The region’s economy has historically been built on the back of our sugarcane and resource service industries; however, we are continuing to grow a sustainable and diversified economic base with a broad range of emerging industries and investment opportunities.
Mackay possesses an innovative and adaptive business community which is globally recognised as a world leader in innovation. Our resource service sector presents numerous opportunities to export knowledge and technology globally. The creativity of the region’s business community is reflected by our registered patents per capita which Mackay is ranked one of the highest in Australia.
The Central Queensland University continues to support the growth of the region’s innovation sector through their School of Engineering and Technology which provides specialisations in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics and Mining.
Mackay Regional Council and Central Queensland University recently collaborated to bring Australia’s first humanoid artificial intelligent robots to Mackay. The local start-up business community is supported through not-for-profit organisations such as Split Spaces Mackay, Start-up Mackay and MakerSpaces.
Biofutures has been identified as a growing global market and one that the Queensland Government have identified as a key industry of the future as part of its Advance Queensland Program.
The Mackay region is positioned to capitalise on this growing market given its access to bio-mass, notably sugar, access to market and established involvement in the industry. The region is at the forefront of Australia’s bio-industry and is home to the QUT Renewable Biocommodites Pilot Plant co-located at the Mackay Sugar owned Racecourse Sugar Mill. The Pilot Plant is a pilot scale research and development centre that aims to develop biofuels and biocommodity products and processes that are commercially viable.
As the owner of three (3) of the region’s sugar cane mills, Mackay Sugar, will continue to be a driving force in the industry. Mackay Sugar currently provide over a third of Mackay’s electricity through their co-generation electricity plant fuelled by bagasse, a waste product from sugar cane. They also have a 20-year diversification plan that seeks to build on their current operations and further utilise milling product and by-products.
The region is also home to the Sucrogren BioEthanol Bio-refinery which is one of three commercial bio-refineries in Queensland. The Sarina based bio-refinery is Australia’s largest producer of sugar-based ethanol with capacity to produce 60 million litres of ethanol per year.
Mackay was built on the back of the sugar cane industry, however as domestic and international demand for food production continues to increase, Mackay is well positioned to diversify our existing agricultural base and capitalise on this growing market.
The region has a natural competitive advantage due to our proximity to the growing Asian market, year-round climate, productive soils, established supply changes and well regarded industry knowledge.
Opportunity also exists to expand our existing sugar cane industry base through the commercialisation and export of industry knowledge and the further production and value adding of sugar bio-products. These natural advantages place the Mackay region in a very strong position to value-add to our existing agricultural base and capitalise on these growing opportunities.
The region’s central location along the Queensland coast line provides Mackay an opportunity to develop as the major freight distribution hub for central and northern Queensland.
Excellent transport infrastructure and accessibility to local and regional markets, via a combination of road connectivity (Bruce Highway, Peak Downs Highway), rail (passenger and freight), port (Port of Mackay, Abbot Point and Hay Point) connectivity, and air links to key markets provides strong foundation to support existing industries.
Mackay is positioned within a 12 hour driving distance from most regional settlements along the Queensland coast line and provides the region a key opportunity to develop as a regional distribution hub.
Planned major infrastructure developments such as the Mackay Ring Road and Bowen Basin Service Link will enable further improved efficiencies for local and other businesses alike. The approved land use plan for the Mackay Airport includes significant freight, logistics and distribution facilities which further improves the region’s intermodal accessibility via road, rail, port and air connections.
The region is rich in natural tourism attractions including the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Eungella National Park and Finch Hatton Gorge and a range of stunning sandy beaches.
Ongoing investment in social infrastructure continues to support the region’s livability and growing tourism industry. The region has a growing agri-tourism industry that continues to gain strength through farm based enterprise and initiatives such as the weekly Farmers Markets held in the Mackay City Centre.