TNQ Economic Development Strategy (TEDS) 2024- 2029


There has never been an opportunity as presently exists in our region, to break the spell of fragmentation that has been the hallmark of our growth for decades.

Underfunding and the absence of an intergovernmental response to the future needs of our region are some of the key issues.

Against this background, the TNQ Economic Development Strategy (TEDS) is a consolidated 5-year economic direction for the Tropical North Queensland region.
The TEDS is a requirement under the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Charter which requires RDAs nationally to “co-ordinate the development of a strategic regional plan, or work with suitable existing regional plans that will align with the Commonwealth’s regional priorities’. At the commencement of the TEDS journey, the statutory planning instrument, the FNQ Regional Plan 2009-2031 (the Plan) was seen as outdated by the region – RDA Tropical North is pleased that through the FNQROC’s lead advocacy, the Plan is now under review.

During the Plan’s review period, Regional Development Australia Tropical North (RDATN) undertook an extensive exercise to review 37 existing plans. As part of the process, RDATN assessed activities undertaken by local government, NRMs and economic development organisations against the Commonwealth, State and FNQ Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC)/Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils’ Alliance (TCICA) priority areas. The review identified that there is not one specific plan which integrates the quadruple bottom-line across economic, environmental, social and cultural pillars. The review also identified:

• Currency of plans range from very recent to 15 years old
• Timeframes for plans vary according to purpose and scope
• Asset based paradigm – building on what we have and where we are
• Competitive Advantage/ Unique Selling Proposition
• Clean/ Green, Smart, Tropical Knowledge and Skills, Indigenous culture
• A lot of time, energy and resources has been invested in economic planning for the Tropical North (this is supported by a strong research base i.e. CRC for Northern Australia, Regional Australia Institute, consultancies etc)
• Tropical North is a diverse region with a range of issues and attributes – no one size fits all
• The interplay with Northern Australia and PNG/Pacific is critical to the TNQ region
• Agreed need to diversify to limit boom and bust cycles (still a lot of reference to growing tourism and agriculture. Growth v Foundational strategies)
• Infrastructure lag – transport (roads/ports), water, energy, social infrastructure (when compared to similar sized regions, TNQ was at the time of the TEDS literature review, $1billion behind in infrastructure investment)
• Advocacy to State and Commonwealth governments for policy change and funding is a recurring theme

RDATN acknowledges the critical importance that economic development stakeholders agree on a set of common needs and priorities for the region and coordinate their collective efforts in a manner that ensures the ongoing diversification and economic growth of the TNQ region. It is through this collaboration and agreement that the region can attract both public and private investment, while ensuring elevated liveability for residents. RDATN is grateful for the ongoing partnership with FNQROC in the development of the TEDS.

Official Launch (2 Feb 2024)

Drawing on the extensive exercise to review 37 existing plans, research and consultation with key regional partners, State Government, industry and community across 21 LGA’s, the Tropical North Queensland Economic Development Strategy 2024-2029 (TEDS) was developed in collaboration with the FNQ Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC), a peak body of 12 local governments, as a cohesive vision across economic, environmental, social and cultural pillars for the region.  The five-year strategic plan for the region steps out the opportunity to develop a dynamic economy, build resilience and increase liveability.

The Strategy identifies key priority development areas and infrastructure projects canvasing land-use perspectives, emerging growth industries and considerations for population growth and liveability to inform government investment decisions, particularly in the context of the Federal Government Regional Investment Framework (RIF).    As well as informing government policy decisions and investment decisions, the strategy will be used to facilitate private investment, trade, local procurement and jobs for the Tropical North.

The document sets out six goals to transform the region with regional pathways to achieve them and the steps that RDA Tropical North needs to take to assist.

The goals are:

1 A dynamic economy, adapting to 21st century challenges and transitioning in the face of climate change.

2 Northern Australia’s most productive region.

3 A resilient community with an abundant and healthy natural environment.

4 The north’s most liveable region.

5 A safe, effective and connected region.

6 A strong collaborative, integrated region.

The Tropical North Queensland Economic Development Strategy 2024-2029 has a roadmap, listing the current proposals requiring support, those with sourced funding which require a continued commitment, and implementation priorities.  

RDA Tropical North acknowledges the considerable contributions, feedback and insights from regional stakeholders and extends a sincere ‘thank you’ to those individuals, colleagues, groups, organisations and businesses who were interested and invested in this critical process for the benefit of our unique region.

This is ‘A strategy for the region, by the region” that will remain an iterative document the region can interact with over the next five years.