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Regional Deal to drive Fraser Coast forward

30 January 2020

The redevelopment of Hervey Bay’s city centre, the extension of Boundary Road to Urraween Road, and the establishment of a Local Disaster Co-ordination Centre are all a step closer with the launch of the Hinkler Regional Deal Implementation Plan today.

Fraser Coast Acting Mayor Darren Everard joined with Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino, Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey to sign the Implementation Plan.

Cr Everard said the Hinkler Regional Deal would help build on our strengths to grow our economy and provide more long-term job opportunities on the Fraser Coast.

“The funding from the Australian Government will deliver transformational projects that have been on the drawing board for decades,” he said.

“It will mean Council can move ahead with a missing link in our road network – the extension of Boundary Road to Urraween Road – providing alternative and improved access to the Hervey Bay CBD, major shopping centres, tourist destinations and the medical precinct.

“With our region’s population forecast to reach 150,000 within the next 20 years, an improved east-west road connection will cater for growth, limit traffic congestion and take pressure off Boat Harbour Drive, Hervey Bay’s primary east-west link.

“This connection has been planned since the 1980s, with the majority of the road reserve for the link dedicated in the 1990s.  The road reserve link was completed in 2013 with the construction of Kawungan Way and the part extension of Urraween Road, so it’s fantastic the project is now moving forward with this funding.”

Cr Everard said the funding for the redevelopment of Hervey Bay’s city centre would allow Council to shift its administration office into Pialba - a move flagged by the previous Hervey Bay City Council in 2001.

“Shifting Council’s administration centre from its current overcrowded site at Torquay into the CBD at Pialba will drive further economic development and cement the area as Hervey Bay’s primary destination for commercial activity, culture, education and social recreation,” he said.

“Hervey Bay Council first considered a detailed cost-benefit analysis on the move in 2001, concept designs were prepared in 2002 and architectural plans developed in 2007, but the relocation was then put on hold pending Council amalgamations.

“Shifting Council’s administration centre emerged as the primary economic catalytic project in the 2015 Pialba CBD masterplan, with both the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Development Institute of Australia supporting the move.

“In addition, with the current Hervey Bay library not having enough space to meet our growing population’s needs now and into the future, the Australian Government funding will also allow for the development of a new library and the creation of a centralised cultural hub.”

Cr Everard said a key priority area of the Hinkler Regional Deal was ‘enhancing the resilience of the community and the environment’, and the establishment of a new Local Disaster Co-ordination Centre would be a critical element in a new Council administration building.

“The existing centre at Council’s Moreton Street depot in Maryborough does not have the capacity or capabilities to meet our region’s disaster management needs into the future,” he said.

“An independent investigation by engineering company GHD recommended a new facility should have space for 42 staff and representatives from State and Federal Government agencies during an incident, as well as briefing rooms and a generator to ensure power supply.

“While the facility would be vital during times of natural disasters, it could also be used as a training room or for other purposes when not in use as a co-ordination centre.”

Cr Everard said the signing of the Hinkler Regional Deal Implementation Plan would enable projects to progress and deliver improved economic and employment outcomes on the Fraser Coast.

“This plan recognises that having Council and the Australian Government working together is integral to the ongoing success of the Fraser Coast region,” he said.

Key initiatives for the Fraser Coast from the Hinkler Regional Deal include:

  • $40 million towards various projects to redevelop the city centre of Hervey Bay;
  • $24 million to flood proof Torbanlea-Pialba Road;
  • $9.2 million for the redevelopment of the Hervey Bay Airport;
  • $7.7 million for the Boundary Road extension; and
  • $7 million to establish a new hospice in Hervey Bay.