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21 November 2023
BlueScope Unveils 100-Year Plan for Port Kembla Surplus Land
PORT KEMBLA - After 18 months of intensive research, analysis and community engagement, BlueScope has unveiled the Master Plan to develop 200 Hectares (Ha) of non-steelmaking, excess landholdings adjacent to the Port Kembla Steelworks.
The Master Plan will see BlueScope transform the surplus land next door to its steelmaking plant, into a next generation multi-industrial precinct with potential to create 30,000 jobs in emerging industries like clean energy, defence etc.
BlueScope Managing Director and CEO Mark Vassella made the announcement in front of around 200 community leaders and employees at an event in the Illawarra on Monday evening. He hailed it as “one of the most significant land transformation and jobs creation opportunities in Australia”.
To underpin the Company’s immediate ambitions for its large-scale coastal landholdings BlueScope also announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TAFE NSW to explore the opportunity for a ‘Super TAFE’ on the site.
BlueScope engaged Denmark’s Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a global leader in urban design and architecture of industrial sites, to craft a "new urban model" for the Company’s surplus land – an area larger than the Melbourne CBD.
The project adhered to BlueScope's First Nation’s Framework, recognising Country and aiming to retain over 60% of the transformed site as green and blue space and open parklands. Mark Vassella said “As we fast approach our 100-year anniversary of steelmaking here in Port Kembla, we are acutely aware of the cultural and historical significance of this site, one of the largest manufacturing sites in Australia. Our plan is to retain approximately 70% of the existing building floorspace to preserve this important steelmaking heritage.
“We already have around $2 Billion of capital investment manufacturing projects planned or underway in Port Kembla, and now with the release of the Master Plan, it’s absolutely true to say, there has never been a more exciting time for BlueScope and the Illawarra”.
“To explain the scale of this land development opportunity the Melbourne CBD fits within the 200 Ha of surplus land. In a sporting sense, a sports stadium is typically about half a hectare, meaning this site is equivalent to around 400 MCG stadiums.
“Our urban planners, BIG often remind us of the global scale of this opportunity. They also remind us how unique the opportunity is given we own the land, it’s just over an hour from Sydney, is adjacent to Australia’s largest manufacturing site, has access to a deep sea port, and the local transport infrastructure includes a six-lane highway and four train stations within its boundary.
Jobs and Economic Impact
“Preliminary economic modelling by Deloitte suggests the master plan could generate an additional 20,000 jobs and contribute up to $5 Billion annually to the Gross Regional Product (GRP). This would see BlueScope’s economic contribution in New South Wales double from 1% to 2% of Gross State Product (GSP).
“Our flag on the hill over the coming decades is to see 30,000 people working on this site in all sorts of new industries and services. That’ll take us back to the heyday of the Port Kembla Steelworks,” Mr Vassella said.
TAFE NSW MOU
Recognising the need for skilled individuals to fill the jobs of the future in emerging industries, BlueScope and TAFE NSW announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the potential for an industry-based ‘Super TAFE’ at the heart of the master plan lands.
The MoU outlines how the parties intend to work together over the next six months to explore the concept of establishing a ‘super TAFE’ on BlueScope surplus land at Port Kembla by 2028; and develop a business case that analyses all aspects of the opportunity.
Mark Vassella added, “We are delighted to be working with TAFE NSW to explore this opportunity. They share our vision for ensuring continued growth in opportunities that support people looking to build their careers in the Illawarra region.
“Over the 18-month Master Plan period, we have conducted extensive stakeholder and community engagement with thousands of voices heard. It was important to understand what the community wants to see on this site and to get feedback to help test and shape our emerging vision.
“According to a community survey by Reptrak in April 2023, 86% of the Illawarra community agree this is a significant opportunity for the region. The research also identified that new jobs in clean energy, education, training, and tech and research should be the focus. Crucially, this aligns well with the Master Plan vision.
“While the Master Plan has been revealed, now the real work starts! This includes further community consultation, conducting commercial analysis on how this long-term development play could be structured and financed, as well as addressing streamlined planning approval frameworks, and determining infrastructure requirements.
“As the master plan unfolds, BlueScope looks forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders, the community, and government bodies to bring this transformative vision to life,” said Mr Vassella.
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