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.
Government considers sinking old trains for a rollingstock reef
Queensland’s old trains could be sunk in Moreton Bay to create the state’s newest artificial reef.
Queensland Rail’s fleet of old electric multiple units (EMU) are being progressively replaced with the New Generation Rollingstock, which are being fixed to comply with disablity laws after being described as flawed “from day one”.
However, rather than end up on the scrap heap, a proposal is being considered by the government to turn a few of the old trains into an underwater tourist attraction in south-east Queensland.
A petition, lodged in the Queensland Parliament, is calling for a small number of the fleet of 87 EMUs to be reused as an artificial reef in Moreton Bay when they are retired.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said he was happy to look at the idea.
“I like the idea of seeing these old trains support new life as artificial reefs in Moreton Bay or somewhere else appropriate along our coast and have previously requested Queensland Rail to examine it further,” he said.
“That said, any plan to sink trains to the sea floor would need to be carefully considered from an environmental, maritime, tourism and cost perspective.”
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science has advised Queensland Rail it would consider a proposal to use two or four retired EMU or inner-city express [ICE] train units for an artificial reef.
Decisions would have to be made on whether the site would be used for marine life or also as a dive site.
Depth, access, stability in storms and maintenance would also need to be considered.
It is understood the department preferred to use artificial reefs constructed from highly productive, stable, purpose-built reefs with expected life spans of more than 30 years over scrap metal.
No firm proposals have been received and no funding has been committed to the project or a feasibility study.
Greens MP Michael Berkman, who sponsored the petition, said supporting the voices of constituents was a great part of his job.
“The wrecks at Moreton Island are an amazing tourist attraction, and another artificial reef that commemorates Brisbane’s well-loved trains is definitely worth considering,” he said.
“The state and federal government would need to conduct a rigorous environment impact assessment, and traditional owners should get final say, but a “rollingstock reef” could be a beautiful addition to Moreton Bay.”
Rail lobbyist Robert Dow said the retired EMU trains were currently being stored in stabling yards.
“As to suitability for a reef, I’m not in a position to say either way, but my gut feeling is they’re too fragile and I don’t think they’d last too long in the ocean,” he said.
“They’re not like a ship, a ship is designed to be in the sea to a certain degree.”
There are several artificial reefs in Queensland, including at Moreton Bay, the Great Sandy Marine Park, ex-HMAS Brisbane, and ex-HMAS Tobruk.
Dive operators declared the sinking of the ex-HMAS Tobruk a “stuff-up” after it landed on its side, although the Queensland government said a report showed it could still be accessed by beginner divers.
Shortlist Unveiled for New QPAC Theatre
The shortlist of firms competing to design the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC) new $150 million theatre has been revealed after an expressions of interest campaign.
The five shortlisted consultants will now go on to develop concept designs for the new 1500-seat theatre, with the successful applicant to be announced later this year.
The Palaszczuk government promised $125 million in the Queensland budget to a new theatre, with QPAC to contribute the remaining $25 million.
When realised, the new theatre will make QPAC Australia’s largest performing arts centre, with the potential to host an extra 300,000 visitors each year.
“Today’s announcement of the shortlist marks another important step for the new venue, which will further Queensland’s artistic talent and increase our ability to tell unique and important stories for this and future generations,” Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said.
- M3 Architecture/ARM Architecture
- Richard Kirk Architects
- Wilson Architects
- Blight Rayner
- Cox Architecture
“With QPAC nearing full capacity, this new theatre will ensure our state’s four home companies, including Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre, can continue to grow and will enable them to perform in front of audiences that will be double their usual size,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
All submissions in the expressions of interest process were assessed by the tender evaluation committee against criterion including capability and capacity, relevant experience and local benefits.
Source: The Urban Developer
Coles Spends $950m on Warehouse Revamp
In an attempt to secure a step-change in costs and catch up with arch rival Woolworths, Coles has teamed up with a German logistics automation specialist to construct two state-of-the-art warehouses.
Australia’s second-largest food and liquor retailer Coles will spend $950 million over the next five years building two new automated distribution centres to replace five existing warehouses.
The supermarket giant has signed 20-year leases to build the two identical 70,000sq m centres at a Goodman’s facility in Redbank, Brisbane and another in a Goodman’s and Brickworks’ joint venture at Kemps Creek in western Sydney.
The new warehouses will store and distribute twice the volume of groceries with half the footprint of existing centres.
Late last year, Coles revealed a renewed focus to invest in supply chain automation which had been on the cards for four or five years.
The push towards automation is now expected to deliver significant productivity improvements, including better safety, better on-shelf availability and freeing up the time of in-store staff through improved picking, packing and despatch.
Coles has partnered with German logistics automation specialist WITRON Logistik + Informatik to construct the automated interiors of the high-tech warehouses which will handle distribution and packing of the supermarket’s groceries.
The technology will allow individual stores to order products from a larger range of offerings and have them packed and delivered for unloading on specific shelves in the store.
“With the signing of these important contracts, Coles is one step closer to implementing a key element of its supply chain modernisation strategy,” Coles chief executive Steven Cain said.
The decision by Coles follows a similar strategy by rival Woolworths, which unveiled a $215 million automated distribution centre early last year.
The facility, which sits on a 15.9-hectare site 35 kilometres south-east of the Melbourne CBD, will stock more products than Woolworths’ Brisbane and Sydney distribution centres combined and will supply most of Woolworths’ stores in Victoria.
Coles now plans to make a $146 million pre-tax provision in its 2019 interim results to cover the cost of its distribution network overhaul, including job losses and exiting leases.
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