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19 May, 2021

THREE NEW PROJECTS TO CREATE REGIONAL JOBS AND ECONOMIC STIMULUS IN QUEENSLAND

The Australian and Queensland governments have announced three new projects in Queensland’s Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region to create jobs and economic stimulus.


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the projects would drive the region’s recovery from COVID-19.

“The Australian Government is investing $10 million in three new projects in the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region under the Regional Recovery Partnerships program to deliver jobs and economic recovery and diversification at this critical time,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. 

“This includes a new Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub for the Whitsunday region, delivering Stage 2 of the Clermont Saleyards and Showgrounds Revitalisation and upgrading the Biocommodities Pilot Plant in Mackay.”

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry welcomed Stage 2 of the Clermont Saleyards and Showgrounds Revitalisation Project, which will increase the capacity of the facility to service the sale demands of the region. 

“This $3.2 million project will deliver improved infrastructure and technology upgrades including a new entrance and car parking to improve cattle movements, new spelling yards to bolster saleyard efficiencies, replacing the ageing rodeo ring and refurbishing the show pavilion to create a more fit-for-purpose multi-user space,” Ms Landry said.

“This will support growth in our cattle and showgrounds-related industries, provide new ongoing jobs by increasing the number of cattle the saleyards can host and allow our region to capture a greater share of cattle sales to provide a real value-add to the region.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub, which will be based in the Whitsundays, will deliver ag-tech programs and training to boost the sugar cane, beef, aquaculture and horticulture industries.

The $1.5 million contribution to the hub will connect local SMEs, industry and researchers to regional producers and processors to help increase the rate of technology adoption to boost on-farm productivity and workforce capability.”

Both MPs also welcomed the significant investment into the upgrade to the Mackay Biocommodities Pilot Plant which will support the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) development of regional bio‑manufacturing industries in synthetic biology, green chemicals and future foods.

A $5.2 million contribution to upgrade the 10-year-old Biocommodities Pilot Plant, owned and operated by QUT, will enhance the region’s capability in biomass processing, fermentation, separation and product development technologies,” Ms Landry said.

“This will increase our agricultural productivity and sustainability, attract investors to the region and grow local business opportunities by grasping the real growth opportunity presented by globally in-demand biocommodities,” Mr Christensen said.

Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday was one of 10 priority regions across Australia eligible for funding under the Australian Government’s commitment of $100 million over two years to fund Regional Recovery Partnerships. The Partnerships coordinate investments with other levels of government to deliver jobs, economic recovery and economic diversification.

FURTHER COMMENTS FROM THOSE INVOLVED IN PROJECTS:

Professor Ian O’Hara, Deputy Director, Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy, Queensland University of Technology

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region and I would like to thank the regional stakeholders for their support of this project.”

“The upgrade of the facility will allow us to fast-track development of technologies and products with real application in the region. This capability puts MIW on the global map for companies looking to invest in new biomanufacturing facilities, drawing on the strength of existing agricultural, manufacturing and services industries within the region supported by this new research and development infrastructure.”

Australian Prawn Farms General Manager Matt West:

“The investment in a regional Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub will create more sustainable practises and regional job opportunities in Aquaculture.

 “We want people to learn, work, and stay in the region and this funding for the Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skill Hub will support our industry to achieve that.

“Aquaculture is leading the way with some exciting advances in technology that many of our farms have adopted and this hub is about embedding those practices into our farming future,” Mr West said.

Kylie Porter, CEO, Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3)

“The announcement of the Regional Recovery Partnership funding will benefit the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday agriculture sector, which is on the cusp of transformational change.

“This commitment is an investment in the future of Mackay Isaac Whitsunday agriculture.

“It focuses on supporting the strong beef industry; growing our value-adding opportunities and enhancing our region’s skills and technology adoption to support the future growth of regional agriculture.”


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