The economy, investments and opportunities in North Queensland – an adviser's perspective
In this episode, Head of Advice and Retirement Anne Fuchs dives into the potential and promise in North Queensland with Joe Carey, proud Townsville resident, advocate and Partner at the Carey Group. Joe's passion for developing the region is evident as the two discuss ecotourism, the North Queensland Stadium, Hell's Gate and PresCare, exploring the investment potential of this infrastructure for Sunsuper's members.
Intro: Welcome to the New School of Super. A fresh look at money matters, your super and the things that could affect your financial dreams now and in future with Sunsuper's Chief Economist Brian Parker and Head of Advice and Retirement Anne Fuchs.
Anne Fuchs: Hello and thanks for listening. Welcome to the New School of Super - Sunsuper's podcast series covering investment markets, money matters, your super and most importantly, making sure you achieve your retirement dreams. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Anne Fuchs, and I'm the head of advice and retirements here at Sunsuper. Now, today we have a very special guest. Joe Carey from Carey Group. He is an Ingham boy, a cane farmer from way back. And you know, he and his father and brother set up in accounting firm many, many years ago, and they run a really high quality ethical professional services firm, that helps North Queenslanders navigate the complex world of superannuation, accounting, tax and they are there working with our members and lots of other people in the community around living their retirement dreams. So, welcome Joe.
Joe Carey: Anne, thank you so much. Thank you for that humbling and welcoming, ah well, welcoming. Really appreciate being here today, and looking forward to the opportunity just talking about the opportunities in North Queensland.
Anne Fuchs: Yes, well, I am. And before we do that, I should make sure I stay in the good books of our compliance team and just let our listeners know that today we're just talking about general information only. We're not giving you personal financial advice, and it's not taking into account your personal situation. If you're a financial advisor yourself and you're interested around any of the assets we're talking about today, you can contact our business development team, and certainly our members can contact our call centre on 13 11 84 for a copy of our product disclosure statement or any more information about the really exciting things that Sunsuper is doing in North Queensland.
So my favourite part, I have to confess I have a favourite part of North Queensland, and it involves a bloke with a really great smile and laugh - Jonathan Thurston. I've got a bit of a, you know, a crush on him, if I might confess so I'd love to talk about the Cowboys first because I think the stadium and the Centre of Excellence is just so exciting for the region.
Joe Carey: Fantastic Anne, and yes, you're not the only one who has that crush. And look, we are very proud of the Cowboys, and I'm very proud of all of our players and members and support staff. And Jonathan is obviously a shining light of the Cowboys and does a fantastic job in promoting the region.
Anne Fuchs: So what does that, you know, what does that stadium - the development of that really key piece of infrastructure - what does that mean for the people of Townsville?
Joe Carey: The stadium has been in the making for about six or seven years, and just watching that come out of the ground at the moment in the CBD, and looking at the sales going on, looking at the stadium, looking at the piece of infrastructure as you stand upon Castle Hill and look out to sea and then look back over the over the city and you see this enormous infrastructure popping out of the ground. It's creating enormous amount of excitement in the community, and from an economic development point of view, it certainly is a major piece of infrastructure that has a major knock-on effect to the city. When we did some initial researching behind stadiums, the statistics were something like for every dollar spent on stadiums throughout the world there was about a $10 spend in private enterprise and economic development around the region. And that's where we see some enormous opportunity.
Anne Fuchs: That's so exciting to hear Joe. And certainly from a Sunsuper perspective that makes us really pleased because we have tens upon thousands upon thousands of members in North Queensland and in Townsville itself. And hearing that this stadium is creating a sense of excitement and economic opportunity means that our members benefit from that.
Joe Carey: Absolutely. And look, we're obviously looking for the first game on the sixth of March, where the Cowboys take on the Broncos. And obviously, it's the old grudge match, it's the first match of the stadium.
Anne Fuchs: The best game in the NRL!
Joe Carey: Absolutely, and sitting here in lovely Brisbane at the moment, obviously I'm filled with a room full of Cowboys supporters I suspect.
Anne Fuchs: No you are not! But you talk about infrastructure and certainly one thing that I think is really interesting that you've spoken to me about is this underwater art museum and the tourism - is that tourism infrastructure?
Joe Carey: Yeah, look, absolutely Anne. One of the things that in one of my roles sitting on Townsville Enterprises, which is a peak economic advocacy group for the region - and it's not just Townsville it's the whole region, which encompasses obviously Hinchinbrook, Burdekin, Charters Towers and Palm Island - is creating product for the region. One of the pieces of infrastructure product, which is really in the tourism basket is a thing called Museum of Underwater Art. This is, you know, I encourage everyone to Google it and have a look-
Anne Fuchs: I've done that - the photos are very cool.
Joe Carey: Look, it's an amazing bit of infrastructure, and it's leveraging off edgy tourism throughout the north, and it creates underwater art in the form of statues and figurines.
Anne Fuchs: That you scuba dive through. I definitely won't be doing that, but it does look amazing.
