Australia’s first City Deal has been signed, with promises to grow Townsville’s economy and transform the city centre.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill sealed the deal on Friday (December 9) – just days after the announcement that Townsville was set to become headquarters for Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael coal project.
The City Deal will see all three levels of government working together to deliver an integrated package of initiatives to make Townsville more attractive to investors, increase jobs and growth, and revitalise the city.
A new Townsville Development Corporation will be formed to deliver urban renewal to lead the revitalisation of Townsville.
“Governments have listened to the needs of local residents and businesses. Townsville needs confidence for industry and investors, and more jobs for the future,” Mr Turnbull said.
“We are bringing all our levers together across infrastructure, industry, trade and investment, defence, research and education, energy and resources to build a liveable city that’s a great place to invest, work and visit.”
He said the governments would identify opportunities to partner with the private sector including through the Commonwealth’s new Infrastructure Financing Unit to accelerate investment in the proposed expansion of the Port, the Townsville Eastern Rail Access Corridor and associated State Development Area, and urban renewal in the waterfront and CBD.
“The Commonwealth has allocated $3 million to this work in addition to direct infrastructure funding, and will explore opportunities to leverage our financing vehicles such as the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation,” Mr Turnbull said.
“A joint taskforce will be created to identify solutions for sustainable, long-term water supply for Townsville. A Smart City Strategy will provide a flagship for a modern digital city and Local Government.”
Cr Hill hailed the Townsville City Deal as “a momentous 15-year commitment to bring to life a shared vision for Townsville”.
“Townsville is the largest city in Northern Australia with a population of more than 190,000 people,” she said.
“It is projected to grow by around 42,500 people over the next decade. The Townsville City Deal will help ensure that Townsville is well placed to lead economic development in Australia’s north.”
A detailed implementation plan is expected to be developed by March 2017.