Rod Nugent has been forced to close his valet car parking service at the Rockhampton Airport.
Rod Nugent has been forced to close his valet car parking service at the Rockhampton Airport. Chris Ison

'Council ruined my business'

ROCKHAMPTON businessman Rod Nugent yesterday accused the council of leaving him high and dry, claiming he was forced to close his family’s airport parking company.

Rod wasn’t going quietly as he closed the doors on the business he has run for the past 15 years, Airport Car Care.

He believes the council has driven the business out to remove competition now that paid parking has been introduced at the airport.

It’s a decision which Rod said had cost him plenty of money.

“We had the business valued last year and it was a considerable amount of money in the hundreds of thousands,” said Rod, who worked 80-hour weeks.

He said the council told him several months ago his lease would wind up at the end of June and he’d expected airport management to then go to tender for a secure parking and valet service.

Rod said that hadn’t happened.

With some 800 customers a month, the upset businessman said the service was in demand but wouldn’t now be provided.

“The customers are devastated,” Rod said.

“We have a mayor who says he supports small business, but they have closed us and five people now don’t have work.”

For Rod it’s the last straw and retirement looms.“I’m coming up to retirement age ... at least I will be able to sleep easy, which is more than some of these people at council,” he said.

One headache sorted out yesterday was someone agreeing to take his two watchdogs.

“The person said they would rather take them than see them put down,” Rod said.

“They’d cost $8500.”

The Nugents also ran Airport News and Gifts which Rod said was left out in the cold last December.

The airport management awarded the newsagency contract to a southern-based company.

The situation intensified when that company was allowed to start operating during the busy Christmas period, before Airport News and Gifts’ lease ran out.

The airport is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.

A council spokeswoman said the council “conducts all business operations with sound commercial principles and in line with the requirements of the Local Government Act”.

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