Mackay | Queensland Research Report

A region for all reasons | An economic Hot Spot

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Project Pipeline creation of new jobs and growth for Mackay

The QLD government is delivering a 4 year $52.2bn infrastructure pipeline, including 56 projects across Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday to stimulate job creation and economic growth for the region. Read article here

The recent announcement and confirmation of the following Billion Dollar investments will once again be at the forefront of generating new jobs and thus increasing population growth once again in Mackay.

The Regional Development Register Report

The RDR reaffirms the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region’s place as the economic powerhouse of Queensland – highlighting the regions ability to sustain major changes in economic conditions and outperform other regions when faced with significant pressure such as the GFC this region continued to construct hundreds of new homes, multi-story hotel developments, construct new roads and implement major industry development.

The medium to long-term outlook for the region is positive with construction almost keeping up with a high demand for dwellings to cater for continued population growth.

The RDR quotes that this region injects more than $20 Billion dollars in gross regional product. There is more than $110 Billion dollars worth of development either planned or under construction across the region showcasing the strong investment. With $86 Billion under construction (or planned to start construction) highlights the significant number of projects waiting to come on board … $28 Billion of this is in the mining sector, yet to produce product for export to further aid the QLD economy.

Read the Infrastructure planning and policy report here

Mackay – Economic Growth Town

Mackay is about Growth,  an important economic hub supporting multiple industries with $17 Billion worth of Economic Value :

  • 5,600 new jobs created in the region
  • the mining industry
  • agriculture
  • four sugar mills
  • the world’s second largest sugar milling company
  • a strong tourism infrastructure – gateway to the Barrier Reef
  • major airlines provide frequent services all around Australia
  • two marinas for recreational and commercial fishing
  • retail including three major regional shopping centers
  • local commerce – a large commercial business district
  • Mackay has over 10,000 businesses
  • Families of mining workers prefer to live in Mackay than in the mining towns
  • Average income per person is $87,000 pa, which is 28% more than Australian Average


The population of Mackay is already increasing annually by 3.3%pa making it one of the fastest growing areas of Australia. The population growth is being generated by people moving to Mackay for mining related and other industries and coal exports and also people from southern states looking for a better lifestyle, a mild year-round climate and the benefits of a vibrant community.


Headline : 11,500 potential new jobs equates to 11,500 potential new tenant families

The labour force is set to sky rocket by at least 10% from the planned investment in new mines, port facilities and transportation. The expected investment is $41 billion with 2.5 billion being injected directly into the Mackay area economy. There are already twenty operational mines including BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi Alliance, Angola Coal, Xstrata, Peabody Energy, Rio Tinto and Macarthur Coal. Another five mines are being developed, including two by BHP Billiton with an expenditure of $4Bn. There is also mineral processing of Alumina, Aluminium and Magnesia.

Consistent long term capital growth assured with good rental returns : Mackay enjoyed 17.6% growth in property value past 12 months and presently has a rental vacancy rate of less than 1%.

Projected population – Mackay

Source: Planning Information and Forecasting Unit, Department of Infrastructure and Planning, 2008.

The population for the region is predicted to grow from 167,660 in 2008 to 255,614 in 2031, placing extreme pressure on the supply of residential rental properties to keep up with the demand.

The population explosion within the Mackay Regional Council (MRC) is forecast to create huge underlying demand for residential housing. Mackay needs 70% more dwelling by 2031 to cater for the 3,500 new residents per year.

According to the Housing Industry of Australia, Mackay already has a shortage of more than 1,500 new dwellings per year; it’s expected to need another 28,706 by 2031. Not building enough to cater for this underlying demand!

Vacancy rates are low and rents are moving higher

The regions will require another 51,000 dwellings based on these forecasts, with 2/3rds of the regions residents living in Mackay. And there is a growing need for both 1 & 2 bedroom apartments.

Residential Property

High population growth – undersupply of dwellings – strong rental yield

  • Capital Values grew by 17.86% over last 12 months (2021)
  • More than doubling over last 10 years
  • Gross rental yields 5.99%
  • Vacancy Rate under 1%
  • Rental Yields 5% and often at 6% on certain properties and locations

Mackay has three major shopping centers :

Caneland Central Shopping centre is close to the CBD and is the largest Regional Shopping Centre in Mackay, with more than 130 specialty stores. The centre is undergoing a $220 million redevelopment to cater for increasing demand, which will employ 1,000 during construction and create 1,000 ongoing jobs. Myer, Woolworths, Target & Big W are anchor tenants.

Mount Pleasant is the second largest shopping centre in Mackay. It hosts department stores, supermarkets and other speciality outlets. Outside the main centre, a number of bulky-good outlets also operate, along with a five-screen cinema complex. Anchor tenants: Coles, Woolworths & Kmart

Northern Beaches Central provides shopping services to the growing population of Mackay’s Northern beaches suburbs, including Eimeo, Bucasia and Black’s Beach. Bi-Lo is the anchor tenant here with 2 new supermarkets a McDonalds, Woolworths and other speciality shops. The expansion of Northern Beaches Central, when completed, will be about the same size as the current Caneland Central.

