Townsville State Development Area
Declared in 2003, the 4915-hectare Townsville State Development Area (SDA) is a defined area of land dedicated for industrial development. It is located about six kilometres south-east of the Townsville CBD and two kilometres south of the Port of Townsville.
Situated at the junction of the national road network (Bruce and Flinders Highways), with direct connections to major rail networks and the Port of Townsville, the Townsville SDA is positioned to be the preferred location in North Queensland for the establishment of industrial development of regional, state and national significance.
Benefits of the Townsville SDA
The Townsville SDA provides benefits to business and industry looking to invest in Queensland including:
- locational advantages with access to:
- the Port of Townsville, Queensland's third largest port, handling over 30 different commodity types imported and exported including copper, zinc, lead, sugar and fertiliser
- rail routes running north, south and west with key connections to the North Coast Rail Corridor and North West Rail Corridor
- the national road network, which provides access north to Cairns, south to Mackay and Brisbane and west to Charters Towers and Mount Isa
- efficient use of land, such as:
- a dedicated transportation corridor, providing direct road access to the Port via the Townsville Port Access Road
- the future potential to divert rail freight access to the Port through the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor and to provide a services and materials transportation corridor to avoid the Townsville CBD and residential suburbs
- opportunity for large-scale high-impact industry to co-locate with existing industries, with existing industrial enterprises and large areas of greenfield land available for development
- a large workforce and major support services within the city of Townsville
- streamlined assessment processes for applications and requests
- regulation of material change of use, reconfiguring a lot, and operational work for native vegetation clearing to improve development coordination and reduce the regulatory burden on proponents
- best practice land-use planning and management - ensuring land and infrastructure assets are, and remain, attractive to existing occupants and potential investors.
Existing industrial development in the Townsville SDA
The Townsville SDA is positioned to meet the needs of large-scale projects as evidenced by the major industries that are established within the SDA. The Townsville SDA is currently home to:
- Aurizon Stuart intermodal facility
- Aurizon locomotive and rolling stock maintenance facility
- Glencore Xstrata copper refinery
- JBS Australia abattoir
- Origin Energy Mt Stuart peaking generator plant
- Pacific National rail freight terminal
- Sun Metals zinc refinery
- Townsville City Council landfill
- Townsville correctional facility.
Sun Metals – a case study
Sun Metals Corporation (Sun Metals) own and operate the SMC Townsville Zinc Refinery at Stuart, in the Townsville SDA. The refinery, which has been in operation since 1999, produces special high-grade zinc metals and other products including sulfuric acid, zinc ferrite and gypsum.
“Operationally, Sun Metal benefits from good road infrastructure within the Townsville SDA, allowing easy access to the Bruce highway and port access roads, coupled with close proximity to the port, to facilitate our global import and exporting activities” Kathy Danaher, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Sun Metals Corporation Pty Ltd.
In July 2018, Sun Metals made an SDA application to the Coordinator-General to upgrade and expand the existing refinery to introduce a new zinc leaching process. The new process would allow Sun Metals to increase zinc recovery by 10% resulting in a net extraction increase of 75,000 tonnes per annum. The expansion will increase total production capacity of the facility to 300,000 tonnes per annum and represents a $267 million investment.
“Sun Metals benefitted from the active involvement of the Office of the Coordinator-General in facilitating timely consultation and negotiation with stakeholders, at all stages of the approvals process” Ken Dunlop, Environmental Superintendent, Sun Metals Corporation Pty Ltd.
Sun Metals’ SDA application was approved by the Coordinator-General in November 2018 and is currently in the construction phase.
In July 2020, it was announced that Sun Metals was the recipient of $5 million in funding through the Queensland Government’s $19 million Hydrogen Industry Development Strategy 2019-2024. The grant will support the establishment of a renewable hydrogen plant with an initial focus on transitioning its diesel heavy-vehicle fleet to zero-emission hydrogen.
