2021 North West Road Trip

From Sunday 5 September, Townsville Enterprise will embark on its second annual 1,000-kilometre road trip from Mount Isa to Townsville highlighting the importance of the North West corridor to the future of Northern Australia. 

Driving from Mount Isa to Townsville, the road trip will demonstrate how the North West corridor has all the ingredients to unlock the full potential of Northern Australia. As the largest region in Northern Australia, coupled with future trades of critical minerals, renewable energy and high value crops, this is the place for all levels of government and the private sector to invest. 

The road trip will not only highlight the opportunities in the region, but also the challenges facing councils, project proponents, and industry, and how policy tweaks and investment will enable the realisation of those opportunities.  

Townsville Enterprise will meet with major and emerging mining operators, renewable energy project proponents, agricultural diversifiers, all levels of government, key industry bodies, and stakeholder groups.

The feedback received from the road trip will help establish an even stronger and more informed policy platform for Townsville Enterprise's 'Unlock the North' advocacy leading into the upcoming Federal election. 


North West Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday 5 September
  • Copperstring 2.0
  • Tony McGrady
  • Industry Roundtable
    • Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade
    • MITEZ
    • RDA
    • Commerce North West
    • State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure & Planning
Day 2: Monday 6 September
  • Glencore Mount Isa Mines
  • Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) Acid Plant
  • Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell
Day 3: Tuesday 7 September
  • Ernest Henry Mine
  • Robbie Katter MP
  • Roundtable with Resources Minister, Hon Scott Stewart MP
    • Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell
    • McKinlay Mayor Philip Curr
    • Richmond Mayor John Wharton
    • Flinders Shire Mayor Jane McNamara
    • Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade
Day 4: Wednesday 8 September
  • MMG Dugald River
  • Julia Creek vanadium sites - Saint Elmo
  • Queensland Rail re-sleeper project
  • Richmond Agricultural Project
Day 5: Thursday 9 September
  • Windlab Kennedy Energy Park
  • 'Amazing Grapes' Hughenden 15 Mile Irrigated Agricultural Development
  • Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge
  • Big Rocks Weir & Hells Gates Dam Project
  • Ravenswood Gold
Day 6: Friday 10 September
  • Special Envoy to Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald MP
  • Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson OAM MP
  • Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct
  • Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill
  • Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor
  • Port of Townsville

North West Road Trip Map

Road Trip Launch

2021 NORTH WEST ROAD TRIP
The Future of Northern Australia Starts Here

From tomorrow, Townsville Enterprise will embark on its second annual 1,000-kilometre road trip from Mount Isa to Townsville highlighting the importance of the North West corridor to the future of Northern Australia.

Driving from Mount Isa to Townsville, the road trip will demonstrate how the North West corridor has all the ingredients to unlock the full potential of Northern Australia.

The road trip will not only highlight the opportunities in the region, but also the challenges facing councils, project proponents, and industry, and how policy tweaks and investment will enable the realisation of those opportunities.


FROM THE CEO.... 
“Our message for this road trip is that the future of Northern Australia starts here.”

“From critical minerals, renewable energy, agriculture, water, and enabling infrastructure, we have all the ingredients on our doorstep to drive Northern Australia’s development.

“We have the largest population, an international airport, and a port which services 80% of Northern Australia’s population with general cargo.

“As the largest region in Northern Australia, coupled with future trades of critical minerals, renewable energy and high value crops, this is the place for all levels of government and the private sector to invest. Not to mention the significant amount of established infrastructure that we can build upon to grow Northern Australia - that’s why the future starts here.

“Importantly, the feedback we receive across the week will help establish an even stronger and more informed policy platform for our advocacy leading into the upcoming Federal election.

"We look forward to all our meetings and site visits along the corridor and reporting back to you each day. It's a jam-packed itinerary showcasing the epicentre of Northern Australia's development, so strap in!"

Claudia Brumme-Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Townsville Enterprise


Across the week, Townsville Enterprise will meet with major mining operators Glencore, MMG Dugald River, and Ravenswood Gold, as well as renewable energy project proponents CopperString 2.0 and WindLab Kennedy Energy Park, emerging vanadium operator Vecco, and agricultural diversifiers.

