As a result, much of the region’s potential has not been realised, despite having plentiful resources and land for development.
However, a new plan from the Mt Isa to Townsville Economic development Zone (MITEZ) organisation is forecasting big growth for the area, as new opportunities arise across north Queensland.
The organisation is hoping that new mining opportunities will increase infrastructure investment and allow new sources of employment for locals.
While the area already has considerable mineral resources currently being extracted, there were also new opportunities for projects in other mineral deposits across northern Queensland.
Alongside mining, three other industries were identified which can contribute to the region’s growth: intensified agriculture, energy generation and supply chain efficiency.
Supply chain efficiency is of growing importance in the area, thanks to the region’s closeness to valuable export markets in Asia. With Queensland’s ports expected to see new growth, there are already signs that the north of the state will be able to support greater mineral exports.
The North West Queensland Strategic Development Study was launched by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, who identified the value that this plan could bring to the area.
“North West Queensland has huge economic advantages in untapped mineral resources, tourism and agriculture and this study sets out a clear vision … for a brighter future in this state,” Mr Newman said.
“The study led by MITEZ says that, if the right infrastructure and planning is implemented, the region could have 40 per cent more workers and a 25 per cent increase in population.”
Population growth in the area could also mitigate pressure on Brisbane and the south east of the state, as people moving north relieves some of the demand on infrastructure around Brisbane.
New projects an opportunity for apprentices
If these forecast changes do come to fruition there will be much greater demand for a range of skills across the north of Queensland, making now a good time to consider undertaking an apprenticeship in a sought-after industry.
New mining projects will require a range of skills in the area, as demand for skills like welding increases.
At the same time, population growth in the far north will call on a range of residential and commercial construction skills, as new homes and businesses are needed in the area to support working communities.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator