Profile: North Queensland

The Mackay property market’s bounce-back is well underway, stimulated by significant infrastructure spend and a surging regional tourism sector.

Mackay is home to a diverse and vibrant community with rural and coastal living opportunities. The area is known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean waters; it is a premier tourist destination for Australians and international visitors alike.

Just over an hour’s flight from Brisbane, the Mackay region boasts an enviable lifestyle and a buoyant economy with the benefits of a fast-growing coastal city complemented by a spectacular natural environment.

The Mackay Regional Local Government Area is one of the fastest growing in Queensland, with a population of over 120,000.

Growth is fuelled by the resurgence of agribusiness and growth in construction, logistics, tourism and the resources sector. Upcoming infrastructure projects and jobs in mining and related industries are also attracting new residents to the city.

The Mackay property market is showing positive signs as confidence increases in both commercial and residential fields.

According to property valuers Herron Todd White, there has been increased level of sales activity as buyers and sellers both gain a better appreciation of the value available following the economic downturn.

An improved performance from the local rental market also reflects a sharp decline in vacancies over the past year.

Several new projects are proposed or underway for Mackay, including a $50 million biorefinery, which could create up to 115 jobs and position the region as an emerging bio-industry hub.

Also in the works is a revamped $200 million waterfront precinct for Mackay, which has been dubbed a Priority Development Area (PDA).

The Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 has been labeled the biggest government infrastructure project in Mackay’s history. The $497.8 million total spend to construct the new two-lane road is due for completion in July 2020, and will divert heavy vehicles from the city centre.

A $40 million Whitsunday Airport upgrade is also planned. It will include remediation of the existing terminal and upgrade of the domestic terminal.

The Magpies Sporting Club is also investing heavily in the area with the new National Premier League (NPL) team, the Magpies Crusaders United.

The club has launched a $10 million master plan to create five new sporting fields and a new clubhouse.

The proposed $72 million Mackay Regional Sports Precinct, of which stages 1A and 1B are now under development at the CQUniversity Mackay campus in Ooralea, is supported by the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday Regional councils together with local businesses and community organisations.

Major Infrastructure Projects

  • The Hillalong coal project will generate 400 jobs for the region.
  • The Blair Athol mine will create 100 new jobs when production recommences.
  • $18.6 million Mackay City Centre Revitalisation Project has provided increased investment potential and enhanced lifestyle opportunities.
  • The $408 million Mackay Base Hospital has set the standard for regional facilities.
  • The Horizon high-rise development will generate 127 new jobs and deliver an affordable option for inner-city living.

Aged care is another burgeoning industry in Mackay; one of the largest aged care providers in the country is moving into the region for the first time.

Ozcare has been approved for the development of a 120-bed aged care facility in West Mackay. The development will cost about $30 million and create at least 165 jobs during construction.

The Australian Government and Queensland Government have committed $8.5 billion to a ten-year Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, which will dramatically impact the greater Mackay region, stimulating jobs and investment.

The program commenced in mid-2013 and is the largest program of roadworks currently underway in Queensland.

The resources sector in Mackay is again growing, with rising commodity prices and the announcement of several new and previously proposed mining ventures being given life.

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