Article – Mount Isa hosts committee probing northern Australia development

3 April 2014
Kate Stephens
ABC News
A parliamentary committee looking at ways to develop northern Australia is heading to outback Queensland for the first time.
The federal joint select committee is holding public hearings across northern Australia
Today it will sit in the north-west Queensland city of Mount Isa, as part of its consultation to create a white paper on development in northern Australia.
Glen Graham is the executive officer of the development group Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone.
He says its proposal calls for a greater focus on the vast resources in north-west Queensland.
“By getting the economic fundamentals and policy settings right, including ways to attract more people to the north such as zone tax rebates and incentives for investors, we can assist the Commonwealth Government to achieve its aim,” he said.
Mr Graham says the availability of water will be crucial to any future development.
“We are emphasising in most cases water availability will always be the key in developing the north,” he said.
Committee chairman Warren Entsch says it will also consider what is needed to attract people to the region.
“There’s a lot of those how we get people back into towns, attract them back into some of these more remote towns and how we then retain … their energy security, water security, there has been discussion on further water storage to provide opportunities for jobs,” he said.
The committee heads to Western Australia next and is due to report back to Federal Parliament in July.
Courtesy of ABC News