14 December, 2022
Future bright for shire
PROPERTY prices in the Mareeba Shire rose by up to 40 per cent over the past year, and build-ing approvals surpassed $57.5 million as the region’s economy continued to grow, according to the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 economic publication.
The annual document outlines the state of the economy in the shire, revealing the gross regional product of the shire was $1.33 billion in the year ending June 2021.
And while agriculture continues to be the biggest earner by far, the publication heralds tourism as a increasingly important pillar con-tributing to the prosperity of the area and job creation.
According to the Mareeba Shire, total visitor expenditure for the year ending June 2022 reached $136.44 million, a 14 per cent increase on spending in the previous year.
And with the Shire recently announcing the establishment of its own Local Tourism Organisation to promote and develop the industry, the future of the sector looks bright.
Events are increasingly becoming more important to the economy, such as Nitro Thunder in the Tropics which attracted between 8000-10,000 people and Savannah in the Round which experienced a 37 per cent rise in attendance from the previous year, with over 15,000 patrons through the gates during the October long weekend.
Next year, the successful Rotary FNQ Field Days will return in May, bringing thousands of visitors into the area.
The publication also offers an insight into how Covid affected local businesses and how they are changing their offerings to satisfy the growing demand by tourists for new experiences.
Skybury Farms reported that despite Covid, the business had one of the best years in visitation for more than seven years in 2021.
“Changes implemented recently include a tasting room that allows guests to experience al of the value-added creations made over the past 24 months,” the article stated.
“This includes a range of jams, BBQ sauce and multiple award-winning liqueurs and spirits along with a skin care range from the seed of the papaya and coffee.”
Mayor Angela Toppin couldn’t be happier with the way the shire is continuing to grow and its resilience in the face of Covid.
“This council is committed to the vision of ‘a growing and sustainable shire’ and we will continue to create the conditions that attract investment and facilitate the economic growth of the shire,” she said.
“The economic future of the Mareeba Shire is bright and, as Mayor, I commend the business community and the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce for the important role they play in this.
“It is through the efforts and innovations of business and industry that the Mareeba Shire will continue to punch above its weight.”
Chamber president Joe Moro said while the business community continued to thrive, there remained challenges ahead to attract and retain a reliable labour force for industries across the board.
“The chamber has been involved in lobbying efforts to shine a light on this issue and many others through our role as the key business advocacy group for the Mareeba business community,” he said.
“We are often front and centre on a number of issues impacting our community including, but not limited to, health, transport and youth crime.”
To that end, the economic snapshot explores important issues affecting the area such as water security to support the region’s high-value agricultural production, and the ongoing de-bate about what would be a safe, reliable and efficient transport corridor from Mareeba to the coast.
The snapshot provides a brief outline of the three different options which have been pro-posed to date – the Bridle Track, the Reddicliffe Highway, and the Saddle Mountain alternative.
“The region’s development also continues to be hampered with transport inefficiencies like the absence of a B-Double decoupling pad between Mareeba and Kuranda,” Mr Moro said