Collaboration delivering regional opportunities
2018 was a year unlike any other in our region’s recent history. Through strong collaboration between businesses and city leaders, a united “Team Townsville” was able to deliver game-changing outcomes for our community. The region secured significant funding commitments as a result of our private and public sector working together for the growth of the north and has led us into 2019 with confidence that we are heading in the right direction.
Confirmed by PVW Partners in its December 2018 Quarterly Townsville Business Confidence Index, business confidence has strengthened with 2018 finishing with more positive business sentiment than that which it started. This trend is expected to continue over the next 12 months as several major projects get underway across North Queensland.
The regional economy is expected to recover over the coming years, however the pace and scale of recovery will be contingent on continuing to secure major projects currently under consideration.
Recent highlights for the region include securing Townsville’s water supply through a $200M commitment to fully fund Stage 2 of the Haughton Pipeline, $54M to begin Phase 1 of the Hells Gates Dam Project, and the Port of Townsville receiving final funding to commence its $193M Channel Widening Project. We also welcomed the finalisation of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative land deal, the Sun Metals Zinc Refinery expansion received the greenlight, Adani’s Carmichael Mine secured finance, and Airnorth announced a Gold Coast flight connection from Townsville.
This is on top of every day, pylon by pylon, seeing the $250M North Queensland Stadium become a reality whilst delivering 90 per cent local employment across its construction. Australia’s first ever City Deal for Townsville is well underway, with all three levels of Government working together to drive economic growth for the city and provide employment opportunities for our community.
Over the past 12 months we also welcomed 22,000+ passengers and crew off 18 cruise ships, including the opportunity for locals to embark on a cruise holiday directly from Townsville for the very first time. Business and sporting events secured through the Townsville North Queensland Bid Fund injected over $7.2M into our local economy, $475K was secured to identify agricultural opportunities for North Queensland, and our region was recognised at the Queensland Tourism Awards bringing home four Gold Awards and three Bronze.
The regional economy is expected to recover over the coming years, however the pace and scale of recovery will be contingent on continuing to secure major projects currently under consideration. These include progressing the Hells Gates Dam business case and the $2M received towards the Museum of Underwater Art, the 6ha Strand Lagoon, leveraging the bilateral relationship with Singapore, and upgrading Reef HQ. We will continue to actively promote the need for funding and policy commitments to key projects critical to driving our regional economy, particularly as we edge closer to a Federal Election.
For a more in-depth understanding of the region’s major projects, how you can tap into their opportunities, and an update on the economic contributions of local industries, the fourth edition of Townsville Enterprise’s annual economic development publication will be released this month. ‘Opportunity Townsville North Queensland’ is a comprehensive guide into the established and developing industries in the region, provided through informative overviews of projects recently delivered, under construction or in various stages of development.
Whilst we finished 2018 strongly and begin this year with significant momentum, we remain acutely aware of the challenges still facing our region. We will maintain a firm focus on the areas crippling local business, such as the escalating costs of power, and will unashamedly fight for projects that will ensure Townsville North Queensland is a great place to live, work, visit and invest in.
Opportunity Townsville North Queensland Edition 04 will be available for purchase at the ‘Northern Advantage 2019 Business Breakfast’ on Thursday 14 February 2019 or by contacting Townsville Enterprise on 07 4726 2728.