Unlock the North

Written by: Townsville Enterprise | September 4, 2020

The time to unlock the north’s potential is now. 2020 has been a year like no other, and it is far from over. Whilst the globe continues to grapple with the dual health and economic crises, the conversation in Townsville North Queensland has turned towards recovery. Recovery from disaster is something that as a region we have become all too familiar with. Over the past decade, the Townsville North Queensland community have experienced some of the toughest economic conditions and natural disasters that we’ve seen in our 154-year history. Despite the significant challenges of recent cyclones, commodity downturns, drought and more recently the unprecedented flooding event of 2019, our economy has continued to grow, and even amongst a global pandemic there is a subtle air of optimism within our community. Our region will play a critical role in advancing the State and the Nation, but we can’t do it alone. It will take all levels of Government to fast track investment and implement policies that will not only get the region back on its feet but secure its long-term future and economic resilience.

Townsville Enterprise, together with Taskforce NQ and NQROC (North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils), have delivered our united message of “Unlock the North” to both State and Federal Governments. The release of the Unlock the North: Townsville North Queensland Projects and Policies’ document (August 2020) provides a roadmap that urges Government to invest and support key industries in our region that can play a critical role in Australia’s recovery.

Townsville North Queensland’s economic strength lies in our diversity. There is no single industry sector that makes up more than 20% of our economy. The region thrives in the areas of resources, manufacturing, health, education and tourism and we have all the fundamentals in place to be the economic powerhouse for the State. The importance and interconnectedness of agriculture, minerals and advanced manufacturing in North Queensland cannot be overstated, with the growth of these sectors critical to Queensland’s and the Nation’s economic recovery. Between Townsville and Mount Isa there is more than $680 billion worth of untapped commodity potential and if we were to unlock even a quarter of this by providing affordable power and more efficient transport networks, we can create jobs for our community and build on our strengths to reignite the State and National economy.

Additionally, as global food demand increases, protection and security of sources becomes critical, as does opening untapped cropping potential. Support towards water and agriculture projects such as Big Rocks Weir and Hells Gates Dam will support securing food for the future, it will generate new jobs and encourage investment. Water security has been a challenge for local farmers and the community for over half a century, we have the solutions and now is the time to unlock the opportunity.  

The Tourism and Events sector has been absolutely decimated as a result of COVID-19, this is a sector that is critical to the fabric of our community and one which supports 37,000 jobs across North Queensland. Townsville North Queensland is nature’s playground and is bursting with potential for eco-tourism experiences. We have the reef, the rainforest, the outback and islands that rival anywhere else in the world, we have strengths in domestic tourism, and now has never been a better time to leverage these strengths. To fully realise our potential we need to invest in our tourism products and experiences. This will generate new jobs, but it will also enhance liveability for our locals. Both Federal and State Governments have acknowledged over the past decade the critical importance of Northern Australia to generate jobs and opportunities for the Nation. Now is the time to act on this potential and convert these visions and white papers into reality. 

We have the projects, we have the people, and we have the potential, now we just need the keys to unlock the north so that we can play a meaningful role in progressing the State and the Nation. 


Sample of significant projects and opportunities deserving of Government support at a critical time in our nation’s history, include the Port of Townsville expansion, the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line upgrade, the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, Big Rocks Weir and Hells Gates Dam, CopperString 2.0, the Museum of Underwater Art, Dungeness, Palm Island Retail Precinct, The Ayr Industrial Estate, The Paluma to Wallaman Trail and the Defence Centre of Excellence for Joint Amphibious Force Capability. 

Read more at townsvilleenterprise.com.au

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