Gladstone Harbour.
Gladstone Harbour. David Sparkes

Negative publicity hurts Gladstone

GLADSTONE has made national headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, and it is hurting in more ways than one.

Figures in the business community are worried negative publicity about the health of Gladstone Harbour is making it harder to attract recruits to fill the void in our workforce.

Whether the problems on Gladstone Harbour are real or perceived, reports in national media outlets have portrayed the region as an industrial wasteland.

Don Andrewartha, owner of Prizemans Electrical & Refrigeration, told The Observer yesterday he believed one of the problems in attracting skilled workers to move to Gladstone and join small businesses was the negative publicity Gladstone had received lately.

He said the biggest selling point for small businesses trying to out-recruit major projects was the lifestyle on offer.

"At the moment it would be hard to get someone to come to Gladstone for a great lifestyle when they read in the Courier-Mail every day about what's happening in Gladstone," he said.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited CEO Glenn Churchill agreed media portrayal of Gladstone had been damaging.

"Sensationalised news travels quickly," he said.

"Any negative reports or comments, real or perceived, can sadly tarnish the city and region's image and affect or impact on the sound professional reputation as a great business, investment, tourism and lifestyle destination.

"It takes months' worth of campaigning and marketing to attract visitors, workers, families and friends and it takes one seriously bad message to chase them away."

Mr Churchill said there had to be balance between "bad news" and promoting the region's positive points.

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