Transcript - Doorstop, Hervey Bay

ANTHONY CHISHOLM [ASSISTANT MINISTER]: It’s great to be here in Hervey Bay with the Deputy Mayor and also Greg from Hansen Yuncken as well. And it’s fantastic to see that work has already started here on this new fantastic site. This is a great opportunity for the Fraser Coast council to revitalise their CBD. As the representative for the Federal Government, we’re really pleased that we can support this project with a $40 million contribution as part of the Hinkler Regional Deal. It's a commitment from the Albanese Government that shows we want to see all regions of Australia benefit, and particularly those who are experiencing a population increase, like the Fraser Coast is. We know that this is a great place to live and it’s being recognised by people moving here and the growth in population has been welcomed. But with that comes challenges, but also the necessity for Council and Federal Government to partner together with a vision to ensure these communities stay liveable. So this facility here will be a new library but it will also provide a community hub so that we’re confident that people will want to come here, spend time, but also ensure that it is something that benefits the Council as well. And I’m really pleased that there’ll be the Disaster Resilience Centre. Everyone in Queensland understands how important that is, and particularly at the moment when our fellow Queenslanders are really suffering at the moment with what’s coming through near Townsville. So it’s important that Council have that vision and we’re pleased that the Federal Government can support it. And I really look forward to coming back in the future and seeing it come out of the ground, but also seeing it become that community hub for people. So really excited to be here and I think this is going to be a great project. Thanks, Deputy Mayor.

DENIS CHAPMAN [FRASER COAST REGIONAL COUNCIL DEPUTY MAYOR]: This is a great day today for the sod turning of the Fraser Coast Council’s new library and admin building. Three-quarters of this complex that’s going to be built is going to be used for the community’s facility. The other quarter of it is going to bring our staff together. While we’re talking about Council staff, I’d actually like to thank the staff for the amount of work that’s gone on behind the scenes to bring this project together with the contractors. We’ve got Savills who are overseeing the project as project manager and Hansen Yuncken who are the construction team who are now stepping in to do this design. What we all see behind us here with this new admin building, brings our engineers, our planners, our strategic planners together to what other communities have got. The Fraser Coast Regional Council is one of the fastest growing regions around, and we’ve got to have facilities like this to keep moving forward. And that’s what it’s about. And I’d just like to thank the councillors who have supported this project because this is supporting your community and helping. Let’s grow forward.

GREG BAUMANN [HANSEN YUNCKEN QLD MANAGER]: So works are underway and there’s [indistinct] milestone for the project. But for Hansen Yuncken it’s really important that we recognise the effort that Council and the Federal Government and stakeholders and the community have put in to get the project to this phase of construction. Often that design and planning phase goes longer than construction duration, and we certainly recognise the super efforts of many people and businesses to get the project to this stage. As we’re underway, it’s very important for us as a business to ensure we are maximising opportunities for local opportunities, both businesses and residents, to get involved in projects. Certain contractors working in the background at the moment is a local business. We’ve already signed up eight local businesses to get involved in the project, and that is so far about a $12 million commitment. So we’re really pleased with that as a start for the project development. Just on behalf of our business, I’d like to thank the Council for entrusting us to come and join your team on this journey. We really do look forward to the next couple of years as the project progresses.

CHAPMAN: Thanks, guys, I’d just like to add something there. On behalf of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, I’d also like to thank the State and Federal Governments. The Federal Government funding from the Hinkler Regional Deal of $40 million on this project is really appreciated, and it is really the point that helps remove the [indistinct] with the precinct board.

CHISHOLM: Okay. You guys go with questions; whatever you want to ask.

JOURNALIST: There’s a lot of talk about revitalisation with this project. How is a massive building like this going to revitalise our local community?

CHAPMAN: Look the Fraser Coast has got one of the highest levels of literacy with our children. We actually did study tours of up – to have a look at other areas. And one of the instances was Ipswich. And Ipswich they had the new library. They had mothers in there with little children learning how to read, how to interact with books and everything like that. We have not got the facility here to expand our library that we’ve got, and that’s the idea of this new library so we can actually bring our community all together into the one facility. But it’s also got the Disaster Management Centre. But the way the Disaster Management Centre has been designed, that when it’s not being used it can be used as office spaces, as in meeting rooms and things like that.

JOURNALIST: Is there a hope that with a building like this we can bring more people to the CBD here on the Fraser Coast rather than spreading out to Stockland regions and moving further back?

CHAPMAN: Correct. When you build a building like this, other businesses around the region look at it and they can see what’s happening on the Sunshine Coast at the moment. The new admin building, the building that was built on the Sunshine Coast, we’ve got now other businesses building around that. That will happen here. Other businesses are looking at Hervey Bay at the moment for the amount of growth that’s happening here and you will see that this area here will grow and go forward.

JOURNALIST: And for residents on the Fraser Coast, when can we expect this great building to be completed?

CHAPMAN: Mid 2026. Everything – if the weather is fine and good for us, and, yeah, mid 2026 we hope to be cutting the ribbon at the bottom door.

JOURNALIST: I guess one of the things I thought of when you were talking about the Sunshine Coast, do you see a similar future for the Fraser Coast as the next Sunshine Coast?

CHAPMAN: The Fraser Coast, Hervey Bay and the wider region will always be the Fraser Coast region. We’ve got a Council here that are very productive and want to see this region move forward. And we’re growing this region. We know our demographic. We’ve got a lot of elderly people that want to come here and retire because we’ve got one of the best climates around the country. And the Fraser Coast will always, to me and a lot of people I’ve spoken to, be the Fraser Coast.

JOURNALIST: I guess being out at Tavistock Street hasn’t been an ideal location for a Fraser Coast Council building. Do you think this location makes more sense for the new building?

CHAPMAN: The Fraser Coast Regional Council have got a report from QTC, and it told to us that if we wanted to revamp Tavistock Street to suit what our work needs are – we’ve got engineers that are in containers, like, areas, site offices, away from Tavistock Street. This new building will bring all those engineers, our planners, bring everyone together. And you’ll find that we’ll have a lot more efficiencies. Now, the cost to do up Tavistock Street was going to be a lot more millions of dollars that we’re actually spending here. So this is a way forward now. And then later on we can look at Tavistock Street and it can be used for something else.

JOURNALIST: Sorry, now that we’ve got more developments, can we see staff continue to grow more planners, more engineers, more sales people? Is that why a building like this is going to be so important?

CHAPMAN: Council are looking for more engineers. We’re looking for more planners. We’re trying to get these people to the region. But when you bring a person to a region and they’ve got to work in a shipping donga or something like that, it isn’t ideal. They would rather work where the facilities are a lot better, a lot more efficiencies, they know that they can talk to a planner in the next door or have a meeting, call a meeting and they just can have it straight away. The efficiencies will be much better and will hopefully make it easier to get more planners here. We’re looking for planners and we’re looking for more engineers.

SPEAKER: Did you have any questions for the Minister or for Greg, or are you guys all good?

JOURNALIST: I’d be keen to ask Greg a question, if that’s okay?


JOURNALIST: So putting you on the spot, I just wanted to ask, could you give a visual description of what we can see here by mid-2026?

BAUMANN: Some of the artists graphics would be able to explain it a lot better than I can verbally, but the building is a five-storey building. It’s architecturally a respectful building to the area, but it will also be an enhancement to the region with a really great public plaza that will be ready for the community to engage with the local foreshore and lake area and also the business area as well. So it’s quite a journey. Seeing the first six months most of the work will be in the ground, excavating, preparing the basement before the structure starts coming up.


CHISHOLM: Thanks, guys.