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Central and Western Queensland Infrastructure Plan

Central and Western Queensland is a diverse region that stretches from Rockhampton, Gladstone and Yeppoon in the east to the remote outback communities of Birdsville, Bedourie and Boulia along the western border. The region includes the local governments of Banana, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Central Highlands, Diamantina, Gladstone, Livingstone, Longreach, Rockhampton, Winton and Woorabinda.

The Central and Western Queensland Infrastructure Plan (CWQIP) is the first of seven regional infrastructure plans developed to support the implementation of the 2022 State Infrastructure Strategy.

The CWQIP identifies four strategic regional priorities focusing on traditional and emerging industries, connectivity and liveability to ensure regional businesses maximise opportunities presented by decarbonisation and a changing industrial landscape so that the region remains an attractive place to live, work and visit.

Queensland Government infrastructure planning activities that align with and support these priorities have also been identified.

By articulating the region’s economic advantages and future priorities, the CWQIP can help drive private investment through increasing investor confidence.

The CWQIP will inform the strategic planning of all levels of government, business and industry to support a more coordinated approach to sequencing and prioritising infrastructure planning and investment.

  • The challenges, opportunities, strategic regional priorities, and regional infrastructure priorities identified in the CWQIP were developed in partnership with the local governments across the region and other key stakeholders including industry, community groups, and First Nations stakeholders.

    Consultation involved workshops and individual stakeholder meetings.

    Regional priorities for Central and Western Queensland

    Four complementary and interconnected strategic regional priorities were identified for Central and Western Queensland setting out where the region wants to be in 20 years.

    The strategic regional priorities will guide and coordinate infrastructure planning and prioritise investment by Queensland Government agencies, local government and industry, as well as align other state-wide Queensland Government policies and strategies through a place-based planning framework.

    The strategic regional priorities will also inform land use planning considerations as part of the review of relevant Statutory regional plans for the region.

    The list of regional infrastructure priorities under each strategic regional priority was informed by consultation with Central and Western Queensland stakeholders. The list of regional infrastructure priorities identifies the necessary and strategic infrastructure to support the realisation of the strategic regional priorities.

    The regional infrastructure priorities stretch across a wide number of infrastructure classes including health, education and training, housing, transport, water, energy, digital and telecommunication, reflecting the interdependency and complexity of the infrastructure requirements to meet interrelated social and economic needs of Central and Western Queensland.

    The regional infrastructure priorities identified in CWQIP is intended to present a holistic view of infrastructure needs to signal investment and partnership opportunities, and guide investment decisions by all levels of government and the private sector.

  • Regional focus areas: Health, Housing, Education and training

    Regional infrastructure priorities:

    • Upgraded aging healthcare assets to better support contemporary healthcare models aligned with delivering care closer to home, virtual care and patient transfer between clinic and home.
    • New, innovative and affordable housing for rent or purchase for all members of the community to support the attraction and retention of workers with proposed solutions, especially in small and remote communities
    • Accommodation to support the attraction, retention and safety of staff, through the delivery of more onsite accommodation and renovating existing accommodation
    • Continued investment in education and training infrastructure that support local workforce training to meet the needs of existing industries; the growing service industries of health, disability services, aged care, tourism and hospitality; and new industry skills in AgTech, robotics, renewable hydrogen and other renewable energy technologies
    • Continued investment in childcare facilities and services, particularly for outer regional and remote areas
    • Digital and telecommunications infrastructure that improves connectivity and support the provision of services in schools, hospitals, clinics, homes and businesses, to enhance liveability, for example, in remote locations which may lack the digital capacity to increase bandwidth and can suffer from ICT outages
    • Provision of aged care facilities as well as improving and expanding existing facilities, including facilities to support ageing in place
    • Investigate options for multi-use or shared use facilities for the delivery of public, private and not-for-profit services in the one location to improve access and support for the community
    • Inclusive and sustainable arts, culture and recreation infrastructure is supported through targeted investment to enhance community access.
    • New infrastructure considers opportunities to incorporate and make sustainable use of the natural environment and support biodiversity
    • Recognition and promotion of First Nations languages through use of First Nations place names
    • Leverage local governments’ funding and delivery of sustainable infrastructure to support their economic development and community liveability, including:
      • local government infrastructure maintenance
      • trunk infrastructure, particularly in remote communities and regional communities experiencing rapid population growth.
    • Long-term strategies for sustainable infrastructure planning to underpin core and essential services, including electrical, water, telecommunication and data networks, for remote communities to support community liveability and industry sustainability.
    • Capitalising on major infrastructure projects with major workforces (relative to the community):
      • explore opportunities for support buildings (e.g. site offices, work camps, etc) to deliver benefits to community beyond the project
      • considers the capacity of the local area to accommodate and service the temporary increase in population.
  • Regional focus areas: Climate resilience, regional connectivity

