For those of us that already live here in Brisbane and South East Queensland (SEQ), we can attest to the enviable lifestyle we enjoy, from sunny days, proximity to beaches and national parks to a vibrant and burgeoning entertainment and dining culture. Added to this, both government and private enterprise have billions of dollars’ worth of major investment projects planned or currently underway, which will not only supercharge the local economy but will make the South East a better connected and more liveable city for years to come. So here is a brief summary of what you might see happening in our region over the next few years.
Across the South East, there is approximately $65 billion worth of major projects worth over $500 million currently underway or in advanced planning stages.
There are also many significant key transport infrastructure projects currently underway or in advanced planning stages. The Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Airports are investing circa $2 billion for work to upgrade capacity to meet future passenger demand. The largest of these projects is of course the Brisbane Airport second runway which will boost capacity in line with globally renowned airports in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Construction is also about to commence on a new mega-cruise ship terminal on the Brisbane River with a value of $160 million. Not too far up the road, high level planning is underway for the Brisbane Airport Auto Mall, an Australian first for all things cars including dealerships, conference and hotel facilities and a Mark Skaife designed race track.
Rail infrastructure is also getting a much-needed boost. The front runner for our region is of course the $5.4 Billion Cross River Rail with early works having started last year. Other major projects include inland freight lines connecting Toowoomba to the port of Brisbane as well as light rail projects on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. Tied into Cross River Rail is the proposed $2 billion Brisbane Live entertainment venue, which is to be built over the existing Roma St rail yards incorporating a 17000-seat arena, restaurants, bars and outdoor amphitheatres. The complex is being jointly developed by global entertainment management firm, AEG-Ogden and the State Government.
Several other large-scale entertainment precincts are also currently being developed in SE Queensland. Works for Queens Wharf is well advanced now with basement excavation happening as we speak. At the other end of the CBD over by the story bridge, the Howard Smith Wharves revitalisation project is well underway and due for completion in late 2018, opening up a whole new destination for dining, leisure, the arts and outdoor living. More immediately, the new Brisbane Quarter development on the site of the old supreme court on George St, is an exciting advancement for the city’s travellers and locals. The precinct will house a new 5 star W Hotel, as well as premium dining and retail options such as Persone, from venerable Brisbane restauranteurs, Gambaro Group.
It’s hard not to notice the significant evolution currently occurring within Queensland’s Southeast Corner. As our cities grow, the burgeoning population will not only require greater connectivity but more amenity to maintain the enviable lifestyle we all currently enjoy. The infrastructure being put in place now at our airports and cruise terminals is perfectly placed to service the increased tourism demand that landmark entertainment venues such Queens Wharf and Brisbane Live will create. Importantly, all this activity creates consistent demand for workers generally as well as in construction, design and consulting, with the direct and flow on benefits to the regional economy likely to be substantial.