Townsville is the largest centre in the Northern Region, whilst Mount Isa is the largest centre in the North West Region. Mining and agricultural sectors employ 5.1% and 4.1% of the workforce respectively and are the largest export sectors.
Health care and social assistance, pubic administration and safety, and retail trade are the three largest sectors by employment.
North Queensland has long been a base for various major industries, including mineral processing, sugar mills, beef processing and concrete batching plants.
Industries considered for the region include sea, air, rail and road-dependent industrial uses such as manufacturing (chemicals and metals production), minerals processing, food processing, intermodal freight and logistics and bulk storage.
The region is home to key defence bases including Lavarack Barracks (one of Australia’s largest), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Townsville (co-located with Townsville Airport) and the Ross Island Barracks. The Port of Townsville also supports naval operations for both Australia and foreign vessels.
Townsville is the base for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef studies, TropWATER, CSIRO and ReefHQ aquarium.