MONEY from the sale of Sunshine Coast Council land will be reserved to help bring a convention and exhibition centre to the new Maroochydore CBD.
A new facility is expected to cost about $200 million and the council commitment is intended to encourage state and federal contributions.
The commitment was made in a confidential session of the most recent council meeting after a motion moved by Cr Jason O’Pray was successful with seven votes for and three against.
Mayor Mark Jamieson, Cr Tim Dwyer and Cr Peter Cox opposed the motion.
Cr O’Pray could not release details of the yet-to-be-sold property or how much money would be raised but said he thought making the financial commitment, on top of providing the land, was a positive step in achieving a suitable facility.
He said he took advice from council officers in making the plan.
“I had tossed and turned about this for quite some time when I knew we were selling land in Maroochydore,” Cr O’Pray said.
“My main reasoning for quarantining this money was because I’m absolutely certain we will need state and federal backing on this.
“It is really important to me to see the CBD has its own convention centre.”
He said securing a private backer would be “even better” than relying on government funding for the project.
“Council can clearly not afford that (cost) on its own.”
Cr Jamieson was contacted for comment but declined to publicly detail his reasons for opposing the motion, with a council spokesman saying the mayor did not disclose matters discussed in confidential session.
The spokesman said the council would contribute to a convention and exhibition facility by providing the land on which it was developed and in all likelihood, having to cover the ongoing annual maintenance and other costs.
“The ratepayers of many other regions across Queensland have not been required to contribute towards the cost of developing their convention and exhibition centres,” the spokesman said.
“The cost to construct such facilities in many of these locations has been borne by the State Government.”
He said a new functional brief and specifications for a new convention and exhibition centre had been completed.
Consulting firm PG International was engaged by the council in March last year to complete the work.
“The functional brief and specifications will inform the development of a business case and preliminary design, which will be done if and when, funding becomes available.”
A Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning spokesman said the department didn’t currently have any funding allocated for a convention and exhibition centre on the Coast.
However, he said the minister for the department and the former director-general wrote to all local governments on March 12 inviting submissions for the Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program.
He said the grant program was available to all local governments through a competitive process to undertake strategic planning for infrastructure and develop business cases and detailed design.
Submissions close on April 9.
“Sunshine Coast Council could make a submission for potential assistance in developing its business case for this project,” the spokesman said.
City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland
South-east Queensland could be green-lit for the biggest “city deal” in Australia, with a $58 billion proposal to guide its growth, and the prime minister announcing his support for the major plan.
With a focus on supporting diverse sectors within the region including housing and planning, tourism, manufacturing and education, the SEQ City Deal could also pave the way for government-owned land to be opened for development.
Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad this week released Transforming SEQ, which highlights 35 “opportunities” that could be considered as part of the future City Deal, including six “game changers” for the region.
“Modelling by KPMG has shown a SEQ City Deal could stimulate an increase of up to $58 billion in our economy by improving the productivity and competitiveness of the region,” Trad said.
Prime minister Scott Morrison will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors and Queensland government to discuss the proposal this week.
The City Deal, which involves all three levels of government — council, state and federal — would see government working on priorities to drive the SEQ economy.
Under a City Deal plan, all three levels of government sign an agreement to set the priority infrastructure projects and initiatives.
Integrated land-use planning approach?
Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison described the announcement as “a game-changer for the region.
“Our growing cities and urban regions are the engine rooms of the Australian economy,” Morrison said.
“The city deal model brings together all levels of government around the same plan to boost productivity and jobs through targeted investment in city-shaping projects and infrastructure.”
Property Council Queensland director Chris Mountford said the council has been collaborating with state government and SEQ councils for nearly six years on the potential for a city deal.
“The State and local governments have also agreed in principle to a more coordinated integrated land-use planning approach,”
“Opening up under-utilised government-owned land for development has also been agreed as a clear opportunity to unlock economic activity, create jobs and build business confidence.”
The region’s current 3.5 million population is forecast to increase to 5.3 million within the next 25 years, ultimately requiring an extra 800,000 homes and additional one million jobs.
