The Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday (MIW) region, located halfway between Brisbane and Cairns on Australia's east coast, boasts enviable employment, investment and lifestyle opportunities. With a population of 170,000, the region has become one of Australia's strongest regional economies contributing $16 billion annually to the nation's gross domestic product.
The jewel in the crown is the region's abundant natural resource base, together with large areas of industrial land, significant transport networks, complementary infrastructure and support services. This is further supported by direct access to growing Asia Pacific markets via world-class ports and airline routes.
The region boasts: a strong and diverse agricultural and bio-commodities sector; emerging biofuels and renewables industry; world-renowned tourism destinations; expanding mining opportunities including metallurgical coal and high quality thermal coal, as well as clean technologies, trunk infrastructure and logistics industries.
Coal - The MIW region produces some of the most widely sought after hard-coking coal in the world. Mining currently contributes over $13.9 billion of gross revenue to the region's economy and employs almost 16,600 people. The MIW region is home to 32 operating coal mines with a number of new mines under development. These mines produce 71 per cent of Queensland's metallurgical coal and 31 per cent of its thermal coal. The ports of Hay Point/Dalrymple Bay and Abbot Point handle 69 per cent of Queensland's coal exports.
Mining Equipment Technology and Services - The MIW region has become a world leader in the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector with proven strengths in mining safety, management, site closures and rehabilitation. There is signiﬁcant opport- unity to export the knowledge developed in this industry to the global mining industry.
Manufacturing - The region's manufacturing sector currently contributes over $3.7 billion
of gross revenue annually to the region's economy and employs 4699 people.
Agriculture - The MIW region has a diverse agricultural mix with beef and grains in the west, and sugar and horticulture along the coast. The agricultural sector currently contributes over $1.4 billion of gross revenue annually to the region's economy and employs 4672 people.
Tourism - Home to the world-renowned Whitsunday Islands and other signiﬁcant natural land-based tourism assets, the tourism industry is a key driver for the MIW region generating over $1.5 billion of gross revenue annually and employing 8000 people.
INNOVATIVE AND EMERGING INDUSTRIES
Biofutures, renewables and aquaculture - Biofutures, renewables and aquaculture are three emerging agricultural industries, with the MIW region producing almost 15 per cent of Queensland's ponded aquaculture production.
The MIW region is well positioned to capitalise on the growing market in biofutures given its access to biomass, access to markets and established involvement in the industry. The region is at the forefront of Australia's bioindustry and is home to the QUT's Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant, Mackay Sugar's 38 MW co-generation plant (fuelled by bagasse) and Sucrogen's Bio- Ethanol Bio-Reﬁnery, which has the capacity to produce 60 million litres of ethanol per year. A signiﬁcant number of renewable projects are also in various stages of development within the MIW region.
Knowledge and technology export - With an internationally recognised resources services sector, there is signiﬁcant opportunity to export knowledge and technology globally. CQUniversity provides specialisation in civil, electrical, mechanical and mining engineering as well as mechatronics.
Considerable investment opportunities exist in the biofutures and aquaculture sectors such as the planned 259-hectare facility at Guthalungra which will produce prawns and cobia. The MIW region is becoming increasingly recognised as a major hub for the METS sector in Australia, driving innovation in mining equipment, technologies and services and making it an ideal region for investment.