Mayor Margaret Strelow looking at the laying of sandstone pavers on Quay Street.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Mayor Margaret Strelow looking at the laying of sandstone pavers on Quay Street.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka ROK300816aquayst4

Mayor responds to 'boom nor bust' criticism

10am: ROCKHAMPTON Mayor Margaret Strelow has responded to 'boom nor bust' criticism and says lets keep the conversation going.

Reader Joanne Coulter wrote a Letter to the Editor about comments the Mayor had made recently about the topic, saying "I would have considered the productivity of those population levels would be the determination of our economic position."

Mayor Strelow  responded this morning saying - " :) Joanne .. the 'neither boom nor bust' is an old saying in Rockhampton. I wasn't promoting it- just trying to quantify the population in response to an earlier writer."

"PS I made much the same points as you have in my radio interviews last week," she continued in her response.

"Good to have the conversation going . Our deliberate economic development strategies include reinforcing our role as a provider to the west."

(For 1948) An aerial view of the Rockhampton rail yards c1950. Photo courtesy The Archer Park Railway Museum.
(For 1948) An aerial view of the Rockhampton rail yards c1950. Photo courtesy The Archer Park Railway Museum.

'Boom nor bust' criticism, 6am: THE Mayor, Margaret Strelow, is stating that we are neither boom nor bust with the only supporting data being our population levels.

Yet I would have considered the productivity of those population levels would be the determination of our economic position.

I arrived in this area in 1984 and it was coming off the back of a recent mining boom. Yet, the town of Rockhampton stayed vibrant due to the agricultural and tourism industry supporting the region.

Rockhampton remained the central business hub of Central Queensland and large numbers of people servicing the town had nothing to do with the population of the town. Business was good, it was down slightly but no one was worried.

But further down the track the Global Financial Crisis coincided with another mining boom and our tourism industry virtually went bust.

The GKI resort along with 12 others eventually closed. What exacerbated the situation in Rockhampton was that the demographics of our commercial and industrial sector had changed. The commercial and industrial sectors had become decentralised.

That is, supermarkets and retail outlets were now scattered throughout CQ and those businesses servicing the mining industry were now closer positioned in the country areas. Thousands of people did not come to Rockhampton for the bulk of their needs. They were now positioned closer at hand. That was money and productivity that no longer walked into Rockhampton.

How come the Mayor did not notice this?

Mayor Strelow needs to look a bit deeper and recognise that making things look pretty and promises of investment does not change the demographics of what we have become.

We need to look at the strengths and weakness of what we have got and acknowledge that our economic viability has taken some steps backwards over the years.

The Mayor needs to go back and look more closely at what makes a town vibrant with improved economic stability irrespective of population levels, because at the moment it is called sitting in suspended animation hoping the tooth fairy will come.

Jo Coulter

Rockhampton



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