A new economic confidence

The City of Townsville has emerged as one of Australia’s most dynamic regional centres, with its relaxed lifestyle attracting more than 3,000 new residents per year and a strong economy spurring significant new investment in infrastructure and services.

Townsville Mayor, Councillor Tony Mooney, said that the city was now placed squarely on the national map with property media describing Townsville and Magnetic Island as a regional Australian ‘hot spot’. Councillor Mooney said a diverse economy, strong job opportunities and the sea change phenomenon were the main catalysts for development. People were now realising that Townsville is the entrance to the Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage Listed Rainforests and the Outback – and a place to secure a great job.

“Townsville is one of Australia’s largest regional centres with a population of 155,000, growing at an average rate of 1.8 per cent over the last five years, making it one of the fastest growing cities in Northern Australia,” the Mayor said.“The population is expected to grow to 200,000 people by 2021, which is far in advance of average Queensland and Australian projected growth rates.”

Councillor Mooney said the city was buzzing and confidence was high across all industry sectors.

“Joh would be proud of the number of cranes on the skyline with record numbers of residential high rises in the central business district,” he said. “More than 250 one, two and three bedroom units are under construction around the city.”

Significant projects currently under construction include Mint Apartments, a multi level complex providing 53 two and three bedroom home units, a $117 million resort and spa and a $90 million unit project in Magnetic Island’s prestige Nelly Bay Harbour and an $8 million shopping centre with commercial office space.

The mayor believes that Townsville is in an especially strong position to make the most of opportunities because of the city’s approach to balanced and sustainable economic development, and the confidence and support of the business sector and the broader community.

He said Council has a sharp focus on economic management, planning, and delivering infrastructure and services that support the community’s focus on lifestyle. Council has also adopted a low debt strategy where borrowings only occurs to fund vital public infrastructure, such as water and waste water facilities.

Major economic highlights include:

  • more than $4 billion worth of major projects in the pipeline for Townsville in 2005/6
  • over the past 12 months, 3,199 applications were approved with a combined total of $390.6 million. This was well up on 2003 figures of 2,871 applications worth $261 million
  • in 2004 a total of 303 commercial developments worth $114 million were approved, compared to the 291 valued at $70 million in 2003
  • the size of the economy has doubled in the last decade with current annual economic growth rates averaging around eight per cent per annum
  • Townsville’s status as Queensland’s economic powerhouse is unquestioned. Mining and minerals processing makes up around 20 per cent of the region’s Gross Regional Product and the further development of this sector is strongly supported by the local business community
  • over the next 20 years growth is forecast at five per cent per annum and the regional economy is expected to grow from $7.1 billion in 2002/03 to around $17 billion by 2021/22
  • the city is enjoying a record low unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent.