Jul 10, 2012

Sustaining and Spreading the Boom Across the North

Today I was pleased to participate in the formal unveiling of the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone: 50 Year Freight Infrastructure Plan, an ambitious long term blueprint for boosting economic activity within the region almost six-fold to $84 billion a year within just five years.

It’s a Plan this Federal Labor Government endorses and is prepared to invest in.

Indeed, we will use monies raised by our new mining tax to assist in turning the Plan’s aspirations into reality.  Specifically, we will provide almost $1.7 million to fund the appointment of a Supply Chain Coordinator.

The Coordinator’s task will be to work with transport operators, government agencies, mining companies and local councils to improve the overall efficiency of the supply chain by eliminating bottlenecks, be they caused by bad management practices or a lack of physical infrastructure.

Developed by the councils covering the vast section of Queensland between Townsville and the Northern Territory border in close collaboration with industry and local communities, the Plan takes stock of the region’s existing infrastructure and identified what will be needed to unlock its economic potential.

The Federal Infrastructure Coordinator Michael Deegan has labelled it the “best piece of work” he’s seen in the four years since being first appointed to that position with Infrastructure Australia.

The financial backing we are providing to this visionary project is but the latest example of Federal Labor’s determination to reinvest a significant proportion of the wealth created by our natural resources back into strengthening regional communities and securing our nation’s long term prosperity.

All up, we expect to put some $6 billion from our Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) into the Regional Infrastructure Fund, available for projects such as the one I’m announcing today.  It will also help to build the infrastructure which will support the mining industry’s future growth and the local communities that work for it.

Federal Labor’s MRRT is also funding tax relief for small businesses, better superannuation for workers and extra assistance for families.


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Sustaining and Spreading the Boom Across the North

Map of Townsville and North West Queensland Transport Infrastructure