Fast-track projects for boom

TO MAKE the most out of the mining boom the Rockhampton region needs fast-track projects to make it more livable, according to Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll

Last weekend mining magnate Clive Palmer pledged 2000 jobs for Sunshine Coast residents to let them fly in and out of the coast to a series of new thermal coal mines near Alpha, west of Emerald.

Professor John Rolfe said Central Queensland would get minimal benefits from the industry boom if it didn't house a large share of the work force.

Ms Carroll agreed with Prof Rolfe in that miners should be able to choose where they wanted to live, but she said people would choose regions of fantastic livability.

"Visitors come here for same reason we live here," Ms Carroll said.

"For this reason the Yeppoon foreshore redevelopment, the Rockhampton Riverfront redevelopment, the Great Keppel Island revitalisation and the CQ NRL bid - not to mention the CQUniversity and Central Queensland TAFE dual sector agreement are the very priority projects once completed, which will attract many more people to live in this region.

"If you make a region as livable as you can with public funds, the private investment will support that."

She said another point to consider was that the number of workers to sign up for the fly-in fly-out jobs would not physically be able to fit into Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast.

"The availability in the Rockhampton rental market at (the) moment (is) less than 1%," Ms Carroll said.

"The council tells us there's currently 4000 approved housing lots in the Rockhampton Regional Shire area."

She said proposals for accommodation developments needed to be fast-tracked for both Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast.

"Whether miners should be living in Rockhampton or the Capricorn Coast or elsewhere is a completely moot point unless we have the fast-tracking of major accommodation development approvals and the State and Federal Government-funded public projects like the Yeppoon foreshore and Rockhampton Riverfront precinct," Ms Carroll said.

Ms Carroll said she looked forward to discussing these issues with Mr Palmer when he visited the region for Capricorn Enterprise's 2011 Leader Series Forum, which he was invited to about 18 months ago.

"That's going to be a great opportunity for businesses and the community who attend to ask questions."

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