    Regional infrastructure priorities:

    • Targeted improvements to the region’s transport, freight and active travel network to increase resilience to extreme weather events improve linkages between communities and support active tourism, including:
      • Rockhampton Airport flood mitigation to improve airport access and resilience to flooding
      • investigation of resilience options in relation to upgrades for key regional road corridors to mitigate risks against extreme weather events, rising sea levels and more frequent severe bushfires
      • consideration of storm surge risks and likely sea level rises in infrastructure planning
      • infrastructure repair and replacement focussing on ‘building back better’.
    • Investigation of opportunities at the region’s airports to improve connectivity and business opportunities.
    • Digital and telecommunications infrastructure that support disaster response and recovery and visitor and resident safety (particularly in remote locations) as well as increased access to digital services such as health, education, and e-commerce.
    • Cost-effective water infrastructure, including dams, weirs and pipelines to support drought resilience of communities, growth in the agricultural and industrial sectors and the growth of new priority industries including the emerging hydrogen industry.
    • Resilience and redundancy built into core and essential services, including electrical, water, telecommunication and data networks, particularly, for remote communities.
  • Regional focus areas: Agriculture, Mining and Resources, Tourism

    Regional infrastructure priorities:

    • Continued investment in the region’s transport network to support industry supply chains, drive-in drive-out workforce, and tourism to enable end-to-end connectivity between key nodes and modes of the freight network, with particular focus on east-west connectivity including:
      • investigating options to improve road and rail freight efficiency and rail freight access to and from the Port of Gladstone
      • continuing to invest in the National Land Transport Network
      • continuing to invest in sealing and upgrading outback roads, which supports tourism and local economies and key roads for the transport of cattle
      • investigating the viability of extending Inland Rail to the Port of Gladstone.
    • Telecommunication infrastructure that enables access digital services such as health, education, and e-commerce, support growth and adoption of new technology in industry, and improve tourist and resident safety when travelling and working in remote areas.
    • Tourism infrastructure which recognises and celebrates the region’s historic past and matches modern aspirations and capability. This includes safe transport access and signage, ecotourism experiences and event facilities; and high-quality accommodation, modern public amenities and reliable Wi-Fi to enhance visitor experiences.
    • Increased support for local governments’ delivery and maintenance of sustainable infrastructure that supports the tourism industry.
    • Integrated arts and culture into assets such as public buildings and infrastructure.
    • Improved marine infrastructure, and public transport infrastructure and services in line with industry needs and broader population growth.
    • Strategic investment in water infrastructure to create new growth opportunities in key economic sectors and increase security of access to water across the region, including:
      • bulk water storage and water supply schemes that provide opportunities for market driven change to higher value crops and sectors
      • water supply to industry enablers to support value adding, processing and improved access to higher value markets and supply chains.
    • Development of common-user port infrastructure that supports multiple customers to facilitate industry demand such as Port of Gladstone container handling facilities and other commodity specific infrastructure
    • Development and maintenance of shipping navigation channels consistent with relevant state and federal approvals to facilitate the future growth of the Port of Gladstone.
    • Maintenance of shipping navigation channels consistent with relevant state and federal approvals to facilitate the future growth of the Port of Rockhampton.
  • Regional focus areas: Renewable energy generation and storage, hydrogen production and export, clean and advanced manufacturing

    Regional infrastructure priorities:

    • New and upgraded common user energy infrastructure leveraging the Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone region, to enable large-scale renewable energy generation, transmission, and storage integration to the SuperGrid and to support decarbonisation of heavy industries, facilitate growth of hydrogen and clean manufacturing industries, and ensure reliable and cost-effective energy supply.
    • Transmission infrastructure that unlocks the renewable energy generation potential across the region to supply significant industrial demand
    • Investigate renewable energy microgrid opportunities for small remote communities that improve energy reliability, security, and sustainability.
    • Upgraded and expanded transport network to meet the needs of the renewable energy, hydrogen, and clean manufacturing industries.
    • Investigate water supply and network infrastructure options to meet the forecast requirements of emerging industry, focusing on climate-independent bulk water sources including desalination, while ensuring the sustainable, affordable, and reliable water supplies for existing industries and the community.
    • Maximise opportunities and positive outcomes for communities and First Nations peoples through early engagement with affected local governments and Traditional Owners by industry and government undertaking infrastructure planning.

Implementation and review

As the central agency for infrastructure and economic development, DSDI will continue to work across Queensland Government to support a more place-based approach to infrastructure planning to ensure it contributes to the realisation of the priorities articulated in the CWQIP.

