THE LATEST Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data has underlined the importance of maintaining a strong resources industry to keep driving jobs growth, with the sector now creating more than one job an hour according to Queensland Resources Council  chief executive Ian Macfarlane.

According to the QRC chief executive, the detailed quarterly labour force data showed the number of Queensland resources jobs for the August quarter was up "an incredible 17 percent compared with the same time last year".

“In the space of a year the Queensland mining industry has created an extra 10,000 jobs. That’s the equivalent of a town about the size of Kingaroy, Gracemere or Bowen,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in Australia at the moment, but investments in the resources sector are doing their part to create jobs and opportunities – especially in regional areas.

“It’s more important than ever that we keep our resources sector strong," he said.

“There is more good news on the horizon for the resources sector, with Queensland’s most valuable export seeing new or reinvigorated projects right across our State so far this year, and we can add to that this week’s progress on the Adani project.

“The resources sector creates good, high paying jobs in every town and city in Queensland. We look forward to working with all levels of Government to continue attracting new investment.

“Our industry needs stable and predictable policy to give it the confidence to invest more, export more and ultimately employ more in the sustainable, competitive and safe development of our coal, minerals, petroleum and gas.”


THERE HAS BEEN another marked decline in the number of Australians migrating between cities and regions, while movement within capital cities is on the rise.

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers, who have analysed Census data, said local moves within capital cities increased by more than five percent on average from 2011 to 2016.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researcher Elin Charles-Edwards suggested the divergence in trends could be a product of declining levels of home ownership, with renters generally more mobile than owner-occupiers. 

“The largest growth was in greater Perth, where local moves increased by 14 percent,” Dr Charles-Edwards said.

“Local moves increased by 10 percent in Sydney and 9.5 percent in Melbourne, while Brisbane was below the national average at three percent. 

“The inner-city construction boom is also contributing to residential mobility as people take the opportunity to live in newer dwellings closer to the city centres.”

Dr Charles-Edwards said longer distance moves between Australian cities and regions had declined by 25 percent since the mid-1990s, likely reflecting prevailing economic conditions.

“For example, internal migration to Queensland has been at historically low levels following the end of the millennium mining boom,” Dr Charles-Edwards said.

“It may also be a result of longer term trends, such as the impact of population ageing, with older people less likely to move than younger people.

“An increase in dual income households could make it more difficult for couples to relocate, while worsening housing affordability is keeping young people in the parental home for longer.

“Temporary forms of mobility, such as fly-in fly-out arrangements for workers, may have also become a substitute for permanent relocation.”
Australia remains one of the most mobile societies in the world, with 39 percent changing their address every five years, compared with a global average of 21 percent.

Dr Charles-Edwards said understanding patterns of internal migration was key to understanding the transformation in the pattern of human settlement.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics study, Population shift: Understanding internal migration in Australia, is authored by Dr Charles-Edwards, emeritus professor Martin Bell, Jim Cooper, and Aude Bernard.


AUSTRALIA’s 2018 offshore petroleum exploration areas were released at the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Conference in Adelaide recently.

A total of 21 areas have been released for offshore petroleum exploration. They are located in the Bonaparte Basin, Browse Basin, Northern Carnarvon Basin, Bight Basin, Otway Basin and Gippsland Basin. 

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the Federal Government’s annual release of offshore petroleum exploration acreage encouraged investment and contributed to the responsible development of Australia’s oil and gas resources.

He said all release areas were supported by industry nominations indicating that interest in exploring offshore Australia’s basins “remains strong” despite the significant decrease in the number of exploration wells drilled in recent years.

In order to attract robust industry participation in the bidding process, the released areas are selected to reflect geological and geographical diversity to cater for the full gamut of petroleum exploration companies.

Mr Canavan said Geoscience Australia continued to support industry activities by acquiring, interpreting and integrating pre-competitive datasets that are made freely available as part of the agency’s regional petroleum geological studies.

The regional evaluation of the petroleum systems in the Browse Basin have been completed and work continues on assessing the distribution of Early Triassic source rocks and related petroleum occurrences across the North West Shelf.


THE FEDERAL Government has committed up to $96 million from its Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to a project aimed at boosting enrolments in engineering courses at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville.

The funding is NAIF’s first investment commitment in Queensland and it will be used to develop a Technology Innovation Complex. 

“The Technology Innovation Complex (TIC) will provide contemporary facilities as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) offering, targeted at engineering students,” Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said. 

“JCU is establishing a focus of engineering for the tropics and the Technology Innovation Complex will be the centrepiece of an ‘innovation hub’ in which undergraduate students, industry partners, post-graduate researchers and start-up businesses will collaborate.

