Incentivising Townsville’s economic development
State Government, City Council and private sector decisionmakers are all united in their commitment to the vision of developing Townsville’s Waterfront. An expanded and vibrant CBD will create jobs, increase amenity and act as an engine room for the city’s future economic development.
This unprecedented unity of purpose between public and private stakeholders has been evident in the range of initiatives that have been undertaken in recent years to achieve this vision, including the Townsville City Deal, the Waterfront Priority Development Area, the Townsville City Plan and the Townsville Jobs and Investment Package 2015-18.
Townsville City Council’s ‘Jobs and Investment Package’ was established in 2015 to assist in attracting and facilitating development in the city centre. The program has offered a range of incentives to lure private sector operators to invest in the CBD vision, including site and services access, application charge waivers, council rates and utility charge exemptions, and infrastructure charge concessions.
Through this program Council have sent a strong message that the Townsville CBD is open for business. If your business is willing to invest in the city centre, Council has made it clear that they will back you. Importantly, the incentives have provided a clear point of difference between a dynamic, future-focused Townsville and other comparable investment destinations.
Over $1.5 billion in economic activity is generated annually by the city’s property industry. Through this activity, the sector employs 12,932 Townsvilleans. The incentives package has been specifically targeted to facilitate further growth in this important sector by encouraging activity and bringing forward CBD development projects.
The incentives package program is currently up for review and Property Council is urging Townsville City Council to maintain the initiative as critical waterfront projects get underway. Council should consider whether a renewed program should have a broader scope in terms of how and where the incentives apply, and whether they are targeted to meaningful and contemporary commercialisation triggers.
Opportunities exist to expand the incentives program to encourage building owners to carry out refurbishments of existing buildings, helping these projects stack up and deliver strong outcomes for the community.
Public investment in projects like the new stadium should be a trigger for further private sector investment. The catalytic effect of this public investment is critical to the success of the waterfront revitalisation vision. Appropriate incentives will be critical to ensuring Townsville can get the full economic benefit out of the CBD revitalisation effort.
The Property Council looks forward to continuing to work with Townsville City Council and other stakeholders to ensure Townsville can reach its full economic potential.