Regional action plan looks to region's future

Date published: 24 January 2017

Townsville will work with other North Queensland regional councils to look at new ways to grow regional economies.

Townsville City Council’s participation in the North Queensland Pathfinder Action Plan was endorsed by full council today.

The plan, with input from the State Government, Townsville Enterprise and the Regional Australia Institute, seeks to guide jobs growth and development by proposing a number of key enabling projects, including advocacy to secure water availability.

The project will include North Queensland Regional Organisational of Councils (RED-ROC) councils: Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Burdekin and Palm Island.

RED-ROC chair Cr Jenny Hill said while water and energy were still priority areas for council, it was time for North Queensland to look at wider opportunities.

“Industry growth has changed, new areas for investment are emerging and new capacity has to be built internally to ensure the region is ready to grow for the next 20 years,” Cr Hill said.

The action plan focusses economic resources on six priority areas which are:

  • Tourism growth
  • Asia gateway expansion
  • Human resources growth
  • More entrepreneurs
  • Lifting workforce skills
  • Value add for agriculture

Working groups will be established to progress on a number of the actions.

Cr Hill said the project was developed collaboratively with the guidance of the Regional Australia Institute.

“This plan is about communities working together on a regional basis,” Cr Hill said.

“With the expertise and coordination of RAI, the project has drawn on ideas and views of our local business and community leaders to identify a select list of priority areas and agreed actions to boost our regional economy.”

Implementation of the plan will commence with an agreed monitoring plan used to coordinate the timing of projects, key performance indicators and participating stakeholders.

The Regional Australia Institute general manager of Research and Policy, Kim Houghton said the RAI’s Pathfinder Initiative identified the most important factors for economic prosperity in a region and the ways the community could boost its capacity to drive change.

“The North Queensland Pathfinder Action Plan was collaboratively developed and provides a robust plan which will guide the region’s economic prosperity. Regional collaboration is vital to ensure the North Queensland region can reach its full potential, and it is pleasing to see joint commitment from all stakeholders to deliver sustainable growth and diversity in the region going forward.”

The Pathfinder project was proposed by business and industry leaders, and local, State and Federal decision makers following a review of the North Queensland Economic Development Plan NQ2031.

The project has received $60,000 in funding from the Queensland Government with funding contributions from the Townsville City Council, RED-ROC councils, RDA Townsville North West Queensland and Townsville Enterprise Ltd.