Green shoots on the horizon

Written by: Townsville Enterprise | May 28, 2017

There’s no denying Townsville North Queensland has been experiencing one hell of an economic battle in recent times. Between youth unemployment and the decline of housing prices, it’s been a tough slog. However, green shoots are finally starting to appear across the region. A recent report commissioned by Townsville Enterprise has revealed a continuous rise in business confidence across Townsville off the back of a number of positive announcements, projects and developments.

Townsville Enterprise, in collaboration with AEC Group has released the second Townsville North Queensland Quarterly Economic Snapshot. The 12 page document, released at the conclusion of every quarter, provides a regional economic outlook and commentary with key quarterly statistics including unemployment, business confidence, property sales, tourism and building approvals. The data collated encompasses not just Townsville but the region as a whole, including Burdekin, Hinchinbrook and Charters Towers.

The quarterly economic update is produced with the intent to provide the Townsville North Queensland community with a one stop source of critical regional economic information and statistical data. This regular update offers useful analytical commentary, dissecting the numbers in order to provide regional stakeholders with insights into local trends and global issues that may impact regional economic performance.

The document, made available to everyone across the community, meets a critical need in the market, providing the region with a useful tool that will inform decision making and provide an understanding into regional developments. AEC Group Senior Economist, Matthew Kelly, said the snapshot provides a key link between the economic outlook, key regional catalyst projects and avenues for local operators to capture specific upcoming opportunities. “The information provided should be of significant interest to those currently or considering doing business in Townsville North Queensland,” says Matthew.

In this edition, business confidence is the standout performer, revealing a continued surge of improvement in the region. This strong result can be attributed to the recent positive announcements that will stimulate the economic growth of Townsville North Queensland. Major developments driving the improved outlook include the $250 million Stage One Integrated Stadium and Entertainment Centre (ISEC) and associated Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA), the $22 billion Adani Carmichael Mine, Rail & Port Project and the Upper Ross ($255 million) and Sun Metals ($155 million) solar farms. These developments have the potential to drive significant regional growth over the coming years. The snapshot also provides insight into major regional developments, with a focus on opportunities for regional businesses. The latest edition provides analysis of the Adani Carmichael Mine, Rail and Port Project, particularly concerning fly-in fly-out (FIFO) opportunities.
Given the remote location of the Carmichael Project in the Galilee Basin, a substantial FIFO workforce will be required. Townsville North Queensland is one of two potential locations being considered as the main FIFO hub for the project, alongside Rockhampton. Townsville North Queensland offers a highly desirable location to serve as the FIFO hub for the project.

Our region’s major strengths as a FIFO hub include: size, quality, and availability of a regional skilled workforce; strong existing representation across the mining and construction sector; established air connectivity, strong projected population growth; affordable living costs and an attractive lifestyle.Additional FIFO opportunities for Townsville North Queensland have also been announced by global resources company, MMG. Last month, MMG confirmed Townsville as the base of its FIFO operations for its Dugald River Mine. Located in North West Queensland, Dugald River is based on one of the world’s highest-grade known zinc deposits and is positioned to be within the world’s top 10 zinc mines when operational. The development and operation of the Dugald River Mine will provide an important employment, economic and revenue contribution to regional Queensland for more than 30 years.

In terms of recruitment for the Dugald River Mine, the preference for MMG was to always employ staff from Cloncurry and Mount Isa, however where candidates cannot be sourced locally, Townsville will be the preferred choice. It’s anticipated that up to 400 site based staff will be employed when the Mine is fully operational. Our region’s business, political and industry leaders have been putting a strong case forward to secure this FIFO opportunity for Townsville North Queensland. Townsville has a proud history as one of Australia’s prime fly-in fly-out hubs and MMG’s announcement is welcome news for jobs, business and overall confidence. Choosing Townsville as the FIFO hub is a vote of confidence in the advantages our region offers the mining sector as a proven logistics base with a ready workforce. This is an exciting project for Townsville and will supply the economic boost our region deserves.


“While our region has certainly experienced some challenging times, a reprieve is in sight. The outlook for Townsville North Queensland is looking brighter by the day.”


While our region has certainly experienced some challenging times, a reprieve is in sight. The outlook for Townsville North Queensland is looking brighter by the day, but we’re not over the hill yet. Our city leaders and political leaders must remain firmly focused on addressing key economic inhibitors that are halting the growth of Townsville North Queensland. Unemployment is a troubling statistic for our city and region; however, our unemployed possess a wealth of experience and skills just waiting for an opportunity. MMG, and potentially Adani, present that opportunity through FIFO possibilities.

The Townsville North Queensland Economic Snapshot is free to download from the Townsville Enterprise website. The first recruitment campaign for MMG Dugald River will be advertised on and

Success North Queensland