PLANNING: Greater Springfield chairman Maha Sinnathamby plans to continue working at Springfield Tower for a long time.
PLANNING: Greater Springfield chairman Maha Sinnathamby plans to continue working at Springfield Tower for a long time. Rob Williams

'I'm drugged on work': Limitless Maha's plan for Springfield

THE passionate visionary with an eye for progress and planning has no plans to slow down.

The mild-mannered Maha Sinnathamby sits patiently in a glass conference room on level 10 of Springfield tower.

To his right, through the window, is Springfield Rise; the latest development in the sprawling Greater Springfield footprint.

The development has come a staggering way since it was unanimously endorsed by the Queensland Parliament 26 years ago.

Its visionary, Mr Sinnathamby, is showing no signs of shying away from progress.

His serious, businesslike composure is shattered when asked if he will step down as chairman of the company.

"My wife keeps asking me that," he laughs.

"She's convinced that I'm mad.

"I believe in something called limitless; there is no limit to what you can do."

Springfield is only 25 per cent developed and Mr Sinnathamby has declared: "You haven't seen anything yet."

He intends to stay at the helm of his beloved development, which has become something of an addiction.

He asks: "If you enjoy what you're doing, why do you disturb it?

"If he's drugged on something and he's enjoying it and if it's right and legal, carry on.

"Never in human history have you had the opportunity where someone has gone and built a city that is around 3000ha and one that will influence the wider region."


Greater Springfield chairman Maha Sinnathamby
Greater Springfield chairman Maha Sinnathamby Rob Williams

At Springfield, a 50ha site has been dedicated as a planned Silicone Valley, a place which will appeal to the giants like Microsoft and Google.

Mr Sinnathamby refuses to let his development become dormitory and insists on planning 40 years ahead.

"You know the world is changing very rapidly," he reflects.

"When Springfield started, there was no mobile phones, no emails, nothing.

"You can see how the world has changed. Now when we get up first thing in the morning, we look at our mobile phones.

"The world is going to change rapidly and we are going to keep ahead of it."

Mr Sinnathamby wants to beat Silicone Valley at its own game by identifying its problems and fixing them in Springfield.

"Silicone valley - which has been going for 80 years - is an amazing development, but was never planned as one," he said.

"If you had a chance of replanning, you would make sure it was very much more condensed in a limited area where the companies that are there are interacting and complementing each other."

About 41,000 people live in the city, about 30 minutes south of Brisbane.

Even Mr Sinnathamby, perhaps one of the nation's most prominent visionaries, couldn't have imagined what Springfield would become.

"When we got into the project and as we were developing it, we could see that you had an opportunity to influence a region, a region that was socially and economically very depressed," he said.

"A region that had a lot of opportunities to bring in a high-level of thinking to enhance human and social capital.

"This region did not have overall long-term planning."

He remains committed to growing the city, with its success creating a flow-on effect in other areas of outer Brisbane.

"That's why you have seen all of Ipswich and the Western Corridor taking off," he said.

"You have seen how Greenbank and Jimboomba and all that part of the world has taken off.

"It's like picking the biggest rock you can find and throwing it into the sea and having the ripple effect, that's what's happening."

While private investment is injected into Springfield in the millions, governments have been slow to keep pace.

Roads are above capacity and public transport leaves much to be desired.

Mr Sinnathamby wants more, but refuses to be critical of politicians for a slow response.

"To have more infrastructure would be of benefit to this place," he said. "It has to be planned well ahead."

He remains as committed as he did 26 years ago.

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