Greater Springfield visionary
Maha Sinnathamby, receives Appointment as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division).
Springfield City Group is proud to announce its Chairman and Founder, Maha Sinnathamby, has received an Appointment as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division). The honour was announced as part of the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List and awarded to Mr Sinnathamby for his significant service to the building and construction sector and to the community.
Maha Sinnathamby is the visionary behind Greater Springfield, which has been referred to by former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as a “nation-building project of national significance.”
The city is now 29 years in the making, with a population of more than 50,000 and a predicted growth rate of seven per cent per annum over the next two decades.
When Mr Sinnathamby first came across the parcel of land now known as Greater Springfield, it was a corridor deemed as economically and socially depressed, with only 10 per cent of the land zoned for residential development.
Fast-forward to today, Australia’s newest emerging city is part of the fastest growing region in South-East Queensland and is home to 11 schools with 15,000 students, a TAFE, the University of Southern Queensland and Mater Springfield Private Hospital. Mr 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.
“As a proud Australian citizen, I am honoured to receive this award,” Mr Sinnathamby said.
In 1992, Maha Sinnathamby purchased a 7000-acre parcel of land in a location which no other developer wanted to touch. It was a corridor deemed as economically and socially depressed, with only 10 percent of the land zoned for residential development. It had no access, no transport, and to most people, no hope. Most people, except for Maha Sinnathamby.
“I saw a beautiful parcel of land with wide open spaces, children going to school, couples taking romantic walks in the park, families building the dream home, busy professionals taking the train to work. It was so clear in my mind. The next step was to take what was in my mind and make it into a reality”.
Fast-forward to today, Greater Springfield is Australia’s newest emerging city and is part of the fastest growing region in South-East Queensland. Stemming from humble beginnings, Greater Springfield is now home to 11 schools with 15,000 students, a TAFE, the University of Southern Queensland and Mater Springfield Private Hospital. And that’s not all – “My friends, you haven’t seen anything yet.”
“The world’s great powers at the time were working against him, yet Gandhi had the fortitude to press on in fighting for what he believed in and in doing so, changed the course of human history"
“The full credit for this award has to go my wife, Yoga and my business partner Bob Sharpless, as well as the many hundreds of people who helped build this city and over 50,000 residents who now call Greater Springfield home.
“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.”
Mr Sinnathamby first came to Australia from Malaysia as an 18-year-old student to undertake an engineering degree at the University of New South Wales, before migrating here permanently in 1971. Both his parents were advocates of the value of an education and equal access to health, which made a significant impression on him as a child and continue to remain two deeply important issues close to his heart.
Mr Sinnathamby said without an education and access to health, it was impossible for people to reach their full potential.
“Education is the currency of the future because it cannot be stolen from anybody and is the only currency that can be traded throughout the world,” he said.
“We are very strongly committed to the enhancement of human and social capital and education and training are the means of uplifting people and achieving that.
“The failure of education is the collapse of a nation and in Greater Springfield, more than 35 per cent of the population is involved in some kind of education or training.
“All of our schools and children are within eight minutes of each other and this in itself is very unique. This intermixing of students from across private, public and our indigenous school is something I’m thrilled to see.
“Health is also extremely important to us here at Greater Springfield, especially as our city continues to grow.
“We are very proud to have Mater Springfield Private Hospital here alongside other world-class health services and facilities.”
Finally, Mr Sinnathamby quotes Mahatma Gandhi as someone who has had a huge influence on him, both as a person and a city-builder.
“I was inspired by Gandhi who despite all odds, was a one-man army for change and who became the change he wanted to see in the world,” he said.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world. As you think, so you will become. So think REALLY big and you will BE big!”