Townsville North Queensland State Budget Wishlist

8th June 2024

Ahead of the State Government’s Budget release next week, Townsville Enterprise and North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NQROC) have outlined the regions vision for the future.

Highlighted the key priorities essential for the region’s growth and prosperity, emphasisng the importance of strategic investments to drive economic development.

Key Strategic Priorities needing State Government funding:

  • Copperstring – Ongoing operational funding for works required to make sure CopperString, renewable wind and solar projects, and the critical mineral mining and refining projects can be built to deliver the largest infrastructure project in the history of North Queensland.
  • Housing - A set regional allocation from the Housing Infrastructure fund for North Queensland. $35 million to provide trunk infrastructure upgrades that will facilitate rapid housing development and make the North Rail Yards project competitive to Southeast Queensland.
  • Townsville Waterfront Renewal – Funding to create the new face of Townsville and building regional Australia’s most liveable city. $50m to build Ross Creek Boardwalk expansion and funding for a new entertainment centre.
  • North Queensland Health Masterplan Priorities
    • $300 million for a new state of the art Charters Towers Hospital
    • $20 million to establish the NQ Spinal Unit. Acute spinal services are currently only provided in Brisbane.
    • $30 million for a new integrated health care centre on Magnetic Island
    • $21 million for upgrades for Ayr and Ingham Hospital to provide local CT scanning at Ayr and improved emergency services closer to home reducing transfers to Townsville University Hospital.
    • $5 million for the installation of a robotic pharmacy solution.
  • Magnetic Island Koala Hospital - $3.5 million to develop a visitor facing Koala Hospital.

Townsville Enterprise, CEO, Claudia Brumme-Smith said CopperString 2032, housing, health, Ross Creek waterfront investments and enabling infrastructure are the key priorities Townsville Enterprise would like to see committed to in the budget on Tuesday.

“Townsville is the largest city in Northern Australia and our region collectively has all the right ingredients – with funding from the State Government towards these key priorities we will be able to grow and support new and existing industries that the world is demanding,” said Ms Brumme-Smith.

“We need ongoing operational funding for the essential work required to advance CopperString, renewable wind and solar projects, and critical mineral mining and refining projects. We want to see ongoing funding commitment to ensure shovels are in the ground later this year and there is early work budget for this pivotal project to get underway. The promise of this mega project has already delivered an additional $13 billion in private sector funding announcements.”

“With a vacancy rate under 1% and a pipeline predicting 4,975 new jobs by 2029, the housing pressure continues to intensify. We need a commitment to see a set regional allocation from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for North Queensland. The North Rail Yards project will need to get the infrastructure investment it needs to enable new housing stock to come online. Housing is crucial for attracting the workforce needed for projects like CopperString and hospital upgrades.”

“With significant demand for workforce in our region, population growth and liveability are at the forefront of priorities for our city and broader region. The Townsville Waterfront Renewal will be a catalytic project enhancing our cities liveability and community pride. This project will also grow our eco-tourism offering and provide a renewed gateway and education precinct for the Great Barrier Reef. A renewed waterfront will firmly put Townsville North Queensland on the map as Australia’s most liveable regional city.”

“The State’s Government commitment towards the Waterfront Precinct would be a new Exhibition and Entertainment Centre. A catalytic facility that will further enhance Townsville’s reputation as the events capital of Northern Australia. New boardwalks on both sides of Ross Creek will enable the 500,000sqm of prime waterfront land to be enjoyed by our community as an extension to the Strand.”

“There is a global demand for regenerative eco-tourism experience, and we have an ideal opportunity right here on our doorstep with the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital. The increased demand for wildlife care on Magnetic Island, particularly for injured and sick koalas, means the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital needs to expand. The Magnetic Island Koala Hospital has a vision to offer an immersive, educational, and inspiring experience for visitors and the community.”

NQROC Chair and Mayor of Charters Towers Regional Council, Cr Liz Schmidt said the North Queensland Organisation of Councils (NQROC) welcomes TEL’s advocacy in the lead up to Budgets.

“It’s time to deliver all hospital and health services our region needs, to bring the patient care up to the standard of other health care facilities across the State,” said Cr Schmidt.

“The Townsville Hospital and Health Service (HHS) is planning and innovating for the future, an ambitious masterplan comprises several major expansions to ensure the continued health and prosperity of the region and solidify the position of Townsville North Queensland as a centre of healthcare excellence. “

“New health infrastructure is critical for our communities in North Queensland. We need to see State Government commit to a new $300 million state of the art Charters Towers Hospital, $20 million to address acute spinal services that are only currently available in Brisbane, to see $30 million towards a new integrated health care centre on Magnetic Island, $21 million towards upgrades to regional hospitals in Ayr and Ingham that would provide improved emergency services closer to home, and $5 million to allow installation of a robotic pharmacy solution.”

Further regional priorities can be found in the Townsville Enterprise Unlock the North document.

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