April 23, 2015
  • Terry Moore

Southeast Queensland's newest public university could be built on 200 hectares of land at Petrie, if plans from Moreton Bay Regional Council go ahead.

Mayor Alan Sutherland confirmed on Wednesday the council was in the final stage of negotiations - which began in 2013 - to buy the old Amcor Petrie Paper Mill site to make way for a possible university.

"Council has been negotiating for quite a while now – a 12-month period –with the people that own the old paper mill site," Cr Sutherland said.

Moreton Bay Regional Council is making plans for a university at Petrie in order to service the region's growing population. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

He said some areas of the large site were "under constraint", but said there was plenty of flexibility in how the site could be used if the council was successful.

"But there is a footprint that is quite sizeable that will be suitable for a university precinct," Cr Sutherland said.

Cr Sutherland said there was good rail access to the site, which would make it attractive to a private operator and to students.

"Petrie Station is actually on site," he said. "It was built for the original mill.

"So in effect, it is on the intersection of the east-west rail and the north south.

The 2011 census showed Moreton Region (52 per cent) had a lower than state average proportion (54.2 per cent) of people with a tertiary qualification.

The mayor said there was no major university campus in the region, which currently had more than 350,000 residents - a figure which would grow to 500,000 by 2031.

That lack was identified in the council's regional planning planning strategy one of two key weaknesses in the Moreton Bay region.

The issue was also highlighted in the region's economic development strategy.

"Given that we are going to have a population larger than Tasmania in 20 years, one would think good future planning would allow for a future university campus in the region," Cr Sutherland said.

He said the broad concept was that the council would call for expressions of interest to develop a university campus and then allow a tender process to proceed.

"In August we intend to have an open day on the site to release it to the public," he said.

"If people want some consultation, we are happy to show them our plans."

Cr Sutherland said he wanted to make it clear that while the council was well advanced with its planning, it did not yet own the old Paper Mill site.

However he said negotiations were underway.

"There is even negotiations going on now back at the council chambers," Cr Sutherland said on Wednesday.

"We are just going through the final legal detail and we hope to be in a position to be able to make an announcement before the end of the year."

However some Moreton Bay residents have questioned the need for the council to buy land for a university campus. 

Alan Preo, secretary of Reclaim Caboolture Shire Incorporated, warned on the group's website that the university proposal could be expensive for ratepayers.

"It is difficult to understand why Moreton Bay Regional Council is getting involved with projects such as railways and universities, which have not been the province of local government, but rather state governments," Mr Preo said.

"The dream of Mayor Sutherland and his university may turn into a nightmare and leave the Moreton Bay regional community with excessive and unnecessary debt."


Land Area: 266.79 ha Building Area:
Land Area ($/m2): $6 Building Area($/m2):
Sale Amount: $14,206,000 Sale Type: Normal Sale
Method Of Sale:  
Sale Category:   Document Status:  
Contract Date: 05/06/2003 Settlement Date: 30/06/2003
UCV Date: 01/10/2001 UCV Amount: $6,800,000
Secondary Land Use: NONE