LNP candidate Gavin Finch at the site of the Gracemere Industrial precinct overpass adjacent to the Capricorn Highway.
LNP candidate Gavin Finch at the site of the Gracemere Industrial precinct overpass adjacent to the Capricorn Highway. Chris Ison

Concerns raised over $70m project

THE LNP's Rockhampton candidate, Gavin Finch, says a dark cloud hangs over a $70m project to develop a large block of industrial land west of Gracemere.

Mr Finch said concerned residents have approached him following a public meeting at Gracemere last week where the focus turned to Arrow Energy's proposal to run a pipeline through the industrial zone.

Back in November, Mr Finch aired his "major concerns" about the proposal in The Bulletin when he accused the gas exploration company of being more interested in its own profits than doing the right thing.

He said residents had told him that despite community concern the company plans pushing ahead with its proposal - which has a long way to go.

Mr Finch said there were fears a pipeline would create a large buffer area and restrict the use of heavy machinery nearby.

He reiterated his concern that the company was choosing to bypass a large section of the Stanwell Industrial Corridor, which had been set up for these types of projects.

Either the Government wasted millions of dollars developing the corridor, or a multi-national company was looking to take short cuts.

Previously the company had said its engineers thought the Stanwell corridor a poor option because it ran through the Yeppen flood plain, where there would be no urban development.

The Queensland Government will spend $50m on the project with Rockhampton Regional Council announcing it intended investing $20m.

"The last time I raised this issue, Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser accused me of scoring cheap political points," Mr Finch said.

"But you can only do that when there are cheap political points to be scored.

"Why is this government being dictated to by a non-Australian business when there is $70m being spent on developing the industrial estate?"

He said the pipeline could restrict residential growth options behind Gracemere.

"This is the first mining company wanting to take this route, if we don't stand our ground now there will be many more that will want to follow this path," Mr Finch said.

"I'm not against this pipeline, but it has got to be in the right place."

Mayor Brad Carter last week said he was confident a negotiated outcome could be reached.



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