An artist’s impression of Imperium3’s lithium-ion battery factory proposed for the Lansdown Industrial Precinct southwest of Townsville.
An artist’s impression of Imperium3’s lithium-ion battery factory proposed for the Lansdown Industrial Precinct southwest of Townsville.

Potential for 17,000 jobs behind much-needed projects

The federal and state governments are being urged to throw their support behind three major projects in Townsville to avert 30 per cent youth and indigenous unemployment.

The region's COVID recovery TaskforceNQ has revealed the projects as the Lansdown Industrial Precinct, a North Australia Cultural Precinct and North Queensland ICT Centre of Excellence.

It says the projects have the potential to support close to 17,000 jobs.

Acting TaskforceNQ Steering Committee chairman and Acting Mayor Mark Molachino said Townsville needed investment to prevent spiralling youth and Indigenous unemployment from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Latest modelling indicates that with the end of the JobKeeper program that both youth and indigenous unemployment are likely to double to more than 30 per cent," Cr Molachino said.

"We need investment in a range of infrastructure projects, as well as a range of social programs, to give the region an economic boost, enhance the community's resilience and keep Townsville a great place to live and visit."

Townsville Enterprise chairman Kevin Gill said most of the jobs would be supported by development of the Lansdown Industrial Precinct about 50km southwest of the city.

"Lansdown is expected to support 160 construction jobs, more than 1600 ongoing jobs and around 9100 indirect jobs," Mr Gill said.

"It will be Northern Australia's first environmentally sustainable, advanced manufacturing, processing and technology estate, powered by locally generated renewable energy (and) ensuring the long-term sustainability of the NQ economy," Mr Gill said.

Mr Gill said the enabling infrastructure could unlock the first stages of Imperium3's battery factory, Pure Minerals' metals refinery and Edify Energy's hydrogen plant and help complete DriveIt NQ's motorsport complex.

Cr Molachino said the North Australia Cultural Precinct would support 900 jobs during construction, 50 ongoing jobs and more than 2200 indirect jobs.

It will include a concert hall and conservatorium of music, an entertainment and exhibition centre, and an art gallery. Cr Molachino said the cultural precinct project would deliver significant socio-economic benefits, including increased visitor numbers generating economic activity and enhanced Indigenous storytelling through art and performances.

"It will launch Townsville on to the national and international stage as well as generating sustainable jobs and economic growth," Cr Molachino said.

Townsville Enterprise chief executive Patricia O'Callaghan said the North Queensland ICT Centre of Excellence would grow the information and communication technology industry and build a highly skilled and sustainable workforce.

"It is estimated that the centre of excellence would support 900 ongoing, direct jobs and around 2100 indirect jobs," Ms O'Callaghan said.

Originally published as Potential for 17,000 jobs behind much-needed projects