Premier Peter Beattie released the Northern Economic Triangle Blueprint last week in order to “realise the region’s potential at a time when there is strong international demand for minerals and metals from the rapidly expanding economies of China and India.”
The plan looks at developing major road and rail links, ports, water and gas pipelines and other infrastructure to support the state’s booming resources industry, which is expected to remain strong into the foreseeable future.
“The Mount Isa, Townsville and Bowen triangle has the potential to become one of the world’s great export zones,” Beattie said.
He said the blueprint would maximise the economic potential of Mount Isa and Townsville, develop a new industrial precinct at Bowen and foster private sector investment and growth.
The plan identifies the Bowen as being ideally placed to become a new industrial hub because of the deepwater coal export port at Abbot Point surrounded by large tracts of land suitable for new industry development.
“The blueprint provides critical infrastructure strategies by partnering with private sector investments,” Beattie said.
Infrastructure Association of Queensland executive director Paul Clauson told the Australian Financial Review he welcomed the decision to involve the private sector in the projects but said there had been too much concentration on the state's fast-growing southeast to the detriment of the northern and central regions.
“There's a bit of catch-up in the regional areas needed, and the Government is playing that game now,” Clauson said.
“South East Queensland has been lagging. Now the Government has realised there is a shortfall of infrastructure in the regions that has been a concern of ours for some time."
Beattie recognised that Gladstone was already an international location for major industry development in the 21st century and that Australia TradeCoast is the fastest growing industry and trade precinct in Australia.
“Now we want to do the same for North Queensland and North West Queensland,” the premier said.
Mount Isa Mayor Ron McCullough told ABC Online the new economic blueprint is not enough to guarantee the region's future as a major industrial precinct.
"Well I'll be a lot happier whenever I see something really happening," McCullough said.
"I mean we've had plenty of blueprints and studies before.
"It's pretty well known the Mount Isa and north-west Queensland region have got resources unequalled really throughout many parts of the world and certainly throughout Australia, but nothing's been happening with them for so long we're a bit unsure if anything is ever going to happen."
The stakeholder and public consultation period for the blueprint ends on March 30, 2007.
Copies of the Northern Economic Blueprint can be downloaded from