Setting Mackay up for a biofuture

Published Thursday, 29 February, 2024 at 01:53 PM


Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

Assistant Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Industrial Relations and Racing
Ms Julieanne Gilbert

  • The Miles Government has declared an SDA across two sites, at Racecourse Mill and Rosella
  • The SDA sets aside industrial land to support industry economic diversification, including bioenergy and biofood production
  • A $4 million Bioenergy Fund also opens today

Mackay is the latest Queensland city to gain a State Development Area (SDA), with the declaration to unlock land for new industrial development and more jobs.

The SDA sets aside 907 ha of land adjacent to the Racecourse Mill and at Rosella to be rezoned to support value adding to the sugar cane product.

The SDA will see the city become Queensland’s home of an emerging biocommodity industry.

Today’s announcement follows a seven-month investigation by the Office of the Coordinator-General which began in April 2023 and included public consultation and a call for public submissions.

The next step will be for the Office of the Coordinator-General to prepare then consult with the community on a Draft Development Scheme.

Mackay’s sugar industry can also benefit from a new $4 million Bioenergy Fund launched today.

The Bioenergy Fund will provide matched financial assistance of between $250,000 and $2 million for industry to investigate expanding bioenergy generation from biomass waste streams and support technology innovation.

The Fund will prioritise projects that advance biomass-to-electricity conversion technologies and enable growth in the biogas and biomethane sectors, like cane waste to ethanol.

Applications can be made for feasibility or technical studies to investigate options and pathways to expand bioenergy generation and support technology innovation in the bioenergy sector in Queensland.

Applications are open for six weeks from today.

Quotes attributable to Minister for State Development and Infrastructure Grace Grace:

“Mackay now has a dedicated space to develop its enormous potential as a leader in the bio-industries that are finding new ways to make the food, fibre, feed and fuel the world’s needs.

“The declaration of an SDA across 907 hectares in Racecourse Mill and Rosella means work can now begin on a development scheme to guide future growth.

“Queensland’s sugar industry has a long history of turning waste and byproducts from the sugar manufacturing process into ethanol and electricity.

“Our new Bioenergy Fund will support the expansion of these opportunities for the sector and other industries that can turn waste into clean energy.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for State Development and Infrastructure Julieanne Gilbert:

“What we are going to be able to create here will be the new jobs for the kids sitting in our local schools today.

“This is an exciting and important development that is great for the Mackay region which is really running short on industrial land.

“Mackay has an opportunity to build on our strengths and attract the jobs of the future.

“We’re already producing the raw materials that will mean new jobs, new growth and new opportunities.

“This State Development Area and the Miles Government’s bioenergy fund will support our community to take advantage of future opportunities.

Further information:

Information about the Bioenergy Fund is available on the Department of State Development and Infrastructure website.

The Mackay region is the proposed site for a Future Foods BioHub that would provide the foundation for a commercial-scale industry.

The updated Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan (June 2022) (  2.8 MB) and the Queensland new-industry development strategy (May 2023) set out the vision for the sector.

Queensland now has 12 SDAs in locations including Cairns, Townsville, Abbot Point, Gladstone and Bundaberg.


Media contact – Kim Sweetman – 0457 600 237