Leading industry sectors have distinctly emerged and fundamentally developed from the natural advantages of the Atherton Tablelands region.
The Atherton Tablelands is a geographically large and diverse region, ideally located in Tropical North Queensland and enjoying ease of access to domestic and international markets both through strong road links and nearby sea and air ports. The region has always been recognised for its beauty, the quality of its environment, agriculture and abundant natural resources. Now these and other key assets are being combined with new ideas into innovative businesses, industries, products, services and projects. Its proximity to both an international airport and the rapidly expanding Asian markets further provides substantial opportunities for both market access and investment.
Agriculture and mineral resource industries have stood the test of time and today the region boasts a robust and resilient field and tree cropping sector, livestock and dairy farming, lifestyle horticulture and some timber production as well as the production of base metals including gold, lead, zinc, copper concentrate, tin, perlite, marble and slate. World class value adding and innovative manufacturing further enhance these areas.
The Atherton Tablelands can continue to build on its enviable reputation as a ‘clean green’ food bowl, with its long history of excellence in large scale Agricultural production and innovation. This is supported by a very strong base in excess of 40 major crops; underpinned by water availability, a broad diversity of elevation, soil types, climate and rainfall and including strong future potential for strategic development of bio-based industries. Significant undeveloped investment potential also exists in the region in the further development of Renewable energy production.
Agricultural vibrancy, distinctive natural environments and resilient human resources are the fundamental values which position the Atherton Tablelands as a significant source of resources, for the future. As a region built on small business with almost 95% of its businesses having less than 20 staff (2011) the economy is focused on strong and prosperous growth through diversification, innovation and entrepreneurship.
With its location adjacent to the Cairns international airport and within a region that is already a destination for some 2.2 million visitors per annum, it has significant unrealised tourism potential. It has an estimated 500,000 visitors per annum, excluding Kuranda above Cairns, which has some 1,000,000 visitors per annum. The region has not as yet been fully ‘discovered’ by tourism.
A true lifestyle region, the Atherton Tablelands attracts a rich diversity of culture and calibre in the form of human capital and, in the future, will continue to attract exceptional people as it offers a lifestyle second to none.
Building on these positive attributes the value proposition of the Atherton Tablelands can be seen as the combination of:– pristine environment, agricultural diversity and ‘clean and green’ production capacity, safety and stability, range of natural resources and connectivity to Asian and global markets.
Overall with its distinctive natural environments, economic diversity, access to water, proximity to Cairns and potential for significant expansion in terms of agriculture, mining and tourism, the Tablelands region has a secure footing on which to build a prosperous future.