Welcome to the first issue of Queensland Economic Buzz for 2016.
I'm sure you are aware of the redundancy events at Queensland Nickel where 237 workers were laid-off in December 2015 and the remaining 550 workers were also dismissed on 11 March 2016.
The Queensland Government has been quick to act and support workers at the plant and I was chosen to lead this government response.
When news of the first redundancy event emerged in December 2015 a Rapid Response Team (RRT) was quickly activated in Townsville. The RRT immediately set a course of action to help affected workers with the implementation of the Worker Transition Scheme.
The scheme enables an immediate state government response to support workers and their families, negatively impacted by significant business closures or redundancy events that may eventuate.
The RRT connected with workers in Townsville and met key stakeholders including the administrator, mayor, local MPs, business groups and unions. The team also coordinated support activities being carried out by other agencies, such as the Department of Education and Training, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and federal agencies including Human Services (Centrelink) and the Department of Employment.
I facilitated two forums for the initial retrenched workers in December 2015. These forums provided valuable information to affected workers on accessing state and federal support services, as well as presentations by state government infrastructure delivery departments and government owned corporations, plus the Queensland Police and the Department of Defence about local employment opportunities. Case workers from the Uniting Care Community were also present to offer support and guidance.
Following the recent discharge of the remaining Queensland Nickel workers, our RRT was again quick to act and facilitated four more forums during March. The impacts of these redundancy events will be felt across the region, and so my team and I will continue to run these sessions as needed.
As part of the Queensland Government's Accelerated Works Program, the Department of Transport and Main Roads is bringing forward 11 infrastructure projects to generate jobs in northern Queensland. In time we will be calling for tenders for these projects.
The Queensland Government is also introducing new ways to deliver vital projects. Recently my department led a whole-of-government team to assess the proposal for a $100 million cruise ship terminal at the mouth of the Brisbane River. We successfully promoted the proposal to the next stage of the government's market-led proposals process. The new terminal would cater for mega cruise ships over 270 metres and the Port of Brisbane is currently preparing a detailed proposal for consideration by Queensland Treasury.
Within the department, new targeted economic and industry development teams have been established and are working to support key and emerging industries. These include Advanced Manufacturing, Biofutures, Biomedical and Lifesciences, Defence and Aerospace, and Mining Equipment, Technology and Services. Over the coming months, these teams will work with industry to develop roadmaps and action plans that will guide how industry and government works together over the next ten years.
Manufacturing companies were encouraged to have their say on the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap discussion paper recently. The biofuels and industrial biotechnology sector consultation has also closed and the Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap Action Plan is expected to be completed in coming weeks.
Lastly, the Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham announced applications for Round 2 of the $200 million Building our Regions program will open on Monday 4 April 2016 - six months earlier than planned. In Round 1, 42 critical infrastructure projects received more than $70 million, which combined with a further $159 million investment from council and other organisations is set to deliver almost 700 jobs. This is welcome news indeed for many Queenslanders and regional communities across the state.
I'm looking forward to a very productive year ahead in 2016.
Queensland's manufacturers were invited to comment on the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap discussion paper during March 2016.
The discussion paper, released on 24 February 2016, was prepared with expert input from the Industry and Manufacturing Advisory Group and will inform the 10-year roadmap and action plan.
The state government wants Queensland manufacturing companies to grow and generate high-value, highly-skilled jobs. By assisting traditional manufacturers transition to advanced manufacturing, firms will be able to access new supply chains and capitalise on changing markets and export opportunities.
The feedback received from both targeted consultations and online submissions will be used to ensure the roadmap is relevant to our manufacturing industry.
A total of 59 small- to medium-enterprises participated in targeted consultation sessions held in Caboolture, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Maryborough, Southport, Springfield Lakes, Toowoomba and Townsville. Discussions were also held with research institutions, state and federal government agencies, peak industry bodies and unions.
Manufacturers employed 169,700 workers in Queensland during the December quarter of 2015, accounting for almost one in five manufacturing jobs across Australia.
Consultation on the discussion paper closed on 24 March 2016. The draft Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan is expected to be considered by the Industry Manufacturing Advisory Group in May 2016.
