The Burdekin’s reputation as one of Australia’s richest agricultural regions is well deserved. However equally important is the infrastructure that supports the current and emerging industries. The Burdekin Shire is supported by world-class infrastructure including:
The fertile agricultural land of the Burdekin region is predominantly made up of high-quality delta (60,000ha) and levee soils (25,000ha), which range from sandy loam to clay and are generally well draining.
Developed on one of the largest aquifers in Australia, the Burdekin region has access to vast amounts of underground water. The aquifer holds an estimated 20 million megalitres of water, and the average groundwater storage above mean sea level is about 400,000 megalitres. Notably, the aquifer is a benchmark for good management and is sustainable and secure. Water is also available from Queensland’s largest dam. The Burdekin Falls Dam has a vast and reliable catchment area and holds about 1.9 million megalitres of water. The design of the dam allows for future increases in storage capacity and for future hydro-electric generation. The Burdekin River has the fourth highest average annual flow in Australia, and is second only to the Murray River in economic importance to Australia. Average annual rainfall for the region is around 962mm, most of which falls over three months in the summer.
Water supply in the Burdekin is well managed. Currently two separate organisations – SunWater (a Government-owned corporation) and Lower Burdekin Water – administer irrigation.
SunWater holds approximately 120,000 megalitres of unallocated water which is available for future developments from the Burdekin-Haughton Water Supply Scheme. The water entitlements in the Burdekin are amongst the most reliable in the country. This reliability gives the Burdekin a major competitive advantage over other irrigation regions.
Sunshine and Climate
With an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, moderate rainfall, warm temperature and high humidity, the Burdekin has proven an optimal climate for agricultural production.
The conditions allow for counter-seasonal and extended seasonal production of many tropical and sub-tropical crops. The water availability offers considerably lower crop risk than many other food producing regions. The reliability of production flows on to a more stable regional economy and community. The average maximum temperature ranges from 32°C in summer down to 25°C in
the winter months. The average minimum temperatures are 22°C in summer and 11°C during winter.
Queensland’s main 275kV transmission grid and parallel 132kV network stretches from the Gold Coast to Cairns and passes through the Burdekin Shire. Specifically, the sections of this network which pass through the Shire are two single-circuit 275kV lines between Strathmore (near Collinsville) and Ross (near Townsville) and two 132kV double-circuit lines from Collinsville-Clare-Townsville South. The transmission network is maintained and operated by Powerlink, a Queensland
Telecommunication services are provided to the Burdekin through optical fibre. Satellite dishes are also available for communication. The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia’s first national wholesale only, open access communications network that is being built to bring high-speed
broadband and telephone services within the reach of all Australian premises. The NBN will use three technologies: fibre, fixed wireless and satellite. Within the next 18 months, the plan is for every home, school and workplace in the Burdekin to have access to the NBN.
A number of specialist information and communications technology companies operate within the region. There are a large number of internet service providers and comprehensive mobile telephone coverage.
The Burdekin Shire is recognised as having specialist skills in the broad areas of farming practices,
boilermaking, fitting and turning, engineering and fabrication. Engineers and fabricators in the Burdekin region are among the best in Australia, with some exporting specialised products worldwide. Many have developed expertise servicing agriculture and then tapping into opportunities in nearby mining regions.
The closest airport is located about 10km north of the township of Ayr. Opportunities exist for commercial development of airport land. Business operations – such as aircraft maintenance and spare parts, ‘fly in/fly out’ workforce operations, storage facility and warehousing – could easily be accommodated.
Airport code: YAYR
The airport has two runways, which can handle small to medium aircraft.
Aerodrome Runway Capacity
Length (m) Width (m) Surface
1,462m 30m Bitumen sealed
1,127m 30m Grass
The closest major airport is located in Townsville, one hour’s drive north of the Burdekin. Each year, about 1.6 million passengers utilise the airport.
The closest commercial port to the Burdekin is in Townsville, 88km to the north. The Port of Townsville is one of the most diverse ports in Australia in terms of cargoes it handles and berths around 800 vessels a year. The facility is able to berth up to 10 vessels simultaneously, and currently processes about 13 million tonnes of cargo per year. Pilotage is provided and stevedoring companies operate on site. Both road and rail access is available to the port. The principal commodities handled through the port include:
Exports: Sugar, molasses, minerals, fertiliser, timber, meat and livestock; and
Imports: General cargo, cement, ore, petroleum, motor vehicles, sulphur and fertiliser.
The facility is operated by the Port of Townsville.
Queensland Rail and Aurizon provide regular passenger and freight services to the Burdekin. The trains haul about 50 wagons and the main freight goods carried include sugar, molasses, metals and minerals.