“This is part of a broader plan by JCU to modernise its facilities across the Townsville campus over seven years from now till 2025, and it’s great that a NAIF loan can help facilitate this process and attract more students.

"We also need to attract more young Australians into engineering to support our strong resources sector. We have built our mining sector by harnessing the efforts of some of the world's best engineers trained here in Australia. This new facility will help us repeat that success in the future."

The proposed financial assistance is subject to the finalisation of the Queensland Government’s consideration and agreement for the approved funds to be advanced.

Northern-based Senator Ian Macdonald said he was pleased to see NAIF making a loan commitment that would significantly benefit the economy of North Queensland.

“I am strongly committed to promoting further development in North Queensland and believe this JCU project will attract industry, generate jobs and retain graduates in the region,” Senator Macdonald said.

“It will particularly help JCU attract more regional and international students in engineering, which in turn will boost expertise in a profession so vital to infrastructure development and innovation in Northern Australia and throughout our part of the world.

“The TIC is part of a broader modernisation and building program that JCU tells me will potentially return a public benefit of some $700 million over 30 years, driven by increased participation in higher education and collaboration with industry, so it is terrific the NAIF funding can help generate that sort of benefit.”

Senator Macdonald said he believed that Queensland had regularly had the highest number of active projects in the NAIF pipeline, as well as projects in the advanced ‘due diligence’ phase.

“This is not surprising, considering North Queensland has the highest population and most developed infrastructure in Northern Australia, and I look forward to seeing further investment decisions being announced by NAIF for funding in our region in future.”


WITH POPULATION RESEARCH projecting that more than five million Australians will be over the age of 65 by 2025, luxury lifestyle communities for over 50s are coming into their own and development has accelerated in recent years.

Many developers are so confident of growth in the sector that they are taking a more creative approach, changing the face of the retirement sector. One developer with runs on the board is Seachange Lifestyle Resorts – a brand of Queensland design and construction company Pradella – and its approach is paying off in terms of sales.

“Baby Boomers are much more demanding than the last generation,” Pradella Property Ventures sales and marketing director Alex McMahon said. “ The push toward functional specialisation in the over 50s sector, has crucially directed homes be designed to meet the demand for low-maintenance homes with a high-level of technological connectivity and security to better suit the generational change of today’s buyers. 

“If you think the new Toowoomba Seachange Lifestyle resort is a magnet for buyers wanting to relax, catch up on all those years of lost sleep while you raising a family or pursuing your career, then you would be correct.

“This modern staged development has been planned as a dynamic 162 home boutique community delivering state-of-the-art facilities and bearing all of the hallmarks of a 5-star resort.

“The success story of this Harristown development is our careful planning and our commitment to ensuring the development responds to the greater community objectives.  An example of this would be the provision of larger allotments and space for residents to have their own garden beds,” he said.

“The focus being on choice, if you’re not a gardener or want no maintenance then you can have that, but if you enjoy gardening then Seachange Toowoomba offers an enviable northerly aspect and lots of space to continue this hobby. It is intended as a community within a wider community, homes are consciously designed to smooth the transition from larger home to a more luxurious, secure environment where home owners can take on as much or as little as they want from this new lifestyle,” Mr McMahon said.

Mr McMahon said he took note of a recent study that revealed today’s purchaser was younger than their years would suggest. He said the evidence was that they were living longer, active later, using technology more and even working later in life than previous generations of retirees.

“More than one in seven of our past Seachange lifestyle resort owners in South East Queensland are still in paid employment and based on these trends we will see increasing numbers of our home buyers for our luxury lifestyle communities who are not in fact retired,” Mr McMahon said.

“As a developer of over 50s communities, our focus weighs heavily on these aspects. It’s why we invest a lot of time into researching market trends, finding the right sites, developing masterplans and creating homes that respond to the needs of modern over 50s.”

Mr McMahon said Seachange Toowoomba had responded to the baby boomers' desire to downsize their financial commitments while upsizing their lifestyles with homes available from $379,000.

Local builder Nick Ruhle said the modern and spacious floorplans had been designed to enhance natural light and safeguard practicality allowing for a comfortable and convenient home design.

He said the various home styles on offer had been specifically created to maximise the liveable space in each home in an effort to overturn the common misconception that a smaller scale home is not suitable for comfortable living.


STRONG government support for regional development is more important to Queenslanders compared to other states, while Queenslanders are less likely to feel like they have gained from economic growth and are less satisfied with work, according to results of a nation-wide poll.

The Queensland results are part of a major national poll commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) for its report Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect.

The CEDA poll explored who has gained from Australia’s record run of economic growth; their most important issues personally and to the nation; and attitudes to work.

