A solicitor by profession, Raynuha Sinnathamby joined her father at Springfield Land Corporation as a director in 1998 and is now deputy managing director. She spoke to Amal Awad about working on the Greater Springfield project, located in the third-fastest growth corridor in Australia, and now in its 20th year.
What is it like working in a family business?
It is a privilege to work alongside my father, Maha, who started building his dream in 1992, with the purchase of a remote 2860 ha parcel of land outside Brisbane.
Maha is a passionate, inspiring man and we share a can-do mindset, so no challenge is too big. However, I do what is expected of every other Springfield employee and don’t expect any special treatment.
What makes Springfield work?
The keys to Greater Springfield’s success have been forward planning for growth and turning no’s into yes’s. When it was first mooted 20 years ago, the project was denounced by many as too hard but our persistence has now been recognised as one of the best master planned communities in the world by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).
What have been the most satisfying achievements?
Greater Springfield’s focus on education is very gratifying. Forty-five per cent of the city’s population is in some form of formal learning. That’s about 10,300 students attending childcare, school, training or tertiary institutions and this year alone enrolments grew by 19 percent.
Recently the University of Southern Queensland announced plans for a new building at its Springfield campus, recognising the growth in the area.
Prioritising learning means Greater Springfield doesn’t have concerns about the shortage of skilled workers that plagues other regions, so it is the ideal place for businesses seeking trained employees.
If Springfield was conjured up today, do you think it would be a feasible project?
Project feasibility is related to consideration of issues such as risk, timeframes and rewards. Most developers would not undertake a project with a vision as grand as Greater Springfield because of the high cost of entry, the extensive timeframe (20+ years) and the need to produce short-term returns for investors.
What is the next step for Greater Springfield?
The $1.2 billion Springfield Rail project, which will be completed next year, will change the face of commuting and widen the access of Greater Springfield even further, connecting directly to Brisbane CBD and beyond.
We are now well on the way to establishing Greater Springfield’s Health City, which will provide 52ha of integrated health and medical services. It is modelled on research from Partners Harvard Medical International as a one-stop health and wellness destination, encompassing primary care, hospital services, retirement and aged care.
Importantly, the health precinct will service regional and rural areas as well as Brisbane’s western corridor. By building a new hospital and health care centre in the area, we can boost the skilled, localised workforce. Health City will help redefine health delivery in Queensland and integrateing it with educational opportunities will make it a model for health delivery worldwide.
Also, the Federal Government has recently announced its commitment to contributing $5 million to stage two of Robelle Domain Springfield Central Parklands (a total of $15 million required for the project) which will see the parkland become something similar to South Bank in Brisbane.
Where is the property industry heading?
As our cities get more crowded and affordability becomes increasingly important, community leaders must foster opportunities to redistribute the population and better service regional areas.
Forward planning allows cities to meet and adapt to the transport, economic, education, health and technological needs of every resident, and that gives buyers confidence they are joining a community which will cater for the whole family.
Greater Springfield is a 2860 ha master planned residential development in Ipswich, 26km from Brisbane
Population: 23,000 (projected to reach 105,000 by 2030)
Greater Springfield contains six suburbs: Springfield Central, Brookwater, Springfield Lakes, Springfield, Augustine Heights and Spring Mountain
Springfield Central will see construction of up to $350 million in value over the next few years, with the completion of a $1.2 billion rail project, the construction of the University of Southern Queensland’s third building facility, approval of Stage 2 of Mirvac’s Orion Springfield Town Centre, Brookwater Retail Village, two new schools and anticipated developments in Parkside and Health City
Twenty-eight percent of Greater Springfield will remain green space