More regional infrastructure in the pipeline
THE central Queensland region of Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone is struggling to recover from the resources downturn and all three centres recorded dips to median house prices in the December quarter of 2015.
As a result of local political pressure, some infrastructure projects are being fast-tracked and this is hoped will contribute to jobs growth in the area.
The federally funded ring road around Mackay is in final design stages. Improvements are being made to the Peak Downs Hwy and there is a funded upgrade being made to the mountain range.
This upgrade has started preliminary work that should boost employment.
The Abbot Point expansion, which has been given the green light, will also bring jobs to the region, if not directly to Mackay.
The area continues to wait on further news of the Adani Carmichael mine. During construction phase, this project will bring an estimated 1500 jobs to the region.
Local media is reporting Mackay Airport is about to announce international flights that will make the region truly the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef it has always claimed to be.
Whitsunday Airport near Proserpine may also be moving towards taking international flights, which will bring the number of international airports to three, including Mackay and Hamilton Island.
The Rockhampton market is recovering and the number of transactions continues to hold steady for another quarter.
Beef prices are rising, which is good news for the area, but drought is still a significant issue plaguing the broader agricultural sector.
The Federal Government is talking about introducing water storage in the area, which would be good news for this largely agribusiness-reliant part of the state.
Gladstone employment markets are hopeful that the proposed $700 million Casper Oil Refinery will go ahead and bring an estimated 1000 jobs during construction and 300 operational jobs to the area.
Gladstone was chosen for its deep water harbour and its port facilities. It is rumoured that with the drop in the crude oil price, plans for a new refinery have been shelved for now.