An artist's impression of the Mackay Waterfront PDA's enterprise precinct.
An artist's impression of the Mackay Waterfront PDA's enterprise precinct. CONTRIBUTED

Waterfront PDA's enterprise precinct to be innovation hub

AS INNOVATION transforms the region's key METS and agriculture markets it will be crucial for the region to look to the future and devise strategies to support a technologically driven workforce.

Mackay Regional Council has a vision for Mackay's future workforce and it is within precinct three of the Mackay Waterfront PDA.

Precinct three, or the "enterprise" precinct, aims to become the "knowledge hub, providing opportunities for shared working spaces, labour skills training, technology and products".

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the vision for the enterprise precinct was a creation of an innovation hub within the city's centre.

"It will be where the jobs of the future lie. We're talking about artificial intelligence, machine work, agriculture, self-driving mining vehicles - I don't want those jobs in Brisbane," Cr Williamson said.

"I want those workers here in Mackay's enterprise precinct and potentially living in the riverside precinct next door.

"But to attract these young workers, we need a state-of-the-art hub, completely off the grid, self-sustainable electricity-wise and with the fastest internet speeds in Australia."

"But how do we make this happen? Well, that's a challenge."

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The PDA's design manager Kylie Rogers said there were a number of things that could be done to incentivise development in precinct three.

"We are looking into strategies to encourage developers and businesses to set up their base within the enterprise precinct. For example, does 5G start here? And perhaps council needs to facilitate with telecommunication firms to make this happen," Ms Rogers said.


An aerial view of precinct three of the Waterfront PDA.
An aerial view of precinct three of the Waterfront PDA. CONTRIBUTED

Cr Williamson said because council did not hold any land assets within precinct three, it would be up to the council to incentivise development.

"If the council invested in bringing 5G to this particular precinct it would be an incentive and there is a possibility we could incentivise through rates."

Ms Rogers said while precinct three's focus would be on innovation it would also include other industry.

"There is already a lot of light industry in the area and people still require services - we all need to put new tyres on our car and will well into the future," she said.

"And in terms of the future workforce, we need to further explore what the industries of the future will be. To be honest, the council needs to examine what those jobs and industries are."

Besides being the city's innovation capital, precinct three will act as a key link between the riverside precinct and Queens Park.

"Once there is a well-defined linkage from this area to the Bluewater Quay, opportunities will be present themselves for streetscaping and it will encourage people who may not currently use the area to do so," Ms Rogers said.

"That's just a small exercise we can undertake to invite people into the space. Simply getting people interested in the area is a form of activation.

"Once the other precincts develop around the innovation hub (it) will also encourage business and investors to want to be based within the PDA."


MRC's manager of strategic planning Jaco Ackerman said tech-based firms usually attracted a youthful workforce and the area would have to develop businesses to support this generation's needs.

"Precinct three will need hip coffee shops, eateries and bars to grab a drink after a long day," Mr Ackerman said.

"We are also inviting feedback from current business and landowners to advise the council on what they believe is needed to revitalise this area."

Cr Williamson pointed out Mackay would not be alone in an endeavour to create an innovation hub within its city.

"Advance Queensland, an arm of the State Government, has put a lot of work into creating what they call an innovation strategy for towns within Queensland," Cr Williamson said.

"The State Government has approved the PDA and they are aware of our specific goal to create an enterprise precinct. We plan to seek guidance and support from Advance Queensland in achieving our goals of attracting technology-based industry to the region."


  • Bar
  • Unit dwellings
  • Education establishment
  • Food and drink outlets
  • Emergency services
  • Indoor sport and recreation
  • Low-impact industry
  • Park
  • Research and technology
  • Service industry
  • Shops

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