Maha Sinnathamby spent years chasing politicians, trying to convince them his dream of building a privately owned city on scrub between Brisbane and Ipswich was not a crackpot idea.
Greater Springfield is now a reality – and the pollies come seeking his wisdom. The 73-year-old, who grew up in a poor Malaysian village, is one of 20 business and community representatives appointed to a special panel for the G20 Summit of world leaders in Queensland next year. A $1.3 billion rail link to Springfield – the visionary city built on the four pillars of community, education, technology and health – is to open by the end of 2013.
Other major developments this year include the announcement by Mater Health Services of an $85m, 80-bed private hospital and council approval for expansion of the Orion shopping centre. Mr Sinnathamby and business partner Bob Sharpless bought the 2860 hectare site for $7.2 million in the early 1990s. The entrepreneur was named one of the 100 Most Influential Indians in the World in December, the only Australia-based entrant on the list.
He nominates Mahatma Gandhi as his inspiration in business and rises at 3.30am each morning to meditate.
Mr Sinnathamby’s daughter Raynuha – managing director of Springfield Land Corporation – was appointed Queensland President of the property Council of Australia in February.