Small business to benefit

FLOW-on investment from industry coming to Gladstone should be felt by small and medium businesses by the end of the year, according to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

In light of the NightOwl building owners going into receivership this month, along with Armflame going into liquidation, Ms Bligh spoke with The Observer about the region’s economic future during her visit on Friday.

She said the economic indication for the state showed things were not moving as fast as they were two or three years ago, but it was changing.

“All parts of Queensland have had some ups and downs and some difficult times in the past 12 to 18 months,” Ms Bligh said.

“I think Gladstone has a very optimistic future. Despite all of those uncertainties, even despite the question marks about the mining tax, we’ve continued to see big companies like Santos, Origin and British Gas invest in Gladstone, bringing offices and staff here and really start to undertake contracts and business investment in town. That is all very encouraging.

“We are now seeing a return to stronger than the national average economic growth and Gladstone can certainly expect to feel some of that in this financial year.

“They don’t have to wait two or three years. I know that the milestones that the big gas companies have set, we will start to see investment in the next six to 12 months.

“Each of these companies has large projects and those projects will need early investment and early jobs.”

Ms Bligh said for those small and medium businesses in Gladstone, there were programs offered by the State Government to help, including a $50,000 innovation voucher and a program where the State Government paid for experts to go into small and medium businesses to look at what could be done differently so the businesses could stay above water, or even just stay afloat.

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