Paget from above.
Paget from above.

Paget landlocked: Probe into Mackay’s industrial future

PAGET'S viability will hang in the balance if industrial competition from neighbouring cities continues to put pressure on Mackay's future.

Land is limited, Paget has very little room for growth and if we do not act now, we will miss the boat - Mackay region deputy mayor Amanda Camm argued in council chambers on Wednesday.

She implored her fellow councillors to think about land supply and the importance of having industrial land available to remain competitive against Townsville and Rockhampton.

"Companies like Sentinel Property Group, which have significant investments in the region, have said they will not continue to invest in Mackay unless council is more proactive in understanding what future demands are," she said.

"While there may be some empty lots in Paget, they are already sold and owned by companies that are yet to develop.

"When you compare us to places like Rockhampton and Townsville, there is significant risk if we do not start planning our land use now."

Councillor Amanda Camm.
Councillor Amanda Camm. Contributed.

Sentinel Property Group managing director Warren Ebert said he could see business in Paget was steadily growing and it wouldn't be long before industrial facilities there were fully occupied and bustling with businesses. If Paget continued to expand in future mining cycles, further land would be required.

"At this point, future business growth in Paget will require new industrial facilities, but it should be carefully planned," he said.

Raine & Horne Mackay director Des Besanko confirmed Paget had a limited life span as it was landlocked in regard to its proximity to the Bruce Highway and the ocean.

Mr Besanko said the State Government had already identified an area that would be used for industrial development in the future.

Urban Development Institute of Australia Mackay branch president Mark McGrath revealed that area was a 150ha parcel of land at Rosella, purchased by the State Government earlier this year.


About 150ha of land at Rosella has been purchased by the State Government.
About 150ha of land at Rosella has been purchased by the State Government. Contributed

He said the council needed to work with both State and Federal governments to develop that land.

"The development and trunk infrastructure required to build a major industrial estate could take as long as 10 years to complete and will cost around $200m," he said.

"It is paramount that we start this process now."

Mr McGrath said it wasn't just mining services, but other industries that would require significant land in the future.

He believes Mackay has the potential to become a defence hub or even the location of a Woolworths distribution hub.

"Mackay could become a hub between Shoalwater Bay and Townsville to service defence equipment," he said.

"If Mackay was chosen for the next big Woolworths distribution hub, we would need a 50ha site for their giant warehouse sheds and at this point we don't have land of that size ready for use.

"We need to get the ball rolling so we don't miss out on opportunities."


Hastings Deering in Mackay. (Picture: Jack Tran)
Hastings Deering in Mackay. (Picture: Jack Tran)


Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke had similar feelings to Mr McGrath, noting that large equipment manufacturing companies like Komatsu and Hastings Deering normally had two to three year plans. If Mackay's next industrial estate took 10 years to develop, those companies could be questioning our viability.

"I think we have the capability and skill-set here in Mackay, but if five new mines open in the Bowen Basin, that's five new fleets of trucks that will need to be serviced," she said.

"I think considering neighbouring regions are looking to compete in this space, council's report will hopefully give us some clarity on how to future-proof the region."

After much debate at Wednesday's ordinary meeting of council, a motion was passed to commission an updated independent report to address the current and future supply of industrial land used for heavy industry, light industry and hardstand.

The external independent report will cost council between $40,000 and $80,000 and will take about five months to complete. It will outline the past timeframes it took to bring Paget online, the future timelines required to support further supply to market, a review of current investigation areas and new areas, including rural zoning "within the mill buffer zone".

Witness recalls moment man was swept out to sea

premium_icon Witness recalls moment man was swept out to sea

In a frantic scene locals scrambled to find the missing swimmer

Keep up with the locals:  Just $1 for the first 28 days

Keep up with the locals: Just $1 for the first 28 days

Get the latest local news first from just $1 for the first 28 days

In need of a lifeline Volunteers heartfelt call out

premium_icon In need of a lifeline Volunteers heartfelt call out

RECEIVING around 100 calls a day, Lifeline Coffs Harbour is desperately seeking...