CEDA chief executive Melinda Cilento said the Queensland results, in line with the national results, showed the state placed a high level of importance on government services, in addition to being focused on regional growth and jobs. 

“Overall Queensland respondents were more likely to feel like they have not gained, or don’t know if they have gained, from Australia’s record run of economic growth compared to national results – 59 percent compared to 55 percent nationally,” Ms Cilento said.

“Unemployment and youth unemployment are both higher in Queensland than nationally and slightly higher again in regional areas.

“This is no doubt one of the factors impacting on how Queenslanders feel about the economy and their current circumstances.

“In addition, regional growth and jobs are an important contributor for the state with a higher proportion of jobs based outside the capital city than in other states,” Ms Cilento said.

“There are almost 2.5 million people employed in Queensland and around half of those are outside the greater Brisbane area. It is therefore unsurprising that government support for regional development is ranked as more important in the issues of personal importance.

“Despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth many Australians are telling us through this survey that they don’t feel like that are getting ahead, and that feeling is stronger in Queensland.

“Stagnant wages and cost of living pressures are likely factors but regardless, we need to do better at connecting communities’ expectations and aspirations with economic benefits,” she said.

“This will ensure there is support for the economic development and reform needed to keep Australia competitive.On the job front Queenslanders are less satisfied with their current level of pay, benefits such as superannuation, level of job training and conditions in the workplace.

“When looking for a job, consistent with national trends, conditions in the workplace was the most important factor.

“However, Queenslanders are more interested in progressing in their careers. Opportunities for career progression was much more likely to be ranked as very important by Queensland respondents (55 per cent compared to 42 per cent nationally).”

On the national issues of greatest importance, Ms Cilento said Queenslanders were in line with the national results placing greatest importance on high quality and accessible public hospitals; strong regulation to limit foreign ownership of Australian land and assets; increased pension payments; high quality and choice of aged care services; and high quality and accessible public schools.

“The top personal issues in Queensland, in addition to regional development, aligned nationally with reliable, low cost basic health services; reliable, low cost essential services; access to stable and affordable housing; affordable, high quality chronic disease services; and reduced violence in homes and communities, rating as of high importance,” Ms Cilento said.

“Much like the other states, the expectation that government should provide the services fundamental to the quality of life in Australia remains strong.

“Interestingly one of the areas of least importance was commuting times. Nationally this ranked as of low importance but in Queensland it was even less important compared to the national ranking.”


WITH OVER five million Australians expected to be over the age of 65 by 2025, luxury lifestyle communities have exploded over the past few years – and many developers are taking the opportunity to change the face of the retirement sector.

Pradella’s Seachange Lifestyle Resorts is one developer that has expanded its range of residential projects by releasing architecturally designed homes in prime unique locations, exclusively for the over 50s market to explore creative life choices in a secure environment.

"We brought this approach to both our current Upper Coomera and Toowoomba projects and made modifications to the masterplans to create designs that will grow with the community and help create a truly better place to live,” Pradella’s director of sales and marketing Alex McMahon said.

“Today's baby boomers have high expectations for their retirement lifestyle, so location and design of the home are both vitally important.

“As a developer of over 50s communities our focus weighs heavily on these aspects, it's why we invest a lot of time into researching market trends, finding the right sites, developing masterplans and creating homes that respond to the needs of modern seniors. 

“With a north-easterly orientation, positioned overlooking a grove of stately pine trees atop rolling green lawns flowing gently down to the Upper Coomera River, Seachange Riverside Coomera is fast becoming a premium lifestyle choice that offers downsizing with style,” Mr McMahon said.

The strong connection to both the river and the hinterland that surrounds Seachange Riverside Coomera has driven buyer demand from within a 10km radius. 

According to Mr McMahon, Seachange has a staged construction approach “with quality resort style facilities offering a diversity of activities and community social elements for wonderful community engagement”.

“Our philosophy is to create a welcoming community to allow residents to enjoy our great Gold Coast climate,” he said.

Seachange Riverside Coomera has responded to the baby boomers’ desire to downsize their financial commitments while upsizing their lifestyles, with homes available from $449,000.

Alex McMahon said, “People have more time and want to enjoy their lifestyle, to take advantage of a full range of activities and facilities to reconnect with friends and extended family.  Manicured lawns, fully equipped clubhouses, gym and swimming pools, everything tailored to maximise the resident’s lifestyle.  

“Everyone is inherently social, in additional to traditional facilities Seachange Riverside Coomera has a Bocce court and community garden recognising our owner’s diverse interests" Mr McMahon said.

“Lifestyle decisions are very personal. That’s why we encourage prospective buyers to inspect Riverside Coomera and chat with our residents to judge first-hand the natural affinity to the over 50s environment at Riverside Coomera.”


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