New mayor spruiks beef exports, retirement villages

BEEF exports, retirement villages, local content policies and lowering infrastructure charges are on new mayor Matt Burnett's hit list.

In a speech at a Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry networking function on Tuesday night, Cr Burnett spoke about making Gladstone open for business.

"I absolutely support the export of beef and primary produce from the port," Cr Burnett said.

"I don't own the port, but we will convince them (Gladstone Ports Corporation) as a region.

"We put enough pressure on them and it will be brought to bear."

He said the GPC was supported by the community for being a good corporate citizen and he expected that to continue through investing in the exportation of beef.

In a GPC announcement in December, former chief executive officer Craig Doyle earmarked Port Alma as the port to export beef.

A spokesperson for Gladstone Ports Corporation said it was a possibility for live cattle facilities at Port Alma, and it was keen to progress the opportunity subject to demand from the region's producers.

"GPC has prepared a basic design for a new ramp facility at Port Alma and some additional infrastructure would be required to facilitate vessels for cattle," the spokesperson said.

"GPC has also had discussions with a number of people about live cattle options from the Port of Gladstone, however the proposal for exports from Gladstone is less advanced and has a number of technical issues to overcome."

Cr Matt Burnett said Gladstone would benefit if it was a centre for beef exports.

"We need the port to export more than just coal, LNG or alumina," he said.

Another issue he said he was committed to deliver was providing more retirement villages. The closure of Hibiscus Gardens and Cooinda had impacted Gladstone's social fabric, he said.

"These people are the community's grandparents, babysitters, volunteers and key social components of any family," he said.

To attract the development of new areas, he said he would offer not-for-profit companies the opportunity to lease a block land for $1 a year to build a retirement village.

"It's something we are looking at across the region to seal the deal," he said.



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