12 May 2017

Townsville governance organisation structures damaging to investment pipeline

Townsville Enterprise acting vicariously for the Townsville City Council, is boasting about the significant economic stimulation that the Adani project, rail and port upgrades, military deal with Singapore, solar energy projects, stadium project and the "Smart City Deal" are going to inject into the local economy.

Although a noticeable inflow of jobs could occur during the construction of these mostly industrial and infrastructure projects, the majority of the stimulus and ongoing gross domestic product (GDP) will occur in districts outside of the Townsville City boundaries.

Adani's coal operations are located in Central Queensland, west of Mackay, and the port is located in Bowen as part of the Whitsundays district. Even the proposed military base for the Singapore Army is located in the Charters Towers district, not Townsville.

Although Townsville can claim Adani's head office in the city, once again relatively low ongoing jobs and employment is derived from the mostly management and administration positions.

With the anti-coal movement alive and kicking, including Australia's banks, advocating against Adani's coal interests, these jobs could still be under serious threat.

Moreover, the "value add" criteria codified in the Smart City Deal, is the formula from which all future majority federal and state government funding is linked.

Private capital investments in projects outside Townsville's economic zone such as Adani's coal mine, would not be worthy of critical federal and state infrastructure stimulation in the Townsville rate payer districts.

The Smart Cities Plan and "City Deal" contract was signed by Council, State and Federal Governments in December 2016. Because of this Darwinian decision, Townsville's civic policies are being hijacked by individuals career agendas within the Townsville Enterprise leadership focusing and advocating on projects outside the "value-add" parameters of the City Deal.

The Townsville Enterprise focus is "Townsville North Queensland" and not the Townsville districts, meaning its real focus is on council districts across North Queensland rather than an exclusive agency of Townsville City Council and the ratepayers of the City. In addition, the Townsville City Council is seemingly incapable of formulating or delivering commercial enterprise initiatives.

The lack of real funding for Townsville districts in the recent Dumb federal budget could wipe out property owners, is evidence of the very convoluted organisational model of Townsville Enterprise, Townsville City Council and various advisory boards being established to direct Smart City initiatives.

If Townsville Enterprise is allowed to continue a convoluted agenda, in light of new smart technologies in government, energy, transport and manufacturing, it will be economic suicide for Townsville district property owners and residents.

Unless restructured urgently in line with Smart Cities funding eligibility, international entrepreneurship and global enterprise investment pathways, Townsville districts will be neglected in future federal budget initiatives.

Townsville Enterprise CEO, Patrica Ocallaghan provided a statement to the Townsville Bulletin confirming the federal budget did not address any of the priority initiatives identified in their pre-budget wish list, but pledged to continue working with the federal government on the Smart City Deal.

Property owners and rate payers are being fooled, as the current disjointed governance organisational framework is cementing Townsville as a social welfare dependent district, instead of fostering major industrial and infrastructure projects with the federal funding criteria set by the "City Deal" contract.

This federal budget in the context of the "City Deal" contract, is driven by "value-add" initiatives and it is biting property owners where it hurts the most, with reduced cash flows and valuations. This market and government dysfunction could force further value decline in property investments.

With this fresh analysis undertaken by TREN, the property owners and stakeholders of Townsville North Queensland can forge a conclusive understanding of the impacts from the federal budget from local real estate investors and owner-occupiers. 

Do you have an opinion about the federal budget? The TREN community wants to hear your story.

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