Queensland Government

Welcome from Director-General Michael Schaumburg

Hello and welcome to the Winter edition of Queensland Economic Buzz.

It goes without saying that a weather event the size of Tropical Cyclone Debbie and the subsequent flooding will significantly impact communities and some industries.

As a department, our job is to ensure the state is back on its feet and open for business, and we have taken very significant steps in this direction with the help of the good people of Queensland.

Queenslanders are known for their resilience. In times of need we band together, with many communities in the most severely impacted regions rallying to bring their towns back to life as soon as possible with the timely support of the Queensland Government.

From Townsville and Mackay right down to the South East Queensland corner, staff from the Department of State Development were on the ground in challenging conditions, gaining a full understanding of the impacts on business and industry and identifying the best ways to support economic recovery.

In Brisbane, the department's Regional Economic Development group coordinated economic recovery information and actions across the state. The team operated a virtual ‘control room' that allowed local and state government agencies and key stakeholders to work together, helping to get business and industry back up and running.

On 9 May, the Premier released the State Recovery Plan 2017-2019 Operation Queensland Recovery, which was developed with input from the Economic Recovery Group, coordinated by the department. The group met three times with several sub-groups formed to work on specific activities. These meetings included significant input from Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, mayors of cyclone and flood-affected areas, representatives from key Queensland agencies and peak bodies for business and industry. The input from these groups provided information directly from the worst-hit communities, resulting in the allocation of resources where they were most needed.

I would also like to make special mention of the 20 volunteers from the Department of State Development who were deployed around the state to help out fellow Queenslanders.

I'm also pleased to report that recent economic data shows that, although there may be challenging times ahead for cyclone and flood-affected areas, the fundamentals are strong:

  • The value of Queensland exports increased by $11 billion to $59.3 billion over the year to March 2017. Export growth continues to be driven by strong coal production, while export values to China, Japan and India – Queensland's largest export markets – all increased over the year to March 2017.
  • For the fifth consecutive month, businesses in Queensland have recorded the highest or equal-highest level of confidence in the nation, as per the latest NAB Monthly Business Survey (April 2017). Queensland businesses have returned the highest or second-highest confidence rating for 26 of the last 28 months.
  • Trend employment in Queensland rose 0.3 per cent in April 2017 (or 6,600 people). This was the sixth consecutive monthly increase and reflected a rise in both full-time (up 4,700 people) and part-time employment (up 1,900 people) in the month.
  • For the year ending April 2017, a number of Queensland regions experienced noticeable employment growth, including Logan – Beaudesert (13,200 people), Mackay (6,100 people), Cairns (4,000 people), Toowoomba (2,000 people) and Wide Bay (1,700 people).
  • 11 of the state's 19 regions recorded a decline in their unemployment rate over the year to April 2017.

I hope you enjoy the Winter edition and I look forward to sharing the gains we have made in our cyclone and flood recovery efforts and more economic development achievements with you in our Spring edition.


Michael Schaumburg
Director-General, Department of State Development

Photo: Department of State Development's Director-General Michael Schaumburg.

Joint Strike Fighters: the need for speed

Queensland is shining under the innovation and advanced manufacturing global spotlight, with local companies taking centre stage thanks to their key role supplying into the world's largest defence program, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The JSF F-35 Lightning II is the world's most advanced multi-role aircraft fighter, currently in development with Lockheed Martin for the United States and eight partnering nations, including Australia.

Every JSF will include components manufactured in Australia, and Queensland companies are already reaping the benefits associated with securing supply chain contracts in this global program. Local expertise in the project includes:

  • Ferra Engineering at Tingalpa is manufacturing weapon adaptors for every JSF worldwide as well as more than 100 other component parts
  • HTA (Heat Treatment Australia) at Coopers Plains manufactures vacuum brazed aluminium components for the electronics chassis. These help make the aircraft stronger and lighter and reduce the need for traditional fastenings
  • L3 Micreo at Eight Mile Plains is manufacturing a microwave-frequency switched filter bank for the radar system
  • QinetiQ Australia has Brisbane-based staff involved in integration, flight test and other studies
  • TAE Gas Turbines based at Amberley is manufacturing brazed aluminium electronic chassis components and has been awarded the contract to provide regional sustainment support for the Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine.

The ongoing benefits from the program will continue to mount up as production increases. In addition, Australia's recent selection as the Asia-Pacific regional maintenance and sustainment hub means the program will continue to create significant economic and job opportunities.

The Department of State Development continues to work with Queensland companies to maximise supply chain opportunities within the defence and many other sectors.

Photos: (top) The F35A Lightning II in a test flight. Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin. Used with Permission.; (inset) TAE’s gas-turbine engine test cell at RAAF Base Amberley.

