The Queensland Government has put the spotlight on affordable housing, transit-oriented development, regional renewal and renewable energy as part of a new strategy to develop underutilised state-owned land in partnership with the private sector.

Officially launched today in Townsville, the strategy has already won support from the Property Council of Australia, with Queensland executive director Chris Mountford saying it would send “a clear signal to the private sector that the government is serious about using its land holdings to better catalyse economic activity and urban renewal projects across the state”.

Economic Development Queensland will lead the initiative, identifying surplus land parcels for redevelopment and renewal.

Eight specific economic and community zones have been identified as priorities, including the Cross River Rail Corridor between the Mayne Railyards and Boggo Road. This corridor will link major research and innovation hubs, employment nodes and community facilities, and has been flagged as having a number of state-owned sites within three kilometres of the Brisbane CBD that could be used for transit-oriented developments.

The strategy proposes that income generated from the private sector developing the sites would be used to help finance the $5.4 billion cross river rail, as well as public space and other community infrastructure.

There have also been a number of urban renewal precincts identified in SEQ, including Carseldine Urban Village, to be developed on the site of the former Queensland University of Technology Carseldine site; the Ipswich CBD; the former Oxley Secondary College site; and sites located in close proximity to multi-modal public transport networks such as the Gold Coast Light Rail corridor.

Other priority areas are knowledge and health precincts; housing renewal and integration projects; regional liveability precincts; and renewable energy sites.

The strategy said the government has already undertaken some research with Ergon Energy to identify state-owned sites that are suitable for large-scale renewables.

The regional sites identified to date are in close proximity to existing Ergon infrastructure, and the strategy said that if all of them proceed to be developed for solar farms, it would generate sufficient energy to meet 50 per cent of the state’s electricity needs.

Regional centres to be targeted include Toowoomba, Townsville, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Mackay and some regional ports.

The strategy said EDQ was also working with the Department of Housing and Public Works to develop a program for renewing the state’s ageing state-owned housing stock. This includes a pilot project already underway in Redcliffe to redevelop two city blocks of housing in a way that increases diversity and efficiency of dwellings, and develop new funding and delivery models.

Across all the zones, ensuring affordable housing with good access to transport, and a mix of dwelling types, including townhouses and other attached housing, has been highlighted. In addition, community benefit, including elements such as open space and community facilities has been made a key criteria for all urban renewal projects, including regional projects.

The regional liveability precincts identified in the strategy include centres in the far north and west of the state where there is a shortage of appropriate housing for the aged or those with disabilities.

EDQ is already developing pilot Ageing in Place projects for Cloncurry, Barcaldine and Ravenshoe that will deliver homes that can be sold at market value and the proceeds used to fund further developments in other communities.

“The government’s new approach appears to be an open invitation for the property sector to bring forward innovative urban renewal opportunities up and down the state,” Mr Mountford said.

“From Cross River Rail related development, to regional revitalisation projects, there is a lot of economic and community potential in this new approach.

“Land parcels currently growing weeds will be put to good use, creating jobs and economic activity.”

Mr Mountford said the property industry would be looking to the strategy as a catalyst for significant investment.

“This announcement is a win for taxpayers, a win for employment and a big win for local communities.”

  • Read the strategy here