Launceston City Deal signed by Malcolm Turnbull, Will Hodgman and Albert van Zetten | Photos, video

DEAL: Mayor Albert van Zetten, Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor, Treasurer Peter Gutwein and senator David Bushby announce the City Deal. Picture: Scott Gelston
DEAL: Mayor Albert van Zetten, Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor, Treasurer Peter Gutwein and senator David Bushby announce the City Deal. Picture: Scott Gelston

The City Deal aims to make Launceston one of the nation’s most liveable and innovative regional cities by 2020, with growing incomes and falling levels of disadvantage.

The agreement was signed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Premier Will Hodgman and Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten on Thursday.

The details were announced by Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor and Treasurer Peter Gutwein, who have been actively involved in brokering the agreement.

“This City Deal was first announced as a plan for the government last year and over the last nearly 12 months we have been working on a plan for Launceston to reshape the city,” Mr Taylor said.

“At the centre of this was the initial commitment to relocate the university but the deal is about more than that, it is about driving growth, innovation, industry, jobs and skills in the great city of Launceston.”

He said the deal contained a comprehensive set of initiatives including investment in the City Heart project, revitalisation of the northern suburbs and a taskforce to focus on the Tamar Estuary.

“This City Deal will change the face of this city and this region positively for the next 100 years and the deal itself will see that we deliver $260 million into the relocation of the university campus, nearly $20 million into the City Heart project and additional funding into the Tamar River," Mr Gutwein said.

“By the end of this coming year, Launceston will have a plan for how it will deal with its combined water and sewerage system and how to improve the health of the estuary.”

An investment of $2 million will be used to identify priority actions in a River Health Action Plan to reduce pollution in the Tamar Estuary from urban and rural land users.

Mitigating pollution from Launceston’s combined sewerage and stormwater system will also be investigated as part of the deal.

The deal also includes a commitment to explore funding for upgrades to the city’s combined system, which could include use of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The first milestone payment is expected in August and the Prime Minister said more details would be available in the upcoming federal budget.

A further component of the City Deal is to develop a community-led master plan for the UTAS Newnham Campus site and to identify opportunities to support the continued growth of the Australian Maritime College.

When asked if this part of the plan could work in conjunction with the federal government’s new Maritime Technical College in Adelaide Mr Turnbull said the future for the AMC was “brighter then ever”.

“There is massive investment we are making in naval shipbuilding is going to secure more demand for graduates of the Australian Maritime College,” he said.

“The AMC will work closely with the (recently announced and federally funded) technical college in Adelaide which is going to be more of a vocational skills based institution whereas the AMC is a degree based institution.”

A Northern Suburbs Revitalisation Plan will also be delivered under the City Deal by 2018 to improve employment, infrastructure, public space, transport and land use.

A new Australian Army cadet facility and training facility will be established in the northern suburbs to help young people build resilience, leadership, values and team work skills. 

Alderman van Zetten said the signing of the deal marked a very important day for Launceston.  

“People are starting to see where can they invest, how can they invest and a lot of opportunities are opening up,” he said.

“A further benefit of the City Deal is having a shared vision between the state, Commonwealth and the council to ensure [support for] key areas of our city, including the Tamar River.” 

The City Deal will conclude in 2022 but Mr Taylor said there would be room for review as the agreement was an “enduring document” but the governments “want to get stuff done as fast as possible”.