The Inside Word

Bundaberg Queensland – “Booming one day, perfect opportunity the next”

Queensland is booming. Our unemployment is lower than any other state. We have a long list of government infrastructure projects underway, including Cross River Rail, the Brisbane Metro project, and upgrades to the Bruce Highway and M1, and of course the crown jewel 2032 Olympics to keep us rolling forward over the next decade and beyond.  

So, while the rest of the world is facing slowing economies, poor growth and perhaps reduced opportunities, that’s not the case here at home in the sunny state. Massive economies like China and the United States still need our resources, particularly critical minerals found in abundance in Australia particularly Queensland, for batteries and other high-tech products.

There is also plenty of good news in our resources sector, educational exports, tourism and migration -that is just hitting its straps again after the COVID downturn.

What is sometimes overlooked in the mix of all this good news is the potential of regional Queensland. I had the great pleasure of attending the fourth annual Bundaberg Bioeconomy Conference and witnessing first-hand the progress, growth and opportunity that our regions present. Bundaberg is a hotbed of investment, population growth and the focus of investors in all sectors from tourism, to bioenergy, to housing and industry. It’s a great story and one that Mayor Jack Dempsey is happy to share.

Bundaberg is an agricultural powerhouse and has long been at the forefront of primary production on the east coast. It now wants to be the powerhouse of the bioeconomy and is on a mission to be the first regional council to achieve net zero. All the right ingredients are in place – crops and related feedstocks, land and a willing and able council prepared to look to the future. 

To put this in context, Bundaberg is 45 minutes from Brisbane by air on regular airlines –about the same from the Gold Coast with new flights direct via Bonza airlines next month. It is the nearest gateway to the Great Barrier Reef for tourism and is the preferred landing place for backpackers looking for seasonal work, just to name a few of the things underpinning the region.

There is further opportunity with the potential for the region to be the hub for sustainable aviation fuels production, airline activity via the Flying Doctor Service HQ and the potential for more international airlines to join the dots with extra services in a booming region.

Occasionally, getting out of the cities and visiting places like Bundaberg and speaking to locals about economic activity paints an incredible picture of opportunity. Like all opportunity though, it needs investment and believers, and it seems that Bundaberg has got both from what I heard and saw at the Bioeconomy Conference – an impressive global speakers list and presentations in the fields of biofuels, energy production and new businesses starting up for complimentary industries.

Yes, Queensland is booming for all the right reasons and it’s doing so away from the big city and well-known projects. Regional economies are quietly paving the road ahead, in parallel with government-sponsored infrastructure.

Queensland – “Beautiful one day, perfect the next” – has never been truer.

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