More than $3 billion in unmet global market demand for North Queensland-grown agricultural products and 2,000 new jobs are two key findings of a Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) research collaboration announced today.

The 12-month North Queensland Agricultural Market and Supply Chain Study is the first of its type undertaken across the region and was led by Townsville’s peak economic development body, Townsville Enterprise Ltd and supported by the Burdekin Shire , Hinchinbrook Shire , Charters Towers and Palm Island Councils.

Consultancy firm KPMG Australia and Townsville-based firms Premise and AEC conducted the research on behalf of the project participants.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the study was the first of its type conducted across the region and demonstrated the value of the Government’s Cooperative Research Centres.

“This study recommends targeting the development of the beef, avocado, macadamia, soybean and on-shore aquaculture sectors as offering the most in future growth and export returns,” Minister Andrews said.

“It highlights the opportunities that can be created when you bring industry and research together, which is a fundamental part of the CRC Program.

“$1.1 billion in funding has been committed to CRCs since the Liberal National Government came into office in 2013 and is part of our commitment to Australian industry, strengthening our economic growth and helping to create 1.25 million jobs in the next five years.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the study will boost outcomes for northern Australia.

“Transitioning land use and building value in North Queensland’s supply chains have been identified as critical to fulfilling the market potential of these sectors,” Minister Canavan said.

The research found undertaking strategic efforts to embrace the five high-value commodities is likely to create thousands of new jobs across the agricultural supply chain and result in a positive Net Present Value (NPV) of up to $271.1 million.

CRNCA Chair Sheriden Morris said the project’s impact will be far-reaching.

“The success of this collaboration has directly resulted in the establishment of the North Queensland Agricultural Supply Chain Alliance which will work collectively to identify and progress new agricultural supply chain projects across North Queensland.”

While Townsville Enterprise Director – Policy and Investment Director, Michael McMillan said the study will also inform other key projects important to the region’s future, such as the Hells Gates Dam Project, and support the development of our regions, including the rich growing areas of the Burdekin and Hinchinbrook, and new growth areas including Palm Island.

KPMG Partner, Robert Poole said the research outcomes will help producers and industry unlock untapped potential across beef, intensive horticulture, sugarcane and crop rotation and on-shore aquaculture sectors.

Next steps identified in the NQAMSC study will include establishing co-ops, working with organisations such as Austrade on policy positions, infrastructure investment, and industry coordination on a state-wide agricultural mapping process.

“I congratulate TEL and their partners in delivering this important body of work,” said Ms Morris.

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Read project summary report here

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CRCNA – Carla Keith, Communications Manager: 0499 330 051

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