Carla Wust, manager of the Great Western Hotel, looks forward to the arrival of 8000 defence personnel and their spending power.
Carla Wust, manager of the Great Western Hotel, looks forward to the arrival of 8000 defence personnel and their spending power. Chris Ison

Rocky gets big boost in marines

EIGHT thousand servicemen and women will invade Rockhampton during July in the latest joint military exercise with the US.

And Carla Wust can’t wait. The manager of the Great Western Hotel says the GIs make a beeline for the iconic pub and that’s exactly the kind of business boost that the city needs.

“We had 10 American servicemen in here last night – the advance party. I think it must feel like a home from home for them,” said Carla, who believes the city’s businesses will give the military a big welcome this year.

Mayor Brad Carter said Talisman Saber 2011 – from July 11 to 29 – will bring significant economic benefits to the region and would boost businesses that were hit hard by the summer’s floods.

After a briefing by the Australian Defence Force, Cr Carter revealed that this year’s war games would also involve significant naval activity with about 16 Royal Australian Navy and US Navy ships operating off Shoalwater Bay.

But it’s the economic impact of such an influx of personnel that excites him, and why he would like to see a greater military presence in the region.

“I am looking forward to welcoming the American and Australian troops to the region,” he said.

“With ADF expenditure injecting $24.7 million into Central Queensland and the US Defence Force providing a $5.8 million boost each year, Talisman Saber is great for the region.”

He said many businesses would benefit.

Dawn Fenlon of the Cambridge Hotel said: “We will certainly welcome them.

“This exercise is going to be a big help to everyone. Motels have been a bit quiet and a lot of business was lost during the floods.”



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