Economic future a feature of summit

THE Whitsunday region's economic future was a hot topic for discussion when industry representatives met last week for the annual Major Projects Summit.

The event, held at the Queens Beach Hotel in Bowen, attracted record numbers and highlighted the need to develop the region's infrastructure to ensure a sustainable future.

Major developments across power, water, transport, agriculture and resources were discussed at the event, with attention on local employment and business opportunities.

Speakers included QCoal general manager of mining operations Danny McCarthy, Adani Ports CEO Captain Sandeep Mehta, and North Queensland Bulk Ports CEO Steve Lewis.

Whitsunday Marketing and Development (WMDL) economic advisory group chairman, Dave Nebauer, said the event was an opportunity for discussing how key projects could provide a foundation for a thriving Whitsunday economy amid a growing northern Australia, and for Bowen, a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mr Nebauer said the proposed Urannah Dam project was just one of the initiatives crucial to the region's long-term economic prosperity.

He said the dam, 60km south-west of Proserpine, would boost the region's resources, cotton and sugar industries, as well as facilitating power generation for northern Queensland.

"Urannah Dam is the most viable water infrastructure project in Australia," he said.

"It would be a catalyst for the region."

Mr Nebauer also said an offset of private investment was often required by governments to ensure a project's viability.

"We need private and public investment in major infrastructure projects for the Whitsunday region," he said.