Eco­nomic fu­ture a fea­ture of sum­mit

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE Whit­sun­day re­gion’s eco­nomic fu­ture was a hot topic for dis­cus­sion when in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives met last week for the an­nual Ma­jor Projects Sum­mit.

The event, held at the Queens Beach Ho­tel in Bowen, at­tracted record num­bers and high­lighted the need to de­velop the re­gion’s in­fra­struc­ture to en­sure a sus­tain­able fu­ture.

Ma­jor de­vel­op­ments across power, wa­ter, trans­port, agri­cul­ture and re­sources were dis­cussed at the event, with at­ten­tion on lo­cal em­ploy­ment and business op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Speak­ers in­cluded QCoal gen­eral man­ager of min­ing op­er­a­tions Danny McCarthy, Adani Ports CEO Cap­tain San­deep Mehta, and North Queens­land Bulk Ports CEO Steve Lewis.

Whit­sun­day Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment (WMDL) eco­nomic ad­vi­sory group chair­man, Dave Ne­bauer, said the event was an op­por­tu­nity for dis­cussing how key projects could pro- vide a foun­da­tion for a thriv­ing Whit­sun­day econ­omy amid a grow­ing north­ern Aus­tralia, and for Bowen, a light at the end of the tun­nel.

Mr Ne­bauer said the pro­posed Uran­nah Dam project was just one of the ini­tia­tives cru­cial to the re­gion’s long-term eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

He said the dam, 60km south-west of Proser­pine, would boost the re­gion’s re­sources, cot­ton and sugar in­dus­tries, as well as fa­cil­i­tat­ing power gen­er­a­tion for north­ern Queens­land.

“Uran­nah Dam is the most vi­able wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture project in Aus­tralia,” he said. “It would be a cat­a­lyst for the re­gion.” Mr Ne­bauer also said an off­set of pri­vate in­vest­ment was of­ten re­quired by gov­ern­ments to en­sure a project’s vi­a­bil­ity.

“We need pri­vate and pub­lic in­vest­ment in ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects for the Whit­sun­day re­gion,” he said.

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