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Queensland Plans Abbot Point Space Launch Site

Queensland Plans Abbot Point Space Launch Site (1)

Queensland is hoping to boost its $760 million space industry with a new rocket launch site in the Whitsunday region.

The Abbot Point orbital rocket launch site has been identified by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the state government based on a range of technical, operational, environmental and infrastructure-related considerations.

The area near Bowen is currently known for Australia’s most northern coal export port used by Adani and the end point of the Carmichael Rail Network.

The Queensland government has been eager to tap into the space industry after announcing an $8 million strategy earlier this year.

The strategy included satellite ground stations in the outback and sites along the coastline for launch along with multiple locations for observation, space enabled services, robotics and automation.

Queensland Plans Abbot Point Space Launch Site (2)

Companies such as Gilmour Space Technologies, Black Sky Aerospace, Hypersonix and Valiant Space already operate in state and the global space industry is expected to grow to US$42.8 billion by 2028.

A Deloitte Access Economics report found that a launch site and space-related infrastructure would be catalytic for the space industry, providing more research, development and market opportunities.

Economic impacts of Queensland space industry

Industry OutputHigh Productivity ScenarioModerate Productivity Scenario
Gross state product$6bn$3.5bn
Employment2700 jobs1800 jobs
Broadacre cropping$1.2bn$680m
Transport and logistics$1.7bn$810m

State member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said investment into the space industry was a vital part to the state’s economic recovery efforts by tapping into the multi-trillion dollar industry.

“I’m delighted organisations in the region have expressed interest in the development of a launch site at Abbot Point,” Gilbert said.

“These next steps will involve a detailed technical and due diligence on the proposed site to confirm the location is suitable for a space launch facility.”

Qld strategic defence advisor for aerospace Neil Hart AM said Queensland companies and its research sector are leading the nation in space launch vehicle development.

“Queensland’s space industry has been calling for space launch infrastructure here in Queensland, to take it to lift off and firm up Australia’s sovereign capability,” the retired air vice-marshal said.

“This could be an awe-inspiring opportunity for the region and Queensland, bringing more jobs and new career paths for the workforce.”

Queensland is in the space industry race with the Northern Territory who announced a strategy and launch site late last year.




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    Sunshine Coast tears up the rule book with new planning scheme

    Sunshine Coast

    One of Queensland’s fastest growing regions has embarked on a major review of its future development in a move aimed at rejecting continued urban sprawl and accommodating most of the 87,000 new homes it needs over the next 20 years in existing residential areas.

    Sunshine Coast Council has taken the first steps toward drawing up a new planning scheme which will dictate where to house new residents and how they will move around the region.

    The review signals a significant step away from past planning practices on the Sunshine Coast and comes at a time when the council is dealing with potentially explosive growth. Official forecasts say an extra 200,000 people or more will call it home over the next 20 years.

    The new scheme is likely to include a finalised plan and corridor for a light rail or rapid bus system stretching from the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana to the region’s new purpose-built CBD at Maroochydore.

    The council has described the proposed system as the “backbone” of any future public transport options for the region but the plan is vehemently opposed by some community groups who see it as a means of entrenching high density development along its route.

    The council will begin formal public consultation on the mass transit business in February.

    While the existing planning scheme has been amended several times since it was adopted in 2014, council officers are urging the council to vote to replace when it meets for the first time in 2021 next week. If it does opt to produce a new plan the project is likely to stretch over four years.

    A report to council says that while the current scheme is working well, state planning horizons now stretched out until 2041, 10 years later than the timeline that council has adopted.

    “There is a need to improve and strengthen alignment with recent State, regional and local planning policy changes,” the report said.

    The South East Queensland Regional Plan, which influences the shape of individual council planning schemes, insists that of the 87,000 new homes needed to accommodate the Sunshine Coast’s population growth over the next 20 years, just 38 per cent should be delivered through creating new “greenfield” sites.

    Most _ nearly 54,000 _ will have to be accommodated within the Sunshine Coast’s existing urban footprint.

    The report to council says the new planning scheme “will need to have an increased focus on urban consolidation (and in particular consolidation done well and at the right locations) as opposed to continued urban expansion”.

    Any new planning scheme for the Sunshine Coast will not cover so-called Priority Development Areas which are controlled by the State Government.

    There are two PDAs in Any new planning scheme for the Sunshine Coast will not cover some significant area dubbed Priority Development Areas which are controlled by the State Government. There are currently two PDAs in the region – the massive Caloundra South urban development which will eventually have 20,000 homes and the Maroochydore City Centre development.


