The Mill at Moreton BayFrequently asked questions

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Moreton Bay Regional University by the numbers*

  • 90% of local residents currently travel outside of our region to attend university.
  • 100 direct jobs would be generated each year during construction of the university precinct. 250 additional ongoing jobs would be generated in the local education and health sector from 2031 due to this precinct.
  • 2,200+ additional ongoing jobs would be generated for the Greater Moreton Bay Region from 2031 thanks to this precinct.
  • 10,000 uni students are expected to be onsite at the university by 2033 and 20,000 students at capacity.
  • 67,000 18-24 year olds will live in the Greater Moreton Bay Region by 2031.
  • $950 million will be added to annual industry output for the Greater Moreton Bay Region as an outcome of this project.

* Estimated by KPMG 2015


About the site

About the University of the Sunshine Coast

Site preparations



Traffic and road planning

Project timeframes



STEM School

Hospital and health services

Sporting facilities

Development and business opportunities

Employment opportunities

Why did Council purchase the property?

In July 2015, Council purchased the former Petrie Paper Mill site as a key strategic land asset to secure this unique site in public ownership. Council purchased the site to drive economic, community and environmental outcomes in our region for the future including the opportunity to deliver a new full service university catering for the growing Moreton Bay Region population

Having now been selected as the Anchor Education Partner, Council will work closely with the University of the Sunshine Coast and its commercial adviser on a strong plan for the site that can address rapid growth in the region, provide quality education and ensure that site values are retained.

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How did Council pay for the purchase of the property?

The site has been purchased using money which had been set aside for strategic land purchase. The money for the purchase is already available and will have no impact on rates.

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Why is a university needed in the Moreton Bay Region?

Currently up to 90 per cent of university students in the Moreton Bay Region travel up to three hours a day to attend university, and the tyranny of distance or costs of moving from the region can often be a massive deterrent for many young people wanting to take on higher education. A local full-service university campus will promote less travel and congestion into Brisbane CBD, with more local job and study opportunities close to home for school-leavers and residents already in the workforce.

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When will the university open?

The PDA process is expected to fast-track the development of the university to ensure the campus and its foundation facilities can open to students by semester one 2020.

Detailed planning for the university campus is currently underway, and demolition and preparation work on the former Petrie Paper Mill site is on track.

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Why was the University of the Sunshine Coast chosen as the education partner?

The University of the Sunshine Coast was selected the preferred Anchor Education Partner, following a competitive Expression of Interest and tender process managed by KPMG.

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Who is USC?

USC is a Queensland-based university and is ranked as one of Australia's top universities for teaching quality. For 11 consecutive years, USC has received a five-star rating for teaching quality from the independently published Good Universities Guide. USC has also achieved higher than average participation rates for low socio-economic status students, proving to be a highly inclusive university provider. For more information visit the University of the Sunshine Coast website.

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How many students are proposed to study at the campus and what courses will be available?

The new USC Moreton Bay campus is expected to cater for up to 10,000 students within the first 10 years, starting from the year 2020. USC's Petrie campus will have a comprehensive offering of courses including law, business, science, engineering and many specialty courses such as mechatronics. It is expected this course offering will grow to more than 100 courses within 10 years of the campus' operation. USC has a broad range of preparatory classes to assist people transitioning into university study including those people who may not have finished Year 12, or have been in the workforce for some time and are returning to study.

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When will the campus open?

Subject to detailing planning, stage one of the university campus is expected to open and be delivering courses from Semester 1, 2020.

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What about QUT's campus in Caboolture?

On 15 June 2017, QUT and USC announced that the governing Councils of both universities have agreed to move towards a transfer of QUT’s Caboolture campus to USC from 1 January 2018.

USC's new campus at Petrie will be in addition to the Caboolture campus which currently caters for up to 900 students.

By 2036, Moreton Bay Region is set to grow to a population exceeding 630,000. USC Moreton Bay will provide a regional size campus to support our growing population and provide additional tertiary opportunities here within our own region.

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QUT Carseldine closed in November 2008. Does this mean there is a lack of demand for universities on the north side of Brisbane?

