Townsville Enterprise Limited and the North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NQ ROC) (Townsville, Hinchinbrook, Charters Towers, the Burdekin and Palm Island) identified the need for collective industry action on transforming North Queensland’s agricultural supply chain to meet existing and future international market demand. There is significant need for a long-term regional investment strategy and a multi-industry agreement to meet these demands.
A strong market outlook and numerous regional development options under consideration make agriculture an exciting growth sector for Townsville North Queensland.
Key products and markets that our primary producers should target in order to maximise future return on investment and bolster Australia’s international reputation for producing high quality, safe and clean food were identified.
To fund the study, Townsville Enterprise received a $250,000 CRCNA grant and supplementary funding from Charters Towers Regional Council, Burdekin Shire Council, Hinchinbrook Shire Council, Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council, Townsville City Council, James Cook University, CSIRO, Wilmar Sugar, Department of State Development, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Trade and Investment Queensland, Meat & Livestock Australia, Port of Townsville and Townsville Airport.
In May 2018 Townsville Enterprise announced that KPMG, Premise and AEC were the successful consultants commissioned to conduct the North Queensland Agricultural Market and Supply Chain Study.
The study found that there is $3 billion in unmet global market demand across ten of Australia’s leading agricultural export destinations and identified five priority Australian products: beef, avocado, macadamia, onshore aquaculture and soybean. In addition to this, the study also identified unmet demand in many other categories that are relevant to North Queensland.
Transitioning land use and strategic efforts to embrace the five priority products was estimated to result in a positive NPV of up to $271.1 million and generating approximately 2,000+ new jobs within the region.
Building value in the region’s supply chains was also identified as critical to ensuring the region can meet anticipated global food demand. These specifically include:
- Transitioning the beef industry to a higher value-add sector
- Utilising existing sugarcane land and fallow cropping systems
- Developing a new farm systems group to drive research development
- Intensifying the production of fresh food supported by improved cold chain logistics
- Leveraging Port of Townsville and Townsville Airport as key hubs for driving export growth
Next steps identified in the Study for all parties supportive of the developmental roadmap include establishing co-ops, working with organisations such as Austrade on policy positions, infrastructure investment and industry coordination.