Expanding Northern Australia tourism was a focus of meeting in Mount Isa on Thurday which attracted federal, state and territory ministers.
They were here for the third Ministerial Forum on Northern Development aimed at jobs and wealth-creation in resources, tourism, defence industry, water and indigenous economic development.
Led by Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan it was attended by two other federal Ministers (Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and Assistant Trade Minister Mark Coulton), Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad and ministers from Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Senator Canavan said the forums were progressing the government’s 20 year plan for Northern Australia.
“We are extending the CSIRO modelling on beef roads to tourist roads,” Senator Canavan said.
We are extending the CSIRO modelling on beef roads to tourist roadsMatt Canavan
“This is important particularly in smaller towns like Julia Creek, Normanton and Karumba which rely on that drive market and getting those links connected helps attract people up there.”.
Senator Canavan said they would invest $150,000 to upgrade CSIRO’s Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) to do the work.
“Over the past six years, TraNSIT has been used to analyse transport and logistics options and estimate transport cost savings,” he said.
“TraNSIT helped determine road projects under the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program and has been expanded to include mining.
“Now, this funding announced today will ensure that tourism is included in determining road priorities under the $1.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance – Northern Australia program.”
While the meeting agenda mainly dealt with defence spending and tourism the location of Mount Isa meant mineral resources was also on the table.
Senator Canavan said the North West Minerals Province was one of the world’s richest mineral-producing regions which has long delivered major economic benefits to Queensland.
“Resources sourced from the region contribute $1.3b to the gross regional product, employs 7700 full time employees and injects around $397m in wages to the economy.”
Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad said they were excited about the tourism potential of western Queensland as well as mining.
“This is some of the most beautiful country in the world so we want to get more tourists coming to the North West,” Ms Trad said.
“But fundamentally we know this is a is resource community and we’ve got to progress the North West Mineral Province agenda.”
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