Are army tanks on the Aurizon in Rockhampton?
AS Rockhampton recovers from the shock closure of the Aurizon workshop, there's a group of business people who can see military potential rising from the railway ashes.
Members of Capricornia Chamber of Commerce have been discussing the opportunity for defence equipment work to be carried out there inline with the workshop's existing fitout.
Their main target is International military machinery company Rheinmetall Defence which has announced an opportunity for a Queensland enterprise to become a base for its $5 billion military hub as part of the Land 400 deal.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia has embarked on a statewide-roadshow to demonstrate its Boxer armoured vehicle which will give Rockhampton a chance to show off its assets.
Managing director of RDA, Gary Stewart said a Queensland site for its regional hub would provide Australian engineering, production and development of military technology for delivery into national and global programs.
President of the CCOF Peter Fraser is calling on all levels of government to snatch this opportunity to rope in a major economic booster for Central Queensland.
"This opportunity is too good to throw away," Mr Fraser said.
"Its warehouse is a defined site with a workshop already fitted out with machinery capable of handling heavy materials.
"There is a workforce here that will potentially be out of work for 12 to 18 months who already deal with this type of machinery."
Mr Fraser also highlighted the benefits of the rail line which the workshop sits over saying its a "win-win" for the military company to transport materials along.
President of the CCOF for three years, Mr Fraser made the move to Rockhampton for the massive advantages in agriculture and beef saying this region had endless opportunities for growth.
He said the advantage of the Shoalwater Bay defence area so close to Rocky was another huge draw-card for the global company to enhance the region he loved.
"There's been talk (from the government) of getting larger and more permanent defence force presence in Rocky," Mr Fraser said.
"This fits in with a dynamic cavalierly having a base you could test in Shoalwater Bay an hour away.
"We tick all the boxes for a facility that would not be needing to be built."
An Aurizon spokesperson said the site had a long-term plan and the company were happy to welcome any opportunity put forward.
"The aim is to create a valuable asset for Rockhampton that provides lasting benefit for the local community," they said.
The company recently announced the redevelopment of a former Townsville base from an inner-city urban renewal plan put forward by the Townsville City Council.
They said this sale and construction gave back to the regions by working with local representatives and companies which they would be willing to do in Rockhampton.
"Aurizon would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with local community and government representatives on any proposals that are put forward," they said.
Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow said the chamber's proposal had merit.
"Rheinmetall Defence Australia has already been to our region and have had dealings with the Rockhampton Airport. We have a great track record of dealing with the military and this is great fit for our skill set," she said.
"Whilst I haven't entirely given up on convincing Aurizon on the errors of its ways,, the idea of being able to add a whole new suite of jobs to our region is powerful."