Is city ready for next boom?
By GLEN PORTEOUSglenp@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
IS Gladstone ready for more major industrial development?
That is the question people are asking about the short and long-term prospects of further industrial expansion in Gladstone and the surrounding region.
With the recent successful bid of Chinese aluminium giant Chalco in winning the first round of bidding for the Aurukun bauxite deposit, the argument for another refinery being built in Gladstone is growing stronger.
Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board chief executive (GEIDB) Dr Ken King said long-term planning was in place to support future developments.
'For starters there has been approximately 20,000 hectares put aside for further industrial development,' Dr King said.
The Gladstone State Development Area (GSDA) was established by the Queensland Government in the early 1990s to provide suitable land in readiness for industrial development well into the future.
Another serious concern was whether the local infrastructure could support the growth.
A GEIDB report said Gladstone was the ideal investment location for large scale projects of national and international significance due to availability of land, deepwater port, competitively priced energy, access to water, gas and other raw materials.
With the international economies of China and India booming, they would be looking for support to keep this growth enhanced.
'As the demand in China increases and the development of their economy grows, this could create a continued focus on industry development in Gladstone,' Dr King said.
Although Gladstone might be ready for further major industrial development, serious infrastructure of support was still needed.
Kirkwood Road and the Callemondah overpass were two important examples of this much-needed support.
The Callemondah overpass was on time for final completion in the middle of this year and the much needed Kirkwood Road was still on the agenda but as yet no decision had been made on its starting date.