Strong infrastructure investment is underpinning the positive outlook surrounding the Toowoomba region. The most recent Development Status Report from the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise shows over $10 billion in projects are either proposed, approved or underway within the region. Over 70% of these projects are in infrastructure and services, whilst the remaining 30% are split between resources, property and construction. The region can be confident of realising the majority of the benefits associated with these projects as over $5.5 billion in investment is currently in the approved or construction phases.
Logistics and transport infrastructure is the largest segment benefiting from the region’s astounding investment, boasting over $2.1 billion in approved projects and a further $3 billion awaiting approval. The region has intelligently positioned the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub to capitalise on the growth of demand for agriculture in Asia and domestically.
The hub is a 2,000-hectare parcel of land comprising the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, Wellcamp Business Park, InterlinkSQ and Witmack Industry Park. It represents the intersection of air, road and rail connectivity in one strategic location to offer the ultimate export connectivity for the region’s agricultural producers.
The $200 million Wellcamp Airport was recently completed by the Wagner Family and is already operating freight flights to Asia on a bi-weekly basis. In addition to its commercial operations, it is anticipated that the airport will cater to over 500,000 annual passengers within the next two years – adding a significant boost to the region’s tourism industry.
The associated Wellcamp Business Park offers facilities to cater for aviation, transport, corporate and mining services, while the Witmack Industry Park and InterLinkSQ provide logistics and industrial warehouse solutions, capable of storing regional produce and materials for infrastructure projects. Once all sectors are fully operational, the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub is expected to provide employment for 12,000-15,000 people.
The Enterprise Hub is also connected to the region’s two major transport and infrastructure projects: the Melbourne-to-Brisbane and the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.
Construction is slated to begin on the $1.6 billion Second Range Crossing in mid-2016, bringing an additional 1,800 jobs to the region. Over the 30 years to 2048, Toowoomba is expected to receive an impressive $2.4 billion in economic and productivity gains, derived from improved freight efficiencies and increased connectivity.
The 1,700km Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Rail Project is expected to deliver economic benefits of around $22.5 billion to the Toowoomba LGA, improving the capacity and reliability of one of the country’s fastest growing freight corridors. Construction is yet to begin, but the costs of this mammoth infrastructure project are estimated at $10 billion, $3 billion of which has already been committed by the Federal Government. The 10-year development will create 16,000 direct jobs and provide for a further 600 regular jobs once operational.
These infrastructure and logistics projects position Toowoomba as the prime hub for processing and transporting Australian exports to Asia and major domestic markets. The region can be confident of strong economic growth as these industries continue to expand at a rapid pace throughout the rest of the decade.