Northern Australia infrastructure needs improvement to ensure ‘future viability’

Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch believes the prohibitive cost of northern Australia’s ‘infrastructure trifecta’ of energy, transport and water requires revision to avoid turning away investment from the region.

“Government and private sector support to improve these three factors is crucial to ensuring the future viability of industry across Australia’s north, particularly for its globally renowned but maturing mining sector and its more prospective and emerging gas, agricultural and tourism upside,” said McCulloch.

While mining is an important contributor to northern Australia’s economy, McCulloch stressed the need for improved diversification of industry even as mining commodity prices continue to improve.

“Northern Australia must obviously facilitate continued mineral sector development but stakeholders must look to diversify this regional economy, create job opportunities and have government work with businesses and communities to deliver integrated and appropriate services,” she said.

McCulloch was speaking ahead of a keynote address due to take place in Adelaide on October 15 as part of a summit day held by the Australia Geoscience Council.

Mayor McCulloch suggested that a reduction in regional airfare costs and increase in subsidies to bring parity with other parts of Australia, as well as investment in natural gas exploration (particularly in Queensland’s Isa Superbasin) and new geoscience tech could all help to increase growth value across northern Australia.

McCulloch also cited a Queensland Government report detailing the findings of a taskforce into future minerals funding in Queensland’s North West Province.

“That report is symptomatic of the level of focus needed to concentrate political and business wills to ensure a planned and well-orchestrated pathway to growth emerges, so that the region prospers, not wilts,” McCulloch said.

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