OPINION: The Mill is the innovation opportunity the Moreton Bay region has been waiting for


Words by Leanne Kemp, Queensland Chief Entrepreneur

Moreton Bay Regional Council’s proposed Mill precinct - an innovation and technology-led hub in the heart of the region, north of Brisbane - is, in one word, spectacular.

It’s the innovation opportunity the region has been waiting for.

As reported in The Courier Mail, the council estimates The Mill precinct - which would be incorporated with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Moreton Bay campus - could supply up to 6000 jobs and $1 billion a year in economic impact.

The fact that the council has also voted to create an independent governance board - something called a beneficial enterprise, akin to the South Bank Corporation - to ensure the precinct remains a community asset and not something that can be sold off to developers further fortifies The Mill’s potential as a game-changing hub for the region.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible when you consider the ramifications of an asset that is focused not just on education or technology, but intelligent communities.

The Mill, while at this stage a proposed development, is a bold new vision for the region. As Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, and a proud local from Samford Valley, I am truly excited and inspired by the prospect of what has been proposed - to transform a large site bigger than the Brisbane CBD into an innovation hub.

So what does it take to even consider pulling off something of this magnitude? To put it succinctly, it takes vision. And The Mill is driven by a strong one.

The idea is based firmly in the community, and will be a technology-enabled precinct that could become a shining example of a space to help us as we transform smart cities into intelligent communities.

Queensland’s recently released “Building Our Innovation Economy” policy provides a well-considered blueprint and framework for how technology hubs like The Mill proposal can be the catalyst to create digital corridors, digital trade windows and innovation precincts in our state. 

Alongside new internet connectivity and digital infrastructure, this will spark entirely new businesses, jobs and economy opportunities.

At its heart, of course, is a new university. And what better way to enable intelligent community building than by having a high-tech knowledge and learning centre at its core. It’s something the region has desired for so long, and will now make exceptional quality education a reality for people who might not have previously had the resources to travel to the city or the Sunshine Coast.

We are so fortunate in Queensland to have incredible natural resources, natural beauty and natural talent. There are thousands of innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and startups across the state and this new precinct gives us the opportunity to foster innovation and put Queensland on the map internationally. 

This announcement and proposal for The Mill is a point in time we will look back on in 10 years’ time as the acorn of an idea that grew into a mighty oak.

Make no mistake, it could be a game changer for the community.