Construction magnate says regions 'lack passion'
REGIONAL communities are struggling because they suffer a lack of passion.
That is the diagnosis by business icon John Wagner - chairman of Wagners - whose family company developed a new airport with "hundreds of millions of dollars" for Toowoomba in Queensland's south-west.
The Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport began operating late last year, after the board decided to privately fund the development in April 2012.
Mr Wagner said the challenge for other regional cities looking to follow Toowoomba's lead was "just a lack of passion".
"There's a lack of passion about development, about tourism, about making the place a better place," he said.
"Some of the local councils have certainly got some exposure there.
"We've got away from this hand-out mentality from government.
"We need to encourage private sector investment.
"It has got to be sound business obviously but we need private sector investment to really get out of their comfort zone and make the country a better place."
Brisbane West Wellcamp is the first new Australian airport in 50 years.
It now has QantasLink and REX airlines flying services to Sydney and parts of north and western Queensland.
Read more from our series, From The Heart, Aussie Icons Speak Out.