Dec 19, 2019

Christmas Q&A – Glen Graham

Christmas Q&A – Glen Graham

Glen Graham is chief executive officer of the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone Inc (MITEZ). He joined iQ for a quick Christmas Q&A….

What was the greatest achievement or advance in your industry/organisation in the past year? 2019 has seen significant progress towards advancing irrigated cropping as a significant industry across the MITEZ corridor, with funding announced for a 600ha cropping trial for Cloncurry, a key recommendation of the $1.8 million feasibility study for a dam on the Cloncurry River at Cave Hill. Completion of the $1.3 million feasibility study for Richmond’s off-stream storage and cropping project on the Flinders River and discussions with potential investors.

Impressive results achieved at McKinlay Shire with chick peas planted on 7000 acres of dryland cropping by an irrigator from down south. Sale of Etta Plains to Finlay Farms who plan to undertake large-scale irrigated cropping in 2020. Approval by the Queensland Government for Hughenden’s $47 million Fifteen Mile Irrigated Agricultural development project. In 2019 $180 million was committed by the Commonwealth Government for the proposed $300 million HIPCO off-stream storage at Hughenden and work to support the business case for the project.

These projects have developed as a result of the 2011 CSIRO study looking at opportunities for irrigated agriculture in the Flinders River catchment.

What was the greatest challenge or failing in your industry/organisation in the past year? By far the greatest challenge in 2019 was to recover from the February flooding event that saw approximately 600,000 head of cattle perish, hundreds of kilometres of roads, rail lines and fencing destroyed and industry losses in the hundreds of millions. What was first thought to take over six months saw the rail line restored in just 13 weeks and industry need to be resourceful and innovative to keep product moving to and from the Port of Townsville.

What are your goals and expectations for 2020? Our main expectation is the region will see enough rain to break the drought but at the same time would not cause damage and disruption. Sufficient to set the region up for a prosperous few years ahead and enable the irrigated Ag projects to get a great start. At the same time, prices for commodities will improve to strengthen the bottom line of all of our producers and industries in order to grow communities and increase employment across the region.

In 2020, MITEZ expects to see more progress with all of the projects in the pipeline such as CopperString 2.0; Townsville’s battery plant and Townsville Port expansion.

How will you be spending the Christmas/New Year period? The team at MITEZ are all planning to spend time at home with their families over Christmas, anticipating the start to the traditional wet season and generally re-charging our batteries to prepare for the start of 2020.

What is the worst/funniest Christmas present you have ever received (or given)? Buying each of the kids a water- blaster to run around the yard with over Christmas only to find one of them didn’t work on the day, and the shops were shut until after New Year.

What is your favourite Christmas or New Year memory or tradition?Taking the kids to midnight mass when they were little and only letting them open one present when we came home.

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