De­vel­op­ing a vi­sion for north­ern Aus­tralia

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sharon Small­wood

THE Aus­tralian Par­lia­ment’s North­ern Aus­tralia Com­mit­tee made a fly­ing visit to Air­lie Beach this week as part of an ex­ten­sive lis­ten­ing tour.

The com­mit­tee has been tasked with vis­it­ing ex­ist­ing and po­ten­tial projects and talk­ing to lo­cal people and or­gan­i­sa­tions about their vi­sion for de­vel­op­ing north­ern Aus­tralia.

Com­mit­tee chair War­ren Entsch said specif­i­cally, the com­mit­tee was look­ing at what op­por­tu­ni­ties were around and what in­fra­struc­ture was needed to de­velop them.

“We’re look­ing at ways we can at­tract more people into our re­gion and what ser­vices we need to pro­vide to build sup­port in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

Mr Entsch said here, wa­ter se­cu­rity, road net­works and in­sur­ance were some of the com­mu­nity con­cerns but in gen­eral con­fi­dence in the area was high.

He said the Uran­nah Dam, south­west of Proser­pine, was just one of the de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties the com­mit­tee had iden­ti­fied, which would open up “a whole range of pos­si­bil­i­ties”.

Mean­while, fel­low com­mit­tee mem­ber Se­na­tor Ian MacDon­ald was full of praise for what he saw in Air­lie Beach.

“As a semi-reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to the re­gion over the last 50 years, gee the place is look­ing good,” he said.

“It is a credit to the coun­cil, the busi­ness people and the com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

The com­mit­tee left Air­lie on Tues­day morn­ing, bound for a pub­lic hear­ing in Bowen, which in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment Limited (WMDL), Bowen Collinsville En­ter­prise, Bowen Gumlu Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Whit­sun­day Char­ter Boat In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (WCBIA).

Mr Entsch said the end re­sult would be a white paper, com­pleted by Septem­ber and ready to act upon next year.

“And if we haven’t phys­i­cally turned the first sod and started projects, we will be judged ac­cord­ingly,” he said.

“This is not just rhetoric, it’s not just about lip ser­vice – we’re de­ter­mined to make this hap­pen.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit

ON TOUR: Daw­son MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen (far right) pre­sent­ing the Port of Air­lie de­vel­op­ment to his federal col­leagues and north­ern Aus­tralia com­mit­tee mem­bers. Pic­tured from left to right are Se­na­tor Barry O'Sul­li­van, MP and com­mit­tee chair War­ren Entsch, MP Michelle Landry and Se­na­tor Ian MacDon­ald.

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