Last month I told you about the new Economic Steering Committee I have created to engage with businesses to promote economic development and create jobs and prosperity across the city.
The committee has gotten off to a flying start under Chairman Ian Klug, also Chairman of Brisbane Marketing, who has gathered a diverse mix of 12 leaders from Brisbane’s key industry sectors.
I have now personally invited these committee members to get on board and ensure that a good cross section of our business community is represented and have a voice as we continue to grow Brisbane’s $114 billion economy.
They will be engaging with the Brisbane business community through industry forums over the coming months to develop some tangible initiatives that Council can use to ensure Brisbane remains a city of choice for doing business in the Asia Pacific region.
I have visited many different businesses since taking on this job and the thing I have been most impressed with is their resilience and determination in what has been a tough first half of the year for Brisbane.
While there is much Council is already doing by keeping commercial rates low and attracting investment through
Brisbane Marketing, I am sure we can be doing more, which is why I’ve asked the Steering Committee to engage with local businesses and complete an update of Council’s Brisbane Economic Development Plan by November.
I am very pleased to announce that more than 1,000 workers have started work on the Legacy Way tunnel, as construction on the project makes inroads at both the western and eastern worksites.
This is a significant step towards the 5,000 jobs and $10.5 billion in economic benefits the project will create for Brisbane by the time it’s completed at the end of 2014.
Legacy Way will have significant benefits not only for motorists and our transport network but also for the local economy.
With more than 1,000 staff and workers, sub contractors and specialists in a range of fields now inducted on the project, we are starting to see the strong economic benefits that Legacy Way delivers. Since major construction works started at the western work site earlier this year, we’ve made strong progress in creating the foundation for the tunnel boring machines which will be delivered to the western worksite at Toowong later this year.
In more news on the project, Queensland’s Coordinator-General has now approved plans to remove spoil from the tunnel via an underground conveyor to the Mount Coot-tha Quarry.
This is an innovative solution that will reduce impacts on the local community and the many visitors to the Botanic Gardens each year. Tunnelling works will excavate about 1 million cubic metres of rock and dirt which needs to be transferred to the quarry, so being able to remove noise and dust impacts from the surface is a positive outcome.
Legacy Way is expected to halve peak hour travel time from the Centenary Bridge to the ICB once open in 2014.
I would also like to again acknowledge the Federal Labor Government’s support for the project through $500 million in funding.
Finally, with summer just around the corner it is a good reminder that weshould start making sure our homes and businesses are prepared for the upcoming summer storm and bushfire seasons.
We all saw what happened with the 2011 floods and the 2008 The Gap storms and I can assure you that Council is doing everything it can to make sure Brisbane is prepared for any severe weather conditions that may head our way over the next few months.
This includes spending about $50 million on stormwater drain upgrades and supporting local SES volunteers to the tune of $2.5 million.
We are also doubling the amount of preventative back burn fires this season to 30 and have delivered 14 new Council fire trucks at a cost of $1.2 million to assist with this. Personally, I think one of the most important things you can do is sign up to Council’s free Early Warning Network alert service.
It only takes a couple of minutes to join and doesn’t cost a cent but provides invaluable warnings about any severe weather conditions that are approaching Brisbane. You can sign up by ringing Council on 3403 8888 or via Council’s website www.brisbane.qld.gov.au