Excavation work at the site of the Queen’s Wharf resort nears completion, the actual construction phase is slated to begin in late 2019
The winning bidder for the construction of the A$3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf luxury integrated resort in Brisbane will be announced within weeks, news outlet the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Geoff Hogg, Managing Director Queensland for Australian casino operator The Star Entertainment Group, said today that “somewhere in the next four to six weeks” they will announce the successful tender that “will start building the main core and shell of the Queen’s Wharf development.”
The Star is the leading partner in Destination Brisbane Consortium that was selected back in 2016 as the winning bidder for the development and operation of an integrated resort in Brisbane’s Central Business District. The company won the race over its biggest archrival Crown Resorts.
Mr. Hogg went on to explain that the soon-to-be-announced winning tender will be tasked with the “core concrete and […] shell” of the resort. Tenders for internal fit-outs will follow at a later stage. Announcing the winning tender for the primary construction work will mark an important milestone and the shift from excavation toward the start of construction, Mr. Hogg said today.
Excavation work began early in 2017. Mr. Hogg explained today that phase is now almost complete. Workers have so far demolished a number of government-owned buildings to prepare the site for setting the foundations.
Mr. Hogg explained that they expect to reach an important milestone in mid-2019 when all 450,000 cubic meters of soil and rock would be taken out and the hole in the ground would be finished. Foundation work is slated to begin shortly afterwards. Actual construction work is likely to commence by Christmas.
They expect to be ready to begin ground level work by mid-2020. The luxury resort will feature a massive underground car park.
The Star targets 2022 opening of a major part of its property. The launch will include three hotels, one operating under The Star brand, as well as Dorsett-branded and Rosewood-branded hotels, food and beverage facilities, public spaces at the flagship Sky Deck, The Landing, and Waterline, and retail spaces.
The gaming and hospitality giant currently runs Brisbane’s Treasury Casino. That facility will be closed when the main resort is finished and The Star will relocate its license to a larger casino at its the Queen’s Wharf resort. As for its old gaming operation, it will be transformed into a retail center.
Brisbane Cruise Terminal Set to Welcome One Million Passengers
Brisbane’s first cruise ship terminal is under way, with premier Annastacia Palaszczuk turning the sod on the $158 million project on Tuesday.
The long-awaited terminal is scheduled to open in October 2020, with bookings already open for Brisbane’s first cruise season.
Publicised as a significant economic boost for Queensland’s tourism industry, the premier said that the terminal will eventually host more than a million passengers each year.
“Building this one piece of infrastructure flows through our entire economy.
“Ships that were too long, too high and too deep to dock at Brisbane’s Hamilton facility will have a dedicated cruise terminal.”
Deloitte’s latest business outlook shows strong population growth numbers bolstering Queensland’s economy as “crazy” house prices send buyers north. Tourism numbers are also looking positive, with an expected economic upswing coming from tourism and mining.
“The renewed (albeit modest) falls in the Australian dollar over the past year augur well for renewed strength in tourism numbers ahead,” Deloitte partner Chris Richardson said.
“That will be accommodated by the recent increased and ongoing investment in hotel capacity in some of the tourism hubs of the state.”
Tourism minister Kate Jones said that Queensland’s cruise industry was booming.
“Last financial year we saw 520 ships port in Queensland — 11 per cent growth year-on-year, making the Sunshine State Australia’s undisputed cruise capital.”
The terminal is expected to handle over 1,100 vessels and at 1.8 million passengers within its first five years.
The global cruise ship industry is growing, with at least 60 per cent of the cruise ships calling in to Australia by 2020 estimated to be “mega” cruise ships — with a gross tonnage larger than 120,000.
The Queensland government has confirmed that construction company Hindmarsh will deliver the $158 million building.
Consortium Announced for $5.4bn Cross River Rail
Days after being snubbed for federal funding in this year’s budget, the contractors responsible for building the state government’s pet Cross River Rail project have been announced.
