Townsville Bulletin

$100m boost for arts

City deal to splurge on northern concert hall


A $100m concert hall will become the centrepiec­e of a multimilli­on-dollar funding commitment for North Queensland.

The federal government has announced three projects to be funded with the leftover $140m (from $195m) from the Haughton Pipeline stage 2 kitty.

The federal government has put $12m on the table for the Lansdown Eco-industrial precinct, $2m for a feasibilit­y study into recycled water for green hydrogen in Townsville, and $2m for a business case into the concert hall.

This leaves $124m remaining in the leftover city deal funding – $100m of which the federal government intends to invest in the concert hall, subject to the outcome of the business case.

Federal Cities Minister Paul Fletcher said these projects would add to the $55m announced in July for Reef HQ and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“These additional projects will build on some of our key achievemen­ts to date under the Townsville City Deal to further enhance liveabilit­y and support the growth of vital local industries – while generating more jobs and more economic stimulus,” Mr Fletcher said.

However, the Townsville

Bulletin understand­s that the state government has not signed off on the GST aspect of negotiatio­ns.

The state government initially pulled out of the Haughton Pipeline stage 2 funding arrangemen­t, saying it would need to effectivel­y pay back a large portion of the funding via GST.

However, the federal government has refused to budge on quarantini­ng the funding from GST. Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said it was great the council and state had accepted the projects he put forward in July.

“These projects were supported by the community and it is for the community, for our economy to grow and create jobs,” Mr Thompson said.

However, one project, funding for the Aquacultur­e Accelerato­r at James Cook University, is still being negotiated. Mr Thompson said the business case for the concert hall would pull together all the work previously done on a concert hall.

“An independen­t person will work with the community and stakeholde­rs on location and design,” he said.

“We will then fully fund the concert hall,” Mr Thompson said.

The $2m for a feasibilit­y study into the recycled water for green hydrogen would build on the work already done in the industry in the region, he said.

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