Joe Carey: Absolutely. And this piece of art is throughout the world. There's about three other locations, and one's in the Maldives, one's in the Mediterranean and the other's in the Bahamas, and the experience from those pieces of infrastructures it that it creates an enormous pull for tourism, particularly the international edgy tourism market, into the region.
Anne Fuchs: And you know the reason why that's actually really important, the success of that to Sunsuper members, is that we own or part owners of airports that fly people in to do this tourism. And then they can go and stay at the Discovery Parks, which Sunsuper is also the owner off.
Joe Carey: Absolutely, and you'll be pleased to know which I'm sure you are, the Townsville Airport is currently undergoing a major infrastructure project where they're upgrading the airport in expectation of an increase in tourist numbers and general traffic through the region last year was a record for tourist numbers through the airport. So obviously that piece of infrastructure is critical for not only the development and growth of the region, but also for returns to Sunsuper members.
Anne Fuchs: So, Joe, if I can being the Cowboy, even though they're my second team, lover that I am, if we can bring it back to the Cowboys for a bit I understand there's this Centre of Excellence, which is not just about rugby league. It's a bigger piece of infrastructure for all sports. Can you explain that to our listeners?
Joe Carey: Yeah look absolutely Anne, and the Community Centre of Excellence, which is recently being approval funding from Northern Australian Infrastructure Line (NAIF) Facility is building a $40 million facility beside the Cowboys Stadium. Now that piece of infrastructure is designed to provide a means not only for the Cowboys in their Centre of Excellence and providing sports medicine, sports science and providing a high degree of science in relation to football and promoting the teams. But it's also there and designed to promote other sports, another activities in the region. So the club has the association with the Townsville Fire, for instance, which will be joining the Cowboys in that facility and using those facilities.
Anne Fuchs: So there might be some teams from the northern hemisphere that could be flying into prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics maybe? That could be another... or am I getting overly...?
Joe Carey: No, look absolutely, and one of the areas that the centre focuses on, and particularly the Cowboys, is things like heat training. So heat training is a new altitude training, and the Cowboys have been, through partnerships with JCU, been developing programs and doing a lot of research in relation to heat training. So that then provides an opportunity of market - the Asian market, particularly with the Olympics coming up and having facilities that give other teams opportunities and locations to train in.
Anne Fuchs: And if two other things I wouldn't mind covering off Joe before we finish the episode. So one is about water and then also the other is about taking care of our most precious citizens, the elderly and aged care, and we've got an investment there. So if we can jump to this concept of water, which is such a problem for us in Queensland and probably nationally. What's this thing called "Hell's Gate"?
Joe Carey: Yes, "Hell's Gate" is part of, or Hell's Gate Proposal Dam, is part of a vision to create a longer term economic development in the region, but also to create solutions to current issues with respect to water, particularly in a lot of the drought affected regions at the moment. So Hell's Gate is an exciting project that's currently underway and looking at being studied to determine the viability of creating another dam up in the top of the Burdekin.
Anne Fuchs: So lastly, and this is I guess where superfunds - I think the importance of superfunds to create the necessary infrastructure that communities need. And certainly we have done that with the Presbyterian Church in North Queensland, investing in the PresCare aged care facility, which is a really exciting development in North Queensland. And you know if I look at, and probably too our members don't necessarily realise when they see when they're flying into Townsville airport or staying in a caravan park in North Queensland or maybe even looking at putting a parent into into that facility in Townsville that actually, if you're a Sunsuper member, your superannuation is invested in that and not just making you money as as a member of the fund, but contributing back into the community. And that's one thing I think superfunds, why I love doing what we do, because I think the role of superfunds to contribute to our regional communities is so important. And certainly your vision Joe of the importance of business too to contribute to communities is inspiring.
Joe Carey: Yeah look absolutely Anne, and superfunds have an important role. Not only for getting good long retire-able returns to investors but it's got a community obligation for social infrastructure. And the sort of social infrastructures that Sunsuper is invested in is infrastructure that not only has a large demand, particularly in the regions, but it's infrastructure that's critically important to our raging community.
Anne Fuchs: Look, I think, you know, for business leaders it's very easy to get busy in your own little world and to not give back. But you're using your intellect and entrepreneurial skills for the good of the North Queensland community, which I congratulate and applaud you for. And it's been an absolute pleasure having you on the New School of Super today, Joe.
Joe Carey: Thank you very much Anne. And I appreciate the ability and the opportunity to give back to the community, and my wife would be the first person I would thank for that because she's got the patience of a saint to let me do these things, so I appreciate that
Anne Fuchs: That's gorgeous. Well, shout out to all of our North Queensland members. We appreciate and value you very enormously, and we all come to work every day to make sure that you can live your retirement dreams. Thank you for listening to another episode of the New School of Super.
Outro: This has been the New School of Super. For information and inspiration to help you plan your future, manager Super, and enjoy your retirement, visit sunsuper.com.au/thedreamproject. Or if you've got a superannuation or investment question, you'd like Brian and Anne to discuss, then get in touch at newschoolofsuper.com for it feature in one of our future New School of Super podcasts.
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