

“Both Federal and State Governments have acknowledged over the past decade the critical importance of Northern Australia to generate jobs and opportunity for the Nation,” said Ms O’Callaghan.

“Now is the time to act on this potential and convert these visions and white papers into real investment and jobs.

“We have provided a roadmap and plan for thousands of jobs, and given what is happening in other parts of Australia and the fact our region has been a COVID free environment for some time, the importance of North and North West Queensland to generate wealth and jobs for this country has never been more critical.

“Our recent North West road trip highlighted the resource sector alone had $680 billion worth of untapped commodity potential and if we were to unlock even a quarter of this by providing affordable power and more efficient transport networks, we can only imagine the jobs it can create for our community but also how important a role it can play in rebuilding our tourism economy which was originally decimated through this period.”

Townsville Enterprise Chairman Kevin Gill said State and Federal Governments will play a key role in ensuring the North realises this potential.

“Often after times of great adversity, the private sector will play a leading role in driving jobs and economic growth for communities,” said Mr Gill

“For us to achieve that locally, we need Government policy to unlock industries like resources, defence, tourism, health and education, and agriculture that can provide the jobs of the new economy but also ensure we don’t go back to the challenged economy we had before COVID-19.”

TaskforceNQ Chair and Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the collaborative and cooperative approach undertaken by the North Queensland region’s community and business leaders was the key to certain success.

“The North Queensland region has so much potential for growth and development in the decades ahead. The region’s community and business leaders want those in government in Canberra and Brisbane to help us realise that potential,” Cr Hill said.

“With targeted investment from both levels of government, we have an enormous opportunity to really supercharge our region with projects that will provide a significant economic boost for the entire nation.”

NQROC chairperson and Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said North Queensland’s strength was in the wealth of the regions.

“Within a 90-minute radius, we have the wealth of the richest mineral’s province in the world, the largest defence base, the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and world-leading health and education institutions,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“We need to leverage these strengths to ensure the economic recovery of this State and Nation is sooner rather than later.”

All sides of politics have embraced the opportunity to meet and understand this plan at Parliament House where Townsville Enterprise, TaskforceNQ, NQROC Mayors and the Townsville Chamber of Commerce travel to Brisbane from 11-13 August. Across the comprehensive meeting and event program the delegation will engage with the Premier and Cabinet, Opposition Leader and Shadow Ministry, Katter’s Australian Party, NQ First, One Nation and the Greens.

View the Unlock The North Policies and Projects Flyer for more information.