Deputy premier Jackie Trad confirmed that the Cimic-led Pulse consortium will deliver the tunnelling works and the development of four new underground stations.
The ASX-listed Cimic, which is currently building the $4.3 billion Westconnex tunnel project, is joined by Cimic Group-owned brands Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors and UGL as part of the consortium.
The Spanish-controlled construction giant has also won the contract to deliver the Cross River Rail’s rail, integration and systems package as part of the Alliance partnership. Hitachi Rail will deliver the European Train Control System.
The shortlist to build Queensland’s largest infrastructure project was announced in February 2018.
Tunnelling could begin as early as next year, while contractors are expected to establish a site presence from late 2019.
Queensland will fully fund the $5.4 billion infrastructure project.
Minister for transport and main roads Mark Bailey said that federal funding for Queensland infrastructure had “gone backwards” under successive Coalition governments.
“They’ve given us a dud deal, other states have done a lot better. We’ve got nothing for Cross River Rail, M1 we only get 50 per cent.”
“Eighty per cent for NSW M1, 50 per cent for Queensland’s M1.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Cross River Rail would generate 7,700 jobs including 450 apprenticeships.
“As a result of this historic investment, hundreds of new job opportunities will be delivered, for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on a project that will fundamentally change our region.”
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised $2.24 billion in funding for the Cross River Rail should Labor win the election.
The Cross River Rail is expected to be up and running by 2024.
High Time for High Speed Inland Rail
A $2.8 billion high-speed rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane will be part of Labor’s upcoming campaign pledges with plans to start buying up the land corridor for the network linking eastern state capitals.
Labor has ramped up its push for the rail network in response to Scott Morrison who announced plans to build smaller rail network linking eastern state capitals to regional population centres.
Shadow infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, who has been a vocal proponent of high-speed rail, says that a Labor government would prioritise the project and begin acquisition of the corridor.
“Scott Morrison’s latest re-announcement of his ‘faster rail’ proposal to link big cities with regional centres is too little, too late when it comes to addressing traffic congestion and promoting regional development,” Albanese said.
“As soon as it took office the Coalition government shelved this work and has done nothing since to advance the project.”
“As the government scrambles for solutions to traffic congestion exacerbated by its own neglect and lack of infrastructure investment, it pretends it is acting by periodically re-announcing its ‘faster rail’ proposal.”
Infrastructure Australia this month put the cost of preserving land along the proposed corridor at $2.8 billion.
The federal agency said in its most recent infrastructure priority report that corridor preservation between Melbourne and Brisbane remained a high priority.
It has previously warned that a failure to protect the corridor from urban encroachment risks pushing the cost of the project even higher.
Albanese highlighted that the proposed high-speed network down Australia’s east coast would allow people to move between capital cities in as little as three hours at speeds of up to 350km per hour.
“This project would revolutionise interstate travel and turbo-charge regional development,” Albanese said.
“It would also be a game-changer for communities along its path, including the Gold Coast, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Shepparton.”
“It would bring these communities closer to capital cities, allowing for increased commuting while also strengthening the case for regional business investment.”
Prime minister Scott Morrison said details would be revealed in the April 2 budget.
Laying down the tracks of feasibility
In 2013, the Rudd government put the cost of a Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra route at an eye-watering $114 billion.
Labor promised $50 million to establish a High Speed Rail Authority to oversee the project.
A feasibility study undertaken by the authority found that the potential high-speed rail network would produce $2 of public benefit for every $1 invested.
“Based on that study, an independent panel led by former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer and the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott recommended the creation of a High Speed Rail Authority to advance the project and begin acquisition of the corridor,” Albanese said.
States not waiting on ceremony
Three states, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales are now looking into their own high-speed projects.
In NSW four routes have been proposed, connecting Sydney with Canberra, Wollongong, Bathurst and Newcastle.
Victoria is aiming to cut the travel time from Melbourne to regional cities Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong to under one hour.
Queensland, is aiming to connect the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba to the Brisbane CBD in 45 minutes.
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