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.
Queensland’s $46 Billion Infrastructure Boom
The Palaszczuk Government has released an update to its 2018 State Infrastructure Plan as it aims to roll-out a total of $45.8 billion worth of infrastructure over the next four years.
The second part of its State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) focuses on a range of infrastructure spending with its updated release, outlining the $11.6 billion of infrastructure investment to be rolled out in 2018-19, which aims to support up to 38,000 jobs.
Economic forecaster Deloitte Access Economics said that the outlook for engineering construction in Queensland is better than it has been for some time.
“Rather than wallowing in cash from a strong property market and asset privatisations as NSW and Victoria are, the Government is relying more heavily on raising new tax revenue and increasing debt to fund this infrastructure,” Deloitte’s quarterly Business Outlook report said.
Up to 65 per cent of the Queensland’s infrastructure budget is allocated outside of the greater Brisbane area, explained Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick.
“Programs like the Queensland Transport Roads and Investment Program 2018-19 to 2021-22 outlines $21.7 billion in transport and road infrastructure over the next four years, estimated to support an average of 19,200 direct jobs over the life of the program.
The $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, the biggest state funded infrastructure commitment in more than a decade, will be delivered in partnership with the private sector, explains Dick.
Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief executive Steve Abson said the infrastructure investment strategies update provides the private sector with confidence to invest in their Queensland operations.
With it now required to be “actioned collaboratively by all levels of government and the private sector”.
Seven new projects have been added to the Building Queensland (BQ) infrastructure pipeline, including upgrades to the centenary motorway and Sunshine Motorway, and a third track to be added to the Gold Coast rail line between Kuraby and Beenleigh.
BQ Infrastructure Pipeline Report which presents priority infrastructure proposals under development by the Queensland government, shows 18 proposals from the pipeline has received funding commitments from state government since June 2016.
These include upgrades to the M1 from Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill, and Varsity Lakes to Tugan, the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade, the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project and the New Performing Arts Venue.
A rise in interstate migration is seeing more people moving to Queensland, according to the Deloitte’s Business Outlook report, which says the sunshine state now has the third-fastest rate of population growth behind Victoria and the ACT.
The report said that Queensland is “well and truly” through the worst of its mining construction downturn as eye-watering house prices south of the border are sending more “economic refugees north to Queensland”.
Budget delivers more record road spending for the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay areas
The Palaszczuk Government will deliver $509.7 million in 2018-19 for the North Coast district as part of another record investment in road and transport infrastructure for the third year in a row.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the district was one of the many beneficiaries of the blockbuster roads budget being delivered under the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP).
“Funding for the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay area is part of the Queensland Government’s record spend on road and transport infrastructure across the state for the third year running, with an investment of about $21.7 billion over the next four years,” Mr Bailey said.
“This will include $2.917 billion of works planned just for this area alone, over the next four years, supporting an average of 2689 direct jobs.
“Continuing works on the Bruce Highway and other key links around the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay are the main focus.
“We’re also looking to get cars off the Bruce, and Sunshine Coast commuters will benefit from $160.8 million Queensland Government funding for the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade, which will support an average of 312 jobs per year over the life of the project, with design work getting underway in 18-19.
Mr Bailey said major projects for the North Coast district in 2018-19 included:
– Bruce Highway Upgrade Project, continue widening of the highway from four to six lanes between Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway and upgrading the interchanges for a total cost of $812.9 million (2018-19 $200 million)
– Bruce Highway, continue installing safety barriers along the highway between Beerburrum and Cooroy for a total cost of $79.8 million (2018-19 $42.5 million)
– Burpengary Caboolture Road (locally known as Morayfield Road) and Beerburrum Road Route Safety project, start work on safety treatments along these sections between the Bruce Highway and D’Aguilar Highway overpass for a total cost of $28.8 million (2018-19 $8 million)
– Continue upgrades to improve access to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for a total cost of $22 million (2018-19 $4.8 million) with works starting on a third package to improve capacity at Nicklin Way between Main Drive and Waterview Street and provide access from Production Avenue to Kawana Way
– Caboolture Connection Road Route Safety Strategy, continue safety improvements along various locations on Caboolture Connection Road between the Bruce Highway and D’Aguilar Highway for a total cost of $7.6 million (2018-19 $3.7 million)
“We are also providing $3.7 million in 2018-19 through the 50:50 Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) to support councils to develop the local transport infrastructure they need,” he said.
Mr Bailey said this budget showed the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing commitment to delivering key infrastructure and creating jobs for the people of Queensland.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s investment in roads, rail, marine, passenger transport and active transport infrastructure is estimated to support about 19,200 direct jobs, on average, over the life of the four-year program,” he said.
Council commits to new Coast convention centre
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.
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