Treasurer says "muscle town" Gladstone has bright future
TREASURER Tim Nicholls admits he doesn't have the easiest job in trying to reduce the state's debt, but he believes Gladstone's standing within Queensland will only enable it to grow further.
He said even with the funds Gladstone was set to produce when the LNG and extra coal terminal comes online, that income had already been spent.
Mr Nicholls said the government was currently paying $450,000 an hour in interest alone on the debt.
"Even though we see growth, and we've projected growth, the figures show that will continue to pay the interest, but it won't actually help us to pay the debt," he said.
"We don't have the luxury of not dealing with the problem."
Following the stakeholder meeting held in the city, he said there was a strong desire and a bright future for Gladstone.
"I call it the muscle town of Queensland... Gladstone has played an integral role in the development of Queensland, the development of its resource industries and its willingness to host heavy industries, and its support of the economic development of the state over a long period of time," he said.
"We'd like to be able to put more in, but we're unable to at the moment because of that debt.
"The challenge is to sell the 10-year plan for people to see that we're making strong disciplined decisions so in six years time we can see the benefits being delivered."
He said Gladstone had the foresight of previous governments to invest in and get the Port of Gladstone going in terms of establishing it as an industrial hub.