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$1 million design fund to fast-track projects

Posted: 11am 22 Jun 2020

A dedicated $1 million project design fund will enable Moreton Bay Regional Council to accelerate priority projects.

Mayor Peter Flannery says the move is in response to calls from industry and locals to keep the economy moving.

“It means projects that might take a number of years to investigate, plan, design, and tender, can instead be ready to commence a lot sooner,” Mayor Flannery says.

“There’s a lot of state and federal government money available now for shovel-ready projects, so this fund will give Moreton Bay Region a competitive edge by enabling us to have great designs and commence more construction projects sooner.

“We estimate this $1 million fund will leverage up to $20 million dollars’ worth of local projects by ensuring we submit competitive submissions. Good planning and good design is key to a good outcome, which is what all councils should be striving to deliver for their communities.

“We know times are tough, but Moreton Bay is tougher and we want to ensure we have a pipeline of works ahead and keep designers, architects and the like in business.”

Industry welcomes move

The Australian Institute of Architects CEO Julia Cambage says, like all industries, the Queensland architecture industry is suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19.

“Moreton Bay Regional Council is doing exactly what other local, state and federal governments should be doing to help our hurting industry,” Ms Cambage says.

“I’m thrilled to hear council is looking to invest $1 million into design. This support for the industry would be incredible. Now is not the time to put Moreton Bay Region projects in the pipeline on hold.”

UDIA Queensland CEO Kirsty Chessher-Brown says this fund is a positive step for the Moreton Bay Region.

“The development industry employs a range of consultants and this fund will assist those who are heavily involved in the early stages of a project like design professionals,” she explains.

“Stimulus at all project stages is critical to keeping the 25,486 locals who rely on the development industry employed, particularly during these tough times.”

Why this is important

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects State President David Uhlmann says the pandemic has highlighted just how important quality open spaces, parks and community facilities are to our health and wellbeing.

“Council’s recent efforts to keep practices busy on smaller advanced park design and planning projects has been commendable,” Mr Uhlmann says.

“These projects have kept people employed when practices are suffering due to restricted operations. We also recognise that when initiating new projects, investing wisely in design means they will be effectively scoped, sustainable and offer maximum benefit to the community.

“This incredible funding opportunity to partner with design professionals to get ahead of the game with shovel-ready designs will ensure Moreton Bay Regional Council has a significant advantage in the industry to deliver important community projects.”

Supporting local business

Last month, council implemented a ‘Local Preference’ policy to take immediate effect on all future procurement activities.

The council will award contracts worth $50,000 or less to local businesses in the first instance, and for contracts more than $50,000 a local preference weighting of 15 per cent will be applied to the tender evaluation scores.

Vision 1 Managing Director Craig Stack praised council’s policy to support local businesses.

“It is encouraging to see council implementing a policy whereby local businesses are preferred over ‘out-of-town’ consultancies,” Mr Stack says.

“This will ensure funds are filtered directly back into our region, it’s people and businesses. Smaller consultancies are generally based in the Moreton Bay Region and provide a better value-for-money service than the larger Brisbane-based firms.

“It’s important that funds for projects are used wisely to allow the maximum “bang-for-buck” for the region and ratepayers.”

Get involved

To register for council tenders, visit https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Council/Coronavirus-COVID-19/MBRC-Stimulus-Package

For information on council’s current procurement policies, visit https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Council/Procurement

Want more local news and updates, head to our blog.

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