Caloundra South vision released
  • Thursday 01 October 2015
Planting a Bunya tree at Caloundra South - Aura

Today marked a significant milestone for the Sunshine Coast with the launch of the Caloundra South development.

The project name - Aura, the City of Colour - and vision were launched on site by Stockland Chief Executive Officer Mark Steinert in the presence of Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson.

Caloundra South is, at this time, the largest master planned community development under a single ownership in Australia .

Mayor Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast community could look forward to thousands of new jobs, the economic stimulation that the 20,000-lot project would deliver over the next 30 to 40 years and the ongoing preservation and rehabilitation of environmentally sensitive areas as part of this development.

“For our community, however, the five years of intensive negotiations that have led up to today have delivered a major win in the form of the Infrastructure Agreement that has been secured for the Caloundra South development area,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Council’s main objective all along has been to ensure the project went ahead and we captured all of the benefits it will bring to the region - but that there would not be any residual costs for ratepayers beyond those that would normally be the responsibility of Council.

“With the cooperation of the Queensland Government and Stockland, we have been able to achieve that outcome.”

Mayor Jamieson said Stockland had agreed to provide all infrastructure necessary to service the Caloundra South Priority Development Area, with this commitment representing a massive $1.3 billion investment.

“Caloundra South has been designed to deliver a series of interconnected villages, with extensive rehabilitated areas,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The infrastructure agreement will see well-sequenced infrastructure delivered in pace with the development.

“Under the agreement, Stockland will provide a wide range of social and environmental infrastructure including the local road, cycle and pedestrian network and generous open space.

“Stockland will provide land for community facilities, while contributing about $22 million to the construction of clubhouses and the establishment of a Community Development Infrastructure Fund and Community Benefit Fund.”

Mayor Jamieson said Stockland’s contributions and commitments, concessions made by the State Government relating to major arterial roads and changes to legislation around infrastructure charges had all combined to relieve the council and existing Sunshine Coast ratepayers of the need to help fund infrastructure development at Caloundra South.

“Early on, Council was sidelined from negotiations when the former State Government placed responsibility for the planning for the site with the Urban Land Development Authority,” he said.

“At that time, our officers estimated a potential shortfall in infrastructure funding of between $360 million and $560 million.

“We continued dialogue with all parties, regained our seat at the negotiation table and maintained our position that any shortfall in infrastructure funding should not fall on the shoulders of the Sunshine Coast ratepayers.

“I also made this one of the top priorities that I encouraged all Sunshine Coast candidates to adopt in the lead-up to the State election earlier this year.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of Council’s strenuous efforts and the spirit of goodwill and fairness that has been a feature of negotiations with Stockland and the Queensland Government in recent months.

”I also acknowledge that planning for Caloundra South and the negotiation of the infrastructure agreement has been undertaken in an ever-changing political and legislative environment that had presented challenges for Council, the State Government and Stockland.

“This is now behind us however, and Council is confident that a high quality and well serviced community will be delivered that adds value to our region – while showcasing our lifestyle and maintaining our great environmental assets and credentials.”

Mayor Jamieson said it was now full steam ahead for the project and Council looked forward to working with Stockland, the Queensland Government and others as this development moved from planning to reality.

See more on the video.

Backgrounder - History of Caloundra South Infrastructure Agreement negotiations

  • In October 2010, the Queensland Government declared Caloundra South an Urban Development Area (UDA). The declaration removed Council from the planning and development assessment process and transferred responsibility to the former Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA).
  • Despite this, between 2010 and 2012 Council continued to maintain dialogue with the ULDA and the Queensland Government in an effort to regain some influence in achieving a better long-term outcome for the Sunshine Coast.
  • During this time (2011), Council officers pointed out that based on the ULDA approved Caloundra South Master Plan, there was a potential cost to Council of between $360 million and $560 million.
  • Council officers calculated the potential cost based on its planning requirements, the then legislative treatment of infrastructure charges and the content of the ULDA Early Release Area approvals (Bells Reach).
  • Council indicated that the shortfall, if not addressed, could result in a general rate increase for a period of 10 to 15 years, or alternatively, through a special levy on Caloundra South residents of between $940 and $1,478 per year for 49 years.
  • In August 2012, through its ongoing discussions with the ULDA and representations to the then Queensland Government, Council was able to regain a seat at the negotiating table.
  • At that time, it was agreed the Infrastructure Agreement would be a tripartite agreement between the Queensland Government, Council and Stockland. This was an important step forward in seeking to have addressed any potential shortfall for which Council might become responsible.
  • Council sought to further verify the potential shortfall in infrastructure costs and in December 2012, commissioned an independent study to validate its previous assessments. Taking into account discussions with the ULDA, the developer and Council, this report estimated the shortfall at $268 million.
  • This shortfall estimate then became the focus of discussions between all parties.
  • In 2014, legislative changes altered the method of calculating infrastructure charges for the broader development industry, which saw the introduction of cross crediting of off-sets and deemed trunk (or converted) infrastructure as standard practice. This methodology resulted in the financial liability to Council for Caloundra South being further reduced and limited to unfunded works.
  • Since that time, Council has worked hard to achieve the best outcome for the Sunshine Coast and in September 2015 when the negotiations on the Infrastructure Agreement concluded, this resulted in the $268 million shortfall identified in the independent report in December 2012 being effectively eliminated.

Stockland and State Government responsibilities under the Infrastructure Agreement

  • Stockland has agreed to provide necessary infrastructure required to service the Caloundra South Priority Development Area (estimated cost $1.3 billion), including:
  • All the ultimate local road network within the development including requirements for additional lanes as the population grows
  • An open space network that comprises fully embellished recreation parks, sports parks and trails
  • 10.955 hectares of land for community facilities
  • Contribution of $7 million for the construction of 10 clubhouses across the Caloundra South PDA
  • Contribution of $10 million towards a Community Development Infrastructure Fund
  • Contribution of $5 million towards a Community Benefit Fund
  • Ultimate pedestrian and cycle network across the site
  • Agreeing to pay for and undertake the works to rehabilitate all land within the Environmental Protection Zone and Conservation Area
  • Provision of a sinking fund to cover the costs associated with the maintenance and ongoing water quality monitoring for the lake
  • The provision, operation and ongoing maintenance of stormwater harvesting infrastructure
  • Positioning of infrastructure throughout Caloundra South to minimise ongoing maintenance costs.
  • The Community Development Infrastructure Fund will be administered by Council as Trustee and funded by the developer. The intent of the Fund is to fully or partially fund infrastructure in Caloundra North, Caloundra South and Glass House Country statistical local government area, excluding land within the Priority Development Area.
  • The Community Benefit Fund will be controlled by a Steering Committee and funded by the developer. The fund will be used to fund community programs and infrastructure in Caloundra North, Caloundra South and Glass House Country statistical local government area, including land within the Priority Development Area.
  • In addition, the Department of Transport and Main Roads agreed that the East West Arterial was a State responsibility (saving $55 million).

Acknowledgements                                       

  • Much of the negotiation undertaken over the past three years has necessarily been in confidence to preserve Council’s negotiating position. It has been an important part of achieving this very significant outcome.
  • Council acknowledges and thanks Stockland and the Queensland Government for their willingness to work with Council towards achieving an Infrastructure Agreement which represents a fair outcome for the Sunshine Coast.