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$100 billion boost to the region

CENTRAL Queensland will be awash with cash and jobs over the coming decade according to a new assessment of the region's booming economy.

A combination of government and private investment is set to pour an eye-bulging $100 billion into the local economy, and attract a new influx of skilled workers that will in turn push up house prices.

Business leaders gathered at Rockhampton Leagues Club last night to hear a rosy vision of the future as Rockhampton Regional Development launched the first edition of the Central Queensland Major Projects Status Report.

It details a whopping 422 projects that are either under investigation, planned or under construction in and around Rockhampton, Gladstone and the coalfields.

Project officer Graham Bloxsom, who compiled the report, said he was surprised when he started to add up all the potential investments.

“If only a proportion of these projects come to fruition we are talking about tens of thousands of jobs and enormous economic activity,” he said.

“There's going to be tremendous demand for housing land.”

The $100 billion worth of projects includes $205 million that will be spent in the next couple of years as part of the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution stimulus package, on 302 schools in Fitzroy and the Central West.

Mr Bloxsom said the school building and refurbishment would offer tremendous opportunities for tradies and subcontractors.

“This report will help people of all trades understand how they can bid for work and get their slice of the pie,” he said.

The biggest chunk of investment is in the energy sector, where projects valued at $58 billion are mooted. There are seven liquefied natural gas plants proposed for Gladstone.

Eighteen mining projects are proposed, worth $20 billion, including the massive China First development at Alpha.

Rockhampton Regional Development's chief executive Gary Kerr said the report clearly indicated that the region would continue to perform strongly, no matter what happened globally.

“The level of activity in the coming years will see the regional economy grow strongly. Coming from a base where there was little impact from the recent global financial crisis on the regional economy, the pressures that will be placed on the regional workforce will be significant,” he said.

The development agency will focus on a range of products designed to skill up the local workforce and attract skilled people from the south-east, elsewhere in Australia and overseas.

“Past experience has shown that, with high levels of development, major projects through to small business suffer severe skill shortages which impacts on construction times, budgets and capabilities.

“Many small businesses suffer as skilled employees are lured to the larger projects offering higher pay packets,” he said.

$100 billion splurge

• Mining: 18 projects worth $20 billion

• Energy: 27 projects worth $58 billion

• Minerals: 11 projects, $9.5 billion

• Ports: eight projects, $6.5 billion

• Rail: 10 projects, $4.1 billion

• Schools: 302 projects, $205 million


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