[hr]Just over an hour’s flight from Brisbane, Mackay is the hub of the Whitsunday and Mackay region, tipped to be the fastest-growing region in Queensland over the next decade. Mackay is often described as an economic powerhouse that focuses on agriculture, mining, engineering and tourism.[hr]
The local sugar industry has underpinned the region’s economy for more than 100 years. Mackay is also the gateway to the rich coal deposits in the Bowen and Galilee basins and nearly one-third of Queensland’s export goods pass through the area.
Expanding employment, investment and development opportunities, a buoyant economy and a host of liveability aspects are only a handful of the many attributes that allow Mackay to shine brightly in the national spotlight. The region offers an accessible, connected, vibrant and prosperous economy with a host of attractive lifestyle benefits, making Mackay the perfect place to live and visit.
Featuring 31 beaches, picturesque botanic gardens, a family friendly lagoon, world-class art gallery and multi-purpose Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC), the Mackay region’s tourist attractions and areas of natural beauty have caught the eye of holidaymakers, property investors, families and job seekers alike.
Dining out in the city will prove a mouth-watering experience. Whether you are partial to Asian or Italian delights, traditional Aussie fare or fresh seafood straight from the trawler to your plate, the city has a range of restaurants to suit a variety of cultural tastes. Alfresco dining is also on offer at many locations around the CBD to showcase the city’s spectacular surroundings.
Located on the fringe of the city’s CBD is the spectacular Bluewater Lagoon — a three-tiered free-of-charge swimming sensation and popular Queensland icon.
Take a bike ride along the Bluewater Trail or walk along the banks of the Pioneer River at dusk to experience one of the most breathtaking sunsets over Mackay’s exquisite blue river.
Mackay’s Northern Beaches include the suburbs of Blacks Beach, Bucasia, Dolphin Heads, Eimeo and Shoal Point. Once sought-after holiday destinations, these areas are now popular residential suburbs where young families make the most of coastal living.
Located south of the Pioneer River in Mackay are the suburbs of Mackay City, East Mackay, Ooralea, Planlands, South Mackay and West Mackay. North of the river are the suburbs of Andergrove, Beaconsfield, Glenella, Habana/Nindaroo, North Mackay, Mount Pleasant and Slade Point.[pullQuote]”Located on the fringe of the cityís CBD is the spectacular Bluewater Lagoon – a three-tiered free-of-charge swimming sensation and popular Queensland icon.”[/pullQuote]
A string of tropical beaches, collectively known as The Hibiscus Coast, can be found about half an hour north of Mackay. Thirty minutes on the southern side of Mackay is the township of Sarina which features a vibrant community surrounded by beautiful beaches.
The Pioneer Valley (half an hour’s drive west of Mackay) encompasses the Eungella Range which is world famous for its platypus and national parks. Predominantly rural in nature, the area does include seven small townships spanning 328,000 hectares
Festivals & Events
Mackay offers a full calendar year of enticing festivals and events that complement and celebrate the region’s lifestyle.
Exciting events happening throughout the year include the Mackay Region Festival of Arts (one of Queensland’s most vibrant artistic and cultural celebrations), Global Grooves, the G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day, River Sessions, Wintermoon Music Festival and the Easter Laneways Festival which showcases Mackay’s City Centre.
Mackay Regional Council prides itself on hosting festivals and events that showcase the very best of creative and performing arts, food, live music and cultural entertainment and strives to provide events that everyone can enjoy.
The worldwide demand for resources continues to create local growth opportunities across a range of sectors which have caught the eye of many potential investors and financiers. Mackay serves the world-class mining province of the Bowen and Galilee basins which, when combined, contain much of the state’s coal reserves including virtually all of Queensland’s prime coking coal reserves.
With 50 coal mines currently in operation and a number of new mines planned here and across Central Queensland, this increase in production will continue to fuel further demand within this world-class sector.
The potential of the Galilee Basin as a coal precinct has attracted a level of local and international attention, second only to the far-more-famous Bowen Basin. At least six major companies and consortia are at various stages of detailed mine planning for the Galilee.
Mackay is home to major service industries that specialise in the fabrication and maintenance of large-scale mining equipment for mines in the hinterland and beyond.
Specialised maintenance services are provided by a host of engineering workshops located in the Mackay industrial area of Paget. The expertise developed at Paget is recognised both nationally and internationally as a leader in the field.
Every two years, Mackay proudly plays host to the Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition. This prestigious event gains national exposure for the entire region, adds value to the local economy and opens doors for future investment.
Transport & Logistics
The majority of inputs to and exports from the Mackay and Whitsundays region enter via Mackay. The Port of Mackay is a significant source of bulk input commodities that support regional industry, such as petroleum products (mining and agriculture), chemicals (mining), fertiliser (agriculture) and concrete (construction).
The Port of Mackay has a long history as an export port for bulk commodities of sugar, grain and ethanol and is Queensland’s fourth-busiest, multi-commodity port in terms of cargo throughput.
The Port of Hay Point, located near Sarina, is one of the largest coal export ports in the world and hosts two coal terminals – Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point. Both of these coal terminals are staging development programs designed to boost port capacity.
