Central Queensland can be a powerhouse of jobs and income for Queensland – provided vital infrastructure is built.
This is the message Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan took to an LNP policy forum in the city on the weekend, unveiling what he called a “reef, beef and teach” investment plan.
“Infrastructure is crucial to the region’s economy and the State’s economy,” Senator Canavan told the forum. “CQ needs infrastructure for water, transport, education, health and tourism. It will cost money but the benefits will be massive.”
Senator Canavan said he and fellow CQ MPs Michelle Landry, Ken O’Dowd and George Christensen have identified $4 billion worth of infrastructure projects that are ready to go.
“These projects could produce massive wealth for the entire country. The last federal budget raised infrastructure spending by $58 billion over the next several years and we are going to fight hard for CQ’s share of national infrastructure funding.
“The region is doing it tough on the back of mine closures especially. However, while the end of the mining boom creates real challenges, it also creates opportunities. There are skilled workers available to build the infrastructure that would have been too costly to consider at the height of the boom.
“CQ is already a wealthy region. It produces $40 billion of wealth for Australia every year, from a population base of just over 400,000. With an income per person of more than $100,000, If Central Queensland were its own state, it would be the richest state in the nation. But it can be more productive still.”
Senator Canavan said dams were a springboard for growth and CQ has several suitable dam sites, some of which could start construction immediately.
For example, the proposed Connors River Dam already had state and federal environmental approvals, approvals for the Nathan Dam, Rookwood Weir and expansion of Eden Bann Weir were expected in the next year, and the Urannah Dam proposal also had potential in the future to grow an important agricultural area of the state.
“Rockhampton is already the beef capital of Australia but it could be the beef capital of the world with more irrigated agriculture providing more jobs in the fattening and processing parts of the supply chain.
“Education is also a strength for Central Queensland and it too has the potential to grow. An Institute of Agriculture could build on the already strong agricultural record of CQ University.
“Tourism is a source of massive untapped potential. The Great Keppel Island revitalisation project, another project already with environmental approvals, would be fantastic for the region and a casino licence should be granted to it. If it went ahead it could prove a catalyst to bringing an international airport to Rockhampton. The development of the Yeppoon foreshore should also be a priority.
“Central Queensland is the perfect platform to build new, diverse and future opportunities. While there are a multitude of projects, they particularly concentrate around the cattle, tourism and education sectors.
“A ‘reef, beef and teach’ investment plan for Central Queensland can keep its status as an economic and jobs powerhouse for the next decade ahead.”