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Local council looks beyond mining

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7 August 2018

For the Queensland city of Mackay and surrounding areas, it’s become important to plan for a future beyond mining.

With the region partially dependent on mining, as commodity prices fluctuated so did the region’s fortunes.

In response, the Mackay Regional Council developed a 2015–18 stimulus package to diversify its economy, with their population, employment and housing growth figures in decline as mining activity in the region reduced.

The package included:

  • Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction Program
  • Better Community Building Fund
  • Façade Improvement Scheme
  • Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy

The packages focuses on attracting new investment in development across the region.

The Invest Mackay Events and Conference Program is helping to attract major sporting events, concerts and conferences to the region and has injected $77 million into the local economy over three years.

The Better Community Building Fund allocated $5 million in grants across 36 not-for-profit organisations.

The Facade Improvement Scheme has transformed the look of Mackay city. It provides co-contributions to improve building facades in commercial locations with the works undertaken by local contractors. The scheme has equated to $850,000 spending with local contractors.

The Facilitating Development Policy provides incentives for development to encourage economic development and growth such as:

  • a dedicated point of contact for development applications
  • infrastructure charge concessions and delayed payments
  • development assessment and service connection fee refunds
  • reduced food and trade waste licence fees
  • reduced car parking requirements
  • extended construction hours

Since 2015 there have been 32 new development approvals ranging from a transit centre to a caravan park to a netball facility and 21 of these are expected to progress.

Another exciting council initiative is focusing on progressing the Mackay Waterfront PDA Priority Development Area (PDA) for the City Centre.

So what has the package meant for Mackay?

Residential vacancy rates have dropped since late 2016, jobs are increasing with the first positive growth since 2013. Domestic and international tourism is increasing with a 10.4 per cent and 7.4 per cent increase respectively in visitors across 2016–17.

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