Aug 10, 2020

Projects roadmap to ‘unlock the North’ and create jobs

Projects roadmap to ‘unlock the North’ and create jobs

Peak NQ economic development group Townsville Enterprise has launched a roadmap to ‘unlock the North’, listing key local projects to help power the nation’s economic recovery.

The Unlock the North: Townsville North Queensland Projects and Policies document was developed with TaskforceNQ and the regional councils of Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, and Palm Island.

It outlines how Federal and State Governments can fast-track support to ramp up private investment and jobs for Australians.

The document includes a section devoted to agriculture, minerals and advanced manufacturing – listing 11 projects with the potential to create almost 15,000 construction jobs and 5,923 permanent ongoing jobs (below).

The Mount Isa to Townsville Supply chain is a major focus – with calls to build the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC) and pour more investment and planning into rail and road infrastructure between the North West Minerals province and Port of Townsville.

The report also highlights the CopperString 2.0 transmission project as a means of paving the way to exploit $680 billion of known minerals resources in the province, forecast to increase production by $154 billion and sustain 3560 full-time jobs for 30 years.

“CopperString is one of the most important enabling projects for our
region’s long-term growth,” MMG Dugald River acting general manager Tim Ackroyd states in support of the roadmap.

“The impacts from lower energy prices on our community will lead to enormous opportunities in the resource sector and help to grow the Australian economy.

“At Dugald River, CopperString will provide our site and our local community with access to a reliable, cheaper source of energy as well as provide an ability to tap into our abundant renewable energy
resources and improved communication through the fibre-optic cable running the length of the project.”

The roadmap report also puts forward a North Queensland Hydrogen Hub as a key growth opportunity.

Townsville Enterprise argues that Townsville is uniquely placed to contribute to supplying green hydrogen for domestic and export markets.

The report highlights strong interest from local large-scale industrial operators, including the Port of Townsville, Sun Metals, ITM Power and Edify Energy, in being part of a hydrogen energy hub.

“To ensure that North Queensland can play a part in the establishment of Queensland’s Hydrogen industry, it is proposed that $28.3 million in funding is allocated to the creation of a Hydrogen Hub in Townsville North
Queensland, which would drive the production of green hydrogen using renewable energy and recycled water,” the report says.

Other areas of opportunity highlighted in the roadmap include:

  • Destination Development;
  • Defence;
  • Health, Research & Social Infrastructure; and
  • Locals Building Up Locals

Representatives from Townsville Enterprise, TaskforceNQ, the NQROC Mayors and the Townsville Chamber of Commerce will travel to Brisbane from August 11-13 to lobby for support for the plan.

The delegation is expected to meet with the Premier and Cabinet, Opposition Leader and Shadow Ministry, Katter’s Australian Party, NQ First, One Nation and the Greens.