In the first of a series of profiles on national markets, we take a look at North Queensland. REBAA member Jennifer Smith from NQ Buyer’s Agent tell us what’s special about her neck of the woods:
The tropical Northern Queensland region that is referred to here includes the key cities of Cairns and Townsville and their surrounds. The distance between them is over 400km and the region has a population bigger than that of Canberra. Northern Queensland brings with it a whole host of special issues, from cyclones and floods, termites, insurance crises, exorbitant body corporate fees, youth unemployment and crime and mining booms and busts. However, it is increasingly recognised as both a lifestyle destination and for its economic contribution, tropical innovation and strategic development and investment potential.
In terms of geography, the Northern Queensland region takes in both the wet tropics and the dry tropics. For this reason, the regions of Cairns and Townsville are markedly different and this is reflected in their economy, culture, lifestyle, infrastructure and demographics. Understanding these differences is key to understanding the nuances of their respective property markets.
The Cairns to Port Douglas region is well recognised for the world heritage icons, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforest. It’s natural beauty and attractions and international airport capacity, have established it as a popular international and domestic tourism destination, as well as a sought after lifestyle destination.
The Townsville region is the dry tropics, with over 300 days of sunshine a year. With an international airport and the Townsville Port, it’s strategic location and capacity has established it as having one of the largest defence forces in Australia. Supported by a strong government, resources, health, science and education sectors, it is one of the most diverse regional economies.
However, the Townsville and Cairns regions do share a number of similarities, and overall, the Northern Queensland region is perfectly positioned to capitalize on its natural attributes. It features an abundance of natural resources, including water, sunshine, land, and fresh air. The tropical climate sees it leading the way in terms of tropical health, science and innovation and renewable energy and increasingly as a lifestyle and sporting destination. The strategic proximity of Northern Queensland to Asia means that linkages, partnerships and opportunities abound, which are only really just starting to be taken up. Among other things, this is evident in increasing flights to Asia, the recent re-establishment of Townsville Airport as an operating International Airport with direct flights to Bali, and the recent defence training partnerships established with Singapore.
The Federal Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, Our North, Our Future: A Vision for Developing Northern Australia, released on 18 June 2015, illustrates the untapped potential and of the Northern Queensland region among others. This has resulted in the subsequent establishment of the Office of Northern Australia in Townsville, and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility in Cairns, placing the whole region in a pivotal strategic position which is set to shine.