KAP Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has supported calls to develop a North West Queensland economic zone in the hopes of stimulating the resource sector.
Meeting with industry leaders at the North West Minerals Province Taskforce summit earlier this week, Mr Katter said the need to develop an economic zone in the North West was clear.”There is a need for the government to stimulate the industry through infrastructure development and policy change,” Mr Katter said.
“We need outcomes to benefit the North West because at the end of the day the industry is what drives our economy.”
Mr Katter said there were abundant opportunities in the sector that could be assisted through this mechanism. “Issues such as improving rail efficiencies and energy supply, along with the associated costs to both, should be part of the conversation about the North West Economic Zone.”
The Member said the zone would allow Queensland to make the most of the natural mineral wealth and will reduce some of the problems that exist for people living in these regions.
“It’s great that we have the gas pipeline – a project of national significance – coming through Mount Isa and that has already breathed some confidence into the North West.”
“However, we need the ability to ensure our region has accessibility to the gas and other facilities to keep the jobs and profitability in the region.”
“Simply upgrading our unproductive rail line which is the result of neglect from successive governments, could make an immediate impact.”
Mr Katter said the issue of creating an economic zone has been put on the back burner by governments for far too long, because of the minimal representation north Queensland. “All the wealth and royalties that get pulled from this area, are funnelled back into population and voter dense areas,” Mr Katter said.
“Yet the region which brings $2.8 billion to the state economy and approximately $300 million a year in royalties continues to be left behind.
“By creating an economic zone we will have the capacity to cater to the specific needs of our communities dependent on the prosperity of our resource sector,” He said.