Watpac secures North Queensland Stadium build

Watpac was formally appointed by the state government as the managing contractor to build the $250 million North Queensland Stadium on 1 May, creating jobs and economic opportunities for the people of Townsville.

Locals are set to secure more than three quarters of the work on the stadium, giving business the opportunity to expand and create jobs for the region.

Watpac's winning tender met the contract requirements for maximising local job and training opportunities and was backed by their long-established Townsville presence and outstanding stadia construction experience.

It's expected that more than 2,000 people from the Townsville region will be involved in related contracts for building the 25,000 seat stadium. Watpac has developed a plan that aims for more than 80 per cent of the hours spent building the stadium to be by locals and at least 80 per cent of the value of the project to be spent on local subcontractors and suppliers. In addition, Watpac's plan includes a formal target to help ensure 6.6 per cent of the construction workforce includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The North Queensland Stadium is a joint project of the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Townsville City Council and is supported by both the National Rugby League and North Queensland Cowboys. The North Queensland Stadium forms part of the Townsville City Deal launched in 2016.

Read more about North Queensland Stadium.

Photos: (top) North Queensland Stadium concept design, as at December 2016; (inset) Managing contractor formal announcement 1 May (l-r) Paul Holden, North Queensland Regional Director, Department of State Development; Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines; Don Hewitt, Project Director, Department of State Development.

Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre now open for business

In other sporting venue news, the $105 million Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre was formally opened on 29 April by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones.

The purpose-built centre is the third and final new build venue delivered well ahead of the Games and within budget by the Department of State Development for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre will continue to be a valuable asset for the Carrara community long after the curtain has closed on the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

As a major sporting venue it will bring people to Carrara from all over the world, attracting even more visitors to the Gold Coast. The venue has already secured major international sporting events, including the badminton Sudirman Cup, the FIVB World League Volleyball competition and the Australian National Judo championships.

The open day provided a great opportunity for the public to visit the new facility and experience yet another legacy for the Gold Coast and Queensland beyond the Games.

Read more about the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

Photos: (top) Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre; (inset) First look inside the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, Hall 1.

Upgrade on the cards for iconic PCYC

The Department of State Development is seeking to renew the Fortitude Valley Police-Citizens Youth Club (PCYC), improving services for the local community, especially young people, and creating jobs during construction.

Located at 458 Wickham Street, the 50-year-old facility plays an integral role in fostering the development of local young people through a range of activities, including sport, youth development and crime-prevention.

The department and the PCYC are working together to progress the initiative. A new PCYC would include modern facilities to help enhance the many community services offered by the club.

A competitive process is now underway to identify a private sector property developer to deliver the project in exchange for the right to further develop the existing site.

The Queensland Government has requested detailed proposals from BlueCHP with Bickerton Masters Architecture and Silverstone Developments Pty Ltd, both shortlisted after a rigorous expression of interest process.

The announcement of the preferred proponent is expected in the third quarter of 2017.

Read more about the Fortitude Valley PCYC redevelopment.

Photo: Street view of the current PCYC Fortitude Valley.

More jobs and infrastructure thanks to Building our Regions

Fifteen projects in remote and Indigenous communities will share in $6.2 million under the supplementary round of Building our Regions – a program that funds critical infrastructure in regional communities, generating jobs, fostering economic development and improving liveability.

These smaller projects will make a massive difference in their respective regions. The Lockhart River fibre optic project in Far North Queensland – allocated $477,475 from the supplementary round – is just one example of the benefits Building our Regions delivers to regional Queenslanders.

When complete, the Lockhart River community will have reliable internet and communications connectivity, allowing council and other organisations to deliver services that assist the entire area.

Access to a high-speed internet connection will mean this remote community can tap into opportunities for education and improved health care, as well as stay connected with the wider world.

Another Building our Regions project, the recently completed Doomadgee to Burketown fibre optic link will provide improved communications to these regions.

Building our Regions continues to be a driving force in creating stronger regions, with Round 3 now underway. Currently, 124 detailed applications are being assessed for a share of the $70 million available in this round, with successful projects expected to be announced mid-year.

Read more about Building our Regions.

Photos: (top and inset) Construction of the Doomadgee to Burketown fibre optic link project, courtesy of Burke Shire Council.

Hands up for industry-building grants programs

Businesses across the state continue to put their hands up for economic growth and job creation opportunities. The $130 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund has attracted enquiries from diverse enterprises with projects ranging from cocoa production and alternative uses for agricultural materials to mining developments.

A number of applications are close to reaching fruition, which will result in investment flow into regional Queensland industries and significant direct and indirect employment and economic benefits for their communities.

Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines announced the first grants last week from the $20 million Made in Queensland program.

