12th February 2021

    Through advocacy, hard earned resilience and adaptability, many North Queenslanders managed to get through 2020 relatively unscathed…”

    AUTHOR: Carl Valentine

    North, Far North and Western Queenslanders have more than earned their stripes over the past decade dealing with cyclones, drought, floods, fires, economic malaise and most recently COVID-19.

    While there was a fair bit of optimism heading into 2020 regarding the economic revival of our regions, the statewide shutdowns of businesses, economic and social restrictions saw a temporary and artificial pause to our economic recovery.  

    Through advocacy, hard earned resilience, and adaptability, many North Queenslanders managed to get through 2020 relatively unscathed when compared to many other regions and start 2021 in good shape to grow.

    Although the internationally focussed tourism sector within our regions remains depressed, many hospitality businesses have survived, if not thrived on the back of our communities spending more of their money closer to home. We’ve not been spending our money on overseas or interstate travel; we're staying at home and spending our money locally. Increased levels of local consumption was aided further by the really well targeted government support that was made available throughout the year.

    JobKeeper, Cash Boost and other government assistance provided essential support and have given local businesses a great platform to build from.

    JobSeeker, early access to superannuation and other measures targeted at individuals meant those who were out of work could survive and still had money to spend in the region.   

    Fast forward to the end of 2020 when the HomeBuilder scheme was announced, which in conjunction with the state support for new home buyers, meant there was up to $45,000 that people could apply for to go towards buying land or starting to build a home.

    Since the petering out of work from flood recovery efforts in Northern and Western Queensland, this renewed boost of homebuyers and builders has seen the local construction and building industry given a really big shot in the arm.

    So, now we’re in 2021 and there is some uncertainty ahead of us as the government assistance measures, which were always stated to be temporary, are wound back, we await a successful vaccination program to continue the fight against COVID-19 and still face the risk of border closures and the reimposition of business restrictions. Uncertainty isn’t new to us and we will prevail.

    The stage is set for us to put our resilience and adaptability on show and, despite the uncertainty ahead, continuing building our regional economy. Our businesses and our communities need to do the heavy lifting to continue the upward economic trajectory that COVID-19 and some other external shocks threaten to derail.

    Large scale projects that have commenced, like the Carmichael Mine and the expansion of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative will see a plethora of local civil, construction and mining contractors reaping the economic benefits. Proposed projects that are closer to implantation, like CopperString 2.0 and Hells Gate Dam, provide future hope for long-term sustainable regional growth.

    The CopperString 2.0 project is a catalyst for increased levels of investment in the Northwest Minerals Province, which in turn create economic benefits for our broader region. A final investment decision this calendar year on CopperString 2.0 will be incredible for the region.

    The biggest sign to watch for in 2021 is population growth in North, West and Far North Queensland due to sustainable job creation drawing workers and their families to our wonderful communities. Whether that's for Defence, private sector roles or otherwise, when people from across Queensland and Australia can see that regional centres like Townsville and Cairns are a good place to do live and business, we’ll see definite growth in our economy for years to come.

    While Cairns may have a harder road to recovery from COVID-19 than Townsville, there's still a lot of good reasons to think that Far North Queensland has got a bright future ahead of it, and once the tourism industry ramps up, Cairns will continue to grow again as well.

    Here at PVW Partners, in 2021 we will continue to invest in our people, create new roles to better support or growing client base and keep building our business throughout regional Queensland.


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