South-East Queensland in a time of change – Brisbane

Brisbane, Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba are booming, with growth rates amongst the highest in the developed world. And people continue flocking here from around Australia and around the world. So far, these cities have adapted remarkably well. It may be a bit more crowded on the roads or public transport, but people’s commute distances and times are barely changed from five years ago. This is due in no small part to the spread of jobs right across cities, and to the changes individual Queenslanders make to how they travel around their cities, where they live, and where they work.

The big question is whether it’s going to continue this way.

At this State of Affairs event Marion Terrill from the Grattan Institute, Matt Collins, who’s leading the Queensland Government’s Cities Transformation Taskforce, and moderator Steve Abson, who is Chief Executive of the Infrastructure Association of Queensland explored the state of Queensland’s cities and where to from here.


Steve Abson is a qualified civil engineer and experienced executive with over 30 years’ experience in delivery of major infrastructure & building projects. His infrastructure experience spans the breadth of project delivery models in both private and public sectors and he has a passion for unlocking value through relationship contracting. Steve has enjoyed influential roles in major contracting companies in Queensland as Civil Manager, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer and is a past president of the Queensland Major Contractors Association. He now practices with the Flagstaff Consulting Group in Brisbane, is a qualified Gateway Reviewer; and conducts independent assurance reviews for Government agencies around Australia. Steve is also a qualified Dispute Avoidance Board practitioner and is a current member of the Brisbane Airport New Parallel Runway DAB and Independent Project Leadership Group member on the Inland Rail Project.


Matt Collins commenced as General Manager of Queensland Treasury’s Cities Transformation Taskforce in April 2018.   In this role, he is leading the Queensland Government’s cities agenda, with a particular focus on City Deals to boost prosperity, liveability and sustainability.  City Deals bring together federal, state and local governments to align planning, investment and governance to drive jobs, economic reform and urban renewal. Before commencing in this role, Matt served as Chief of Staff to Queensland’s Deputy Premier, where he worked across the Treasury, Infrastructure, Transport, Planning and Local Government portfolios. He has also worked in the private sector for Urbis and LandPartners, where he consulted to a range of major firms on planning, infrastructure and city-making.  He holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, as well as a degree in journalism and public policy.

Marion Terrill is a leading policy analyst with experience that ranges from authoring parts of the 2010 Henry Tax Review to leading the design and development of the MyGov account. She has provided expert analysis and advice on labour market policy for the Commonwealth Government, the Business Council of Australia and at the Australian National University. She joined the Grattan Institute in April 2015 to establish the Transport Program, and has published on investment in transport infrastructure, cost overruns, value capture, congestion and discount rates.