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Labor Launches Brisbane Light Rail Plan

Labor Launches Brisbane Light Rail Plan

Labor candidate for Brisbane Lord Mayor Rod Harding has unveiled his integrated traffic and transport plan, Connecting Brisbane’s Future, which features a new light rail network.

Mr Harding said that with one million extra people set to call Brisbane home in the next 15 years, Brisbane must start properly planning for the future.

He said Brisbane’s congestion was costing $2.3 billion every year and was projected to increase to up to $5.9 billion by 2030.

At the heart of the new policy is a detailed plan to deliver a modern light rail system for Brisbane.

“This transformational project will help change the way we move as a city,” said Mr Harding.

“It will connect key activity centres while also increasing public transport capacity for the suburbs.”

The first stage of this project will stretch through the high growth areas of Newstead and South Brisbane, connecting to the University of Queensland.

 Labor Launches Brisbane Light Rail Plan

Mr Harding said work would begin immediately should he be elected, with construction commencing in his first term as Brisbane’s new Lord Mayor.

The estimated capital cost of the project is $1.2 billion.

A Harding Labor Administration will commit up to $120 million towards building the initial route, approximately 10 per cent of the estimated capital cost.

“With our money on the table, we will be in a strong position to approach other levels of government and the private sector to deliver this project,” Mr Harding said.

“Given the recent Federal Government funding for Stage Two of the Gold Coast Light Rail, we are confident of positive support.”

Funding will be shared between Brisbane City Council, the Federal and State Governments as well as the private sector, consistent with the funding model used for the successful Gold Coast Light Rail.

Brisbane City Council will invest an initial $20 million for the business case to get the light rail project shovel-ready, with an additional $120 million investment in capital expenditure.

Mr Harding said the modern light rail would help tackle congestion by changing the way Brisbane moved.

“Modern and ambitious cities all over the world are moving towards light rail.”


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Construction Firms Fold as Pressure Builds


The competing pressures of a hot property market and rising construction supply costs are claiming victims as builders are pushed to the brink.

The Morrison government is adamant that the nation will build its way out of the pandemic, pouring $2.5 billion into the Homebuilder support package to support the construction sector.

More than 121,000 Australians applied for the grant, which is expected to support around $30 billion of residential construction projects.

But with 53,980 (42 per cent) more residential home builds under way than a year ago, some suggest the market has been overstimulated, putting intense pressure on builders to deliver, with one builder saying: “The problem is that the industry can’t build that many houses.”

Across the nation, building firms are showing signs of stress after trying to keep their head above water amid a frenzied market.

Aside from labour shortages, the industry is battling a range of issues, including the building materials shortage due to disrupted supply chains. One insider says that build prices have risen by around $30,000 since the start of the pandemic.

Metricon denies handing back contracts

The situation has become so dire that the industry is rife with speculation that at least one or two of the larger building firms have been handing back contracts that could no longer be fulfilled due to rising building costs making it untenable to complete projects.

One of the builders rumoured to be handing back contracts is Metricon.

But Metricon chief executive Mario Biasin dismissed the current “malicious” rumours circulating about the firm’s capacity to service its customers.


▲ High-profile builder Metricon says rumours it is handing back contracts are “are false and baseless”. 

“The rumours suggest that Metricon has been cancelling customer contracts due to price escalations, or an inability to build due to product shortages,” he says.

“These rumours are false and baseless. Metricon is in a very strong position to complete all work it has, and is continuing to accept and support a high number of new customer builds.

“Rarely would Metricon wade into such innuendo. In this instance, however, given the current market conditions due to Covid and some competitors going into liquidation or maybe illegally increasing prices, we feel we must quash these rumours.

“Metricon is not cancelling contracts, and is in a very strong position to complete all works now and in the future.”

Firms falling over

But the cracks are showing elsewhere, with 25 per cent of all insolvencies nationally happening in the construction sector.

