Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julianne Gilbert said economic diversification was the key to creating more jobs for the region.
Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julianne Gilbert said economic diversification was the key to creating more jobs for the region. Zizi Averill

Farm serves up more jobs

A PROJECT that will see more than 2700 tonnes of North Queensland black tiger prawns produced annually is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Guthalungra aquaculture project, located about 40km north of Bowen and adjacent to the Elliot River, has been granted prescribed project status by the State Government.

If operation work approval is secured by operators Pacific Reef Fisheries, the project could start as early as next month.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the prescribed project status will help ensure the aquaculture facility can become a reality sooner.

"It's innovative and ecologically sustainable farming, and it's going to provide a real boost for one of our most popular food exports,'' Mr Dick said.

Importantly to the region, the project is expected to support 130 jobs during construction and 220 jobs once operational.

Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julianne Gilbert said economic diversification was the key to creating more jobs for the region.

"If we want to give our communities more employment opportunities, we've got to get behind projects like this," Mrs Gilbert said.

The project is set to be the world standard for aquaculture water remediation, using technology created in conjunction with James Cook University.

The use of algae in the farming process will be used to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater, allowing the facility to operate at zero net discharge.

The aquaculture site will cover an area of about 768ha and hold 259 one hectare ponds.