The advanced manufacturing roadmap is one of the six industry roadmaps that are being developed as part of the Queensland Government's $180 million Advance Queensland initiative.
For more information visit www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/roadmaps
The Queensland Government is leading master planning for the priority ports of Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point/Mackay working closely with key port authorities, local governments and other stakeholders.
Last month, the Queensland Government released the draft guideline for public comment. Public consultation was held over six weeks and closed on 14 March 2016.
Master planning for priority ports is mandated under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 (Ports Act) and public consultation on the draft guideline setting out the principles and processes for priority port master planning is an important step forward for the program.
A final guideline will be released by mid-2016 following a review of submissions.
The master planning will deliver a blueprint, setting out the pathway for growth for each priority port with full consideration of environmental and community values, particularly the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The priority port master plans will protect areas that will support sustainable port development including shipping channels, berth pockets and swing basins in marine areas and land corridors for roads and rail lines, gas and water pipelines and power lines.
The outcome will be increased options to attract new business and industry to Queensland's major bulk commodity port precincts and investment certainty.
Through priority port master planning the Queensland Government will concentrate port development at the state's long established major bulk-commodity ports, delivering on a key state government action of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
Port master planning for Gladstone is advancing and a draft master plan is expected to be released for public comment from mid-2016. Processes for Abbot Point and Townsville will formally commence in the second half of 2016 and for Hay Point/Mackay in the first half of 2017.
For more information visit www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/sustainableports
Last month, the Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines announced the state government is bringing forward the release of $70 million under the Building our Regions program for critical infrastructure projects to stimulate economic growth in regional Queensland.
Applications for Round 2 of the program will now open on Monday 4 April 2016 - six months earlier than originally planned - and local councils are encouraged to start thinking about eligible projects.
This builds on the 42 critical infrastructure projects for Round 1 announced in December 2015, which were allocated more than $70 million.
All of the funding goes directly to critical infrastructure projects in regional Queensland - driving growth, creating jobs and improving liveability. Statewide the government's initial contribution of $70 million will also attract a further $159 million investment from council and other organisations.
Successful projects range from water, waste and sewerage projects to airport upgrades, and telecommunications to flood mitigation programs. The Building our Regions program will deliver almost 190 jobs just in Far North Queensland in this first round and nearly 700 jobs across the state. Flow-on economic development opportunities are expected to further strengthen regional communities as well.
In summary, funds are being provided to the following regions:
You can read more about each of the Round 1 projects by viewing the interactive map.
As part of the Building our Regions program $60 million has been allocated over two years to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads. TIDS is a pre-existing fund supporting road projects across Queensland with the additional $30 million per year allocated utilising the existing process for prioritising projects under this program.
Earlier this month, $1 million in project funding for Remote Area Boards (RABs) was announced by the Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, to boost economic activities in the remote far north and west of Queensland.
This funding supports delivery of specific economic development projects, services and activities in remote regional communities - providing much-needed resources to develop opportunities remote communities know will grow their economies.
Each RAB will have access to $200,000 for approved projects delivered between July 2016 and June 2018.
Because of their locations, Remote Area Boards have fewer opportunities to raise funds than more populated regions and without government support they may not be able to deliver strategic projects that have economic benefits for their regions.
The five boards being funded $200,000 each are:
Through RABs, communities undertake actions themselves, either addressing economic disadvantage or harnessing opportunities specific to their region.
Funding is used for things like developing tourism products; attracting and retaining business opportunities and investment in the regions; and improving services for industry.
A perfect example of this is MITEZ using previous RAB funding to focus on the North-East Gas Interconnector from the Northern Territory to Mount Isa, and continuing to work with gas users, manufacturers and industry to explore the opportunities Jemena's $800 million pipeline project can bring to the area.
For more information on Remote Area Boards visit www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/rab.
The first of the thousands of jobs that will be created for Queen's Wharf Brisbane have commenced with survey work, geotechnical investigations, marine ecological surveys and heritage building inspections underway. The preliminary site investigations are assisting the Destination Brisbane Consortium to better understand the ground conditions throughout the precinct that will become an iconic $3 billion Integrated Resort Development.
