Promise of 250 jobs from Mackay region project

A LOCAL developer that has promised 250 construction jobs and could provide $316 million in economic activity for Bakers Creek is asking Mackay Regional Council today to cut it some slack on charges.

The Southlink Industrial Hub, earmarked for construction on Cooks Ln, Bakers Creek, was approved by the council in April.

But the developer has gone back to the Mackay Regional Council asking for $1.5 million reduction in its infrastructure fees, under the council's new facilitating development policy.

The development involves the subdivision of a rural allotment into nine industrial allotments which is estimated to create 250 jobs during construction.

Bakers Creek - Bruce Highway
Bakers Creek - Bruce Highway Tony Martin

Mackay based construction company Zined Group has requested specific incentives from the council to build the industrial estate which include a 50% concession on infrastructure charges totalling $1,560,465.50.

The council's facilitating development policy provides incentives for companies to invest and facilitate construction in the Mackay region that will create jobs, boost the local economy, and use local contractors and suppliers.

The estimated construction cost for Zined Group is $100.51M.

Based on the council's economic modelling the flow-on economic benefits to the region will total $316.662M and create 554 direct and in-direct jobs.

Zined Group managing director Deniz Mete said to be competitive in Mackay's economic climate the council needed to offer incentives to attract commercial developments.

"If council can financially assist us to offer a more competitive product and price than our competitors, it gives Mackay a better opportunity to grow more business here," Mr Mete said.

"It was done in Brisbane post global financial crisis when the market had all but collapsed and the council came on board with an 'open for business' policy by waiving fees and charges to encourage developers to invest."

The economic development and planning standing committee is expected to evaluate Zined Group's request at its meeting today.

The agenda states that "based on information provided, the development is considered to be value-adding to the economy and will generate full time employment and business activity".

"The provision of the specific concessions is likely to further assist in attracting investment (and) the on-going sale and development will provide a further contribution to the regional economy."

Mr Mete said that most if not all of the contractors used to develop and construct the industrial estate would come from Mackay.

"Literally all the contractors we use are local and that is how we see businesses moving forward in Mackay," he said.

"There are a lot of people that moved out of town because there was no work.

"We are hoping with these types of projects that people will come back which is part of our bigger plan to stimulate the Mackay economy."

The industrial estate is expected to be completed in October this year and operational by March 2017; however, if the development is not completed in the recommended timeframe, the council concessions will no longer apply and 100% of the costs will be payable by Zined Group.

"There is a risk that granting significant concessions can leave council exposed to similar claims in the future and that a potential infrastructure funding gap could be created," the council agenda states. "These risks are sufficiently mitigated by the strict timeframes applied to claiming concessions and any extension to these infrastructure services will be undertaken by the applicant at no cost to council."

The recommendation to councillors is for the concessions to be approved.

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