Unlock the North Road Trip Series | Burdekin Growth Opportunities

Securing commitments for North Queensland in the upcoming Federal Budget and Queensland State Election remains our firm focus as we continue our 'Unlock the North Road Trip Series'. This time we hit the road south to shine the spotlight on the Burdekin Shire and the projects in this region that can play a key role in the economic recovery of the North and the nation.

The Burdekin has the capability to play a meaningful role in the economic recovery and prosperity of North Queensland and the state. Maximising the potential of the agriculturally rich Burdekin region and supporting industry development is critical and will require targeted government investment and policy support.

Encouraging further industry development in the regions, which can be facilitated through investment into the Ayr Industrial Land for example, will immediately attract private investors and generate jobs now and into the future. There is no more important time than now to unlock the wealth and opportunity sitting in the regions to ensure we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic as strongly as possible.

Key projects in the Burdekin seeking government support include:
- Ayr Industrial Land (17 construction jobs, 3 ongoing, 57 indirect)
- Macro-Algal Bioremediation Facility (20 construction jobs, 3 permanent, 48 indirect)
- Wongaloo Conservation Park

Ayr Industrial Land 

The Burdekin Shire Council proposes to develop additional land for industrial purposes in Ayr as the existing industrial estate is now close to capacity. Council has recently purchased additional vacant land adjoining the existing industrial estate, undertaken detailed engineering designs and obtained relevant planning approvals to enable the land to be reconfigured into a number of industrial lots.

The provision of suitably located and serviced industrial land in Ayr will help meet business and industry needs. The requested funding will act as a catalyst to develop further stages of the industrial estate as the land sales from stage one will enable infrastructure provision in future stages, thereby multiplying the initial investment and job creation opportunities.

The total cost of the Ayr Industrial Land project is estimated at $5.2M, with Burdekin Shire Council prepared to fund 50% of that once securing government support. The project is shovel ready but requires funding support to construct the necessary infrastructure to develop the land for industrial purposes, allowing for business growth and development in the shire.

Macro-Algal Bioremediation Facility 

The proposed 5.5 hectare Macro-Algal Bioremediation Facility project involves the construction of a demonstration facility using fresh water macro-algae to remediate nitrogen and phosphorous from the discharge effluent of the Ayr/Brandon Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). These two nutrients represent a significant threat to the ongoing health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Research trials undertaken with JCU indicate the algae can significantly reduce the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous from the wastewater produced by the WWTP. Burdekin Shire Council is working in partnership with Pacific Biotechnologies Pty Ltd, which holds the intellectual property for the macro algae treatment process, to secure funding to build the demonstration facility at the Ayr/Brandon STP.

Construction of the $6.5M bioremediation project will enable a full scale demonstration facility to be developed and operated. The facility has the potential to be duplicated at several other water treatment sites throughout Queensland that are discharging to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The technology has significantly lower capital and operating cost than other current conventional treatment upgrade options designed to remove nitrogen and phosphorus.

Wongaloo Conservation Park 

The Wongaloo Conservation Park - embracing the Cromarty-Clevedon Wetlands - is situated approximately mid way between Townsville and Ayr dissected by the Bruce Highway and Great Northern Rail line. These wetlands are famous for the diversity of flora and fauna with up to 250 species of birds, 51 species of reptiles and 44 species of mammals within a spectacular wilderness setting between mountain ranges and tidal creek and river systems. Many refer to the location as the Kakadu of Eastern Australia, but it is far more accessible.

To capitalise on the growing demand for nature-based tourism experiences, the wetlands management and visitor focus is centred on providing easy access for visitors; however, this is currently stalled due to the lack of a safe rail line crossing. In order to develop the tourism offering, State Government funding is required for a pedestrian rail crossing as well as $50,000 towards basic power and telephone service supply. The planned rail crossing site is just 1.5 km down a sealed road off the Bruce Highway and directly adjacent to an already developed car and bus parking area.

The managing Trustee proposes to facilitate a staged infrastructure development as demand grows and finances allow. All planning for a 3.2 km signed walking trail linking the spectacular viewing points is done, and a twenty seat ‘people mover’ for non walkers is available on site, making Stage 1 shovel ready.

The highlighted Burdekin projects are included in the ‘Unlock the North Projects and Policies’ document recently launched to all political persuasions at Parliament House. The advocacy platform includes regional projects and policies developed with TaskforceNQ and NQROC, which includes the Local Governments of Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, and Palm Island, outlining how governments can fast-track support to ramp up private investment and jobs for Australians.


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