Significant changes on the horizon for Qld towns

By Staff Reporter

The mining towns of Moranbah and Rockhampton are set to undergo massive changes as a part of the government’s plans to cut red tape in a raft of planning reforms across the state.

Smart Property Investment continued to look into the impact of the Regional and Resource Towns Action Plan on Queensland mining towns including Mackay, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Moranbah over the next 12 to 24 months.

In the Isaac Regional Council and Rockhampton Regional Council regions, a number of key actions concerning the planning system, infrastructure and land supply have been proposed.

Isaac Regional Council:

•   Assist council to commence the draft of strategic framework and prepare draft planning scheme and ensure new planning scheme increases the reliance on code assessable and self-assessable development

•   Assist Isaac Regional Council with outsourcing or fast tracking low-risk approvals through programs such as RiskSmart

•   Moranbah:

o   facilitate development of the Belyando Estate
o   investigate the preparation of a development plan for the unused portion of the Moranbah golf course for residential development
o   prepare concept plans and assess feasibility of Town Centre Rejuvenation project

According to the Isaac Regional Council, they are looking to build comprehensive long-term community solutions to the issues, and believe the plan is a good start.

“Isaac Regional Council has been working with the state to address the housing affordability and availability issues in Moranbah and other communities for some time now, and we are determined to get it right,” an Isaac Regional Council spokesperson told Smart Property Investment.

“This is so local decisions can be made about appropriate development, rather than a bureaucrat from Brisbane telling our community what is best, which in years past has meant too many camps on prime residential land that could be used for family housing development.”

One of the council's biggest priorities is to regain the planning and powers that were given to the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA), Isaac Regional Council continued, and they will be in further discussions with the state government about the region’s ongoing challenges.

While investors continue to be wary of investing in Moranbah after the property crash, Michael Fuller, co-founder of research technology company Hotspotcentral, told Smart Property Investment that he believes there is still more growth to come in the area. However, this would depend on developments in the resources sector.  

“It really depends on how many new mines open up in the coming years and the projected longevity,” he explained.

Over the last 12 months the demand to supply for houses has dipped 20 per cent, with units still holding their ground, Mr Fuller continued.

Moranbah is still in a seller’s market, although the indicators are trending towards a buyer’s market within the next six months.   

Mr Fuller warns that investors in single-industry mining towns should be cautious, and gain an “intimate understanding” of where the future of the industry is heading.

“If you're going to risk money in a one industry town, pick a cheap one and don't put all your eggs in that one basket. If you want exposure to the mining industry, pick a town with loads going on and where rents are not ridiculous – yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Rockhampton, a different raft of actions has been proposed.

Rockhampton Regional Council:

•  Investigate opportunities to facilitate innovative funding models for infrastructure to facilitate Gracemere Industrial Estate

•  The Central Queensland Regional Plan (and Infrastructure Framework) will identify infrastructure linkages needed to support economic growth

•  Finalise Central Queensland University Rockhampton Development Scheme to enable development feasibility to progress for mixed-use area and first stage residential development

•  Facilitate industrial development at Gracemere

•  Assess disposal of residual state land holdings in Parkhust Industrial Area to make more industrial land available

Evan Pardon, Rockhampton Regional Council CEO, told Smart Property Investment that the majority of the issues in the Action Plan will be implemented through state government planning reforms.

"To date, council has completed several planning studies and a detailed population growth modelling exercise. These studies are part of our Regional Planning Scheme currently under development and will ensure the council allocates sufficient land for growth," Mr Pardon said.


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