Investment still clever

DON'T forget Gladstone.

In fact, put Gladstone at the top of your list if you are thinking about investing in real estate.

That's the cry from the Gladstone Area Promotion and Development CEO Danial Rochford.

Speaking at the real estate forum the GAPDL held yesterday, Mr Rochford said the reality for investors was that Gladstone continued to be a sound investment proposition.

Mr Rochford was responding to claims by the Courier Mail that investors should forget Gladstone as an investment opportunity.

He said that while there had been some downturn in the demand for rental accommodation in recent times, Gladstone's gross rental yield was still higher than that of the Gold Coast, Maroochy, Noosa and Hervey Bay.

"Our residential and commercial markets are only going to continue to grow,''he said.

"We have over 18 billion dollars worth of projects under construction, recently completed or under investigation in the region.''

Mr Rochford cited the significant announcement regarding the Inland Rail Corridor, commonly known as the missing link, between Wandoan and Banana which will further expand the already booming coal exploration in the Surat, Bowen and Belvedere coal fields, as one example of the extent of projects in the works.

"On Tuesday this week, the Premier Mr Beattie announced the upgrade of the Wiggins Island coal terminal and the major expansion of Fisherman's Landing wharf to significant projects and that preliminary planning is under way.

"These two projects alone when completed will represent almost $2 billion of investment in Queensland infrastructure and will make Gladstone the largest coal-exporting port in the world.''

Mr Rochford said these significant developments meant jobs and jobs meant more people would be moving to Gladstone in search of work, and of course would want to live in the region.

"Therefore it makes sense that residential and commercial investments will reap the rewards long into the future,'' he said.

"I would challenge anyone to find an area outside the capital city with such a diverse and growing industrial base, coupled with quality lifestyle experiences.''

Mr Rochford said that tourism took up about $1 billion of the investment dollars being slung at Gladstone.

"There are six resorts being considered in the region from Curtis Island to Agnes Water,'' Mr Rochford said.

"And in 2003-4 Gladstone was ranked seventh out of 70 cities nationally with the fastest population growth.

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