AUSTRALIAN mining magnate Gina Rinehart is coming to Rockhampton.
In a huge coup for the region, The Morning Bulletin understands Ms Rinehart, one of the richest women in the world, has accepted an invitation to a dinner here before Christmas. She will meet with a select group.
The Morning Bulletin believes Cr Neil Fisher pulled off the coup with an impromptu invitation to Ms Rinehart after meeting her at a recent mining conference.
And the rest is history.
Rockhampton Regional Council refused to confirm the visit or any details yesterday and Cr Fisher and Mayor Margaret Strelow also declined to comment.
Ms Rinehart has been a prime mover in developing the massive GVK Hancock coal projects near Alpha. The Rockhampton council would be keen to show off the Gracemere Industrial Area's potential while it positions itself to be a major service provider for the mining sector as a flurry of Galilee basin projects ramp up.
The mining billionaire has just been crowned Australia's chairperson of the year by CEO Magazine, saying Ms Rinehart's stewardship of her private company Hancock Prospecting had been well demonstrated on a local and global scale in the past year.
The irony of her Rocky visit is that it comes at a time when Mackay and Gladstone are in a fluster over Rockhampton's arrival as a major player in the resource scene.
It also coincides with the region's push to cash in on Campbell Newman's Queensland Plan vision to increase the population in regional centres.