Road map for re­gion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

SONJA John­son has been ap­pointed the new chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Australia for Far North Queens­land and the Tor­res Strait.

With a fresh face comes a fresh com­mit­ment from RDA, FNQ & TI com­mit­tee to link regions in­clud­ing Dou­glas with fund­ing from all lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

The com­mit­tee is charged with de­vel­op­ing strate­gies to help with eco­nomic growth, en­vi­ron­men­tal so­lu­tions and so­cial well­be­ing and in­clu­sion strate­gies.

New CEO Sonja John­son said she is here to sup­port the re­gion and wants to work closely with Port Dou­glas “to get the pack­ages rel­e­vant to the area off the ground”.

“We are mov­ing for­ward with 12 pil­lars and four main ar­eas im­pact your re­gion,” she said.

“They are tourism and avi­a­tion, the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture, indige­nous ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment and cli­mate adap­ta­tion.”

RDA have de­vel­oped the “pil­lars” as part of their Re­gional Road Map, a plan de­vel­oped to help pro­vide strate­gic guid­ance to de­velop the re­gion.

“Tourism and avi­a­tion is the big­gest pack­age we’re work­ing on, we are work­ing with TTNQ and Cairns to get across the line that Port Dou­glas plays a big role and crit­i­cal role for Trop­i­cal North Queens­land’s econ­omy,” Ms John­son said.

“We will con­tinue to work with and sup­port coun­cil to lever­age China and Sin­ga­pore, a crit­i­cal nexus for the Dain­tree and Port Dou­glas and we’re con­nect­ing work­force ca­pa­bil­ity to the wet trop­ics area. We’re also work­ing closely with the pri­vate sec­tor and coun­cil get­ting in­fra­struc­ture in Port Dou­glas re­vi­talised.”

The next step for the com­mit­tee is the “im­ple­men­ta­tion phase”.

“We’re not a fund­ing body but we have ac­cess to RDA funds and that fund is de­pen­dent on the min­eral and min­ing re­source tax go­ing through par­lia­ment,” Ms John­son said.

For projects in the Dou­glas re­gion that will not re­ceive di­rect fund­ing from RDA, the com­mit­tee still want to keep in­volved.

“We will work with projects in the re­gion to sup­port them any way we can, sup­port through seek­ing fund­ing and putting through pro­pos­als for de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion to get in­fra­struc­ture off the ground,” Ms John­son said. “And work­ing with ex­ist­ing groups, lob­by­ing for work to hap­pen - we’re the con­duit for the tiers of gov­ern­ment and seek funds wher­ever we can, also with pri­vate part­ner­ships.”

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