News

$20 million Grantham backpacker complex signed off

SIGNED: Louis Bickle and Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan sign off on the development of a backpackers complex in Grantham.
SIGNED: Louis Bickle and Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan sign off on the development of a backpackers complex in Grantham. Lachlan McIvor

A $20 million backpacker and farm worker accommodation complex set for Grantham was signed off today by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council and one of Australia's largest developers.

Construction on the site off Philps Road will start in a matter of weeks, with the 75-acre complex designed to cater for just over 600 workers at a time once completed.

Louis Bickle of the Katarzyna Group said discussions of a project of this kind were first held with former Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones, who saw a desperate need for a hub that can provide high quality, safe and compliant accommodation for the region's seasonal workers.

"The new mayor and the committee (also) saw the need for this and followed his instructions and here we are," Mr Bickle said.

"What we believe is that farm workers need a decent place to sleep, they need decent food to eat... and they need a good place to socialise.

"Those three essential items are going to be the fabric of these buildings."

The first stage of the development, which will allow 300 to be housed, should be completed by Christmas of this year with the second stage, which will add another 304 beds, to be undertaken in due time.

Mr Bickle said the complex would be the first of its kind in the country to be undertaken and it will feature cooking facilities, a bar, recreational areas, shuttle bus access as well as an eco-friendly ethos.

"It's obvious to everybody that you need this... I don't know how many shires there are in Queensland, but this is basically the first one that has realised it has got to happen," he said.

"This area feeds most of Australia... somebody's got to pluck it or get it out of the ground. So this is a major demand centre for labour.

 

Louis Bickle and Tanya Milligan look out at the development site in Grantham.
Louis Bickle and Tanya Milligan look out at the development site in Grantham. Lachlan McIvor

"Maybe six weeks will be a reasonable time to say we're going to put the first pick in the ground."

Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan said there was no secret that the valley's workers had been calling out for something like this to come to fruition.

"For a very, very long time our region has been looking for safe, reliable and appropriate accommodation for our backpackers here in our region," Cr Milligan said.

"I think it will certainly make Grantham buzz in a real positive manner... it will certainly be a catalyst for more great things for the area."

With the 457 visa being abolished this week by the Federal Government, Cr Milligan wanted to assure changes will not hamper the potential of the project and the future of seasonal workers in the region.

"Conversations that I've had with two of our multicultural people and also with some of the feedback from the farmers... it won't have any effect which is good for us," she said.

She hoped, as overseas workers flocked to the state-of-the-art complex, they would carry word of the benefits of working in the Lockyer Valley back home.

"We want people when they're sending vlogs home to their family (to say) that they've had an awesome time here in the Lockyer Valley," she said.

"They are talking to their family members, their friends, about what their experience is like."

Having a central hub that workers cherished would help create a consistent workforce for local farmers like Derek Schulz, who hires around 40 workers during peak season.

"Some of them get treated very harshly where they are, which is just not fair," Mr Schulz said.

"We need to look after them, the more we can give them, the more we can show them and the more we nurture them, the better off the whole valley will be for it."

Keeping workers happy would benefit both parties, meaning they're more likely to stay on a farm for several months, rather than a couple weeks as can often be the case, with both reaping the rewards.

"It's a great thing if we can get the three months out of the people... we know that we're comfortable there for three months," he said.

"They will be happy, we'll be happy and the whole system will just really snowball ahead."


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Australia's biggest wind farm coming to Darling Downs

WIND POWER: Australia's largest wind farm is set to be built in the Darling Downs north of Dalby by AGL and GE.

Wind farm will produce enough energy to power 260,000 average homes

Sex tape sequel: Man caught on camera slapped with penalty

SEX SLAVES: Human trafficking will be discussed at the upcoming Splendour Immerse Women Conference at Gayndah's ACC Church. Photo Brandon Livesay / Central & North Burnett Times

Offender exposed himself on pool table in beer garden

Your snaps could help us understand artesian springs

Travel snaps of Great Artesian Basin springs could help the government document their unique ecosystems.

Holiday snaps could help government protect springs

Local Partners

Severe fire danger warning for Darling Downs regions

AUTHORITIES are warning of severe fire conditions across the Darling Downs, Granite Belt and Maranoa regions due to recent weather patterns.

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Dancers show off skills at Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Milla Rowbotham and Rebecca Gill from All Star Dance Academy .Toowoomba Eisteddfod, Empire Theatre. August 2017

Poems and dances dominated the 72nd City of Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Radio host Matt Okine leaps to small screen

Funnyman talks about the inspiration behind his show, The Other Guy.

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

Jennifer Lawrence had to settle for third this year behind Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston.

CAN you guess who has dethroned Jennifer Lawrence?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

She’s definitely not shy to pose in a bikini.

Life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley.

Big Bang Theory star spills details about Season 11

Mayim Bialik plays Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory.

MAYIM Bialik has shared some details about what fans can expect.

The Bachelor Australia: Awful joke leaves Matty stunned

Sharlene’s mouth hangs agape after her car crash breakup.

I’m actually one of the bachelorettes — I’m not the external caterer

Samsung set for bigger, beach friendly Note 8

Samsung will be going bigger than ever to launch its Note 8 after this year's launch of the S8.

Water, dust, now sand-resistant?

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!