The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

5 April 2013

Funding to help unlock future economic development opportunities in North Queensland

The Gillard Government will fund a study of the power requirements for North Queensland to help maximise future economic development opportunities in the region.

North Queensland has an exciting future and the Federal Labor Government is committed to supporting the region to harness the economic opportunities that lay ahead.

Fundamental to unlocking these future economic opportunities is the provision of adequate and affordable base load power supply and the associated transmission requirements.

Currently, the only base load power supply available to North Queensland is generated south of Rockhampton, making it cost-prohibitive for many resource projects being explored in the Northern Galilee Basin.

That's why the Federal Labor Government will provide up to $2.5 million towards a feasibility study to examine the electricity generation required to drive future economic development in North Queensland, particularly in the Pentland area.

The study will also examine the potential to sustainably develop up to 120,000 hectares of land in Pentland for sugarcane production and associated milling, ethanol, and cogeneration infrastructure in the Pentland area.

After first being proposed by Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, the study is supported by Townsville Enterprise Limited and key proponents Guildford Coal and Mackay Sugar.

The study also has the strong backing of the Mount Isa Townsville Economic Zone, Townsville Enterprise as well as the Mayors of Townsville and Charters Towers Regional Council.

This $2.5 million commitment builds on the Federal Labor Government's long-held support for the provision of base load power supply in North Queensland.

A special steering committee with representatives from the local community and industry as well as the Department of Regional Development and Local Government will be established to determine the scope of study.

The funds will be made available to Townsville Enterprise Limited to manage the study subject to its final scope being agreed by the steering committee and the Department of Regional Development and Local Government.