The QUT Brisbane-based campus closed over eight years ago. Population in the Moreton Bay Region has grown by more than 70,000 since that time and is predicted to grow by a further 40 percent over the next 20 years. (Source: Queensland Treasury, Office of Statistical Research: Population and Dwelling Profile - Moreton Bay Regional Council).

One of Australia's leading experts on demographics Bernard Salt has presented a compelling case [PDF 6.6MB] for why our region needs a new university campus. In his presentation to more than 600 business and community leaders on 23 October 2015, he 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."

The Mill at Moreton Bay will be a vibrant precinct that is centred around a new full service university campus. Importantly, and unlike Carseldine, it will not just be a university campus but a precinct with a range of complementary uses such as a health precinct and extensive areas of environmental and recreational value.

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Besides a university what else is proposed for the site?

Given the size of the site and proximity to the rail line, opportunity exists to look at a range of other uses that may complement the university. The Mill at Moreton Bay proposed Development Scheme will deliver a diverse range of education, health, retail, residential, recreation, commercial and environmental uses. The timing, approach and location of these uses will be subject to a detailed concept planning process that Council and the State Government will manage over the coming years.

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What cleaning and remediation works will be undertaken on the site to address any site contamination concerns?

Prior to redevelopment, the site is being decommissioned and remediated by Orora as the former owner of the site, under an approved Property Decommissioning Plan. All work is subject to independent verification and is the responsibility of Orora under the contract of sale with council.

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What is the current status of demolition on the site?

Work continues on the former Petrie Paper Mill site with the demolition of the former buildings now complete. Decommissioning and preparation of the site to enable the foundation facilities to be constructed is progressing.

Soon there will be three bodies of work being undertaken on site:

  1. Orora (former owner of the site) - ongoing decommissioning and remediation
  2. Council (current owners of the site) - site works to support delivery of the university’s foundation facilties
  3. USC (anchor education partner) - construction of the university’s foundation facilities
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What are all the trucks onsite?

The site requires extensive remediation to achieve the master plan outcomes. Over time there will be be new materials brought on site, materials taken off the site, and materials relocated within the site.

Whilst early priorities will focus on the university campus and foundation facilities, works will continue in all other areas of the site.

Site earthworks and filling are being undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the development approvals; requirements and conditions of the State and Federal Governments; and site-specific environmental management plans. These plans address traffic management (for fill haulage), vegetation management, fauna management, water quality and air quality.

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Will any buildings be retained on site?

An assessment of the previous buildings and smoke stacks on site revealed they were not in great condition to be salvaged or retained.

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How will the planning and design of the The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA reference the history and heritage of the area?

The area's history will be incorporated and represented as part of the ultimate redevelopment and considered as part of the concept planning stage. The name itself The Mill at Moreton Bay is a direct reflection of the initial community consultation response received in May 2016. Further acknowledgement of the site’s rich history will be considered as part of the ongoing design process.

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How will the site be designated for planning and approval purposes?

Council sought activation of a Priority Development Area (PDA) centred around the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct as a learning and employment hub of state significance. On 2 September 2016, the Queensland Government approved the declaration of The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA, recognising it as a regionally significant project to drive economic growth and employment and education opportunities for the future. The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA Development Scheme [17.6MB] regulates all development on land within the boundary of the PDA.

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What is a Priority Development Area (PDA)?

A PDA is identifies an area targeted to accelerate development with a focus on economic growth. Giving a site PDA status recognises its potential to drive economic growth, and streamlines the planning, approval and development processes to fast-track development for community benefit.

More information is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning fact sheet or visit The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA website

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What is the process for a PDA application to the State Government?

Council's PDA application was considered by the Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. An announcement was made on 2 September 2016 declaring a PDA over the site which is now known as The Mill at Moreton Bay.

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What is 'The Mill at Moreton Bay' Priority Development Area?

The Mill at Moreton Bay, formerly known as the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct, is a 460-hectare Priority Development Area (PDA) spanning the suburbs of Petrie, Lawnton, and Kallangur, which will be transformed into a vibrant urban community with a new university precinct and a revitalised Petrie town centre at its core. The Mill will be a place where people can work, live and play around education, with a range of commercial, residential and recreational facilities, and easy access to the South East Queensland rail network, Bruce Highway and Gympie Road. The PDA will also deliver strong environmental outcomes, conserving more than 110 hectares of bushland and lakes for the region's future.

