Day 3 of the Unlock the North virtual delegation to Canberra is wrapped up, with the North Queensland Mayors and TEL campaigning hard for funding and policy decisions that will make a real difference to the lives of North Queenslanders today and into the future.
Our first meeting of the day, with Hon Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, was an opportunity to advocate for the critical funding and policy issues facing our region, at the highest level of Government. North Queensland has exceeded all expectations during the pandemic, and the Prime Minister noted the improved outlook and business confidence in Townsville compared to previous visits.
Discussion centred on the ways in which North Queensland could continue to lead the charge when it comes to pandemic recovery, and the step-change into renewable energy industries like hydrogen and critical minerals processing. The Prime Minister also noted the urgent need to address skills and human capital shortages in the regions.
We thank our federal Member for Herbert Philip Thompson and Senator Susan McDonald for joining us for the meeting.
From the Opposition, today the delegation met with Hon Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation, for discussions around the role Townsville and North Queensland can play as an advanced manufacturing hub, RegenAqua waste water treatment, minerals processing and the potential of Hydrogen to be a game changer for our region, and our impact to be felt nationally.
United we also campaigned on insurance affordability and availability for small business and residents with advisors from the office of Hon Michael Sukkar, Assistant Treasurer. This was a great opportunity to discuss the importance of having the right business environment in North Queensland to promote growth and investment. The issues that are a handbrake on business at this time are varied, and include items skills shortages, the cost living and doing business in North Queensland, the availability of public liability insurance for tourism operators, through the ability to purchase and develop new housing stock in our regional centres.
Today also saw a productive discussion with the office of Hon Jim Chalmers, Shadow Treasurer. In this meeting the delegation had a great opportunity to raise a series of project funding opportunities including loan facilities for Copper String 2.0, Hells Gate Dam agriculture and pumped hydro projects, and getting the basic infrastructure in place that will open the doors to private investment in the Hydrogen sector.