Engaging with all levels of government is a key component of the week-long itinerary across meetings with the Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart, Member for Traeger Robbie Katter, Senator Susan McDonald, and Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson, as well as membership bodies MITEZ, RDA, and Commerce North West.

We have also convened a roundtable with the Mayors of Mount Isa, Cloncurry, McKinlay, Richmond, and Flinders Shires to meet with Minister for Resources Scott Stewart who will also be along the corridor next week.

There will be updates on Big Rocks Weir, the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, Port of Townsville operations, and how infrastructure like the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor project would increase global export opportunities.

The road trip will focus attention on the region’s critical priorities where through media, social media, and stakeholder meetings Townsville Enterprise will highlight the barriers and opportunities for Northern Australia’s growth.

Daily updates on the road trip will be available at our website and Facebook page as we continue to shine the spotlight on the companies, communities and contributors that are the future of Northern Australia's development.

Day 1: Mount Isa

Read more about Day 1

Today was the first day of our North West road trip and we have hit the ground running in mining heartland - Mount Isa!

Across the day we have spoken with a number of community and industry leaders about what makes the North West corridor the future of Northern Australia. We met with:

  • Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade
  • Former Minister for Mines & Energy, Parliament Speaker, and Mount Isa Mayor, Hon. Tony McGrady
  • CopperString 2.0 Founder & Executive Chairman, John O'Brien
  • Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ) CEO, Catherine Robson
  • Regional Development Australia's (RDA) Committee Member, Chris Boshoff

It was a common theme today that this corridor needs to be the model of the future for developing Northern Australia. The message was clear, common user infrastructure, like CopperString 2.0, critical mineral processing facilities, and rail assets will enable the Mount Isa to Townsville corridor to prosper for generations to come.

We heard several times today the importance of the regions along the corridor working closer together to help each other grow. The alliance between Townsville Enterprise and MITEZ will also ensure our voice for this significant economic zone will be heard loud and clear in Brisbane and Canberra.

Day 2: Mount Isa & Cloncurry

Read more about Day 2

Today was the second day of our North West road trip and we still had plenty to uncover in Mount Isa before we headed down the Barkly Highway to Cloncurry.

It was yet another day of hearing just exactly what makes this dynamic region tick and how the activity in the North West is driving Northern Australia's development. Today we toured and met with:

  • Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor Greg Campbell
  • Glencore Mount Isa Mines
  • Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL)

Whilst the sentiment is optimistic for the future, there are still challenges to overcome particularly power costs, rail infrastructure, and insurance and banking support. However the will from the companies, communities, and councils of this corridor to work with governments and stakeholders will not only secure the jobs of today, but create the jobs of tomorrow.

Day 3: Cloncurry & Ernest Henry

Read more about Day 3

Day 3 and we've reached the half point of our North West Road Trip and the optimism for the future of this corridor continues to be a consistent message echoed each and every day.

We are spoilt for choice with the natural resources and local talent sitting right here in our backyard and we saw this first-hand at Glencore's Ernest Henry Mine this morning. This is one of the many mines on this corridor contributing $20.5 billion to the national GDP, and that's why the future of Northern Australia starts here.

Tonight we were thrilled to bring together all five shire councils along the corridor with the Minister for Resources Scott Stewart, to share their views on enablers and inhibiters to the growth of their communities. The passion in the room for North Queensland and for the corridor was second to none.

While there were challenges named, the overall buoyancy for the future was inspiring. These Mayors know their region is driving the economic recovery for this country and their passion to continue playing this important role was electric. The diversification of industry in each shire was also positive to hear and that the risks been taken are on their way to deliver dividends for the North West.

We also had the opportunity to catch up with the local State Member, Robbie Katter, who covers the North West corridor and one of the most diverse electorates in Queensland.

Today we toured and met with:

  • Glencore's Ernest Henry Mine
  • Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart MP and Resources Director-General, Mike Kaiser
  • Leader of Katter's Australia Party and Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter MP
  • Roundtable discussion with Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor Greg Campbell, Richmond Shire Council Mayor John Wharton AM, Flinders Shire Council Mayor Jane McNamara, Mount Isa City Council Mayor Danielle Slade, and McKinlay Shire Councillor John Lynch.

