Article – Pitch for prosperity

by 19 June 2014

14 June 2014
Bruce Rockemer
Innisfail Advocate

AN increase in tourists, hydro electric power station or third major crop may result from the Federal Government’s proposal for developing Northern Australia, says Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon.

A Green Paper on Developing Northern Australia was released by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss in Townsville on Tuesday.

Mr Truss said the Government wanted to:

  • Develop a food bowl, including premium produce, which could help to double Australia’s agricultural output;
  • Build an energy export industry worth $150 billion to the economy, with a major focus on clean and efficient energy, providing major increases to resource exports; and
  • Grow the tourist economy in Northern Australia to two million international tourists a year.

The push to develop Northern Australia has been welcomed by the Cassowary Coast Mayor.

Cr Shannon is deputy chairman of the Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Regional Development Australia Committee and has a passion for seeing the region prosper.

Mr Truss also announced the makeup of the Northern Australia Advisory Group. It includes Innisfail business owner Trent Twomey and Noeline Ikin, who was the LNP candidate for Kennedy and has garnered extensive knowledge of the issues that affect the Cassowary Coast.

Cr Shannon said it was a golden opportunity for the Cassowary Coast to think outside the square and pitch ideas to the advisory group.

“It’s a real opportunity for the region,” Cr Shannon said.

“Who knows what will come out of the this; it could be a hydro electric power station, a boost in tourism or another major agricultural earner.

“The Government has said we need to have a base load power station because studies have shown that transmission line loss is costing us $600,000 a year in the North.

“We also have the finest soils and plenty of rain so we can grow just about anything.

“We certainly could be part of the food bowl of Australia.

“The Cassowary Coast is ideally situated in that Mourilyan Harbour has deep water access and is adjacent to the Palmerston Highway, the best road to the Tablelands, and Mundoo airport which has been resurfaced and is open for business.”

Mr Truss said the Federal Government was now compiling a White Paper on the development of Northern Australia.

“The report will be made available to the Northern Australia Task Force to help members develop their White Paper, and I look forward to continuing our close work with interest groups across the region,” Mr Truss said.

Courtesy of the Innisfail Advocate

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