What will my house be worth if Gladstone becomes FIFO town?

WHEN Michael Pope's father got work on the Gladstone Powerhouse expansion in 1977, his family packed up and moved here with his parents and three brothers.

Now he's a mechanical fitter in Gladstone. He has lived through several 'busts' and 'booms' but says the impact of the LNG projects hasn't been positive, like other projects in the past.


>> Mayor Gail Sellers

>> GAPDL CEO Glenn Churchill

>> Bechtel GM Kevin Berg

>> GAGAL CEO Leigh Zimmerlie

>> Federal MP Ken O'Dowd

The opening of the meatworks in 1893 was the first big 'boom' project for the city followed by the establishment of Queensland Alumina Limited in 1963 and the power station in the 1970s.

Then came the LNG plants on Curtis Island. They are worth $70 billion and in December 2014 there were 14,500 people working on the island.

Mr Pope was one of three people who spoke to the parliamentary committee investigating 100% Fly-In Fly-Out work options in regional Queensland, which visited Gladstone this week.

Mr Pope said instead of the LNG boom bringing work to local business, he has watched them be bought out by multinationals.

Those were the businesses that gave all his friends the chance to learn a trade.

"Those guys don't care about giving apprenticeships to local people. My father moved here to give us opportunities.

"Now I have watched my friends' children struggle to get those same opportunities that we did.

"My biggest asset is my house. What will that be worth if Gladstone becomes a FIFO town?"

He told the committee the people of Gladstone had worked hard to create career paths for their children, paid high rates and "put up with a lot from industry".

He said it was the big companies holding the community back and suggested they open large offices in regional centres.

"I can guarantee you there isn't much coal being dug up in the middle of Queen St in Brisbane," Mr Pope said. 

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher Mike Richards

"Why can't the coal boss have his office out here, where the coal is (in central Queensland)?

"Having offices here would provide more stability for our community and give our young people more opportunity to get trained.

"People are fearful of 2016. I hear people who have lived in Gladstone their whole lives asking - what am I going to do (for work)?"

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher, who is on the state committee, said opportunities for locals was a recurring theme in the nine towns they had visited.

"They don't want to be forced to move to Brisbane or Cairns just to get a job in a mine that's 20km away from their home."

There have been more than 220 written submissions.

So far Mr Butcher has not read one from Gladstone.

Not one person registered to speak yesterday and there was no representative from Gladstone Regional Council.

"This is a major issue with a major impact in the Gladstone region," Mr Butcher said.

"It was certainly disappointing not to hear from any representative from the council or local businesses."

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