Focus has been placed on the recently released people mass movement study which identifies the impact of the expected population growth on the region’s ability to cope with future transport demand.
Minister for Cities Alan Tudge said he, along with the prime minister, will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors to discuss the Deal.
“We need to cater for this rising population and the SEQ City Deal will be a huge step forward,” Tudge said.
South-east Queensland is already home to over two-thirds of the state’s population.
The region is home to nearly one in every seven Australians.
The agreement marks the second city deal for Queensland following the policy being first established in Townsville.
So far, city deals have been developed for Western Sydney, Townsville and Launceston, and a further four more are currently under negotiation in Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Geelong.
$63b infrastructure plan to keep SEQ moving till 2041
It’s going to cost $63.7 billion to keep South East Queensland moving over the next two decades, according to a study released today by the region’s mayors.
The population of the region is expected to grow by about 1.8 million people to more than five million people by 2041, putting extraordinary demand on the already strained transport network.
The SEQ People Mass Movement Study lists a total of 47 projects designed to keep city-to-city trips under 45 minutes and urban commutes under 30 minutes, including a faster rail network connecting the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast via Brisbane and west to Ipswich and Toowoomba.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the infrastructure plan, coined the Strategic Transport Road Map, would keep the region “economically productive” while maintaining its liveability.
“Business as normal is not going to work, we need to increase the amount of money that is being spent in South East Queensland,” Cr Quirk said.
He said the plan would require an average expenditure of about $2.7 billion per year until 2041, which he said was “not an unrealistic figure”.
“What we are seeing in Sydney and Melbourne right now is this massive spend on infrastructure. That’s because they allowed it to get too far behind. We cannot do that in South East Queensland.”
He said there had been no shortage of plans for the region’s transport network, but it was time for all levels of government to unite with a shared vision.
Redland City mayor Karen Williams said the plan delivered the projects over a “reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of investment”.
“It’s not a matter of ‘can we afford this?’ It’s the fact that we can’t afford not to do it,” Cr Williams said.
Faster Rail is not as fast as high speed rail, which delivers speeds up to 350km/h, but could run at about 160km/h with top speeds of up to 200-250kmh, with limited stops.
It would be connected to the light rail networks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in order to ease congestion on major arterials.
Other projects include the Brisbane Metro, Cross River Rail and road upgrades, including the Pacific, Sunshine, Centenary, Ipswich and Logan motorways and the Bruce, Warrego and Mt Lindesay highways.
The study also took into account emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles.
It was first proposed in 2016, and began in September 2017, with the aim of bringing together multiple local, state and national transport studies into one cohesive plan.
The South East Queensland region takes in the Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley Regional, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional, Somerset Regional, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba Regional council areas.
First look at new university campus north of Brisbane
Builders have started hauling heavy machinery into Petrie, as construction commences on the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new campus.
When completed, the multi-storey building will boast a large lecture theatre, an auditorium and a number of teaching rooms.
It will accommodate 1200 students studying up to 50 courses including business, education and computer sciences.
“There’s some quite innovative spaces inside the building,” Greg Baumann, from building company Hansen Yuncken, said.
Construction at the site has officially begun. (9NEWS)
Positioned next to the Petrie train station, the new campus will slash travel times for thousands of students who live between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Hill said the lack of university locations north of the city has seen up to 1500 students travel from the Moreton Bay area to the Sunshine Coast campus every week day.
“Moreton Bay is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions, but has been the only region of its size in Australia without its own full-service university campus,” Professor Hill said.
“You have a better chance of finding a young person with a degree in outback Northern Territory, than you do in Caboolture.
“It’s an outstanding statistic, and we’re going to do something to fix it.”
An artist’s impression of the new campus. (Supplied)
The new campus has the full support of the Moreton Bay mayor, who described the development as “well overdue”.
“This is just fantastic for the future of the young people of the Moreton Bay region” Allan Sutherland said.
“There are a lot of families here that just never even envisaged that they would end up going to university. All that is about to change.”
The foundations should be finished by early next year, with the university expected to open its doors ahead of Semester 1 in 2020.
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