Big firms eye CBD ac­tion

Sta­dium and con­ven­tion cen­tre at­tract na­tional and over­seas in­ter­est

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - an­thony. AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY gal­loway@ news. com. au

MA­JOR na­tional and in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies are con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing in the pro­posed sta­dium and con­ven­tion cen­tre in Townsville’s CBD.

The Bul­letin un­der­stands that a num­ber of com­pa­nies have al­ready ex­pressed in­ter­est in the pro­ject in­clud­ing AECOM, Ja­cobs and Spot­less.

It comes as the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has hired con- sul­tant KPMG to un­der­take a busi­ness case into the pro­ject, which will look at the prospect of com­pa­nies en­ter­ing publicpri­vate part­ner­ships to in­vest in the de­vel­op­ment.

KPMG, which un­der­took the orig­i­nal fea­si­bil­ity study into the pro­ject in 2013, will be in Townsville next week and will be urged by city lead­ers to fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing an in­te­grated fa­cil­ity – in­clud­ing a 25,000- seat sta­dium, 6000seat con­ven­tion cen­tre and an In­dige­nous Cen­tre for Ex­cel­lence – by 2021.

The State Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted $ 100 mil­lion to­wards the sta­dium com­po­nent of the pro­ject and is call­ing on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to match its com­mit­ment. Townsville En­ter­prise chief ex­ec­u­tive Pa­tri­cia O’Cal­laghan said the busi­ness case would pro­vide the de­tailed costs and time frames to al­low the com­mu­nity to bet­ter lobby the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment for a fund­ing com­mit­ment.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has con­firmed that the busi­ness case will look at the prac­ti­cal­ity of pri­vate sec­tor in­volve­ment in the pro­ject,” she said.

“We welcome this op­por­tu­nity but main­tain that State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments must pro­vide the bulk of fund- ing to en­sure the in­te­grated pro­ject pro­ceeds.

“Al­ready large in­ter­na­tional firms such as AECOM and Ja­cobs have ex­pressed strong in­ter­est in be­ing in­volved in ei­ther the con­struc­tion or op­er­a­tion of the fa­cil­ity,” she said.

“We un­der­stand that more com­pa­nies have ap­proached the State Gov­ern­ment di­rectly and this is a pos­i­tive sign that the pro­ject is a real goer.”

A spokes­woman for State De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter An­thony Lyn­ham said $ 5 mil­lion had been al­lo­cated to­wards the busi­ness case with any un­used funds to be used for the pro­ject in the fu­ture.

“KPMG will re­view the find­ings of the fea­si­bil­ity study com­pleted in 2013, en­sure it is cur­rent, and con­firm the scope of the pro­ject. Af­ter all, it’s al­most two years since the study was un­der­taken,” the spokes­woman said.

“De­tailed in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the pro­posed sta­dium, such as the po­ten­tial size, seat­ing ca­pac­ity, lo­ca­tion, and stag­ing op­tions, for ex­am­ple, will be de­vel­oped as part of the scop­ing ex­er­cise. The busi­ness case will in­ves­ti­gate fund­ing.”

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