IAG Director Mozelle Morrison discusses her excitement at IAG’s presence in far north Queensland (FNQ) and upcoming sponsorship of IAQ’s North Queensland Industry Forum on Thursday 20 July.

As a proud Cairns resident, I am excited about Infrastructure Advisory Group’s (IAG’s) local presence in Far North Queensland.

I see many potential opportunities and priorities for infrastructure as an enabler of the region’s economic and social prosperity. Some of these include a thriving green economy, housing to support growth and attract a skilled workforce, improved liveability through well-serviced communities and enhanced transport connectivity. These opportunities will further enhance the region’s significant tourism, aviation and defence sector and prosperous industries such as tropical agriculture and fishing.

For those unfamiliar with the breadth of this great region, Far North Queensland (FNQ) is the northernmost part of Queensland and covers roughly 20 per cent of the state. Its largest city is Cairns and it stretches from Cardwell in the south to Cape York Peninsula, which stretches north to the Torres Strait, and west to the Gulf Country.

There are numerous opportunities and priorities for infrastructure to support our region’s economic and social growth. One of these is the Northern Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), which will drive Queensland towards achieving net zero emissions and decarbonisation. By harnessing the abundant wind and solar resources in FNQ, this initiative will create new industries and promote the use of renewable energy sources

like wind, solar and storage. IAG has been heavily involved with this sector in Victoria, where there is increasing investment in projects which will enable the state to meet its net zero goals and create jobs in the new ‘green economy’. We are excitingly awaiting the next advice from the Australian Government on the northern REZ, following their recent declaration of the Hunter-Central Coast REZ in New South Wales.

Improving health infrastructure in regional and remote areas, including community hospitals and clinics, can address the health disparities faced by residents in rural and remote areas. Accessible healthcare services play a crucial role in bridging the gap in health outcomes and improving the overall well-being of FNQ’s population. Drawing on my experience in delivering successful outcomes through effective stakeholder engagement and IAG’s involvement in the delivery of major new hospitals in Melbourne including Melton Hospital and Footscray Hospital, I see many opportunities to engage stakeholders, build relationships and align diverse perspectives in this sector.

Transport connections are essential for ensuring access to health and education services and improving food security in remote FNQ communities. Cairns Airport serves as a vital link, enabling direct flights for passengers and freight to domestic and international destinations. Efficient and reliable aviation infrastructure plays a pivotal role in connecting remote communities and supporting economic growth in FNQ by connecting the region to domestic and international markets.  With a career spanning over two decades, I have been involved in many high-profile major infrastructure projects, both in Australia and abroad and fully understand the complexities of major infrastructure projects across different sectors.  I am keen to leverage my experience on muti-billion dollar major transport projects in Victoria to help deliver great social and economic outcomes for the FNQ region.

I firmly believe that the Far North Queensland region holds immense untapped potential waiting to be unlocked and am passionate about sustainable infrastructure solutions that will positively impact the region’s communities and environment.

Overall, I see infrastructure development as a crucial enabler for FNQ’s economic and social progress. From renewable energy and defence infrastructure to manufacturing, health facilities, agriculture, transportation, and housing, investment in these sectors is essential for unlocking the region’s potential. By enhancing access to essential services, empowering Indigenous communities, and fostering sustainable growth, FNQ can thrive and create a vibrant future for its residents.