Artist impressions of the Mackay PDA
Artist impressions of the Mackay PDA Contributed

LNP's $150M plan for regional growth

EXCLUSIVE: Transformational projects like the Mackay Waterfront could be a step closer through a push to secure a $150 million 'regional deal' if the LNP is re-elected.

Incumbent Dawson MP George Christensen said procuring a Mackay Regional Deal would be his top priority upon re-election, having pinned down support from a minister in the Coalition.

Similar to Townsville's 'city deal', the proposed regional deal would include funding commitments from all three levels of government - federal, state and local - to progress a development plan.

The LNP recently announced the first 'Regional Deal' pilot for the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region.

Mr Christensen said Mackay had been named one of the top 20 growth centres in the nation and he had gone to Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie for a commitment of support.

"I will be seeking a joint $150 million for this over the next five to 10 years - $50 million from each level of government - and this would enable us to undertake transformational projects such as the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area and build on our tourism potential by creating more local jobs,” he said

The Waterfront PDA will comprise five precincts: CBD and riverfront revitalisation, an innovation hub, Queens Park and an oceanfront drive with waterfront precinct. Each precinct will contain private and public services.

The development area is about 172 hectares and would be centrally located within the urban area of Mackay and include land and water along the southern side of the Pioneer River, including the City centre core, and extends east to the adjacent coastal water frontage along Town Beach.

Read more on Our Future Mackay

"If I am re-elected, I will put together a working group for the Mackay Regional Deal, which could include Mackay's mayor and deputy mayor, and representatives from Canegrowers, Resource Industry Network, Greater Whitsunday Alliance, State Government and the Regional Social Development Coalition,” Mr Christensen said.

Mr Christensen said a Mackay regional deal would allow the region to build on Mackay's traditional strengths of mining and sugar. He said looking at a full blown plan for the sugar industry around fallow cropping could lead to a profitable secondary agricultural market, and suggested meeting the massive need for chick pea exports to India could be viable option.

"Tripartite funding could ensure we position the region as a hub for remote mining automation with the mining workforce of the future located here,” he said. "We can do that by investment in critical digital infrastructure.

"All levels of government could also work with industry to have the main hub for Sugar Research Australia positioned in Mackay and work more closely with CQUniversity.

"There is great potential for CQUniversity to engage in research work that helps drive down electricity and irrigation costs for cane farmers and find new income streams through fallow cropping.”

"A Mackay Regional Deal could also address the liveability needs of the region with more community facilities to encourage people from cities to relocate to Mackay. I would see this as a major focus of the working group.”

Ms McKenzie said similar existing deals brought together all levels of government to capitalise on the opportunities for the region.

"Mackay is a key regional centre and has major transport connections, a growing population and tertiary education options, which makes it a suitable location for a future Regional Deal,” she said.

"As both a major employer in our communities and economic contributor across the country, we also need the business sector to play a leading role in supporting regionalisation and facilitating catalytic investment.

"A re-elected LNP government will support the regions to remain strong and make the most of their competitive advantages to become more prosperous and sustainable for the future.”

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