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Strengthening North Queensland

The North Queensland region encompasses five major regional centres: Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island and Townsville. The region contributes over $17.1 billion annually1 to the Queensland economy and is home to over 240,000 people2. 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 internationally3 Our (NQRO) is located in Townsville. It is one of 11 regional offices across Queensland supporting business and industry to mature, grow and invest.

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


239,859 (2021p) – expected to increase to 324,317 by 2041.4


  • industry diversity – all 19 industry sectors represented with over 16,000 businesses operating in the region. GRP for the region is $17.112 billion5
  • largest general cargo and container port in Northern Australia. The Port of Townsville is 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 - James Cook University (JCU) and CQ University (CQU)
  • headquarters for the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and leading research organisation CSIRO
  • education centre for North and North-West Queensland with a number of high-quality boarding and public schools
  • 300+ days of sunshine a year
  • two world-class refineries based in Townsville
  • Transport and logistics hub for servicing North and North-West Queensland
  • major domestic airport connecting directly to over 14 destinations across Australia
  • an established tourism industry, with attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Museum of Underwater Art and the Yongala (one of the world's top 10 dive sites)
  • mining and industrial commercial service centre for North and North-West Queensland
  • home to three national sporting teams – North Queensland Cowboys (Men and Womens league representation (NRL) and Townsville Fire (Women's National Basketball League)
  • large aquaculture industry in region and expanding


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

  • public administration and safety (includes defence, public order, 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

Key projects:

  • Queensland Resources Common User Facility (QRCUF)
  • CopperString 2032
  • Townsville Hospital and Health Service - $530M expansion
  • The North Queensland Simulation Park (NQ SPARK)
  • TropIQ – Townsville Tropical Intelligence and Health Precinct
  • Ark Energy - SunHQ Green Hydrogen Project
  • Edify Energy – Green Hydrogen Project
  • Latan Data Centre and Renewable Energy Project
  • Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) - TECH Project
  • Australian and Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI)
  • Ornatas – Tropical Rock Lobster Farm Expansion

State Development Areas:

  • Townsville State Development Area (TSDA)

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.

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

The Defence Industry Hub helps businesses become 'defence ready' to access state, national and global defence supply chain opportunities.

Defence Jobs Queensland
P 0436 935 645 E


  1. REMPLAN 2021 R1
  2. Qld Government SA4
  3. REMPLAN 2021 R1
  4. Qld Government SA4
  5. REMPLAN 2021 R1
  6. REMPLAN 19 industry sectors 2021 R1

Last updated: 01 Aug 2023