23 October 2015
by ANR

ASIC destroys plans for modern 21st century style city in North West Australia

Australia was possibly set to have a new modern 21st century style city built in North Western Australia, but because of ASIC the billions planned for investment may now be lost to other countries.

The 21st Century Group was recently planning to announce plans for the building of a new modern 21st century city in North Western Australia.

The idea was first suggested in 2013 when one of Australia’s newest political parties announced the need for a new Dubai style city to be built in North Western Australia. It was featured in the political party’s blueprint of the top 25 policy ideas to move Australia into the 21st century.

Moreover, it was also incorporated in the book 101 Ways to Improve Australia.

After visiting Pilbara to find suitable locations for the new city earlier this year, founder of the 21st Century Group said plans had started to rapidly advance. It was planning to commence discussions with potential councils shortly.

ANR believes that either Karratha or Port Hedland were being short listed for the location of the new city and a competition would be offered to come up with a name for the new city.

Australia's Newest City

Jamie McIntyre, Founder of the 21st Century Group said, “The Pilbara region generates 35% of the country’s GDP, thanks largely to iron ore, which has contributed massively to Australia’s wealth. Yet, most Australians have never seen where this wealth is created.

“To create a new large modern city you need the economy, the jobs and then finally the political will. The Pilbara region has the jobs and the economy to support such a city with 67,000 workers flown in every month, as there is currently a lack of accommodation in the area. Despite the commodities downturn, many don’t realise that the Pilbara is producing record high export volumes of iron ore and will continue to do so for decades to come.

“Unfortunately it faces the challenges of the FIFO epidemic, which is destroying families and causing serious mental health issues that aren’t being dealt with. This strategy could have helped resolve such problems.

“The men and woman creating Australia’s wealth are living in third world style camps when they should be able to live in quality high rise apartments or homes with their families and have a shorter commute to work. It needs to be a grand city vision.

“The city with new iconic high rise apartments and commercial towers was planned initially as a concept, which would have then been subject to council approvals as it progressed further. Big ideas attract the interest of big thinkers. China builds such cities from scratch within two years. So, no one can say it couldn’t have been done, as we know it was feasible ”, he said.

When asked about the 21st Century Group’s recent run ins with the corporate regulator and whether their actions stopped the Group from continuing on with such a massive project, McIntyre said, “it’s ironic that while we were focusing on advancing Australia into the 21st Century including the concept of building a new modern Dubai/Singapore type city in North Western Australia, we had to be dealing with small minded bureaucrats in government departments such as ASIC. Not to mention, we also have to deal with some of their limited thinking and attempts to stop projects that can make a real difference to the country. This is a sad indictment on Australia as a nation that’s losing its way.

“Australia lacks visionaries and big thinkers and this needs to change. We need big projects like this and we need to get rid of small minded thinking and the tall poppy syndrome fuelled by politics of envy. We also need to get rid of certain media organisations that target anyone for having a go and wanting to improve the country.

“Our focus is on making a difference and this was one way to improve the living standards of Australian workers who create much of our wealth. Also, we already had plenty of offshore interest from funders. However, they have seen how ASIC has conducted itself with the support of Australian Senators such as Xenophon and Dastyari and therefore no longer wish to invest into Australia, as they see it as a Sovereign risk. In fact they have said they will continue to support projects in overseas countries, but they simply don’t see Australia anymore as a safe place to invest, which it used to be.

“It actually means they see third world countries as less sovereign risk than Australia, and I don’t blame them, as I do too. Australia desperately needs foreign investment, but more and more investors including many Australians are looking elsewhere for opportunities due to our abusive nanny state regulators.

“However, Malcolm Turnbull, our new Prime Minister is very keen to focus on making our cities better. We are one of the most urbanised nations in the world living in cities clinging to the eastern seaboard. This needs to change. The west is where so much of our wealth is generated, as despite the China slowdown, the Pilbara will continue to produce for decades to come. Our vision for the city was a financial, resources and tourist hub closely connected to Asia, which would become an attractive place for families to move to.

“We were going to be asking the government to support the vision of a new city by incentives such as stamp duty relief for workers and investors to purchase in the city, grants for families to relocate from our currently crowded cities and the possibility of making it an economic free zone, which has transformed cities such as Shanghai.

“We were going to be asking BHP, Rio Tinto, Fortescue and Hancock Prospecting- Gina Rinehart’s companies to support some of the commercial towers by taking leases on some of the floors or even develop commercial towers in the project for their office workers plus apartment towers for their workers as well”, he said.

Australia needs to develop the North and McIntyre is a member of Australian Northern Development (ANDEV) set up by Gina Rinehart to help further the North’s huge economic potential, which the Coalition Government is supportive of. The demand for housing already exists.

A company spokesperson said, “it’s important we eventually close down many mining camps and allow workers a decent standard of housing. The WA state Government and local governments have expressed support to close down many mining camps, however, accommodation will need to be built first before this can happen.

“Building high rises costs the least for councils to allow as less infrastructure needed and can provide more affordable housing. Since the prices have dropped from the highs of the mining boom, it would have been more affordable for home buyers and investors to acquire apartments in the high rise buildings planned for the new city.

“Plus many Asian investors were expected to flock to acquire housing in these regions due to their love of Australian real estate and close proximity to Asia. Commercial towers could have housed many workers that are located in Perth for large mining companies that need to be closer to the actually mines.

“The WA Government could have supported the project by relocating many government jobs to the new city. The key was for the city to have had an iconic building that is attractive. For example, Singapore has the Marina Bay Sands, Dubai has the Burj Khalifa and Sydney of course has the Opera House.

“Plus, it must have entertainment facilities, which could have been created by issuing casino licenses to attract large resort and entertainment complexes like Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau have, but with the focus on entertainment over casinos. Being close to Singapore and Bali can be a great tourist stopover and a financial hub. It would have also supported Perth, as WA needs another large city. I’m sure Crown, Star City and Foreign Casino operators would have been very interested in being involved in a new city closely connected with Asia.

“With the right support and team effort, such big visions could have become a reality and a city could have been built that’s not only a grand statement, but is also an environmentally sustainable city. With Tesla launching its solar batteries for houses and factories, such infrastructure costs for cities can now be lowered massively making a large city like this much more affordable. We could have helped build something Australia would have been proud of.

“However, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the FIFO epidemic, as Australian workers deserve quality accommodation and the Government and mining industry need to get behind such important projects. The funding already existed offshore for such large scale projects and with the low interest rate environment, now would have been the ideal time for Governments and the private sector to be investing into such large Urban Projects.

“Unfortunately, due to some of Australia’s small minded bureaucrats and two ignorant Senators, Australia has burnt a lot of offshore investors who are dismayed at the behaviour of our country. We are meant to be an honest, transparent and modern economy, but we are embarrassing ourselves on a large stage by attacking our entrepreneurs over petty politics”, he said.

According to McIntyre, ASIC’s actions this year to date has:

“That’s a nice report card for ASIC to show the new Treasurer next year on how they are supposedly advancing our nation. This is why we lose a lot of our best entrepreneurs. The politics of envy is a blight on our nation.

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