Developing a vision for northern Australia
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 www.aph.gov.au/jscna.
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.