Last week, Privium and other companies in the group were placed into voluntary administration, with debts of more than $28 million. The firm operates in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Named the 11th largest builder in Queensland by the HIA this year after completing more than 600 projects worth $180 million, the firm is blaming surging construction costs.

Melbourne’s ABD Group also appears to be on the verge of collapse, ceasing work on three high-profile contracts, with two contracts torn up. The collapse would leave between $50 million and $80 million in outstanding debt, sources say.

The fall-out is hitting construction businesses too. Safa Scaffolding, on the Gold Coast, went into voluntary administration in June.

Builders are in short supply across the country, with many booked a year or more in advance.

Whether the higher costs will remain is unknown. A small developer in Melbourne claimed to be “ticking along normally”, but has heard that builders are struggling to make projects stack up.

“There’s a debate in the office about whether the inflationary prices we’re seeing are transitionary or whether they’re permanent. Right now, higher costs have changed the feasibilities of the building industry,” he says.

Record low interest rates, incentives over-stimulate market

Some developers blame too many government incentives, which have over-stimulated and artificially inflated the new residential home sector. Another developer has heard of wholesale cancellations.

“The HomeBuilder boost was supposed to support our property and construction industry, but all it’s done is bring forward more than 40,000 new home builds, putting pressure on the industry,” one developer said.

Land prices have also been surging since the start of the pandemic. You can expect to pay $42,000 more in Melbourne for an average block of land.

Investorist founder Jon Ellis believes past government incentives have pushed the industry into unprofitable territory, with a number of builders now heading to collapse and home buyers disadvantaged by artificially inflated prices.

“Before the HomeBuilder grant, we saw a strong house and land market. It has been strong for the past few years, and price growth has been consistent.

“But since the launch of the grant, we have seen house and land packages in some corridors go up by $100,000 in less than 12 months.

For example, a townhouse project in Melbourne’s south-east listed on Investorist went up by $50,000 in three months, which for some homes was the same as a 10 per cent increase.

“Builders and land developers have been so focused on meeting the demand that has been brought forward by the grant, that they have largely ignored their new business pipeline.

“I believe by mid-next year, at least, we will see the industry scrambling to try and find buyers,” Ellis says.


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Brisbane puts in formal offer to buy factory for Olympics broadcasting venue


A formal offer has been made by Brisbane’s council to buy a West End factory to host a broadcasting centre for the 2032 Olympics.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner on Tuesday told ABC Radio that council had made a formal offer to purchase the Montague Road site, where a glass factory sits.

“We have made a formal offer to purchase the site,” he said. “We’re waiting for the approval. It’s progressing through.

“We’re hopeful for a positive outcome very soon.”

Earlier this year, the site was flagged as the venue for the International Broadcast Centre, with an Olympics report saying the 57,000 square metre property would offer an “attractive location within walking distance of five venues” and would meet the needs of the IBC.

In July, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said it “sent the wrong signal” to discuss closing down industrial estates and putting workers out of jobs “six days into a 4000-day project”.

Cr Schrinner on Tuesday said the factory had another site in south-east Queensland to which it could be relocated.

“Any arrangement that we would enter there would allow them to stay for a period of a number of years, so they can have their alternative facility being constructed. So, we’ll be very reasonable with that,” he said.

The IBC site could give television stations the incentive to move their operations off Mt Coot-Tha, with the broadcasters now no longer needing to be on the mountain. The Olympics is said to be the catalyst for the move.

Meanwhile, Cr Schrinner said he had not “had any discussion” regarding documents held by Brisbane’s Olympics committee being kept secret.

Proposed legislation would allow the committee to be exempt from parts of the state’s Right to Information Act.

“Look, I haven’t had any discussion on this, so I am not aware of any reasons why they would need to be kept secret,” he said.

“No one’s actually raised it with me in the discussions I’ve had. It’s a bit of a mystery to me as well.

“Obviously happy to have those discussions, but I can’t think of any reasons off the top of my head why these documents need to be secret.”


