Road map for region
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.”