Advocacy Alert: Economic Recovery & Resilience Heard Loud and Clear in Canberra

Click the video above to hear Townsville Enterprise CEO, Patricia O'Callaghan provide an update on this week's North and North West Queensland regional delegation to Parliament House, Canberra, to promote the fast-tracking of the North's economic recovery and future resilience following the unprecedented flooding event across our region.

Extraordinary events require an extraordinary response, and in the wake of one of the most devastating natural disasters in North and North West Queensland’s recent memory, now more than ever our region needs support.

That's why Townsville Enterprise took that exact message to the halls of Parliament House this week, leading a delegation of regional mayors and industry bodies to Canberra to meet with our nation’s leaders. Here we positioned the immediate assistance required to get the north back on its feet, as well as the medium to long term projects and policies that will secure the economic future and resilience of communities across the north.

Joining Townsville Enterprise across 19 meetings overs three days included Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill, Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch, Burketown Mayor Ernie Camp, North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NWQ ROC) CEO Greg Hoffman, PVW Partners' Carl Valentine, and Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane.

Meetings were secured with the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, several Cabinet and Shadow Ministers, and representatives from Defence and Questacon. We wish to acknowledge Member for Herbert Cathy O'Toole, Senator Matt Canavan and Senator Ian Macdonald and their offices for their support in assisting Townsville Enterprise facilitate these meetings in Canberra at such short notice.

This delegation sought to not solely focus on the immediate recovery and the drag caused by the flooding disaster, but also to deal with the pre-existing structural issues that undermine future resilience and the investment necessary to resolve these issues. This requires all levels of government to work in concert to establish a significant response to the flood crisis, with the objective of returning confidence and demonstrating that nobody will be left behind. 

The critical need for further investment into the key infrastructure and industries that are the lifeblood of regional Queensland was put to Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Ministers. This included highlighting major projects such as upgrading the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line and securing the necessary support and policy settings for the mining and resources industry to continue to grow in regional Queensland, in areas like the Galilee Basin. Discussions with both sides of politics also covered tourism opportunities including the Museum of Underwater Art and the upgrade of Reef HQ, the North West Minerals Province, tax, population growth, and addressing the insurance challenges local businesses are currently facing following the floods. 

The importance of this delegation cannot be understated. By uniting with our neighbours from across the North we sent a clear message that now, more than ever, our communities need our leaders' support. As we edge closer to the Federal Budget and a Federal election we must see significant commitments towards our region to not only ensure the North recovers, but also thrives.

We are not ignorant to the fact this will not be an overnight cure, and there is plenty of work still required on the immediate recovery, but we encourage the Federal Government to put significant recovery and resilience plans in place to ensure communities and industries from across North and North West Queensland can get back on their feet as soon as possible. Not only do the communities from across the North depend on this economic recovery, but so to does our country. We know a strong north means a strong nation, and right now, that is precariously at risk.

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11:38 AM Mar 22nd @TSVEnterprise