MITEZ is lobbying for ‘a bigger push from the Commonwealth’ for a range of advanced North West Queensland projects to become a reality.
MITEZ (Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone) chief executive officer Glen Graham was among those addressing hearings in Townsville and Mount Isa this week of the Senate Select Committee inquiry into the effectiveness of the government’s Northern Australia agenda.
He listed key projects deserving of government support including the CopperString 2.0 proposal, HIPCo’s Hughenden dam project, a Richmond irrigation project and a proposed Cloncurry rail load-out facility.
“…These projects, although some being close to shovel ready, are still just plans and if they are to become a reality as in the initial vision to develop the North, then these will require a bigger push from the Commonwealth supported by the State Government, and private investment will also be vitally important,” he said.
“Hopefully, we will start to see officers from the Office of Northern Australia becoming more involved to help our communities to advance these projects to get them across the line sooner rather than later.
“We are already working with officers within State Government departments such as DAF and DNR&M to get their support and guidance but there really needs to be a stronger presence and push by the Commonwealth Government for projects to become a reality.
“We need to see the will of Governments to make sure things advance from this point.”
The projects Mr Graham highlighted across the MITEZ corridor included:
- A dam proposal at Hughenden (HIPCo) as well as the adjacent 15 Mile cropping precinct which has received significant project status from the State Government.
- Hughenden plans to establish a meat processing facility, which have attracted a potential overseas investor.
- A diversion channel and an off-stream storage at Richmond with an adjacent 10,000ha cropping area.
- New multi-user rail loading facilities at Cloncurry.
- A 248,000 ML dam on the Cloncurry River to advance irrigated cropping in the region as well as an additional supply for mining and urban use.
- The Big Rocks weir and adjacent cropping area at Charters Towers.
- A 500ha demonstration cropping trial on the town common at Cloncurry.
- The CopperString project to construct a $1.5 billion transmission line between Townsville and Cloncurry.
“As a regional development organization, it is MITEZ’s core business to work to identify opportunities to maximise the potential of our region and we look forward to working closely with people from the Office of Northern Australia in the future,” Mr Graham said.
“Once the office of ONA at Townsville is more established, we would hope to see their staff come out to the region and work with us to advance some of our projects.”