Expo move would be a loss too great to bea

By NATALIE SMITH LOSING Beef Australia to Toowoomba would be devastating for Rockhampton.

That's the view of Criterion Hotel owner Leigh Turnbull and he is not the only one who doesn't want Beef Australia moved.

Beef Australia 2006 will be held in the Beef Capital, but concerns have been raised that Toowoomba is being looked at as a future host of the internationally renowned exhibition.

This week Beef Australia 2006 event co-ordinator Noel Landry said next year's event was being concentrated on, and after that the committee would consider their options.

Mr Turnbull said the loss of the exhibition would see confidence lost in the town.

"It would be absolutely devastating,'' he said.

"For 2006, we are already booked out and have 35 people on a waiting list.''

If the exhibition moved, Ken and Wendy Cole of Kenrol Station, about five kilometres from Gracemere, would be among those affected.

"It (cattle) is still a strong part of Rockhampton,'' Ms Cole said.

"It's good for the industry and good for the town and as far as I'm concerned we can't afford to move it.''

The event even impacts on the Capricorn Coast.

Rydges Capricorn Resort director of sales Tony Cullen said the resort had benefited from the expo in the past.

"It's a major event on our calendar and it would be a shame to lose it,'' he said.

At Alton Downs, Granville Station braford grazier David Os- borne exhibited in the first Beef Australia in Rockhampton in 1988, and was going to exhibit again in 2006.

"If it moved from Rockhampton we probably wouldn't go to it,'' he said.

Yesterday Mr Landry said he had a busy day reassuring volunteers Beef Australia 2006 would still be held in Rockhampton.

"Some people had concerns,'' he said.

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