For Queensland to continue to lead the nation as an economic powerhouse following the pandemic recovery, as a State, we must leverage our traditional strengths and historic advantages while continuing to develop new industries.

As Australia’s most decentralised mainland
state, Queensland’s prosperity has always drawn significantly from its regional communities – centred around dynamic provincial cities such as Toowoomba, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Cairns, Mount Isa, and of course, Townsville.

These communities have relied historically on agriculture, specialised manufacturing, mining, tourism, and minerals processing.

While these industries have been drivers of
growth to the present day, they must continue to evolve as well as exist alongside an emerging services sector new industries such as advanced manufacturing, health and knowledge industries, and new energy production.

A number of strategies will help government and business spread prosperity to all corners of the State.

For the State and Federal Governments to show this commitment, the decentralisation of the public service, government-owned corporations and statutory bodies and their respective workforces is a key component. Public employees enjoy good salaries, and a strong public sector presence helps support the growth of small and medium businesses in regional communities.

Governments of all levels must also do more to entice companies that do business and win contracts in regional Queensland to become entrenched in the communities they work in.

The success Townsville has had in attracting such companies to set up in Townsville is already helping drive our local economy’s economic recovery.

In addition to local success stories, attracting big investors in regional Queensland to headquarter in our region – such as Bravus Mining and Resources – has been instrumental in Townsville looking forward to many years of growth into the future.

Many challenges remain. The costs of insurance, significant disruption to key supply chains for building materials and products, as well as significant shortfalls in labour supply mean that government must look immediately to invest in sovereign manufacturing and production capabilities, as well as reforming our skilled migration program in a post-pandemic world to help meet our growth capabilities.