The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is almost here again and will this year be held at Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Mr Gerard Carlyon, Director Development Services at Mackay Regional Council joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Facilitating development in a transitioning mining economy’.


There is no denying that the downturn in the resource sector had a significant impact on Mackay and much of regional Queensland. In late 2014, as the resource sector’s infrastructure and capital investment continued to slow, Mackay Regional Council recognised that a proactive response was required to enable opportunities and attract new investment to the region.

One of the region’s responses has come in the form of the ‘Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy (the Policy)’. The Policy provides a suite of flexible concessions ranging from infrastructure charge discounts to food and trade waste fee reductions. Now in its third year of operation, the Policy has seen the approval of over 30 applications and facilitated the delivery of significant capital investment and employment to the region. Current approvals range from small scale tourist development to large scale aged-care accommodation facilities. Council has taken a proactive approach to the delivery of the Policy and have relied on industry feedback to ensure the Policy’s success. This approach has resulted in two significant amendments that have responded to industry needs through the broadening of the Policy scope. Three years of findings have provided Council with a range of learnings that will be shared with delegates.

Council is also progressing with the declaration of a Priority Development Area which will stimulate development opportunities along Mackay’s Pioneer River and Coral Sea waterfronts. The Priority Development Area will transform the tourism and liveability aspects of the region, strengthen and diversify the regional economy and create new job opportunities for years to come.

Mackay Regional Council’s experiences in delivering these two projects will provide an interesting insight in to how a regional economy can take a pro-active approach to development investment, whilst dealing with challenging external factors.


Gerard has a Bachelor of Arts from Griffith University majoring in History and Politics and an MBA from RMIT. He joined Mackay Regional Council in April 2009 as Director of Community and Client Services and was appointed Director of Development Services in February 2015. He’s held senior positions in both State and Local Government in areas such as Child Protection, Regional Development, State Development and Industry, Tourism, Emergency Services and Community Services. His current responsibilities include: Strategic Planning, Development Assessment, Development Engineering, Economic Development and Tourism and Parks, Environment and Sustainability.

Since appointed as Director Development Services, Gerard has overseen many major projects across the region such as the implementation of the first Mackay Region Planning Scheme, a successful Facilitating Development Policy and the Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction Program.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.