The CWQIP will be reviewed every two years, to ensure it remains current and aligned with Government and regional stakeholder priorities.

CWQIP review will be DSDI in consultation with key regional stakeholders.

Questions and answers

  • The Central and Western Queensland Infrastructure Plan (CWQIP) is informed and aligns with key State Government Plans.

    The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan (QEJP) will play a pivotal role in the energy transformation and decarbonisation of Central and Western Queensland’s regional economy.

    The QEJP provides a framework for strategic energy infrastructure investment in the region and for the creation of new jobs in renewables, hydrogen, clean energy manufacturing.

    Central Queensland is identified as the energy powerhouse of our state and a location for large-scale renewable investment and component manufacturing to help build Queensland’s SuperGrid.

    Powerlink will invest $365 million into the Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone region to enable up to 3,300 megawatts of new renewable capacity to connect to the grid. The increase in new renewable capacity will reinforce the Gladstone grid and help establish the Banana Range Renewable Energy Zone and Fitzroy Renewable Energy Zone.

    The QEJP will underpin Queensland’s decarbonisation pathway, with the CWQIP forming a focal point for collective action and place-based implementation.

    The QEJP commits to partnering with regional communities with key initiatives including:

    • $200 million Regional Economic Futures Fund to support community and industry development, $90 million for two regional transmission and training hubs and $35 million for a Regional Energy Transformation Partnerships Framework to maximise local benefits
    • Boosting the Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund to $4.5 billion (Gladstone and Townsville as major hydrogen hubs) and a commitment up to $20 million for the development of a renewable hydrogen industry
    • $4 million to investigate options and pathways to expand bioenergy generation, particularly in regional Queensland
    • $500 million for more large-scale grid and community batteries and investment to repurpose publicly owned power stations into clean energy hubs, which may include new generation, storage and firming, or renewable hydrogen assets.

    Building Queensland’s SuperGrid will provide opportunities for local manufacturing of components for renewable energy, storage and transmission infrastructure. The Queensland Government has committed to building regional manufacturing capacity by encouraging local content to supply future projects.


    To learn more, visit the Department of Energy and Public Works Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan and sign up to the mailing list to receive updates on your region.

    Consultation with communities on key elements of the QEJP are planned over 2022-2023.

  • Central and Western Queensland’s traditional agriculture, mining, resources and tourism and emerging growth industries will play a key part in decarbonising the Queensland economy.

    The Queensland Government has dedicated plans and strategies that align with the strategic priorities of the Central and Western Queensland Infrastructure Plan to diversify the regional economy.

    Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan

    The Queensland Government’s advanced manufacturing roadmap outlines a range of programs and actions to support local manufacturers.  The revised plan (Edition 3, October 2022) supports Queensland manufacturers to maximum supply chain opportunities delivered by the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan through battery manufacturing, and the construction of large-scale renewable energy generation projects and transmission grids across the state.

    To learn more, visit the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water’s - Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan

    Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan

    The Queensland Government’s resources industry development plan outlines several actions over the short and medium term to position Queensland’s resources industry for the long-term, sustainable growth over the next 30 years. These include initiatives to support Central Queensland’s minerals and resources sector including harnessing the decarbonisation opportunities presented by new economy minerals, renewable energy, hydrogen, and clean manufacturing.

    To learn more, visit the Department of Resources - Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan

    Hydrogen Industry Workforce Development Roadmap 2022-2032

    The Queensland Government has a dedicated workforce development plan to build a pipeline of skilled, hydrogen-ready workers to support Queensland’s fast-growing hydrogen sector.  This plan sets out key workforce development, skills and training actions to support hydrogen industry development, especially in regional Queensland. These include initiatives to capitalise on the existing skills base and substantial hydrogen investment to develop a local hydrogen ecosystem in Central Queensland.

    To learn more, visit the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training - Hydrogen Industry Workforce Development Roadmap 2022-2032

    Towards 2032: Reshaping Queensland’s visitor economy to welcome the world

    The Queensland Government has a dedicated strategy aimed at growing Queensland’s tourism industry which includes initiatives to expand and diversify tourism in regional Queensland.

    To learn more, visit the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport - Towards 2032: Reshaping Queensland’s visitor economy to welcome the world

    Future opportunities

    A range of emerging economic opportunities were identified through consultation on the Central and Western Queensland Infrastructure Plan. Emerging growth sectors include, but are not limited to aviation, defence and resource recovery industries.

    The Queensland Government has developed a range of emerging industry roadmaps and strategies to create jobs and strengthen Queensland’s economy.

    To learn more, visit the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning

Contact us

The department's Central Queensland regional office is one of 11 offices across Queensland helping businesses mature, grow and invest.

We provide support via one-on-one interactions, information, presentations and workshops.

Last updated: 23 Feb 2023