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Where is The Mill located?

The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA is approximately 460 hectares and is located within the suburbs of Petrie, Kallangur and Lawnton. The PDA is bordered by Lawnton Pocket Road to the south and the Redcliffe Peninsula 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.

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Why was this location chosen?

Not only does a surrounding established population provide a readily accessible market, but The Mill at Moreton Bay is also strategically located in close proximity to Petrie town centre, and key transport infrastructure including Petrie train station (at the junction of the existing North Coast Line and the Redcliffe Peninsula Line), Gympie Road and the Bruce Highway. A PDA in this location will also allow for the conservation of more than 110 hectares of bushland and lakes.

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How will the PDA affect the local planning scheme?

Since the declaration of the PDA, Moreton Bay Regional Council has worked closely with the State Government to finalise a proposed Development Scheme ready for public consultation. Moreton Bay PDA Development Scheme commenced on 18 August 2017, replacing The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA Interim Land Use Plan and becoming the primary planning instrument for the PDA.

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How will the site's environmental values be considered and protected?

The Mill at Moreton Bay Redevelopment project is a unique opportunity to transform a former industrial site into one centred on education, learning and innovative solutions while delivering a net gain in environmental values, including the region's koala population.

Public ownership of areas within the site will help conserve more than 110 hectares of vital wildlife and environmental corridors, including the protection and enhancement of over 25 hectares of remnant vegetation. Rehabilitation works have also commenced to remove weeds from priority areas to promote natural regeneration.

To identify priority environmental values, the state government maps areas of ‘State Environment Significance’ and local governments map areas of “Local Environmental Significance”.

Prior to works occurring on The Mill site, an environmental survey was carried out. The survey confirmed areas of environmental value which are priorities for protection and enhancement. Other areas which were mapped by the State Government as ‘significant’ were found to contain predominately weed species, such as slash pines. Subsequently, a new map was created defining areas of environmental values.

Council will continue to work with a range of stakeholders, including koala groups and environmental specialists, to ensure the full environmental values of the site are realised and managed appropriately.

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How will the potential of flooding be managed on the site?

Just like any other proposed development across the region, development of the site and precinct must ensure it does not directly, indirectly or cumulatively increase the severity of natural hazards (including overland flow) and potential for damage on the site or to other properties.

These requirements are built into the development scheme for the PDA and therefore will be assessed as part of any development application that has potential to impact the flooding characteristics of the area.

Further to this, the PDA-wide criteria requires development to achieve the flooding planning level, which as adopted by MBRC, is the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) in the year 2100 plus a freeboard of 750mm.

Extensive flood modelling has been undertaken by MBRC for the Lower Pine River Catchment. This modelling has been and will continue to be used to analyse and inform development proposed within the PDA. The PDA-wide criteria related to flooding is consistent with the requirements of the MBRC Planning Scheme and MBRC’s Floodplain Management Strategy. Hydrologic and hydraulic modelling reports are available on MBRC’s website.

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How will the existing and future traffic issues be managed?

Through the PDA planning process, Council will work closely with State Government agencies to identify opportunities to reduce congestion and bottlenecks in the local area, such as Petrie roundabout as the project progresses. Key infrastructure, including proposed road connections, primary pedestrian connections and key intersections, are identified in the Development Scheme.

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Will the proposed East Petrie bypass be delivered as part of the project?

Council appreciates that the community is eager to see resolution around the East Petrie bypass. Given Council's acquisition of the site and proposed commencement of planning, discussions will be held with the Department of Transport and Main Roads regarding the alignment and opportunities to bring forward some certainty around this important connection.

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When will the Petrie Roundabout be upgraded?

In the 2017 State Budget the Queensland Government announced $7.5 Million will be spent over three years to draft engineering and traffic management plans to upgrade the roundabout. The State’s Department of Transport and Main Roads will take lead on the project.

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What is the proposed completion date?

