THE $1.1 billion Herston Quarter Redevelopment project was last week declared a Priority Development Area (PDA) by the Queensland Government to help accelerate the development of the key health and knowledge precinct in Brisbane.
In August, one of Australia's oldest health and financial services mutual organisations, Australian Unity was announced as preferred Herston Quarter developer after a comprehensive selection process conducted by Queensland Treasury.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said declaring the site a PDA means Australian Unity will be able to deliver local investment opportunities and jobs sooner.
"The Herston Quarter project will support 700 jobs annually during the 10 year construction period and hundreds of ongoing jobs once complete.
"The Herston Quarter is a prime example of the Palaszczuk Government's Advancing Our Cities and Regions Strategy which is generating jobs and economic growth by unlocking the potential of underutilised government-owned land.
"Declaring a PDA means that the State Government becomes the assessment manager of the project, taking responsibility for approvals ensuring less red tape and a more cohesive and efficient outcome across the whole site."
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said declaring the Herston Quarter a PDA would deliver immediate benefits to the local economy.
"By fast tracking this process we will see workers on the ground sooner, a great outcome for the community and for the local economy," Mr Pitt said.
"As part of the overall project, Australian Unity will develop a pedestrian link between Herston Road, the heritage core and the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) to provide easy access around the precinct and to high-frequency public transport."
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said this project further demonstrates the government's commitment to ensuring Queenslanders have access to modern world class health services close to home.
"The Herston Quarter has the potential to attract and retain the best clinicians, health workers, researchers, academics and students," Mr Dick said.
"The precinct will include a new 132-bed public Specialist Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre, diverse accommodation options, including retirement and aged care developments, and world class public spaces."
Member for Brisbane Central Grace Grace said that the project would preserve the heritage features that made the precinct so unique.
"Over the 10 year construction period, Australian Unity will work closely with the community and users of the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital precinct to ensure the redevelopment realises the full potential of this important site," Mrs Grace said.
"Importantly a number of significant heritage buildings within the quarter, including the Lady Lamington Nurse's Home and Towers and the Edith Cavell and Lady Norman buildings, will be preserved and re-purposed, ensuring the integrity of our community's iconic places."
A comprehensive stakeholder engagement process will also be undertaken in mid-2017 as part of the preparation of the development scheme.
More information about the Herston Quarter PDA is available from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning website at <http://www.dilgp.qld.gov.au/planning/priority-development-areas/herston-quarter.html>.