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Strengthening North Queensland

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The North Queensland region encompasses five major regional centres: Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island and Townsville. The region contributes over $17.1 billion annually (Ref - REMPLAN 2021 R1). to the Queensland economy and is home to over 240,000 people (Ref - Qld Government SA4). The region has one of the most diverse economic bases in Australia and enjoys a stunning natural environment of reef, rainforest and outback, which, provide tourism growth opportunities and an attractive lifestyle for its residents.

The region is strategically positioned to provide goods and services via the extensive logistics network in the region for rail, road, sea and air. The network enables over $13.7 billion per annum of goods and services to be exported domestically and internationally (Ref - REMPLAN 2021 R1).

Our North Queensland regional office (NQRO) is located in Townsville. It is one of 11 regional offices across Queensland supporting businesses to mature, grow and invest.

Support is facilitated via via one-on-one interactions, information, presentations and workshops (both online and face-to-face).

A number of pre-recorded sessions are also available on how to promote your businesses’ products and services to others.

It has a dedicated Defence Industry Hub that is actively developing defence supply chains and servicing industry. NQRO assists in supporting and growing local manufacturers to become more productive and efficient.


239,859 (2021p) – expected to increase to 324,317 by 2041. (Ref - Qld Government SA4)


Data provided is a three-month moving average (Ref - ABS Data SA1 Report RM1 as at May - 2021).

  • employment 127,066 (participation rate 68.4%)
  • unemployment 1.9%
  • youth unemployment 8.3%


  • industry diversity – all 19 industry sectors represented with over 16,000 businesses operating in the region. GRP for the region is $17.112 billion (Ref - REMPLAN 2021 R1)
  • largest general cargo and container port in northern Australia. The port is also Australia’s leading exporter of zinc, lead, sugar, fertiliser and molasses
  • largest Australian defence base located in Townsville
  • health and knowledge centre for North Queensland with world leading research centres in tropical health and marine science
  • two universities located in Townsville - James Cook University and CQ University
  • headquarters for the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and leading research organisation CSIRO
  • education centre of North Queensland with a number of high-quality boarding and public schools
  • 300+ days of sunshine a year
  • median house prices affordable
  • two world-class refineries based in Townsville with Sun Metals undergoing an expansion
  • logistic hub for North Queensland roads and rail
  • major domestic airport connecting directly to over 14 destinations across Australia
  • significant quantity of industrial land available
  • Townsville is a large exporter of cattle and has a meat processing facility
  • an established tourism industry, with the region boasting attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Museum of Underwater Art, the Yongala (one of the world's best wreck dive sites) and ReefHQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium
  • mining and industry commercial centre for North Queensland
  • home to two successful national sporting teams – North Queensland Cowboys and Townsville Fire
  • diverse natural environment with wet tropics, dry tropics, reef and outback all represented in the region
  • large agricultural irrigation area producing sugar cane and various agricultural and horticulture products
  • large aquaculture industry in region and expanding


Reference: REMPLAN 19 industry sectors 2021 R1.

Top five output industries – total regional output $34.37 billion:

  • public administration and safety (includes defence, public order and safety and regulatory services)
  • manufacturing
  • construction
  • rental, hiring and real estate services
  • health care and social assistance

Top five value add industries – total regional value-add $16.11 billion:

  • public administration and safety (includes defence, public order and safety and regulatory services)
  • rental, hiring and real estate services
  • health care and social assistance
  • construction
  • education and training

Significant growth industries over last 3 years based on GRP (Ref - REMPLAN 45 industry sectors 2018 R2 vs 2021 R1):

  • Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing
  • Postal and Courier Pickup and Delivery Services
  • Technical Equipment and Appliance Manufacturing
  • Exploration & Mining Support Services
  • Mining

Key projects:

  • Vanadium Common User Facility (V-CUF)
  • The North Queensland Simulation Park (NQ SPARK)
  • Centrex Metals Plant - Phosphate Mining and Processing
  • Solar Recovery Corporation
  • Edify Hydrogen Manufacturing Facility
  • Ark Energy Hydrogen Project
  • Cleveland Bay Chemical Company
  • Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM)
  • BGreen (Biofuels project)
  • Ravenswood Gold
  • Australian and Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI)
  • Ornatas Aquaculture Development
  • ReefWorks – Automatous Warrior
  • HQ Plantations
  • Agripower Rail Project
  • Charters Towers Cattle Saleyards
  • Copper String 2.0
  • Big Rocks Weir
  • Ayr Industrial Estate
  • Regional LGA’s Resource Recovery
  • “Ardo” Hotel Development (The Ville Casino expansion)
  • Charters Towers Industrial Precinct (Gold Tower)

Major enablers:

  • QLD Battery Manufacturing Opportunities
  • Townsville Industrial Landowners Group (TILG)
  • Primary Industry Development
  • Providing support to Townsville City Deal Priorities
    • Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct
    • Townsville Health and Knowledge Sector Development
      • TropiQ
  • Transport Projects
    • Douglas Transport Study
    • Ross River Road Public Transport Corridor Study
  • Industrial Land Identification and Establishment Support
  • Industry Development Priorities
    • Townsville Hydrogen Industry
    • Defence Industry
    • Critical Minerals and Associated Projects
    • Cotton Industry
    • Major Data Centres

State Development Areas:

  • Townsville State Development Area
    • Cleveland Bay Industrial Precinct

Local content activities

View all upcoming events and opportunities in the region including workshops and industry briefings that support businesses at all stages of project supply chains.

You can also learn more about the Townsville Defence Industry Hub and Townsville Manufacturing Hub.

Further information

Find out more about this diverse region or for assistance contact our North Queensland office.

Level 4, 445 Flinders Street, Townsville
PO Box 1732, Townsville Qld 4810

Regional Economic Development
P 07 4758 3400 E

Councils serviced:

  • Burdekin
  • Charters Towers
  • Hinchinbrook
  • Palm Island
  • Townsville

Planning and Development Services
07 4758 3423  E
PO Box 5666, Townsville Qld 4810

Councils serviced:

  • Burdekin
  • Burke
  • Carpentaria
  • Charters Towers
  • Cloncurry
  • Doomadgee
  • Flinders
  • Hinchinbrook
  • McKinlay
  • Mornington
  • Mount Isa
  • Palm Island
  • Richmond
  • Townsville

Defence Industry Hub, Townsville
P 0436 935 645 E

Last updated: 22 Jun 2022