The Mill at Moreton Bay

The Mill at Moreton Bay

Creating the future

Council is creating a thriving major destination that will generate thousands of local higher education and employment opportunities for the region.

With a full-scale University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Campus at its core, this new destination will offer world-class study opportunities for residents in the Moreton Bay Region. USC Moreton Bay is on track to welcome students in 2020, supported by additional work, study and community facilities and will cater for up to 10,000 university students in its first 10 years. USC Moreton Bay will have a comprehensive offering of courses including law, business, science, engineering and many specialty courses such as mechatronics.

The onsite train station will connect local residents from both the Redcliffe Peninsula Rail Line and the Caboolture Line to the new Petrie campus. Regular bus services and car parking infrastructure will also be a key feature to bring residents and business people from all over the region.

The Mill site location

The Mill at Moreton Bay Priority Development Area

The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA is approximately 460 hectares and is located within the suburbs of Petrie, Kallangur and Lawnton. The PDA takes in the Mill at Moreton Bay Redevelopment Project area and is bordered by Lawnton Pocket Road to the south and the Redcliffe Peninsula Rail Line in the north and north-west. The PDA also includes the existing Petrie town centre to the west of Petrie station and land to the south of the new Kallangur station. The North Pine River and Yebri Creek traverse the PDA.

The university's foundation facilities will be an iconic building structure located at the entrance to the former Petrie Paper Mill site. Located on former State Government-owned land, the site for the buildings is perfectly positioned for transport, will be visually striking and will allow the remainder of the site to be developed over time in an integrated manner.

Other works on site

Whilst works are underway to support development of the university's foundation facilities, significant other areas of the site continue to be remediated by the former owner, Orora under an approved Property Decommissioning Plan. This work involves extensive excavation and backfilling activities along with importing and exporting of materials from site. All work is subject to independent verification and is the responsibility of Orora under the contract of sale with Council. Haulage routes for fill associated with remediation works are also subject to an assessment and review process.


The Mill at Moreton Bay, 965 Gympie Road, Petrie 4502  View map

Google Map

During the initial planning for The Mill site, it was identified that careful management was required to ensure the enhancement and protection of the environmental areas on the site and the wildlife that inhabit these areas.

The Federal Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) specifically protects matters of national environmental significance, including nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places. 

In accordance with the EPBC Act, Council referred the proposed action to the Federal Government who deemed it to be a "controlled action". They completed a full assessment of the proposed action and provided approval, with conditions in September 2017. 

As part of the approval conditions, Council was required to develop a Koala Management Plan and is required to undertake revegetation and enhancement of environmental corridors. 

Revegetation and enhancement

More than 110 hectares will be conserved across the site for wildlife and environmental corridors. As depicted in the Concept Plan(PDF, 5MB), particular focus has been placed on retaining, rehabilitating and enhancing habitat along the North Pine River. 

In accordance with the EPBC approval conditions, Council is required to rehabilitate 26 hectares of koala habitat across the old settlement ponds. In addition, a further 74 hectares of koala habitat will be enhanced along the North Pine River to strengthen existing wildlife corridors and facilitate wildlife movement throughout the site.

Weed management has now been carried out across 55 hectares of bushland on the site, with a natural regeneration approach adopted to improve ecological resilience and diminish impacts of previous land use.

Council prepared a Koala Management Plan(PDF, 5MB) for the Mill at Moreton Bay Redevelopment in liaison with:

  • Dr Jon Hanger, Endeavour Veterinary Ecology
  • Dr Bill Ellis, Researcher, University of Queensland
  • Dr Peter Timms, Professor of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Health, Education & Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast. 

Koala monitoring program

Council engaged Endeavour Veterinary Ecology (EVE) to commence a koala monitoring program at The Mill site. This program involved fitting koalas with bio-telemetry collars for monitoring, carrying out regular health assessments and providing veterinary treatment in the case of injury or disease. 

Koala monitoring program video
Video transcript

As at 31 Otober 2020, 94 koalas have been fitted with telemetry devices for monitoring purposes and undergo regular health checks. In addition, there are 23 dependent joeys that will join the koala monitoring program as they become independent (at approximately 12 months of age).

Radio telemetry tracking
Tandem climb
Koala release
Mum and 4 month old joey after their health check

Monitoring koalas provides several benefits including:

  • ability to locate and protect koalas prior to construction activities
  • conducting regular health checks
  • early identification of behaviour that could indicate the presence of illness or injury
  • allows for data to be collated regarding movement between trees and corridors. 

Koala chlamydia vaccine

Council is a foundation funding partner with USC in the research, development and initial field trials of a chlamydia vaccine for koalas. Chlamydia is a serious threat, with 40% of all koalas presented to wildlife hospitals showing chronic symptoms of the disease which can lead to blindness, infertility and death. 

Koalas that were previously monitored as part of the Peninsula Rail Line project were included in the koala chlamydia vaccine field trials. Results indicate that the chlamydial disease prevalence of this population decreased from around 28% to less than 1% which is a promising sign.

USC is continuing development of the koala chlamydia vaccine, with Council and EVE working collaboratively with USC to carry out field trials as part of The Mill koala monitoring program.

Wild dog management program

Wild dogs are known to pose a significant threat to koala populations across South East Queensland.

Council continues its extensive wild dog management program in bushland areas around The Mill site, which to date has resulted in the removal of more than 40 wild dogs from the general area. The bushland areas around the site will continue to be monitored for wild dog activity.

Bernard Salt, one of Australia's leading experts on demographics said:

"the Moreton Bay Regional Council area is in my view the best location for a new university campus in Australia based on current and future demographics. A local, major higher-education campus will unlock job opportunities and supercharge this region's economic development and prosperity."

With around 613,000 residents in the Greater Moreton Bay Region, it could sustain around 67,000 university students 18-24 year olds in the region by 2031. 

Mr Salt made the case for a major new university in the region, saying such a campus could generate:

  • 10,000 university students by 2033 and 20,000 students at capacity
  • Create over 2,200 ongoing jobs for the Greater Moreton Bay Region by 2031
  • 100 direct construction jobs each year from 2016-30
  • 250 additional ongoing jobs in the local education and health sector from 2031
  • $950 million of economic benefit for the region.

View the Demographic Case for a University in the Moreton Bay Region(PDF, 6MB) by Bernard Salt.