Featured News JCU vision for future a step closer with $5 million State Government funding

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Wed, 16 Jan 2019

JCU vision for future a step closer with $5 million State Government funding

Sod turning
The official party, including The Honourable Cameron Dick MP, Acting Premier, (centre left) and JCU's Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Cocklin, (centre right) turns the first sod on JCU's Central Plaza project.

The first sod was turned today on construction of a public plaza which will be central to a completely re-imagined James Cook University Townsville campus.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick said Central Plaza will be a social and entertainment hub in the heart of the University’s urban development project, Discovery Rise.

“Central Plaza is part of a big picture which will see JCU transitioning from a conventional institutional setting into a university town within the city of Townsville,” Mr Dick said.

“With Discovery Rise, JCU is creating an urban community with a series of residential villages and non-academic facilities built around the Douglas campus and Townsville Hospital.”

Mr Dick said the State Government’s Catalyst Infrastructure Program (CIP) had provided a co-investment of $5 million towards construction of Central Plaza, Stage 1 of a two-stage Ideas Market development.

“The flow-on benefits and returns to the wider Townsville community will be worth a great deal more,” he said.

“The Ideas Market will connect the University through public spaces and walkways, and once complete will help unlock $280 million of private sector investment in the Discovery Rise project.

“The interest-free catalyst funding, to be repaid by JCU over 10 years, is paired with a $7.6 million investment by the University in the recently completed Verandah Walk, linking Eddie Koiki Mabo Library, the Science Place and the Central Plaza.

“Stage 2 of the project will connect the Central Plaza and the new Technology Innovation Complex and includes further extensions to Verandah Walk.

“The catalyst funding is consistent with the State Government’s commitment to capturing economic uplift and supporting jobs. It is anticipated approximately 15 jobs will be supported during the four-month construction timeframe of the Central Plaza.

“Discovery Rise will transform the university campus from a conventional institutional setting into an urban community.”

James Cook University Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Cocklin said the Central Plaza is the focal point in the growth of the University’s knowledge community and the broader health and knowledge precinct being advanced under the Townsville City Deal.

“In particular, the adjoining Technology Innovation Complex will become a centre of innovation and STEM education for north Queensland, delivering a new generation of employees and entrepreneurs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for the region.

“Although Discovery Rise is a long-term project, spanning 10 to 20 years, Central Plaza provides an essential connection between its different elements. It’s the catalyst that enables the next stage of development, which will support jobs and bring new and sustained economic activity to the University,” Professor Cocklin said.

It is expected Discovery Rise will support approximately 1,050 construction jobs (not including residential) over four years and approximately 800 permanent jobs will be created from the new research, retail and health services.

Once completed, the urban precinct will be home to 8,000 residents and support a university population of 13,800 students and over 3,100 full-time university employees.

For more information visit the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation page.


Alistair Bone
JCU Media Liaison
M: 0409 734 542
P: 07 4781 4942
E: Alistair.bone@jcu.edu.au