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Gladstone businesses need free rent and rates

Colourful new garden beds have been layed down along Goondoon St in Gladstone's city centre.
Colourful new garden beds have been layed down along Goondoon St in Gladstone's city centre. Paul Braven GLA230617GARDEN

I TOOK my bandwagon for a mainy down Goondoon St this week and had a fresh thought.

With all the windows down as I pumped out the '80s tunes through my megawatt speakers, I could smell all the fresh flowers that have popped up.

The smell and sight of these new gardening additions to Goondoon got me thinking (and not about lunch for a change).

What a wonderful new addition these are but are they any use if the shops behind them are empty?

The council and community are doing a great job to freshen up our main street with the latest rejuvenation but we must get the shops behind them open and get more people into the main street and into these shops to actually appreciate the new splashes of colour.

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The council has been scoring a fair bit of cash lately through various government handouts. These are giveaways designed to create more jobs and they no doubt will, with Lions Park earmarked for some works and a few other such projects.

That's all well and good but when the construction finishes on projects like the park, so do the jobs.

What about using some of this cash in a more indirect way but in a way that may create more long-term sustainable jobs?

What about using a million of the loot that's come from Annastacia's purse to pay businesses' rents in the main street for a year and then advertise it for any new business willing to take up an empty shop in the main street?

And not just the main street - if this proves successful, loosen the purse strings even further and make this an offer for every business paying rent in Gladstone.

Let's then draw up a list of every empty shop in the main street and advertise every one of them nationally.

"Empty shops, free rent on offer ... come to Gladstone." We can add in some positive information about the weather, the surrounds, the lifestyle etc.

If there's 15 empty shops in the main street, this could potentially create 15-30, maybe more, new jobs for the sake of a million bucks.

I'm not too good at maths but I reckon that's a better use for a million smackeroos than splashing it out on a few construction jobs that will last a few months.

Business creates business, put 15 shops back in the main street and all of a sudden the existing shops will benefit as well.

With their rent paid for a year too, it could save a lot of them from the extinction that is no doubt looming for some.

I'm on a roll, stay with me.

We could then extend it to those businesses that own their own premises. Use Annastacia's moula to pay their rates for a year and then launch the same sort of national campaign for our empty buildings.

"Come up to Gladstone, buy yourself a building for your business and we'll let you off rates for a year."

This wouldn't need the Premier's cashola, it would just be a bit of council budget juggling.

The benefits would keep flowing, with the real estate companies getting a bit of relief if they can start selling off the many empty business premises in the main street.

Look at the GEA, they bought a building in the main street and they've tarted it up and now filled it ... I rest my case.

We are seeing green shoots in our economy and they're not just those new garden beds.

Let's pour some MJ-scheme manure on them to make them fully fledged trees of prosperity with a policy that will spread like lantana from our main street to the whole region.

Now, where did I put that ABBA cassette?

I think the people of Goondoon St are getting sick of my Dr Hook and Racey albums.



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