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The North Queensland region encompasses five major regional centres: Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island and Townsville. The region contributes over $17.5 billion annually to the Queensland economy and is home to nearly 240,000 people (Ref -REMPLAN 2019R1). The region has one of the most diverse economic bases in Australia and enjoys a stunning natural environment of reef, rain forest and outback, which, provide tourism growth opportunities and an attractive lifestyle for its residents.

The region is strategically positioned to provide goods and services via the extensive logistics network in the region for rail, road, sea and air. The network enables over $9 billion per annum of goods and services to be exported domestically and internationally (Ref - REMPLAN 2019R1).

Our North Queensland regional office (NQRO) is located in Townsville. It has a dedicated Defence Industry Hub that is actively developing defence supply chains and servicing industry. NQRO also works very closely with the Townsville Advanced Manufacturing Hub (Department of Regional Development and Manufacturing) to assist in supporting and growing local manufacturers to become more productive, increase international competitiveness and access emerging and diversified growth opportunities, to enable the delivery of leading technologies, processes and practices and attract increased private sector investment and jobs for Townsville.


237,100 (2018p) – expected to increase to 324,317 by 2041. (Ref - Qld Government SA4)


Data provided is a three-month moving average (Ref - ABS Data SA1 Report RM1 as at July 2020).

  • employment 108,600 (participation rate 63.3%)
  • unemployment 7.8%
  • youth unemployment 5.2%


  • industry diversity – all 19 industry sectors represented with over 16,000 businesses operating in the region. GRP for the region is $16.717.67 billion (Ref - REMPLAN 20198 R12)
  • largest general cargo and container port in northern Australia. The port is also Australia’s leading exporter of zinc, lead, sugar, fertiliser and molasses
  • largest Australian defence base located in Townsville
  • health and knowledge centre for North Queensland with world leading research centres in tropical health and marine science
  • two universities located in Townsville - James Cook University and Central Queensland University
  • headquarters for the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and leading research organisation CSIRO
  • education centre of North Queensland with a number of high-quality boarding and public schools
  • 300+ days of sunshine a year
  • median house prices affordable
  • two world-class refineries based in Townsville with Sun Metals undergoing an expansion
  • logistic hub for North Queensland roads and rail
  • international and domestic airport
  • quality and significant quantity of industrial land available
  • Townsville is a large exporter of cattle and has a meat processing facility
  • an established tourism industry, with the region boasting attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Museum of Underwater Art, the Yongala (one of the world's best wreck dive sites) and ReefHQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium
  • mining and industry commercial centre for North Queensland
  • home to two successful national sporting teams – North Queensland Cowboys and Townsville Fire
  • diverse natural environment with wet tropics, dry tropics, reef and outback all represented in the region
  • large agricultural irrigation area producing sugar cane and various agricultural and horticulture products
  • large aquaculture industry in region and expanding


Reference: REMPLAN 19 industry sectors 2019 R1.

Top five output industries – total regional output $34.38 billion:

  • manufacturing
  • public administration and safety
  • construction
  • rental, hiring and real estate services
  • health care and social assistance

Top five value add industries – total regional value add $16.47 billion:

  • health care and social assistance
  • public administration and safety
  • education and training
  • retail trade
  • construction

Top five value add industries – total regional value add $15.56 billion:

  • public administration and safety
  • rental, hiring and real estate services
  • health care and social assistance
  • construction
  • education and training

Significant growth industries over last 3 years based on GRP (Ref - REMPLAN 45 industry sectors 2016 R2 vs 2019 R1):

  • food product manufacturing
  • petroleum and coal product manufacturing
  • mining
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing support services
  • transport support services and storage

Key projects

Funded Projects:

  • Haughton Pipeline Stage 2 (administered by DSDTI)
  • Sun Metals Hydrogen Production Facility (Hydrogen Industry Development Fund)
  • Townsville Solar Trees (GARIF)
  • Museum of Underwater Art
  • Townsville Industrial Development Board (commitment under the Townsville City Deal)
    • Accelerating the Townsville SDA
    • Townsville Hydrogen Industry Working Group
  • Industry Development Priorities
    • Defence Industry Development
    • Townsville health and knowledge sector development (commitment under the Townsville City Deal)
      • Development of TropiQ Health and Knowledge Precinct.
      • Advanced Manufacturing and new economy metals refining.

State Development Areas:

  • Townsville State Development Area

Co-ordinated Projects (Office of the Coordinator-General)

  • Burdekin Falls Dam Stage 2
  • North Queensland Country Club and Equestrian Centre
  • Copper String 2.0.

Local content activities

View all upcoming events and opportunities in the region including workshops and industry briefings that support businesses at all stages of project supply chains. You can also learn more about manufacturing hubs.

Further information

Find out more about this diverse region or contact our North Queensland regional office.