Preliminary investigations will be ongoing over the course of the rest of this year ahead of demolition and construction activities due to commence in 2017.
When fully operational in 2024, Queen's Wharf Brisbane will provide:
For further information visit www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/qwb
In early 2016, construction got underway on a further two venues being upgraded ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
In late January, FKG Group commenced construction on the Gold Coast Cycle Centre upgrade project which is the first of a two stage project to construct a world class venue for Mountain Biking and deliver South East Queensland's first international standard mountain bike trail.
In February, Alder Constructions commenced works on the Gold Coast Hockey Centre redevelopment which includes the realignment of the synthetic pitches to meet international competition requirements as well as the upgrade and expansion of the clubhouse facilities.
From design through to construction, the $14.5 million Gold Coast Hockey Centre redevelopment and $3.2 million Nerang Mountain Bike Trail project are expected to support an additional 60 Queensland jobs.
Construction on the remaining venues is progressing well with the three new sporting venues for the Commonwealth Games all on track for completion in late 2016.
With just over two years to go, the Queensland Government is on track and on budget to deliver a great Games, in a great city leaving great benefits for all.
Ahead of the Games is a biannual online report that details the Embracing 2018 legacy initiatives, up-to-date financial figures and a comprehensive venues update. You can explore the report to find out about the exciting arts and cultural program vision and opportunities for Queensland businesses. You can also view videos of construction highlights and aspiring and elite athletes talking about what GC2018 means to them.
In 2015 the state government agreed to lease land situated at Fulcher Road, Red Hill, to the Brisbane Broncos who, in return, will build sport and recreation facilities for club and community use. The department has worked with the Brisbane Broncos to ensure that the training, administration and community facility will benefit the local community for years to come.
Demolition works to make way for the new training centre are nearly complete, clearing the way for construction to commence in April 2016. Built and funded by the Brisbane Broncos, the facilities will include a full-size training field, lecture theatre, community room, public open space and other training facilities.
Construction is scheduled to commence shortly with a view to having the facility operational for the 2017 season.
In addition to providing community access, the Broncos will also run community-based programs such as Beyond Broncos, an Indigenous mentoring program, and continue to work with alliances such as Deadly Choices and The University of Queensland to improve indigenous health and education. These programs will continue to expand and evolve to address contemporary social and community issues.
The Broncos have been based in Red Hill since 1988. The building of the new facility will keep the club at its current home and cement its place in the local community.
Funding discussions with the Australian Government and Townsville City Council continue for the proposed North Queensland Stadium in Townsville after the Queensland Government endorsed the business case.
The business case, which recommends a centrally located best-practice regional stadium, was provided to the Australian Government and Townsville City Council in December 2015 for their consideration to provide funding for the project.
The Queensland Government has committed $100 million and continues to lobby the Australian Government, Townsville City Council and the National Rugby League.
If the project proceeds, the project has the potential to create hundreds of jobs during its construction phase and deliver flow-on benefits to the accommodation, food and beverage, transport and local retail sectors.
Additionally, the stadium could become an important catalyst for future development in the broader Townsville City Waterfront Priority Development Area, will generate significant social benefits for the broader North Queensland region through stimulating urban regeneration, and generate greater utilisation of the Townsville CBD.
The business case investigated the standards and requirements of modern stadia and included benchmarking of other regional stadia in Queensland, nationally and internationally.
The proposed design in the business case is for a centrally-located facility with a 25,000 seated spectator capacity, 7000 more seats than is currently available at the existing 1300SMILES Stadium.
The proposal would see the stadium designed with flexibility to allow expansion to include an entertainment centre component at a future date, should funding become available.
The next step for the project is to develop the funding and procurement model, with government expected to consider this once complete.
Over 200 central Queensland businesses were the first to hear about some of the major projects and supply chain opportunities taking place in regional Queensland at the Department of State Development's industry breakfast held in Rockhampton on 11 February 2016.
In attendance were Brittany Lauga, Member for Keppel; Margaret Strelow, Mayor Rockhampton Regional Council and Bill Ludwig, Mayor Livingstone Shire Council and each acknowledged the value these events bring to business.
