Development and Infrastructure
Toowoomba is amid a development boom with major projects positioning the region to capitalise on the next wave of economic, employment and investment opportunities. There’s more than $13 billion worth of infrastructure projects in
the pipeline, and Toowoomba’s Gross Regional Product is almost $10 billion – growing at a rate of about 3.5% year-on-year.
TSBE has an Infrastructure Priority List that guides the advocacy work we do with ministers, industry and our Canberra counterparts to ensure the region gets its share in the billions of dollars of future investment.
This includes big ticket items like the Quarry Gardens, Picnic Point masterplan, the need for a convention centre and motorsports facility. While these projects sit on our wish-list, what we are seeing is a region taking shape with a number of projects underway.
» The Toowoomba Enterprise Hub hosts an intermodal freight and logistics hub and is made up of InterLinkSQ, Witmack Industry Park, and the Wellcamp Airport and Business Park. This represents a huge asset to the region, with industry set to join that development.
» The FKG Group’s $40 million Pulse Data Centre and Tech Park is the first regional tier III data centre of its kind in Australia. The centre, west of Toowoomba, capitalises on the global demand for large-scale data centres and a growing trend to build secure and stable data storage in regional areas.
» The Toowoomba Integrated Milk Project is adjacent to Wellcamp Airport, capitalising on the Asian demand with a litre of Australian milk selling for up to $19 in some Chinese supermarkets.
» Unilever entered the region, buying the iconic Weis factory and brand.
» New Acland Coal Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of New Hope Corporation Limited, operates the existing New Acland Mine, an open cut, thermal coal operation with existing capacity to produce up to 4.8 million tonnes (Mtpa) annually. The mine injects $300 million into south-east Queensland’s economy a year and $100 million into the Darling Downs economy. It currently employs about 275 locals and 507 contractors, and provides about 2300 indirect jobs.
» At Pittsworth, Yarranlea Solar Farm will be developed in four stages on up to 250 hectares that will generate enough power for about 32,000 homes with a generation capacity of up to 100MW.
» The Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA) on the northern end of the CBD is expected to deliver 1200–1500 new dwellings worth $680 million and support an estimated 3000 jobs over 20 years. The first stage will see the dilapidated Railway Goods Shed undergo a $10 million refurbishment into a mini-convention centre. The PDA covers a total area of 51.3 hectares and is bordered by Russell Street, Ruthven Street, Mort Street and Bridge Street.
TSBE is championing a Federal government push to see some departments move to Toowoomba, including the likes of defence and agriculture.
According to the AEC Group, total employment in the Toowoomba region is projected to increase to 91,150 jobs by 2026, and more than 112,800 jobs by 2041. Our strong economy is attracting skilled workers to the region, with the largest source of migration from Brisbane.
Toowoomba is also the gateway to the Surat Basin energy region, rich in vast coal seam gas, natural gas, oil and thermal coal energy reserves.
Toowoomba is well-known as a specialised well drilling and servicing hub. The proximity to the Surat Basin two-to-three hours away means many businesses have established themselves in Toowoomba to capitalise on the services needed.
In Toowoomba there are at least nine of the major drilling and servicing companies with a substantial base whose work spans to the Surat Basin, including QGC/Shell, Origin, APLNG, Senex, BOC, Arrow Energy, Armour Energy and Santos.
Operations and maintenance activities with a number of projects are expected to continue during the next 40 to 50 years, representing around $3 billion of expenditure each year until 2020, and $500 million every year after that.
In 2015-16 the natural resource industry contributed $1.6 billion to the Toowoomba economy, supported more than 8000 fulltime jobs and spent $794 million with local businesses, suppliers and community organisations.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise is an industry group that can link your business with these opportunities.
Talk to TSBE about how your business can get involved in the Toowoomba and wider Surat Basin region.