How FKG is building Toowoomba's own Silicon Valley

An artist's impression of the technology park.
An artist's impression of the technology park. Contributed

UPDATE: The creation of a new technology park being dubbed Toowoomba's Silicon Valley will create a whole new industry of highly-skilled workers, proponents say.

FKG Group this morning lodged plans with Toowoomba Regional Council which outline the creation of the Toowoomba Technology Park.

That park will be a home to entrepreneurs and start-up companies who will create jobs for researchers, scientists, IT workers, game designers, app creators and software developers.

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The proposal comes on top of an already public plan for a data centre in the Witmack Industry Park.

Construction is due to start on the Pulse Data Centre in August this year.

The first stage will feature three data centres in one cluster and another wholesale centre, along with two disaster recovery buildings and a service building.

FKG Group group manager of property developments Dallas Hunter said between 5000 and 10,000 jobs could be created by the park.

Analysis done by FKG shows the two main employers in Toowoomba are the health and education sectors at 10% and 12% respectively.

The Pulse Date Centre.
The Pulse Date Centre.

The region is lagging behind the Australian average in the two sectors of information, media and IT, and professional, technical and scientific with only 3% and 4% of the population employed in those jobs.

Mr Hunter said the aim was to create a whole new industry in Toowoomba and make those industries rival the education sector.

He said the proposal tied in perfectly with the Federal Government's innovation drive.

The park will be built at a fraction of the cost of those in capital cities.

EARLIER: FKG Group is bringing the "ideas boom" to Toowoomba, announcing today plans to establish a technology park, home to one of Australia's first regional data centres, the Pulse Data Centre.

The leading construction and engineering group has lodged an application with Toowoomba Regional Council for approval of the new 29-hectare technology park at Witmack Road.

FKG Group's move to establish one of the largest technology parks outside the capital cities is a significant boost to regional Australia, potentially revolutionising the technology driven industry and supporting the innovation agenda of both the State and Federal government to generate new jobs and regional economic growth.

The Toowoomba Technology Park incorporates the latest technological advances, with its highly efficient design utilising the excellent local environmental conditions.

With high power capacity and a large available footprint, the Park will offer multiple tier levels and tailored security requirements for clients.

The location of FKG Group's proposed technology park.
The location of FKG Group's proposed technology park.

"The application lodged includes a large co-location data centre, wholesale data centre capability, research incubator, disaster recovery space, start up offices and service facilities, with room for further expansion within the Park," said Dallas Hunter, group manager - property developments for the FKG Group.

"Importantly for Toowoomba, this new technology industry hub is expected to generate significant employment opportunities in information, media, telecommunications and agricultural technology, resulting in an estimated 5000 new jobs as we tap into growing demand from Australia and Asia."

Since receiving preliminary approval in December 2015, the FKG Group has been finalising and detailing the design of the Park and negotiating with potential clients and interested tenants.

The site plan of the project. Photo Contributed
The site plan of the project. Photo Contributed Contributed

The centrepiece of the Park, and one of the first of its kind in Australia, the Pulse Data Centre will feature a highly resilient, Tier 3 design with incremental capacity up to 50 megawatts, providing prime data centre capacity and also business continuity protection to both corporate and government clients in a secure location 507 metres above sea level.

"We have been delighted by the high level of local, national and international enquiries for this important new initiative in Australia's second-largest inland city," said Pulse Data Centre General Manager, Peter Blunt.

"Pulse Data Centre will rival leading data centres in Australia's capital cities for connectivity, resilience and security. Technology will supercharge many industries and this data centre will play an important role in ensuring the benefits of the innovation boom extend from city to country," said Mr Blunt, who has more than 10 years' experience in the operation and construction of such centres.

Subject to regulatory approvals, construction of the new centre is expected to commence in August 2016, with completion, testing and commissioning to be finalised by early next year.

9.50AM: Plans have been lodged with Toowoomba Regional Council for one of Australia's largest technology parks to be built in Toowoomba.

FKG announced last year it wanted to build a 29ha regional data centre within the FKG Witmark Industry Park on Witmack Rd. A development application has now been lodged with council.

It will cost about $100m to build and create 5000 jobs.

The $20m first stage of the 12,000sq m centre would comprise 300 data racks with construction expected to start within 12-months of approval.

FKG group manager property development Dallas Hunter said it would be an exciting project and a significant economic development driver for the Toowoomba region.

"Toowoomba is a perfect location to build a high-tech, secure data facility due its geographic advantages being 100 km from Brisbane, with low yearly temperature variation and extremely good fibre connections being arranged," said Mr Hunter.

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