A line up of respected speakers from Central Queensland University, Queensland Health, Department of Housing and Public Works, Rockhampton Regional Council and Livingstone Shire Council presented major capital works which they have commenced or will be commencing within the next six months and shared invaluable information about how to win business through tendering and supply opportunities associated with major projects.
After the breakfast formalities and presentations, attendees then had the opportunity to meet major project proponents, industry and local council representatives and leaders from regional enterprises.
Networking and exchanging ideas with other guests can also deliver broader benefits and strengthen regional economies in the longer term. The department's SEQ West Regional Director Michael Whiting said a training company representative who attended the Ipswich Regional Major Projects Forum in 2015 later reported that an introduction to a regional councillor he met at the event subsequently helped with facilitating the solution to an issue which saved the jobs of six local quarry workers.
‘That's a pretty good value add!' Michael said.
The department's regional offices are hosting a series of Regional Major Projects Forums throughout 2016 that focus on important issues and challenges in specific regions. These events involve a number of our economic development partners and attract up to 250 delegates to each forum.
The full 2016 event schedule Regional Major Projects Forums is now available, so join us and be sure to put these dates in your business diary.
Past guests have expressed their delight with these events. Here are a couple of comments we can share:
"By attending the SEQ West Regional Major Projects Forum at Springfield last year we uncovered a great business lead associated with the new Bombardier rail maintenance facility at Wulkuraka. With some follow through we landed a contract to install vending machines at the new facility when it opens this year - a contract that will increase our turnover and provide additional cash flow to grow the business further" - Denise Milgate, Brisbane Southside Vending
"The Townsville Industry Breakfast continues to help our local business keep in touch, network and share some great stories of our region. The growing numbers prove the value it provides to those who attend." - Joe Hoolahan, Director, JESI Solutions
Located 30 kilometres southeast of central Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island boasts stunning natural features, a rich Indigenous culture, a community of more than 2000 residents and thousands of visitors every year.
For more than 60 years, the island has been supported by sand mining, as well as tourism and education.
The Queensland Government is committed to phasing out sand mining on North Stradbroke Island by 2019 and expanding the island's existing industries to ensure a strong, sustainable economy for all who live there.
The Queensland Government has developed a Draft North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Strategy supported by 16 actions which aim to:
The Queensland Government has allocated $20 million to drive this strategy and facilitate stakeholder co-investment. The strategy is further supported by an additional $3.87 million in-kind Queensland Government contribution for identified actions and $5 million to help mine workers pursue new employment opportunities.
A comprehensive stakeholder and community consultation on the draft strategy took place across the island and online from December through to early February. The Department of State Development is now evaluating all the feedback received and will incorporate this into the final economic transition strategy.
Five years after receiving project approval from the Coordinator-General, Australia Pacific LNG celebrated the first shipment of liquefied natural gas leaving its Gladstone facility last month.
To mark the milestone, Origin's Group Manager Pipelines and Networks Operations, David Johnson has shared his experience in working with the Office of the Coordinator-General throughout the project.
Located nine kilometres north-west of Gladstone, the Australia Pacific LNG plant on Curtis Island is one of three liquefied natural gas plant and pipeline projects facilitated by the Coordinator-General within the Gladstone State Development Area and the Callide Infrastructure Corridor State Development Area.
David speaks about Australia Pacific LNG's involvement and the valuable contribution the Office of the Coordinator-General bought to the delivery of the project.
Kathy Schaefer, Deputy Director-General Regional Economic Development was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Australia Day 2016 Honours List.
Kathy's award is a fitting tribute to her outstanding public service during her career, which has spanned more than 30 years in both state and local governments.
The award recognises Kathy's dedication and commitment to workforce development and organisational flexibility, her focus on achieving outcomes and real benefits for clients, and her role in championing professional development for staff and supporting aspiring leaders.
Kathy is passionate about serving regional Queensland and does so with integrity and a steadfast commitment to moral principle. Congratulations on a well-deserved achievement!
The events listed are either coordinated or supported by the Department of State Development. We rely on and acknowledge the valuable assistance we receive from our business and local government partners from across Queensland.
Visit the Department of State Development website for events and workshops across the state.