Toowoomba manufacturers Gessner Industries and Global Rotomoulding have been awarded the first $175,000 boost to improve systems, processes and skills to grow their businesses. More than 400 Queensland manufacturers have registered interest for the program that will help drive the Queensland manufacturing sector's transition to advanced manufacturing.

Queensland Government and METS Ignited move to accelerate industry

Queensland's mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies will soon have access to support that will help turn their good ideas into commercially successful products.

The Igniting METS Accelerator is a joint initiative between the Queensland Government and the national METS Growth Centre, METS Ignited, and will be operated by KPMG.

Focused on companies with a prototype or other well-advanced products or services, the accelerator will connect selected businesses with the financial, legal and technical advice they need. Industry boot camps in Toowoomba and Mackay will help potential participants fine-tune their pitches and give each business the best chance of entering the program.

The initiative complements Advance Queensland's Industry Accelerator Program, which focuses on METS companies in earlier stages of the commercialisation process. Thanks to these two programs, Queensland's 800-plus METS companies now have access to a clear pathway that could turn an innovative idea into a commercial reality.

The Igniting METS Accelerator is open for applications.

Photos: (top) Mining equipment (Toowoomba); (inset) Drill rig, Ray Cash Photography. Used with permission.

Spotlight on Queensland business success

Many of the world's most exciting and innovative businesses are based in Queensland, and the Department of State Development wants to tell you all about them!

Queensland business stories is a snapshot of Queensland industry, covering established businesses developing something innovative and companies new to the state, attracted by what Queensland has to offer.

Find out what it is about Brisbane that made it the ideal place for a Silicon Valley startup to base their global R&D headquarters; or how our state's unique advantages convinced Oji Fibre Solutions, a leading global pulp, paper and fibre-packaging business to set up a $68 million manufacturing facility in Yatala.

As the series continues, the stories will also shine the spotlight on the state's emerging priority industries, like defence and advanced manufacturing.

Photos: (top and inset) Artist's impression of Oji's Yatala facility. Copyright Oji Fibre Solutions. Used with permission.

Jobs boon begins for Queen's Wharf Brisbane

The Queen's Wharf Brisbane Integrated Resort Development is creating jobs and transforming an underutilised riverfront section of Brisbane's CBD with enabling works well underway.

With a current project team of 25, the developer, Destination Brisbane Consortium, has engaged more than 80 external firms, creating hundreds of local jobs. In time, this transformational project will create 2,000 construction jobs and 8,000 operational jobs.

The site's heritage buildings have undergone footing investigations and specialised equipment has been installed to enable ongoing monitoring. Steel bracing is now being erected to keep the buildings stable and secure during the project's construction.

Demolition of the three non-heritage buildings – 80 George Street, the Executive Building and Neville Bonner Building – is expected to conclude at the end of the year. The demolition process paves the way for excavation in 2018, followed by construction in 2019/2020.

A full-colour hoarding, which also doubles as a promotional billboard, was recently installed around the Queen's Wharf Brisbane Integrated Resort Development site. At 2.4 metres high and stretching a full kilometre, Brisbane's largest billboard not only protects the site and passers-by, it also showcases the project, associated jobs and the city's growth.

Featured on the billboard are local employees and family members from Destination Brisbane Consortium and The Star Entertainment Group.

With the core Integrated Resort Development expected to open in 2022, the project will become a large-scale employer both during and beyond construction. It will include 5 new hotels, 3 residential towers and 50 food and beverage outlets.

Read more about Queen's Wharf Brisbane.

Photos: (top) Scaffolding installed by demolition contractor Probuild at the George Street Executive building in preparation for hard demolition; (inset) At launch for the hoarding and billboard - Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines with long-term Queensland Treasury employee Alena Duykers.

Advancing Bowen Basin coal project and regional jobs

The department's Office of the Coordinator-General is advancing Queensland's latest coal project - the proposed $1 billion Olive Downs mine.

Pembroke Resources South Pty Ltd's proposed project would be located in the Bowen Basin, approximately 40 km south-east of Moranbah and 40 km north of Dysart.

The open-cut mine could produce up to 14 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per annum for steel making and operate for up to 30 years. In addition to mining, the project would require coal handling and processing facilities, a rail link, a water pipeline and a power transmission line.

It's estimated the mine could generate employment for 500 to 700 workers during the construction phase and, when operational, could maintain up to 960 jobs. Workers would be encouraged to live in local towns like Moranbah, Nebo and Middlemount, providing a significant economic boost across the region.

The draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement were released earlier this year, with public comment concluding on 12 May. The Coordinator-General is now considering all comments and after a rigorous assessment will release the final terms of reference for Pembroke Resources to address.

Read more about the Olive Downs project.

Photo: The proposed Olive Downs mine site, drone footage over Wilunga.