A DRAFT Mackay Isaac and Whitsunday (MIW) Regional Plan 2011-2031, aiming to manage regional growth and change and protect and enhance quality of life in the region, was released last week by the Queensland Government.
The Mackay, Isaac, Whitsunday region, located on the Central Queensland coast, encompasses the local government areas of Isaac, Mackay and Whitsunday and has a total area of just over 90,000 square kilometres. The current population is 180,000 and is expected to grow by 100,000 by the year 2031.
Premier Anna Bligh said the resources boom has triggered strong growth in the area, with an additional 51,500 dwellings required to house the growing population by 2031.
Under the draft plan, the region's growth will be generally focussed within existing towns and communities and adjacent lands identified within the Urban Footprint.
It is anticipated that Mackay City will absorb up to 66,000 additional residents.
"We are ensuring there is sufficient land for building new homes for future residents whilst protecting around 99.7 per cent of this beautiful region from significant urban development," Ms Bligh said.
"This will limit urban sprawl and take pressure off land that is agriculturally productive, environmentally sensitive, physically constrained or has scenic value."
"It will also ensure existing infrastructure is used more efficiently and reduce the cost of providing new infrastructure."
Ms Bligh also said the plan provides for more mixed-use development, enabling residents to live, work, shop and play in the same area and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the distance people have to travel.
The Draft Mackay Isaac and Whitsunday (MIW) Regional Plan 2011-2031 has been placed on public consultation until 9 September 2011. More information is available from the Department of Local Government and Planning website at <http://www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/>.