Rothery’s ‘calls’ to put Yeppoon facility to work
A "DORMANT" section of The Hub in Yeppoon could be turned into a call centre and key Capricorn Coast employer if One Nation's Keppel candidate Wade Rothery gets his way.
Mr Rothery said there were businesses ready to man the phones.
He said his plan would create hundreds of jobs for locals while helping to re-skill permanently injured workers.
It would turn Yeppoon into a "call centre hub", he said.
"There's a risk for permanently injured workers to be left on the scrap heap if they're unable to quickly re-skill or re-enter the workforce, particularly throughout regional parts of Queensland where rehabilitation and re-skilling options aren't as frequently available," he said.
The former mining sector worker's career was cut short by a mining incident which left him with an amputated thumb and crushed vertebra.
"Major companies need to lose the mindset of establishing call centres in capital cities and look at building regionally-based hubs in towns like Yeppoon and Emu Park," he said.
Mr Rothery said a call centre would also provide opportunities for those with disabilities.
"If I was the local Member for Keppel, I'd be working with (the) council to find a corporate company willing to establish a call centre on a vacant level of the town's Centre of Excellence for Disaster Management, Innovation and Community Resilience," he said.
"The location is ideal because it's within close proximity to the Yeppoon Telstra exchange which would give a call centre easy access to fibre optic data and the building is
already equipped with backup power generation."
The Hub will mark its second birthday on Thursday and remains mostly vacant following an injection of $2.875 million in ratepayers' money and a further $3.35 million from the State and Federal Governments.
"We've got a building worth more than $6 million dollars in the centre of town and after two years, it's sitting there not being used," Mr Rothery said.
Single parents, people with disabilities and young people would reap the employment opportunities, he said.
"The Livingstone Shire has a growth rate which exceeds the state average, so it's important we focus on creating a diverse range of jobs to support the region throughout its expansion phase," he said.
"I believe a call centre ticks so many important boxes and between local, state and federal governments, we could attract an Australian company or better still a government department that would love to call Keppel home."
Mr Rothery said he had spoken to potential occupiers of the proposed call centre but would not disclose which business or department.
He said he would speak to Livingstone Shire Council members this week and more businesses.
A Livingstone Shire spokeswoman said The Hub was a crucial resource during major weather events or disasters and the council was seeking a tenant for the vacant space.