Townsville City Council to offer new round of incentives to attract new development

TOWNSVILLE will offer a new round of incentives to attract new residential and retail development in the city's CBD as part of a major campaign to generate new jobs and investment.

Townsville City Council last week formally approved the Townsville Jobs and Investment Package offering discounts on fees and charges to a cap of $5 million for eligible developments.

View of Townsville from Castle Hill
Above: View of Townsville from Castle Hill / by John Skewes.

The council's decision to sign off on the initiative follows on from the original CBD Development Incentives, which had a cap of $7.5 million and attracted $270 million in eligible projects (developments completed by June 2015).

Mayor Jenny Hill said the new incentives package would dovetail with a suite of council strategies to stimulate investment and employment and generate long term economic benefits for the city.

"The new incentives package will keep us on the front foot in attracting development opportunities and much needed jobs especially now when construction is in a slump and unemployment is a big concern for many families across the city," Cr Hill said.

"By providing a stimulus for new projects we're supporting the construction industry and the work it will create for local tradies and suppliers.

"Council's original incentives program was highly successful at securing a range of projects that may otherwise have not occurred because of the tough economic climate.

"It's important that we keep the ball rolling and support another package that continues to attract investment for the city.

"This time around we will target residential and retail projects in either new buildings or in the reuse of existing buildings as part of our efforts to reach the city's target of 30,000 people living, working and visiting the CBD to 30,000 by 2030.

"It sends a very strong message to government, industry and potential investors that the city has a clear plan for our economy."

The Jobs and Investment Package will also support other council strategies to revitalise the CBD, such as developing the Priority Development Area for the Townsville Waterfront Precinct and the centralising of council workers in the former Commonwealth Building in Walker Street.

Planning development committee chairman Tony Parsons said the Jobs and Investment Package would deliver big benefits for the city.

"The incentives scheme is an important long term investment in Townsville's future. In addition to driving economic activity, new projects will put added downward pressure on rates by focusing development in areas with existing infrastructure rather than into new development fronts," Cr Parsons said.

"Council has consulted with the CBD Task Force and business and industry groups in the city and everyone agrees that there needs to be a continuation of incentives to attract investment and ultimately jobs that will benefit the entire city."

Under the Townsville Investment and Jobs Package, developers of residential projects with a construction value greater than $3 million in the CBD defined area can apply for discounts on council fees and charges.

The incentives package, capped at $5 million, will commence on from July 1 this year and end on June 30, 2018.

A total of 15 qualified projects worth around $270 million were completed or were commenced during the original CBD Incentives Program which was introduced in 2011.

Combined, the projects comprise 302 new residential apartments, 185 short stay accommodation apartments and in excess of 44,000 metres of commercial and retail space in the CBD.

Also last week, Townsville City Council adopted the Strategic Land Management Policy, which aims to provide an integrated approach to the management, acquisition and disposal of land in Townsville.

Photo: View of Townsville from Castle Hill / John Skewes / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-ND 2.0.

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