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With a view to positioning Townsville as a gateway to northern Australia and Asia, the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Townsville City Council have signed the first City Deal to grow Townsville’s economy and transform its city centre.

The City Deals, based on a UK model, are part of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan announced earlier this year, focused on ‘smart investment’, ‘smart policy’, and ‘smart technology’. The Plan looks to build up the economies of regional cities and outer metropolitan areas by improving their accessibility, and the creation of more jobs and affordable housing.

The City Deals aim to implement measures to achieve these aims, looking to identify common objectives across the three levels of government, and provide support for key industry and employment centres, investment in infrastructure, and changes to planning and governance arrangements.

To transform Townsville, commitments made in the City Deal include the previously agreed development of a North Queensland Stadium in time for the 2020 NRL season, the establishment of a Townsville Development Corporation to deliver urban renewal and drive investment across the city, and the development and implementation of a program of energy efficiency measures across Townsville.

Commitments have also been made to maximise the use of digital connectivity to improve service delivery through a Smart City Strategy, and developing co-located health and knowledge employment hubs with residential accommodation and public transport connections across the city.

With its current population sitting at over 190,000 residents, Townsville is the largest city in Northern Australia and is projected to grow by almost 43,000 people over the next decade.

The City Deal will be executed over 15 years through combined government investments of $240 million; $140 million will come from the Queensland Government, with $100 million in federal funding and the Council delivering waterfront land for the construction of the new stadium.

After signing the deal in Canberra, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mayor Jenny Hill stated in a joint media release that it will give businesses and the community more confidence in making decisions about their city’s future.

“Governments have listened to the needs of local residents and businesses. Townsville needs confidence for industry and investors, and more jobs for the future.

“We are bringing all our levers together across infrastructure, industry, trade and investment, defence, research and education, energy and resources to build a liveable city that’s a great place to invest, work and visit.”

Also scheduled to get a City Deal are Launceston and western Sydney.

Image: Townsville. Source: TownsvilleInfo.

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