Working with regional communities
Regional Queensland offers enormous potential for long-term economic development. Communities are embracing new ways to improve their sustainability and shift towards a more resilient future with projects based around:
- world-leading agricultural technology
- securing water for the future
- waste composting and biofuels
- food-based tourism
- clean energy
- clean food production for domestic and international markets
- small businesses with five-star sustainability ratings.
Communities in Transition pilot program
The Queensland Government has invested $1.9 million through a place-based approach to promote long-term economic development and climate resilient communities in regional Queensland. The Communities in Transition pilot program supported communities to create roadmaps, set their own direction, and navigate their own pathways.
Delivered by the Clean Growth Choices consortium, (a partnership between James Cook University, the University of Southern Queensland, CSIRO and the Eco Efficiency Group), the Communities in Transition pilot program facilitated conversations with local government and community leaders that considered:
- understanding emerging trends
- becoming climate resilient
- sustainable economic development including moving toward a zero emissions economy
- identifying social and environmental prosperity opportunities.
The program focused on six regional communities and supported the development of a roadmap for each region, as well as pre-feasibility business cases, that have the potential to create new business and job opportunities as part of a sustainable future economy. These six communities are Cook Shire, Charters Towers, Rockhampton, Barcaldine, Central Highlands, and Goondiwindi.
These roadmaps and pre-feasibility business cases will be used to leverage investment for new projects, new capabilities and creation of new jobs.
The 19 pre-feasibility business cases designed by these communities cover four main areas:
- Making Water Work
- Regenerative agriculture
- Modern local energy systems
- Diversification and dynamic business, workforce, education and sector development.
The Rockhampton community’s goal is to build a region that is a great place to live, work, play, learn and invest, both now and in the future. This includes empowering community, protecting, maintaining and enhancing the natural environment, and sustainable industry and infrastructure.
The region’s living roadmap is designed to help propel this community forward to a more prosperous, low emissions and sustainable future by 2030. The priority for this community is Making Water Work for Rockhampton – Delivering greater benefit from new agricultural water, supply chains and value chains.
Read the Rockhampton roadmap .
The Charters Towers community’s aspirations include equipping young people with skills to keep them in the region, addressing skills shortages, growing the population and adjusting the composition of the work force – all critical factors for economic growth. Their vision also includes building a creative industry centre to make the region a major service, transport, storage and distribution hub for rural north Queensland.
This vision is captured in a living roadmap designed to support the Charters Towers region’s aspirations to secure a prosperous and sustainable future. It outlines Charters Towers as:
- a supply chain
- processing and transport hub
- a centre for low impact agriculture (derived from the Making Water Work theme)
- a place for dynamic business ventures and sector development
- supporting the school-to-work transition by building stronger technology transitions and new career paths for the next generation.
Read the Charters Towers roadmap .
Participants in the program articulated values relating to a strong sense of place and personal connection with nature and wilderness, strong connections between communities across Cape York, and First Nation Peoples’ connection with country. Reconciliation between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous people was also valued highly, as are values of uniqueness, friendship, acceptance of all people, the laid-back lifestyle, and less emphasis on material things.
The roadmap outlines the community’s aspirations for building a prosperous and resilient region and building priority pathways for future development. The highest priorities outlined in the roadmap include Local Food Futures, Making Water Work, and Dynamic Business and Sector Development.
Read the Cook Shire roadmap .
The Central Highlands community articulated a set of values, visions, aspirations and goals for the future of the region focused on building a diversified, sustainable economy built around the region’s resources and human capital, and that also fosters integrated community wellbeing and resilience. Important to this vision is maintaining a strong community spirit, relaxed rural lifestyle, heritage and culture and scenic landscapes.
Their roadmap includes future development pathways focused on connectivity requirements to enhance sustainable economic development, improved community wellbeing, and circular economy projects.
Read the Central Highlands roadmap .
The Goondiwindi region has many features that are highly valued by its residents. It is acknowledged that the region is a commercial hub of a vast agricultural and pastoral sector that can supply agricultural products for domestic and overseas markets.
Five business cases have been developed to set the living roadmap in motion, targeted at: establishing a new organic waste recirculation and management facility, testing the soil carbon, water retention and recirculating organic waste into farm soils, diversifying and intensifying agriculture in ways which make the best use of available water, population growth and skilling to enhance sustainability, resilience and enhancing tourism.
Read the Goondiwindi roadmap .
Barcaldine is ready and willing to reinvent itself as one of the most resilient communities in Queensland. People love living in the Barcaldine region because it is safe, great for families, and the community is friendly and vibrant.
Their goal is described as: building a prosperous, resilient and liveable region with a bright future for future generations. Five pre-feasibility business cases have been developed to set their living roadmap in motion. These include clean energy, tourism, a Carbon Action Plan, motocross track and macropod abattoir.
Read the Barcaldine roadmap .
Other Queensland Government programs working with communities to improve their sustainability and shift towards a more resilient future are:
- Transition to action – a circular economy program
- Decarbonisation of the Great Barrier Reef