Engineering coup possible for city

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A GROUP of Gladstone engineers is working on a project that could carry the same level of economic benefits and local jobs as the Comalco Alumina Refinery.

The Gladstone Engineering Alliance (GEA) yesterday told The Observer it would put together a proposal for a common user engineering facility that had been flagged for Queensland.

The site would be used as a base for construction modules of up to 400 tonnes each for use in naval and shipbuilding contracts as well as mining projects.

GEA president Michael Fearns yesterday said Gladstone would be the ideal place for the facility, with a parcel of land already identified.

'This is the sort of thing the local engineering groups have been looking for,' Mr Fearns said. Mr Fearns said the flow-on affects of such a project would be a huge benefit for the region.

"It would mean an extra 3000 to 4000 people in population for a start, it would be similar to benefits we saw with the Comalco refinery,'' he said.

Gladstone has also been attached to another similar engineering project. The GEA has been attached to the Australian Defence Industries (ADI) who will tender for a $2 billion contract to build two amphibious naval ships next year.

Greg Parkinson of ADI said a trip by the company to Gladstone in January had confirmed that if they were successful in their tender, Gladstone's engineering sector would more than likely play a part in the project.

State Development Minister Tony McGrady confirmed the possibility.

'Gladstone could very well figure in the possible sub-contract work,' he said.



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