Plan for region in place
Industrial hub to encompass Townsville, Isa and Bowen
THE State Government has released its blueprint for the development of North Queensland and called on us to have our say.
And while the region’s mayors yesterday welcomed the Government’s move and were keen to embrace the strategy, there was also a sense that we’ve heard it all before.
‘‘If they are talking about something concrete, I think it’s tremendous and something long overdue,’’ Mount Isa Mayor Ron McCullough said.
‘‘But we’ve had so many strategies and plans and no real outcomes.’’
Premier Peter Beattie announced the Labor Government’s plans for an industrial triangle based on Mount Isa, Townsville and Bowen during this year’s State election.
It was seen as a political move to win the Government support over concern in Townsville about siting the proposed Chalco alumina refinery at Stuart.
Yesterday, the Government released its blueprint (available on www.coordi natorgeneral.qld.gov.au/infrastructure/net.shtm).
In a statement, Mr Beattie said the aim of the blueprint was to maximise the economicpotential of Mount Isa and Townsville and to develop a new industrial precinct at Bowen.
‘‘The release of the Northern Economic Triangle blueprint establishes the strategicintent to provide critical infrastructure to underpin private sector investm e n t i n i n d u s t r i a l development and minerals processing over the course of the next half century,’’ he said.
Access to competitive power tops the list for each community in the blueprint.
At Townsville, expansion of Sun Metals zincrefinery at Stuart hinges on the State’s ability to provide power.
Cr McCullough s a i d Mount Isa had been calling for more power for industry for ‘quite some time’.
‘‘If that’s the strategy, I think it’s fantastic, a good step forward,’’ he said.
Townsville Mayor Tony Mooney believed North Queensland needed an effective lobby group to argue for infrastructure development.
‘‘I think this blueprint and the recognition by the State Government of the region . . . is a great opportunity for our communities to come together to lobby for infrastructure spending,’’ he said.
‘‘I think there is an opportunity here and I’m going to embrace it in both arms and make the most of it.’’
Bowen Shire Mayor Mike Brunker believed more could be gained than fighting over the Chalco proposal.
‘‘Call it the industrial triangle or hub, we can all work together and bring some benefit to North Queensland,’’ he said.
‘‘I support (Thuringowa MP) Craig Wallace’s view of working for the North rather than just our own towns.
‘‘We are all going to be able to run off each other for industry development.’’