Day 4: Cloncurry, Julia Creek & Richmond

Read more about Day 4

Day 4 of our North West Road Trip and no trip to Cloncurry would be complete without a visit to MMG's Dugald River Mine. We had the opportunity to tour the mine where over 1.5 million tonnes of ore is being processed while supporting over 600 jobs, many of those Townsville residents.

We then headed down the Flinders Highway to Julia Creek to see first-hand the greenfield vanadium sites on the cusp of being mined and transforming the North West into a globally recognised clean and green critical minerals hub. Additionally, if enabled, common user infrastructure and vanadium battery production could be undertaken in Townsville.

The Richmond Shire Council Mayor John Wharton also spoke to us about the major irrigation and agricultural projects underway in his community and the importance of an affordable and reliable rail line from the North West to the Port of Townsville. Particularly the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor which John highlights as a key priority for the future of Northern Australia.

Day 4 included:

  • MMG Dugald River Mine
  • Vanadium sites at Julia Creek
  • Queensland Rail re-sleeper project
  • Richmond Shire Council Mayor John Wharton AM

Day 5: Hughenden, Ravenswood & Charters Towers

Read more about Day 5

We've reached Day 5, the second last day of our North West Road Trip, and from agricultural diversification, renewable energy, and what could soon be the largest gold mine in Queensland, the Hughenden to Charters Towers region is quickly becoming a world leader across multiple fields.

Day 5 included:

  • 'Magic Grapes' Hughenden
  • Flinders Shire Council Mayor Cr Jane McNamara
  • Windlab Kennedy Energy Park
  • Big Rocks Weir & Hells Gates Dam Project
  • Charters Towers Council Mayor Cr Frank Beveridge
  • Ravenswood Gold

The clear message has been the need for access to cheaper power, an efficient rail network, and cutting red tape. Tomorrow we will reach the supply chain anchor - the Port of Townsville - where the future of Northern Australia starts and ends.

Upon reaching Townsville, on our final day of our road trip, we are looking forward to taking these inhibiters directly to Minister for Northern Australia David Littleproud in Townsville. Here we will also highlight to the Minister the critical role this region has played in keeping the national economy afloat, and the opportunities that if unlocked will benefit all of Northern Australia.

Day 6: Townsville

Read more about Day 6

From pit to paddock to port, today was the sixth and final day of our North West Road Trip and what a week it has been.

Today we covered the Charters Towers to Townsville corridor, all the way to the Port of Townsville where the critical minerals and agriculture we have seen first-hand are exported to the world.

The Port of Townsville is where the development of Northern Australia starts and finishes as the anchor linking the North West corridor to Townsville.

Day 6 included:

  • Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct
  • Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill
  • Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC)
  • Port of Townsville
  • Northern Australia Agenda Forum with Minister David Littleproud, Senator Susan McDonald, and Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson

Upon our return to Townsville today we were thrilled to have the opportunity to host Minister for Northern Australia and Agriculture David Littleproud, along with Special Envoy to Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald and Member for Herbert Phil Thompson, to directly deliver our findings from this past week. This included the need for access to cheaper power, water security, an efficient rail network, cutting red tape, skills shortages, and appropriate access to finance and insurance for regional communities.

It was encouraging to hear the Minister's focus on breaking down these barriers and giving the private sector the confidence to invest into Northern Australia's future knowing they have the support of all levels of government.

Even though we have reached our final destination for this week's road trip, this is by no means the end of the road for our region. Leading into an upcoming Federal Election we will use this week's learnings to help shape our advocacy as we continue to shine the spotlight on the importance of all of North Queensland to the future of Northern Australia's development.

We hope you have enjoyed coming along on the journey with us from Mount Isa to Townsville. We thank our sponsors MMG, Copperstring 2.0, Ravenswood Gold, and the Port of Townsville for making the trip possible. We also thank all the councils, companies, and communities who embraced us, enriched us, and informed us along the corridor. The engagement has been invaluable to ensure we are taking the right messages to the highest of levels and ensuring the priorities of North and North West Queensland are heard loud and clear.

2021 North West Road Trip

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