Queanbeyan Downtown Q

Our regional towns represent the quintessential Australia - evoking nostalgia for a time when industry boomed, optimism thrived and neighbours knew and looked out for each other. While some of our country towns have fallen victim to highway bypasses and the exodus of younger generations away from a rural vocation, many others have become thriving regional centres. These towns are more than satellite outposts - they are destinations with targeted industries and strong, loyal communities – and tourists love them.

Queanbeyan - our closest regional neighbour - is one such city. Building on its heritage as one of Australia’s oldest inland settlements, Queanbeyan is fast redefining itself as an alternative to the Big City. Reasonable house prices and the beautiful rural setting are attracting new residents who are looking for a ‘country life with city benefits’.

With a new demographic comes new expectations - and the Queanbeyan business and local community have recognised the need for the heart of Q to step up its beat. Consequently, a new design ideas competition to revitalise the Queanbeyan CBD has been launched.  Downtown Q 2025 asks entrants for ‘visionary ideas to reinvigorate the town’s existing commercial and public areas’ - specifically Monaro Street and three significant carpark sites in the CBD.

In announcing the competition Steve Bartlett, QBC Vice President, Tourism and Hospitality said ‘ideas and concepts generated by this competition will help build confidence in development outcomes for the community and can be used to define and stimulate future civic and investment opportunities for our city.’ It’s good to see the Queanbeyan Council supporting this initiative – the outcome may show other places what’s possible with imagination and foresight.

The competition highlights the important role that designers and developers play in shaping positive outcomes for our regional centres - driving new business and encouraging people to make their home in a ‘country’ community. With a prize pool of $64,000 the competition is sure to entice designers to take on the challenge of showcasing our heritage while reimagining the contemporary country town - forging the way for regional Australia.

For more information about Downtown Q 2025 visit the competition website at www.downtownqcompetition.com.au

Catherine Carter is ACT Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia