On Thursday a number of federal and state ministers were in Mount Isa for a meeting.
In town were federal Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan, Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion and Assistant Minister for Trade Mark Coulton.
They were joined by Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, Western Australian Assistant Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade Darren West and Northern Territory NT Minister for Tourism Lauren Moss.
They were all here for the third meeting of the Ministerial Forum on Northern Development.
The forum which started in Kununurra last year and which rotates across the northern jurisdictions is aimed at progressing job and wealth-creating endeavours across a number of areas including resources, tourism, defence industry, water and indigenous economic development.
The key focuses of the Mount Isa meeting were defence and tourism.
While defence is more applicable to areas like Darwin and Townsville, the meeting is trying to make local business access easier for defence contracts.
In tourism Minister Canavan announced $150,000 to expand CSIRO’s Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) transport modelling tool to include tourist data.
Over the past six years, TraNSIT has been used to analyse transport and logistics options and estimate transport cost savings for initiatives under the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program and has also 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 so decision makers will be able to better estimate the benefits of road upgrades to the tourism sector.
Being a meeting in Mount Isa, there was also plenty of talk about resources and securing the future of the North West Mineral Province.
While there were no concrete actions in this sphere, it is pleasing to at least have the right people in the room looking at ways forward – Derek Barry