In 2021, the Coordinator-General approved the pilot scale Sun HQ hydrogen production facility at the zinc refinery. The project will be powered by renewable energy generated by the existing 124 MW solar farm. The next phase seeks to increase hydrogen production, storage and refuelling networks to unlock opportunities for third-party heavy-vehicle fleets to transition to hydrogen commercial mobility. A further phase may involve exporting hydrogen through the Port of Townsville, initially to South Korea and then to other customers. The approval by the Coordinator-General represents a significant milestone in establishing a hydrogen industry in North Queensland and makes Townsville home to one of Queensland’s first hydrogen hubs.
New industrial opportunities in the Townsville SDA
New industries considered suitable for the Townsville SDA include a diverse range of port, rail, and road dependent industries such as:
- manufacturing (chemicals and metals production)
- minerals processing
- intermodal freight and logistics
- bulk storage.
Cleveland Bay Industrial Park
The Cleveland Bay Industrial Park (CBIP) master-planned industrial estate, will provide 125 hectares of fully serviced freehold industrial lots for development either side of the Townsville Port Access Road in the Townsville SDA.
Suitable industrial uses will include medium-impact industry such as freight terminals, transport depots, research and technology industries, warehouses and infrastructure facilities and the location will allow for 24/7 operations.
The CBIP has direct access to the Townsville Port Access Road, connecting to the Port of Townsville, the Bruce and Flinders Highways and planned infrastructure includes a signalised intersection to cater for Type 2 road train access to all industrial lots.
Site works commenced in October 2021 on the western side of the development, with stage 1 and 2 lots available for industrial development now. Further stages 3, 4 and 5 will be available soon. Site works commenced on the eastern side of the development in October 2022 with sites expected to be ready for industrial development towards the end of 2023.
The Townsville State Development Area Development Scheme ( 804 KB) is a regulatory document that controls planning and development within the Townsville SDA.
First approved by the Governor in Council in 2005, the development scheme has been amended numerous times. The current version was approved in May 2019.
The development scheme contains a development assessment framework for making, assessing and deciding applications and requests relating to development within the Townsville SDA. The most common of these is an SDA application for a material change of use.
The development scheme for the Townsville SDA is supported by a public consultation policy ( 86 KB) that provides information on matters the Coordinator-General may consider when determining whether public consultation of an SDA application is required.
The Townsville SDA regulation map ( 923 KB) defines the boundary of the Townsville SDA.
The Townsville SDA development precincts map ( 512 KB) forms part of the development scheme and identifies the precincts within the Townsville SDA.
Industry precincts include land designated for:
- port-related industry
- high-impact industry
- medium-impact industry
- low-impact industry.
Other precincts within the Townsville SDA provide for:
- infrastructure corridors to accommodate linear infrastructure including road, rail and utilities
- environmental management
- extractive industry, to protect the Muntalunga Key Resource Area without compromising the environmental and cultural heritage values of the Muntalunga Ranges or the amenity of sensitive land uses.
Previous versions of the Townsville SDA Development Scheme:
- Development Scheme for the Townsville SDA (July 2013) ( 718 KB)
- Development Scheme for the Townsville SDA (September 2012) ( 223 KB)
- Development Scheme for the Townsville SDA (September 2010) ( 208 KB)
- Development Scheme for the Townsville SDA (2005) ( 233 KB)
Previous versions of the maps:
The majority of land within the Townsville SDA is owned freehold, with a significant portion owned by a small number of land holders.
The Coordinator-General owns 923 hectares within the Townsville SDA. The Coordinator-General's land holdings include land for multi-user infrastructure corridors, including the Townsville Port Access Road and future Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor, as well as industrial development and buffer areas.
In June 2018, the Coordinator-General acquired approximately 810 hectares to support the acceleration of the Townsville SDA, a key commitment of the Townsville City Deal.
Acquiring this land allows the Coordinator-General to proactively respond to proponents seeking development opportunities here.
View the land ownership in the Townsville State Development Area ( 1.2 MB).
The legislative framework for infrastructure charging in the Townsville SDA under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 varies from the statutory provisions applying outside the Townsville SDA under the Planning Act 2016. Find out more about how infrastructure charges are applied in the Townsville SDA (PDF 74 KB).
Last updated: 16 Mar 2023