Construction on a major expansion to the CQUniversity Townsville CBD campus will officially get underway today, with representatives from the University, Townsville City Council and Honeycombes Property Group turning the sod on the new development.
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman explained that larger than forecast growth for the University in Townsville meant that plans for expansions needed to be brought forward immediately to cater for demand.
He also explained that the expansion would not only create new jobs during the construction phase, but would also help in delivering work-ready graduates to meet the future workforce requirements of Townsville and surrounding areas.
“It’s wonderful that CQUniversity has been accepted as one of Townsville's two universities and as a result we’re showing our commitment by further expanding our presence, not only physically but also with the number of programs that will be on offer.
“The past year has been a challenging one for the local community so I am very pleased that CQUniversity is able to offer something positive by way of development and education,” said Professor Bowman.
“The expansion represents confidence in the North Queensland region and this project will deliver significant economic benefits both during construction and once fully operational.
“CQUniversity is serious about being a major provider of tertiary education in Townsville and we are excited about what the future holds,” Professor Bowman said.
Honeycombes Property Group, the landowners and developers of the site, anticipate the expansion within their Central precinct will be complete by early 2017. Peter Honeycombe, Managing Director of Honeycombes, said that this project would be the first to go ahead in the Townsville City Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA) and it will drive substantial economic benefits for the region.
“An AEC Economic Impact Assessment report has recognized that that the CQUniversity campus expansion will make a significant contribution to the North Queensland economy through its construction phase as well as the ongoing activities of the expanded campus,” he said.
“Total impacts during construction to the North Queensland economy include Gross Regional Product (GRP) of $10.1 million and full time equivalent (FTE) employment of 67 persons. Ongoing operations and student expenditure will contribute further significant activity to North Queensland’s economy each year, including GRP of $20.6 million and FTE employment of 91 persons,” Mr Honeycombe said.
Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said that in addition to the economic impacts considered above, the CQUniversity expansion will generate significant community benefits, including an increased range and choice of tertiary education options within North Queensland. Tertiary education has been shown to have substantial employment, earnings, productivity and social benefits over a person’s lifetime.
“This expansion at Central will be a catalyst for broader investment within the Townsville CBD. As a major anchor tenant, CQUniversity improves the attractiveness and viability of the Townsville CBD for existing and potential residents and businesses. This in turn has the potential to stimulate significant additional commercial and residential development within Townsville’s CBD,” Cr Hill said.