KUALA LUMPUR: Australia’s Springfield City Group chairman and founder Maha Sinnathamby has been bestowed with the award of an Appointment as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) by Queen Elizabeth II of England in her Birthday Honours 2019 List.
The national honour for the Malaysian-born Sinnathamby is in recognition of his significant service to the Australian building and construction sector and to the community, following his work building the multi-award-winning City of Springfield in Queensland, the company said in a statement to Bernama.
Sinnathamby, 79, who hails from Rantau, Negeri Sembilan, was recently named as the 47th richest man in Australia with a net worth of A$1.66 billion.
Sinnathamby moved to Australia from Malaysia as an 18-year-old to study for an engineering degree at the University of New South Wales, before migrating permanently in 1971.
Springfield City has been referred to by Australia’s former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball as a “nation-building project of national significance” and is the only other city in the country (besides Canberra) to be built from scratch.
The aspirational entrepreneur first came across the 3,000-hectare parcel land that is Springfield City in the early 1990s, which at the time was deemed economically and socially depressed, with only 10 per cent of the land zoned for residential use.
Springfield City is now arguably one of Australia’s fastest-emerging cities, with more than 41,000 residents and a population predicted to grow to the size of Darwin in the next two decades.
Among others, the city is also now home to the University of Southern Queensland, the 80-bed Mater Springfield Private Hospital and home to 11 schools with 15,000 students, which is expected to increase to 28 schools, all within five minutes of each other.
Sinnathamby said while he was extremely proud to accept the award, the success of Greater Springfield was the result of a collaborative effort of many individuals.
“The full credit for this award has to go to my wife, Yoga, and my business partner, Bob Sharpless, as well as to the residents who now call Greater Springfield home,” he said.
“More than A$17 billion has been spent so far on this city and expenditure is now increasing at the rate of more than A$700 million per annum.
“This award is also an acknowledgement and testimony that with passion and dedication and a never-give-up attitude, anyone can benefit from this great country.”
The statement said that looking to the future, the best is yet to come for the City of Springfield, with big developments in health, education and IT on the horizon and a total expenditure of more than A$85 billion upon completion.
Greater Springfield has also been recognised on the world stage for a number of achievements, including the World’s Best Master Planned Community by International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and Australia’s Best Master Planned Community by Urban Development Institute of Australia in 2015.
Sinnathamby said with those kinds of figures, the future for the city was bright for residents and investors.
“From an early time, we had an aspiration to do something here that was so much bigger than anyone else could see, so we are here for the long term and the stakeholders that have invested in this project have joined with us in playing the long game,” he said. – Bernama