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Greater Whitsunday Region

Mackay Isaac Whitsunday bannerMackay Isaac Whitsunday banner

The Greater Whitsunday region covers 90,354 square km. Comprising of the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday local government areas, the Greater Whitsunday Region is encompassed by St Lawrence in the south, Gumlu in the north to Clermont in the west and the Great Barrier Reef Whitsunday’s group of 74 islands to the east.

The region is one of the most naturally beautiful and resource-rich locations in Australia contributing more than $57.999 billion in economic output to the Australian economy. From the largest coal mining deposits in Australia, the Bowen and Galilee basins, the iconic Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands and boasting a diverse agricultural industry which provides over $1.6 billion to the Queensland economy, the region is an economic powerhouse that is key to Queensland’s economy. (REMPLAN 2023)

Key Feature of the Greater Whitsunday Region

Population

186,512

(Source: Estimated Residential Population Queensland Government Statisticians 2023)

Employment

  • 2.7% unemployment
  • Labour force 109,900

(Source: Queensland Government Statisticians Office, May 2023)

Industry Strengths

  • One of the world’s most diverse economic regions with a gross regional product estimated at $27.265 billion, across key industry sectors such as mining, manufacturing, health care and social assistance, tourism and construction.
  • Strong forecast of development activity with approximately $19.7 billion worth of construction work across more than 163 projects in the pipeline (Cordell Connect, Jan 2023 – Dec 2024).
  • Key infrastructure includes three regional airports, two deep water seaports, three bulk shipping terminals, and a reliable freight service rail network.
  • The largest mining services industrial precinct in the southern hemisphere, the Paget Industrial Estate, is home to over 500 mining and manufacturing businesses.
  • Mining projects in the Greater Whitsunday region were valued at $17.7 billion in 2021. (Source REMPLAN 2020 release 2).
  • Majority of Queensland’s prime coking coal is mined in the Bowen and Galilee Basins.
  • Access to higher education and research opportunities through Central Queensland University, and the QUT Biocommodities Pilot Plant.
  • Biofutures expertise, green field investment opportunities, access to the QUT Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant and Wilmar BioEthanol refinery.
  • An emerging industrial biotechnology and biomedical research sector with expertise in research and development (translational and clinical). The Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation, and the Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute.
  • A strong and diverse agricultural sector:
    • Sugar cane contributes an estimated $329.3 million.
    • the largest horticultural winter produce growing region producing more than $233 million in output.
    • The livestock beef cattle industry is the largest agricultural production contributing an estimated valued at $627 million.
  • A burgeoning prawn aquaculture sector with annual production rates forecast to grow from 5,000 tonnes in 2020 to 20,000 tonnes by 2030. (Source Tassal 2020)  Total production value at this stage reaching an estimated $116 million in value.
    Source: Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences 2020, Agriculture Sector in Mackay Region, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, viewed 14 April 2023,
  • Tourism attracts approximately two million domestic and international overnight visitors annually (TEQ, March 2020).
  • Areas like the Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungella National Park and Cape Hillsborough are driving innovation and promoting the region as a world-class ecotourism destination.

Energy In Region - Renewable 

  • As the energy system shifts to renewables, the Greater Whitsunday Region has significant potential for new renewable energy projects, renewable hydrogen industries, and the electrification and decarbonisation of mining and other existing industries.
  • With large-scale and emerging energy projects across the Greater Whitsunday, the region is powering forward with 16 existing projects and many more in the pipeline.
  • From solar, wind, hydro, hydrogen, bagasse and waste coal mine gas, these types of energy have an overall capacity of close to 800+ megawatts (MW).
  • As the energy transformation gathers momentum investment in region since 2015 has established more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects.
  • Investigations for a potential pumped hydro energy storage facility in the Western Pioneer Valley, located 70 kilometres west of Mackay is being undertaken. The Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro project could be the largest in the world with the potential of up to 5 gigawatts and could play a key role in ensuring a reliable and secure energy system for the future.
  • Completed renewable projects driving the regions green energy super grid include the Lotus Creek Wind Farm; Clarke Creek Wind and Solar Farm; Collinsville Solar Power Station, Daydream Solar Farm, Middlemount Sun Farm and Whitsunday Solar Farm representing some of Queensland’s largest solar energy producers.
  • Farleigh, Marian, Plane Creek, Proserpine and Racecourse mills produce electricity from cane fibre, while there are two waste coal mine gas projects at German Creek and Moranbah North.

Additional Key Industries

  • Aviation
  • Beef processing
  • Biobased products
  • Education
  • Energy production / renewable energy
  • Food and beverage
  • Manufacturing / engineering
    • Craft brewing
    • Fabricated metal production
    • Food manufacturing
    • Light industries
    • Rail manufacturing
  • Marine
  • Retail trade

Key projects

  • Walkerston Bypass
  • Mackay Biofutures Precinct
  • Eden Lassie Agave Distillery
  • Gilmore Space Abbot Point Launch site
  • Lotus Creek Wind Farm
  • Capricornia Energy Hub
  • Boomer Green Energy Hub
  • Potential Mackay /Rosella and Racecourse Mill SDA
  • Pioneer Burdekin Pumped Hydro energy storage facility

Regional Projects Funded

  • Harrup Park
  • QUT Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant Expansion
  • Clermont Saleyards
  • Signature OnFarm
  • Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech hub
  • Mackay Alternative Sugar Cane Processing Facility
  • Materials Recovery Facility – Mackay Regional Council

Local business services and support

The Greater Whitsunday regional office is one of 11 regional offices across Queensland ensuring economic prosperity and liveable communities.

We develop strategic alliances to catalyse private sector investment and develop industry supply chains. We do this by pursuing new private sector projects in priority industries including renewable energy, critical minerals, hydrogen, biofuels, and waste management.

We increase Queensland content in the supply chains of major projects by providing local businesses with full, fair, and reasonable opportunities to participate in government and non-government projects across Queensland. This is done by delivering a range of activities to support local businesses find project opportunities, compete for work, and improve their tendering and supply chain capabilities. View all upcoming events and opportunities in the region on the events page.

We maximised local business participation in the following major projects:

QCoal $1.76 billion Byerwen Mine

Resulted in 35% local and regional supply project spend. On operation spend costs only, over 65% supply came from Queensland-based businesses.

CPB Contractors $497.3 million Mackay Ring Road (Stage one)

More than 80% of people involved in this project were from the Greater Whitsunday Region including builders, suppliers, landscapers, engineers, and traffic workers.

Goldwind Australia $1 billion Clarke Creek Wind Farm

Connected more than 380 regional business with Goldwind Australia via industry briefing sessions.

Looking to strengthen your regional supply chain?

Please contact us to discuss how we:

  • Assist major contractors and subcontractors to develop local content strategies
  • Build regional supply chain capability and capacity
  • Assist regional businesses to prepare effective capability statements
  • Advise regional businesses on government and private-sector tendering processes
  • Link regional industry with project information
  • Connect industry with government support

Phone: 07 4898 6800  Email: mackay@dsdilgp.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 31 Jul 2023