Northern economic cooperation appears sensible, but may not last

It’s always been unclear to me whether North Queensland is unfairly treated by State and Federal Governments, given the large public investments that have occurred over the years, e.g. the Burdekin Dam, and the ongoing expansion of Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. While the North certainly generates a large amount of mineral exports, this has largely been made possible by the investment dollars of people from all over Australia and from other countries. Hence I don’t think there’s a clear case the North is being treated unfairly.

Nonetheless there is some merit in the Queensland regions north of the Tropic of Capricorn developing an economic cooperation plan, as reported by the Courier-Mail this morning, as it would encourage a better understanding of regional issues and infrastructure needs. I have doubts about how long the economic cooperation will last, however, because the individual regions such as Townsville and Cairns will inevitably compete among themselves to attract investment.

Even though the Courier-Mail loosely refers to the concept of an economic zone, which suggests a low tax, low regulation area, it’s clear from the article this is not what is exactly being proposed, nor would it be desirable, as I discussed in a post last year:

Government right in rejecting Northern Economic Zone

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