The Bundaberg Region: Open for Development

The Bundaberg and Wide Bay Regions have been front of mind for me – and many of our clients and contacts – for quite some time, and the reasons for this are simple:

  • there is a large amount of available land for industrial, residential and commercial development;
  • access is available to port facilities, which have the land and capability for expansion to capitalise on exporting opportunities;
  • the region has a budding tourism industry, boasting some of the world’s rarest natural spectacles;
  • agriculture has a long, prosperous history in the area and provides a strong backbone to the economy;
  • access to Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, is some three and a half hours drive by road and 45 minutes by air; and
  • an optimistic, proactive business community is determined to see the region grow and succeed.

From this information alone investing, developing property or relocating business operations to the Bundaberg region already sounds like a fantastic idea.

So then, as local and state Governments also begin to recognise the immense potential that this region has to offer, we are beginning to see proactive actions being taken to support the further growth of this regional Queensland town that has seemingly ‘slipped under the radar’.

The most recent of these include the release of Bundaberg Regional Council’s 2016 Development Incentives Policy; a commitment from the Palaszczuk Government for the delivery and operation of a $19,800,000, 28.5km gas pipeline to the Port of Bundaberg in a development agreement with Australian Gas Networks; and investigations into the possibility of a new State Development Area (SDA) around the Port of Bundaberg.

It is envisaged that each of these will enhance the ability of businesses to capitalise on the aforementioned potential that the region possesses.

A break-down of what exactly is on offer has been provided below.

Bundaberg Regional Council Incentives Policy

The new Development Incentives Policy, released on 19 July 2016 aims to encourage developers to do business with Council by providing a variety of ‘carrot-rather-than-stick’ incentives, structured to stimulate development activity.

In a snapshot, BRC is offering developers generous discounts off infrastructure charges, and in many cases a full refund, for development that is completed by 19 July 2018.

There are four categories to which the Policy applies, including:

  1. Development in the Bundaberg CBD and town centres of Bargara, Childers and Gin Gin;
  2. Intensive Horticulture, Rural Industry, Aquaculture and Winery (where in a Rural zone) developments and discounts for Intensive Animal Industry and development that provides housing for itinerant farm workers and backpackers;
  3. Long Term Employment Generating (Industrial, Medical, Commercial (where in a Commercial Zone) and Tourism development; and
  4. Certain infill residential and green-field residential developments, as well as substantial discounts for rural residential subdivision in hinterland areas.

To qualify for the incentives, it is necessary to make a quick and easy application to Council before 19 July 2017 and complete your development before 19 July 2018.

Full details regarding these incentives and what development is eligible can be found in the Rules & Procedures attached to the Incentives application form attainable via Council’s website.

For further information on the Incentives Policy, please feel free to contact Saunders Havill Group’s talented staff on 1300 123 SHG (744) or review this Bundaberg Regional Council fact sheet.

Bundaberg Port State Development Area – Investigations Underway

Bundaberg port - image courtesy of Department of State Development

Bundaberg port – image courtesy of Department of State Development

After preliminary investigations identified opportunities for growth in exports and industrial activities surrounding the existing Port of Bundaberg, the Queensland Government has recently completed a community consultation period to seek feedback on the proposed State Development Area. This feedback is currently being reviewed by the Coordinator-General, before a decision on whether to proceed with the declaration of an SDA is made.

It is envisaged that the proposal, a land area of approximately 6,220 hectares including the current Port of Bundaberg and land on the western side of the Burnett River, could facilitate significant economic growth and employment opportunities in the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Burnett region.

The Port of Bundaberg is the other trading port on the east coast of Queensland outside of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Additionally, it is the next port North of the Port of Brisbane.

While the export of sugar is currently the main export, studies have indicated potential for other development and growth opportunities that will be able to capitalise on spare port capacity and the vast amounts of unoccupied land around the Port of Bundaberg. Other current exports include some molasses, wood pellets used as a substitute for non-renewable fuel sources in Europe, and silica sands.

Establishing a State Development Area would allow for the further increase of the type, variety and frequency of exports leaving Australian soil and would directly increase employment opportunities, investment and growth within the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Burnett region.

As of May 2016, the Wide Bay Region has the fifth worst performing Unemployment Rate in Queensland at 9.5% and a Youth Unemployment Rate of 19.6%, according to the Australian Government’s Department of Employment. Allowing this type of development to occur only supports the reduction of these percentages and ensures young people within the Region remain there to continue to contribute to its growth.

Further information on the status of these investigations can be found on the Department of State Development’s website, or by simply contacting the experienced Saunders Havill Group staff.