The key project milestone is the opening of the University campus to students in Semester 1, 2020. To achieve this a range of activities need to be undertaken including the decommissioning of the existing site, concept planning, site preparation and infrastructure delivery, statutory planning approvals and construction.

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What are the overall timeframes for the development of the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct?

At this stage, Council is focussed on the obtaining the necessary approvals to undertake early site works and approvals for the University’s foundation facilities. Early works such as the civil works need to commence on site in 2017 to enable construction of the university to commence in 2018 for an opening in 2020. Council will continue to work through the concept planning phase to look at other opportunities for complementary site uses to also be established. The overall redevelopment of the PDA site is expected to be completed by 2036.

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Have you consulted the local community?

Council has now undertaken two rounds of consultation with the community. This included a period of consultation in May 2016 to gain the community’s view on the project and the redevelopment of the former Petrie Paper Mill site into a new University Precinct. This feedback has been used to shape the preparation of the proposed development scheme for this site and the broader Priority Development Area.

Public notification of the proposed Development Scheme for The Mill at Moreton Bay PDA was held from Wednesday 12 April to Tuesday 30 May 2017. During this time all interested parties - including the community, residents, and business operators were invited to view the proposed Development Scheme and make a written submission for consideration by Council.

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Who is funding the development of the site?

Council engaged a consortia through a public tender process to work with Council on a number of deliverables including a Development Feasibility and Staging Plan. This work is informing the proposed funding model for delivery of the site. There are a range of funding models that can be explored to help deliver the site at a cost that does not impact on Council's existing and forecasted budgets. As the site concept planning commences a range of uses and funding models will be tested to ensure a good return is provided to the community including social benefits.

Council will also explore various opportunities to work with both the State and Federal Governments like the approach adopted for the Moreton Bay Rail Link to support delivery of this regionally significant project.

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What has been funded in the council budget?

A funding allocation of $13 million in the 2016/17 council budget will allow for the planning and design work associated with the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct.

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What happens if Council doesn’t get enough funding from other levels of government?

Council is currently negotiating opportunities for Federal and State funding support for this project. Council has indicated it will not increase rates to pay for this project.

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Has the Federal Government committed federal funding towards the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct?

The Federal Coalition made a commitment of $35 million in June 2016 during the Federal Election to develop a new university campus for the Moreton Bay Region. Council will continue to work closely with the Federal Government to maximise funding opportunities and delivery of this important economic hub for our region.

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Has the State Government committed state funding towards the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct?

In March 2016, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined Member for Kallangur Shane King and Member for Pine Rivers Nikki in visiting Moreton Bay Region University Precinct and issued a media statement During this media event the Premier announced the Queensland Government would examine the possibility of establishing a Science Technology Engineering (STEM) school on site.

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Will a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) school be established on site?

The Queensland Government announced in March 2016 that it will examine whether a STEM school could be built onsite and integrated with the major new university campus. Council and USC continue to work closely with the Queensland Government to progress consideration of this proposal.

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Will there be a hospital on site?

As part of council’s vision for the site, a hospital or specialist medical centre could be a great addition to the site. In 2015, Regional Development Australia (RDA) Moreton Bay undertook a study looking at the health care needs in the region over the next 10 years. Council is also undertaking its own planning work for the university site site to investigate a range of complementary uses such as a health precinct.

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Will the site include sporting facilities like those at the USC campus at Sippy Downs?

Both Council and USC have aims to see a significant sporting precinct in this location. Scope and timing will be subject to available funding. The Development Scheme identifies a Sport and Recreation Park in the university and mixed use-area that will have major sporting elements servicing the new and existing communities with a nexus to the university.

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How can I register my interest for potential development and business opportunities on site?

At this point in time Council is focused on the early works and approvals required for the foundation facilities to open. As the concept planning phase continues opportunities for businesses to formally express interest will be sought at a future date.

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How can I register my interest for potential employment opportunities?

Enquiries in relation to campus employment for the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct should be made via our anchor education partner - University of the Sunshine Coast.

Please direct your query to the University of the Sunshine Coast website

All other employment opportunities for Moreton Bay Regional Council will be advertised on the Employment with Council page.

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