Plan for re­gion in place

In­dus­trial hub to en­com­pass Townsville, Isa and Bowen

Townsville Bulletin - - Just Briefly - By TONY RAGGATT busi­ness ed­i­tor

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 on­ordi na­tor­gen­­fra­struc­ture/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.’’

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