The projected Mackay region retail expenditure in 2011 is estimated to be about $1.5 billion.

Mackay Base Hospital

The $408 million redevelopment of Mackay Base Hospital is part of a major expansion of health services for this major North Queensland community.

The redeveloped hospital, covering almost 40,000 square metres, is being designed to meet the projected growth in demand for health services out to 2020/2021. This will almost double the bed capacity to 318 beds.

The hospital is a vital component in Queensland Health’s need to cater for the extraordinary population growth in the region. The redeveloped Mackay Base Hospital will be equipped with leading edge technology to assist staff to provide the highest level of care and comfort to patients.

The Mackay Region is well serviced by educational infrastructure:

  • 27  State Primary Schools
  • 5 State High Schools
  • 7 Catholic Primary Schools
  • 3 Catholic High Schools
  • 4 Independent Private Schools
  • 1 Tafe
  • 1 University


 Major new projects in the Mackay Region include 2 of the worlds best new coal mining regions being Bowen and Galilee Basin’s; with $94 Billion dollars of investment into infrastructure in this region.

8% of Mackay population work in mining and only 13% of turnover in Mackay is mining related; meaning Mackay is self sufficient on it’s own merits and existing economy

• BMA’s Bowen Basin

The Bowen Basin coal growth project will allow production of an additional 20 million tonnes of coal products per annum. This project incorporates staged development of the new Daunia and Caval Ridge mines, the expansion of Goonyella Riverside Mine and a new Moranbah airport. These projects are likely to employ 2,450 people during construction and 1,240 once operational – over 30 years.

• Millennium Open Cut Mine expansion

The expansion of the Millennium Open Cut Mine, with an estimated life of 15 years, is expected to employ 200 people.

• Ellensfield Underground Coal Project

The Ellensfield Underground Coal Project is expected to employ 300 people during construction and 230 once operational – for 20 years.

• Clermont Open Cut Mine

The Clermont Open Cut Mine is expected to employ 306 people during construction and 380 once operational – for 17 yrs.

• Moranbah South Underground Project

The Moranbah South Underground Project is expected to employ 300 people for 20 years.

• Grosvenor Underground Coal Mine

Development of the Grosvenor Underground Coal Mine will employ about 400 people during construction and 380 once operational.

• Underground Mine at Saraji

A new underground mine at Saraji is expected to employ 400 people for 40 years.

• Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal expansion

The Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal expansion is expected to employ 1000 people during construction.

• Expansion of Abbot Point Coal Terminal

The expansion of Abbot Point Coal Terminal is expected to employ 2,700 people during construction and 1,500 in permanent operation.

• The Burton Coal Mine

The Burton Coal Mine is located in the Bowen Basin, about 150 kilometres south-west of Mackay. Mining extends over three individual operating pits: Plumtree, Wallanbah and Broadmeadows and is operated by Thiess, Australia’s leading mining contractor.

  • Tourism

31 Pristine beaches; attracting over 620,000 visitors per year; equating to 2.4 million nights pa; representing $90 million in tourist accommodation; up by 12% on last year. Tourism is made up a lot by business people adding to the local economy

38 new projects for Bowen Basin

The regional geologist for Mines and Energy within the Department of Environment, Economic Development and Innovation, has spoken about the future of the resources sector and a possible 30,000 new jobs.

The mining industry is kicking into overdrive and the northern Bowen Basin is leading the way with 38 new projects set to come online in the next few years. 30,000 jobs will be created in the next six years and billions of dollars will be made as the resources sector picks up.

Among the new projects to come include 23 coal mines, three mineral and 12 coal seam gas projects, which are expected to generate billions of dollars in the next few years.
Plus 5 billion tonnes of undeveloped resources that will be tapped into over the next 20 years. It is now time for the region to prepare for the boom.

The projects that are coming online in the next six years will generate around 10,000 jobs in the mining industry and for every job that the mines create, there are two other jobs that are created indirectly. The continued growth brings challenges and critical investment in infrastructure is needed to make sure these projects happen.

The Mackay region has new projects valued at $81 Billion dollars revealing a 36% increase in investment in the Mackay region

  • 11 Coal Expansion  or Extension Projects totaling $3.046 Billion Dollars
  • 23 New Coal Projects
  • 4 Existing Gas operations
  • 13 new Gas Projects
  • 4 New Minerals Projects

Key influences in why Mackay

  • Boom Town
  • Sea Change
  • Employment
  • Transport Infrastructure
  • Tourism
  • Location
  • Mining
  • Sugar Cane
  • Harbour
  • Airport (1 million passengers pa growing by 10% year on year)
  • Rail, Road and Sea Infrastructure

For detailed Mackay Research Report dated 1 May 2012 Mackay Research Report May12

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