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Construction commences on $850 million Yeerongpilly Green Riverside community

Yeerongpilly Green Riverside

Already 95 per cent of stage one residences has sold, for a combined total of $77 million in sales

Construction has begun at the $850 million Yeerongpilly Green Riverside Community, the joint venture between Don O’Rorke’s Consolidated Properties Group and CVS Lane Capital Partners.

The first stage will include 83 apartments and 10 luxury terrace homes, as well as the 8850 sqm Woolworths-anchored retail centre.

Already 95 per cent of stage one residences has sold, for a combined total of $77 million in sales, including a $1,395,000 terrace, the highest price paid in the development.

Hutchinson will be building the residential and commercial component, which will also feature a dining precinct, specialty stores, commercial offices and a health precinct – all set to be finished in mid-2023.

Yeerongpilly Green Riverside

Yeerongpilly Green Riverside 681 Fairfield Road, Yeerongpilly QLD 4105

Yeero​ngpilly Green Riverside, set to generate 631 full time jobs during this first stage of construction alone, will upon completion include 1200 residences, commercial and retail businesses and close to two hectares of parkland in a masterplanned urban renew​al project just seven kilometres from the Brisbane CBD.

Consolidated Prop​erties Group Chairman and CEO Don O’Rorke said the start of construction follows years of hard work on approvals, design and community consultation.

“Yeero​ngpilly Green Riverside has been designed holistically to include everything a community could want from health and wellness services through to shopping, public transport, parkland and premium homes that complement the local environment,” O’Rorke said.

“It delivers a destination on Brisbane’s southside away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD with well-known food and beverage operators creating bespoke dining experiences alongside Yeer​ongpilly Green’s heritage buildings.

“The residences have really resonated with buyers, which can be seen from the 90 per cent sales achieved so far.

“Buyers love the fact the community is being built opposite Yeerongpilly Station, with access via the Ashley Cooper Riverwalk to the Brisbane Tennis Centre through to the Ken Fletcher Park on the riverfront.

“We can’t wait for our first residents to move into what I believe will become south Brisbane’s urban heart. These residents – and the broader community – will also be able to enjoy a vibrant new retail centre and urban village, which will be finished at the same time as the apartments and terrace homes, meaning our first residents will be able to shop once they move in.”

“Importantly this first stage will generate 631 jobs during construction with hundreds of ongoing positions upon completion of the retail centre.”

Just a handful of residences remain for sale in Yeerongpilly Green Riverside’s first stage, which fronts the Ashley Cooper Riverwalk, dedicated to the late Australian tennis great.

The residences will be built on a 7000 sqm site, across two five-level apartment buildings called Park House and Garden House, with 31 and 52 apartments, alongside 10 three-bedroom luxury homes at Green Terraces.

The retail centre will be anchored by Woolworths and include a dining precinct, specialty stores, commercial offices and health and wellness providers on an 8850sqm site at the heart of Yeeron​gpilly Green Riverside.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said he was pleased to see construction beginning on what will be an exciting urban village for the southside of Brisbane.

“Projects such as Yeerongpilly Green Riverside help address land supply challenges, catering for Queensland’s booming population,” Miles said.

“We’ve seen a spike in interstate migration with more people choosing to live in Queensland, thanks to our strong health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Yeerongpilly Green Riverside master plan will not only create 1200 homes as well as retail and commercial space, but generate around 7,600 jobs over the next decade, providing a great economic boost for the local area,” Miles added.

CVS Lane​ Capital Partners is a joint-venture partner in Yeerong​pilly Green Riverside.

CVS Lane Chief Executive Officer Lee Centra said that the start of construction at Yeerongpilly Green Riverside was a major milestone for what is a nationally significant urban regeneration project.

“The vision for Yeerongpilly Green Riverside has been to transform an underutilised 14-hectare site, only seven kilometres from the Brisbane CBD, into a major residential, retail and commercial destination, and it’s very pleasing to see that vision taking shape.

“With Brisbane’s growth set to accelerate in the next few years in the build up to the 2032 Olympics we’ll see increased demand for quality mixed used lifestyle precincts and so the project is very well positioned.”


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