HIGH GROWTH: The Port of Bundaberg.
HIGH GROWTH: The Port of Bundaberg. Contributed

24,375 JOBS: Bundy Port plan to unleash region's potential

A BOLD vision to transform the Wide Bay Burnett's economy and unleash its potential will be unveiled at a regional forum in Bundaberg today.

A new study shows that developing major infrastructure linked to the Port of Bundaberg would create 24,735 new jobs and deliver $6 billion in economic activity.

The modelling by Deloitte Access Economics is contained in a report prepared for Bundaberg Regional Council, the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils and Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Analysis shows that $2.696 billion of targeted infrastructure investment across 12 projects would transform the region's economy and directly address decades of chronic unemployment.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said there was now a business case for the Federal and State governments to invest in growth.

"Regional councils want our federal and state members to take this forward to decision makers in Canberra and Brisbane," he said.

"This is a game changer. For the first time we have detailed modelling to prove that building infrastructure will create jobs and stimulate economic activity to the benefit of our region, the state and the nation."

Two future economic scenarios were modelled by Deloitte Access Economics on the impact of greater public infrastructure investment in the Wide Bay Burnett.

Depending on the level of infrastructure investment provided, the outlook for the region is significantly different.

Scenario One is a low to medium growth outlook. Under this scenario, $521 million of infrastructure, $1.95 billion additional gross regional product and 8,245 additional jobs could be delivered across the region.

This scenario excludes funding of necessary upgrades to the Burnett Highway, a new rail link between the Port and North Burnett Minerals Province and the outer harbour.

As a result, only a small number of known agricultural and resources projects would go ahead across the region.

Scenario Two is a high to aspirational growth outlook. Under this scenario, $2,696 million of infrastructure, along with $6.05 billion additional gross regional product and 24,735 jobs would be delivered across the region.

The study shows that developing the Port of Bundaberg is "fundamentally linked ... to unleashing the region's economic potential".

"Without these infrastructure investments, the trade and economic growth potential of the Wide Bay Burnett will be constrained," it stated.

The report will be presented at the Wide bay Burnett Regional Economic Development Growth Forum today, after which it will be handed to the state and federal governments in a bid to gain their support.

The projects:

Roads

  • Port Access Road: $150 million
  • Upgrades to Burnett and Isis Highways: $900 million
  • Burnett River Bridge
  • New transport depot: $9 million

Rail

  • Rail link: $480m
  • Rail connection to Cordalba: $13 million

Port and marina

  • Operational and industry-related upgrades to the Port of Bundaberg: $55m
  • Port berthing facilities: $120 million
  • New Outer Harbour facilities: $880m
  • Upgraded berthing facilities: $15 million

Energy

  • Electricity infrastructure fixes: $50m

Water

  • Upgrades to water storage and supply infrastructure: $23m

TOTAL $2.696 BILLION