Economic Development is the sustainable increase in living standards that delivers increased income and employment, better education and health as well as environmental protection. It creates significant, positive benefits for communities over time. Economic development is a choice; it is willed from within an economy.
The Banana Shire Council supports growth of the Four Pillar economy through:
- engaging with the agricultural, mining and resources, tourism and construction sectors
- protecting land and resources through appropriate land use planning
- promoting the development of activities that value add to established industries
- ensuring that there is sufficient land available for housing, new industry and business uses
- enhancing and protecting supporting infrastructure
Strengthening Queensland's economy is also one of the top two priorities across Queensland according to analysis of contributions to inform the development of The Queensland Plan, a 30-year vision for the state.
Existing and potentially productive farmland is strategically important to the future of the local, regional and national economy. The Banana Shire is a significant agricultural production area dominated by beef cattle production but also supporting dry land and irrigated cropping, horticulture and forestry. Significant cotton production occurs in the Dawson Valley with Queensland Cotton ginning facilities located in Moura. Major intensive livestock production and processing facilities are also established in the region. Aquaculture and niche market agricultural pursuits are also becoming more prominent in the area. The development of agriculture in the region is supported by favourable climatic and soil conditions, proximity to major markets, established service centres and labour force and existing freight, water and electricity infrastructure.
The gross value of livestock production from the Banana Shire in 2010–2011 was $151.8 million. In 2010–2011, the Banana Shire produced $12.6 million of cotton, $10.6 million of legumes and $15.2 million of cereal crops. Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the largest industry of employment for Banana Shire with some 18 per cent of the region's employed labour force.
The Queensland Government has recently published information on current and future production for agricultural industries in Queensland. The Agricultural Land Audit, Chapter 10 – Central Queensland includes contemporary data on agricultural production as well as the States view on opportunities for the future development and expansion of agriculture in the region.
The Banana Shire contains significant mineral, coal, gas and extractive resources including established underground and open-cut thermal and coking coal mining, minerals and coal seam gas (CSG) extraction. Growth in the resources sector is expected with a significant number of proposals for new mining operations and CSG extraction and regional infrastructure. Mining in the region is supported by existing and proposed investment in supporting infrastructure (electricity, water, road, rail and pipelines) and proximity to the Gladstone Port.
Around 65 per cent of Queensland's total listed investment in mining projects (coal, CSG and minerals) was in the Central Queensland region. In 2011, mining employed 16.7 per cent of the Banana Shire's employed labour force.
The Banana Shire is also recognised by the State government as a resource region and has recently benefited from the Royalties for the Regions program.
Tourism is considered to be a sleeping giant with enormous potential to develop further. A range of natural and human-made attractions and facilities make the area a competitive domestic tourist destination. Natural assets such as Kroombit Tops, Expedition, Robinson, Precipice, Cania and Isla Gorge National Parks; industrial attractions such as the Callide Power Station, coal mines and agricultural industries; historical villages and trails; local produce; and established recreational dams and tourist accommodation facilities all contribute to the appeal and opportunities for tourist development in the area.
The shires major towns are also situated along major inter and intra state tourist routes capturing significant drive tourism numbers. In addition, the Banana Shire hosts a range of events throughout the year including freshwater fishing classics, markets and festivals celebrating individual community histories and cultures.
In the year ended December 2007, domestic overnight leisure visitors spent over $507 million in the Fitzroy Region. Travel estimates for the Banana Shire conservatively place tourist numbers between 95,000 – 100,000 visitors annually.
Construction activity in the Banana Shire is driver by consistent population growth and activity stemming from the mining and resource and agricultural sectors. Biloela accommodates much of the local government areas growth with Moura being the second most populous town. The existing Banana Shire and Taroom Shire planning schemes allocate sufficient land for construction including residential, industrial and commercial land.
During the last two years some 200 new dwelling approvals have been issued with 136 lots in the same period being approved. The development of temporary and permanent mining camps in the shire also contributes to construction activity. In 2011, construction employed 5 per cent of the Banana Shire's employed labour force.