A well-developed road network exists within the Burdekin Shire. This includes sealed highways, main and minor roads. The Burdekin Shire Council is currently implementing a bitumen widening program in its urban areas. The Department of Main Roads also works collaboratively in the region to upgrade roads of regional significance.
Regular road freight services are available in the Burdekin. Fees and charges vary depending on distance and volume.
There are regular school bus services for the entire district and community service
buses for those in need. Intra and interstate coach services are available from
operators including Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service.
Commercial and Industrial
Commercial and industrial properties are available for rent and purchase within the Burdekin Shire. There is a designated industrial estate on the outskirts of Ayr, with further industrial land set aside in the Council’s Planning Scheme. Industrial land is selling for $75-$180 per m2.
The median house price in Burdekin Shire LGA ending 30 June 2014 was $210,000. Residential prices are significantly more affordable than Brisbane (median price $493,000).
Source: Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, Queensland Regional Profile, Resident Profile
Average Rental Prices for Accommodation in the Burdekin $/Week
Three-bedroom homes $260
Two-bedroom units $200
Compared with Brisbane
Three-bedroom homes $420
Two-bedroom units $400
Source: Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, Queensland Regional Profile, Resident Profile
Irrigated cane land in the Burdekin is typically valued between $12,000 and $22,000 per hectare.
Two hospitals operate in the Burdekin region, providing primary medical care. The Ayr hospital consists of a $12 million state-ofthe-art facility constructed in 2004. The region also possesses three
ambulance centres. The Lower Burdekin Home for the Aged Society operates two aged-care
facilities in the Burdekin. Both facilities have low and high-care rooms available with 120 beds in Ayr and 73 beds in Home Hill. The district is well-serviced by private medical practitioners. There
are two medical centres in Ayr, with several doctors and visiting specialists, as well as pathology, x-ray and pharmaceutical services. In addition, the Burdekin is well serviced by:
- Physiotherapists; and
- Podiatry services.
The Burdekin Centre for Rural Health also provides specialised health services and programs to the district. The Burdekin Community Association (BCA) is an independent, community-based organisation, which is focused on the physical, mental and social well-being of Burdekin residents. Its services include rehabilitation, counselling, health information, exercise programs and emergency housing.
The Burdekin Neighbourhood Centre (BNC) endeavours to identify, promote and develop the interests of the residents of the Burdekin community through programs and activities conducted in the centre and in conjunction with other community groups. Services available through the BNC include information and referral, office services, community education courses and community
programs such as Vacation Care.
Education and Training
Tertiary education is available at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE in Home Hill and Townsville, North Queensland Centre for Tropical Agriculture and at James Cook University in Townsville.
The TAFE college offers a wide range of trade courses from pre-employment to post-trade options, hairdressing, childcare, literacy, office administration, business, information technology and
James Cook University offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The university is particularly well recognised for its research and teaching in marine science, medicine, earth science, tropical biology and conservation, biotechnology and biomolecular science, and computational and experimental mechanics. The university offers on-campus and on-line education. The Burdekin has one private secondary school and two state high schools. There are 16 primary schools, three of which are privately run. There are several prep centres, three kindergartens and both home and commercial child-care services.
Full banking services are offered by Australia’s four major banks and rural transaction centres. A community bank and credit unions also provide complete services in the area. There are also numerous investment, taxation and superannuation businesses.
The Burdekin is well-serviced with some 40 short-term accommodation establishments. Many are new or recently refurbished.
- Over 80 sporting and recreational clubs;
- Region is renowned for an active cultural community and calendar;
- Popular outdoor recreational pursuits including water skiing, fishing, windsurfing, and bird-watching;
- Excellent recreational infrastructure including five swimming pools, well-maintained parks and children’s playgrounds;
- Latest movies on show at the Delta Cinemas;
- Burdekin Theatre hosts live acts from the local area, Australia, and abroad;
- Great range of pubs, clubs and nightlife are kept busy with locals and travelling workers; and
- Restaurants, cafés, and takeaway to suit all tastes and budgets.
Major events throughout the year include:
- Burdekin Grower Race Day
- Burdekin Show;
- Burdekin Water Festival;
- Home Hill Harvest Festival;
- Burdekin Barra Rush Fishing Competition;
- Tastes of the Burdekin;
- Burdekin Auto Fest;
- Canefield Ashes Cricket Competition;
- Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod;
- Burdekin Battle of the Bands;
- Burdekin Craft Spectacular;
- Australian Hand Cane-Cutting Championships; and
- Burdekin Sugar Rush Running Competition.