Based on initial requests from industry, it’s likely the Port of Hay Point will need to approximately double its current coal export capacity (from a current port capacity of about 130 million tonnes per annum) within the next five to 10 years. To meet this demand, two or three new coal terminals will need to be built. Two companies – the Adani Group and DBCT Management Pty Ltd – have been selected to work with North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) to lead the development of the Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal (DPCT) project.
The proposed DPCT project involves the development of two new coal terminals with a combined export capacity of 180 million tonnes per year – almost exactly the amount of coal exported out of the entire state from 2009 to 2010. This massive project is potentially worth between $10 billion and $12 billion in investment and stands to deliver another 5000 construction jobs.[pullQuote]”…Mackay is expected to sustain continued, strong growth over the years ahead. Over the next two decades, positive growth forecasts indicate the regionís population will near 200,000.”[/pullQuote]
The Adani Group is an Indian conglomerate developing the $10 billion Carmichael Coal Mine which includes potential for $6.8 billion worth of rail and coal handling infrastructure to service Hay Point operations. DBCT management is the lessee of the existing coal terminal.
Based on State Government projections, Mackay is expected to sustain continued, strong growth over the years ahead. Over the next two decades, positive growth forecasts indicate the region’s population will near 200,000.
By 2031, the wider Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region, currently home to more than 175,000 people, is tipped to grow strongly and reach close to 300,000 residents.
At the heart of the Mackay-Whitsunday region, Mackay is strategically located to gain benefit from future population growth within its established business service area.
There are clear opportunities and a high local-industry capacity for investment in the development of hotels in Mackay. Market conditions for investment in the development of new hotels region-wide are ideal.
The Mackay region performs extremely well compared to many other Queensland destinations and consistently outperforms similar cities within Australia, making investment in a new hotel a unique and attractive financial proposition.
Mackay boasts 12 private schools, three state secondary schools and 25 state primary schools across the region as well as top-quality tertiary institutions, CQUniversity (which includes the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music), James Cook University and CQ TAFE.
During 2011, Mackay Regional Council carried out extensive consultation with the community on targeting improvements within the public realm. In early 2012, council adopted the City Centre Public Realm Concept which highlighted the need to reinforce the central “core” of the City Centre and prioritised support for revitalisation.
Following successful application to the Federal Government for Regional Development Australia funding in 2013, further engagement was conducted with key stakeholders and the City Centre Taskforce with consultation focusing on the designs aspects of the revitalisation project.
The master plan is now in place and a project team established to implement the $18 million makeover of the City Centre core.
Mayor Deirdre Comerford is thrilled to roll out a project the community has been waiting for, with the development on track to begin mid-year.
“The project aims to rejuvenate the city’s public realm and in doing so, improve the City Centre pedestrian experience, encourage more outdoor dining, enhance safety and provide attractive and functional places that complement the history and charm of Mackay,” she said.
A Regional Sustainability Strategy
A major priority for Mackay Regional Council is to ensure the region grasps growth in a sustainable way. Council has embarked on developing a Regional Sustainability Strategy which brings land use planning, infrastructure and finances together like never before.[pullQuote]”Weíre continually looking to create new opportunities and weíve certainly generated some positive and proactive ideas for growth and diversification”[/pullQuote]
Mayor Deirdre Comerford said in terms of engagement, council spent 12 weeks getting out and engaging with residents, local developers and industry stakeholders on the draft planning scheme.
“This and the work arising from the Regional Sustainability Strategy will provide for urban and industry growth while also enhancing our good quality agricultural land and environment,” she said.
“Pleasingly, we were successful in including the Mackay Ring Road in government and opposition forward-planning initiatives. This project, which will link the northern and southern parts of our city, is an essential step towards protecting the integrity of our national highway.”
To lay the foundations for the essential steps to plan and implement a diversified economy for a prosperous future for Mackay, council recently conducted the Diversify Mackay Forum.
Acting upon the idea of Mackay Airport General Manager Rob Porter, the Office of the Mayor and CEO at Mackay Regional Council gathered a diverse group of talented people from retail, mining services, business, industry, government and the community to discuss and discover opportunities that would create a sustainable future for the region.
Mayor Deirdre Comerford said “We’re continually looking to create new opportunities and we’ve certainly generated some positive and proactive ideas for growth and diversification”.
Top three priorities identified were: expanding Mackay’s airport and seaport, positioning the region as a food bowl for Asia, revitalising the City Centre and taking advantage of the blue river through the city.
Mackay Airport General Manager and forum instigator Rob Porter said the gathering provided a “creative opportunity to be more visionary”.
“We are one of Queensland’s busiest regional airports, attracting over one million passengers a year and have continued to develop and attract new business to the facility,” he said.
Other ideas to emerge were exploring tourism, mining services and agriculture, capitalising on higher education, health and technology.
Cr Comerford said the focus going forward would be on delivering organisational excellence, engaging with the community on the Regional Sustainability Strategy and further reducing operating costs and improving efficiencies.[hr]
For more information about the Mackay region, its facilities, services and industries, visit the Mackay Regional Council website: mackay.qld.gov.au or call 1300 MACKAY (1300 622 529).