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    Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    New regional plan for Whitsunday Hinterland and Mackay

    Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Friday, March 05, 2010

    New regional plan for Whitsunday Hinterland and Mackay

    Friday, 5 March 2010 

    The State Government today announced that it will develop a new regional plan for the fast-growing Whitsunday Hinterland and Mackay region.

    Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin, who will chair a Regional Planning Committee (RPC) meeting this month, said the new regional plan would manage population growth and protect the region’s enviable lifestyle and environment.

    “More than any other state, Queensland faces growth challenges that are unique, including with the establishment of core employment and economic hubs outside of the metropolitan areas,” Mr Mulherin said.

    “The Whitsunday Hinterland and Mackay region is now home to more than 167,000 residents and the population is predicted to grow by more than 5000 people per year for at least the next seven years.

    “By 2013 the population could reach 255,000.

    “The State Government must safeguard Whitsunday’s and Mackay’s unique and enviable environment and lifestyle while catering for economic growth and dealing with issues like climate change, transport needs and social challenges over the next 20 years.”

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe will oversee development of the Whitsunday Hinterland and Mackay (WHAM) regional plan.

    “The WHAM regional plan covering the Mackay Regional Council, Isaac Regional Council and Whitsunday Regional Council has the unique position of having the Great Barrier Reef, rare rainforests, thriving industrial centres and some of the nation’s most productive agricultural, fishing and mining sectors in close proximity,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “In addition these three councils have experienced an influx of new residents in the recent years, with an extra 22,000 people moving to the region from 2001-2006.”

    Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt said Queensland was the only state to implement statutory regional plans outside major capital cities.

    “This kind of growth being experienced by the Whitsunday Hinterland and Mackay region requires high-level strategic direction.

    “With the help of local councils and other key stakeholders, a new statutory plan is the obvious step,’’ Ms Jarratt said.

    “It’s important our planning also recognise the impacts mining growth has had – rapidly turning Mackay into the principal service centre and smaller towns into dynamic service centres.

    “We will consult widely with communities from Bowen to St Lawrence and west to Clermont to plan for future growth.”

    A statutory plan will emphasise a preferred pattern of settlement for the 90,000 sq km region – showing where future growth should occur to balance social, environmental and economic needs.

    Due to different growth pressures than other regions, a State Planning Regulatory Provision (SPRP) will be released in conjunction with the draft regional plan in late 2010.

    The WHAM regional plan is expected to take more than a year to develop and will provide a planning horizon until 2031.

    Media:
    Minister Mulherin’s office 3239 3120
    Minister Hinchliffe’s office 3224 8750