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    Gold Coast

    Power play: Gold Coast’s electric vehicle fast chargers a world first

    Gold Coast's electric vehicle fast

    World-first fast-charging technology for electric vehicles that is 50 per cent quicker than standard 50kW charging stations and capable of charging two vehicles at once has been installed for electric vehicle drivers on the Gold Coast.

    The city is powering up electric vehicles and its growing green credentials with a network of 10 of the RTM75 fast-charging stations by Brisbane technology company Tritium that will be installed over a 50km city-wide radius from Pimpama on the northern edge of the city to Coolangatta and offset by solar power generation.

    The new wave 75kW DC fast chargers deliver 75km of range to an electric vehicle within 10 minutes of charging.

    The first charger was installed at Broadbeach on Tuesday.

    The fast-charger network, supported by the State Government’s COVID Works for Queensland jobs booster that helps fund new infrastructure projects, will anchor the Queensland Electric Super Highway of 31 fast-charging sites enabling travel from Coolangatta to Cairns and from Brisbane west to Toowoomba in a low or zero emissions electric vehicle.

    The stations will also be a key link for some of Australia’s world-class road trips that are in the process of going electric including the Pacific Coast Way from the Gold Coast to Cairns and the renowned Pacific Coast Drive from Lake Macquarie in NSW to the Gold Coast Hinterland.

    Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Steven Miles said the Queensland Government had provided $350,000 towards the charging stations, to provide a boost to the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Having charging stations along the Gold Coast not only incentivises future EV users, but it also encourages driving tourism along a beautiful stretch of the Coast,” he said.

    Gold Coast's electric vehicle

    Gold Coast gets greener

    Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said the investment in cutting-edge infrastructure reflected the city’s reputation as an innovative destination as well as its commitment to sustainability.

    “As the transition to electric vehicles begins to pick up pace, we have secured the most advanced DC fast chargers on the market,’’ Tate said.

    “The power used to charge vehicles at these stations will be offset by power generated by the City’s Virtual Power Plant, which harnesses solar energy from more than 47 city buildings.”

    The state-of-the-art network would provide drivers with a rapid, positive recharge experience and would deliver a boost for local businesses as electric vehicle drivers stayed an average of 30 per cent longer than other travellers to return to recharge and engage with the local area, he said.

    EV chargers turn super slim and super fast

    Tritium CEO Jane Hunter said the global launch of the RTM75 fast chargers on the Gold Coast put the city at the forefront of e-mobility innovation and international rapid-charger demand.

    The RTM75s were the first of the new-generation Modular Scalable Charging platform that meant Tritium could rapidly deploy new product to future-proof governments and network operators across the globe, she said.

    “These chargers, assembled in Tritium’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Brisbane, can be installed quickly, are upgradeable and have the narrowest profile on the market, making them suitable to be installed anywhere, from retail carparks to dense urban environments,” Hunter said.


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    Brisbane projects power ahead as council seeks economic boost

    Brisbane projects

    Brisbane Lord Major Adrian Schrinner says residents should prepare for change as major projects in the city forge ahead.

    Green bridges at Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek are being fast-tracked to begin by the end of the year. Those projects alone will support more than 400 jobs.

    Work on the Brisbane Metro continues, with Victoria Bridge set to be closed to traffic and construction of the Rochedale depot due to begin this year.

    There is also work on and around the Brisbane River, with CityCats being upgraded, new ferry terminals being built at the Howard Smith Wharves and South Bank, and the Indooroopilly Riverwalk adding to the outdoor facilities available to residents and visitors alike.

    “This year we have major works happening right across the city from breaking ground for green bridges, Brisbane Metro and Victoria Park alongside the delivery of several other major projects,” Schrinner said today.

    “The delivery of infrastructure is a sure-fire way to boost the economy and this year we will see big progress and big changes as we get on with delivering these projects for the residents of Brisbane.

    “In 2021 residents will see both small and large changes in Brisbane, from suburban intersection upgrades which use local materials and support dozens of jobs to work set to continue and start to ramp up soon on the Brisbane Metro Project, which will support 2600 jobs.”

    Schrinner described Brisbane as “a city that is built for Brisbane, by Brisbane”.

    “Keeping Brisbane industry and construction moving is essential to ensuring a strong economy, and to see some pretty major projects starting to take shape will serve as a tangible reminder of how far we’ve come, particularly off the back of last year,” he said.

    “These projects have a positive flow-on impact for local business, with materials like piling liners from Wacol, concrete resources from Kelvin Grove to signage at Coorparoo being sourced locally as part of these works happening 2021.”


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