The big stories that made headlines in Gladstone in 2019
FROM a federal election, to the beginning of new projects to being named the "sexiest" town in Australia, there have been plenty of ups and downs for the Port City in 2019. Here are some of the highlights from the year that's been.
TIPPED as a key seat in the federal election, Flynn was expected to have a cliffhanger result, but within two hours of counting it was clear how the electorate had voted. Incumbent Nationals MP Ken O'Dowd retained his seat for a fourth term, with support falling for second-time Labor candidate Zac Beers.
In April a Gladstone Ports worker who tripped up Bill Shorten on Labor's tax plan for high-income earners in his trip to Gladstone in May was suspended and forced to find another job.
The 49-year-old was told he was in breach for speaking to the media when filmed questioning Mr Shorten at the Queensland Government-owned Gladstone Ports Corporation, saying "it would be good to see higher wage earners given a tax break".
FAMILIES of the eight men who met their untimely deaths while working at sea were handed the findings from a five-day inquest into two maritime tragedies in August.
Central Coroner David O'Connell made nine recommendations in his findings from the inquest into the sinkings of fishing vessels Dianne, which sank off the coast of Seventeen Seventy in 2017, and Cassandra.
INTERSTATE investors are returning to the region as demand outweighs supply in a thriving rental market, while more people are also looking to buy a home.
The year's final Herron Todd White Month In Review property report found Gladstone's vacancy rate had fallen to 1.8 per cent, the lowest since 2012.
A PETITION seeking a five-year freeze on rates and a reduction was accepted by Gladstone Regional Council on November 5 after resident Jo-Ann Cuthbertson launched the Change.org petition in September and collected 5000 signatures.
AN EIGHT-day cat and mouse game between a Rockhampton prison escapee and police came to a dramatic end when he crashed into many cars before being tasered and arrested by police.
Criminal Lui "Dylan" Tiaaleaiga, 26, escaped Corrective Services officers' custody while at Rockhampton Hospital on July 27 and was captured in Gladstone on August 3.
GLADSTONE could be headed for a "health crisis" because general practices will struggle to hire doctors under a new area classification.
As of July 1, Gladstone medical practices must hire Australian doctors who have passed their Australian GP exam or doctors who have worked in Australia for 10 years. Some practices have had to turn patients away due to a shortage of GPs they are unable to replace.
Peter O'Sullivan has challenged his former employer Gladstone Ports Corporation's actions after he was accused of misconduct and sacked as chief executive officer.
The former Ports boss of three years was suspended with pay in December last year and GPC confirmed Mr O'Sullivan had been dismissed after a "thorough and extensive" investigation.
THE Gladstone Mater Hospital in February reduced its opening hours from 24/7 to a five-day-a-week surgical service.
In March Mercy Health and Aged Care confirmed it had put the hospital on the market.
Expressions of interest for the sale of the hospital closed in September with real estate agency Cushman and Wakefield and Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland confirming bids were currently under consideration.
Gladstone was recently named Australia's sexiest town - based on the sales of sex toys on the Lovehoney website from the past year.
Yes, your dildo, butt plug and/or vibrator purchases have not gone unnoticed.
GLADSTONE Ports Corporation chairman Peter Corones summed it up best when describing a completed East Shores Stage 1B as the "cappuccino-isation and chardonnay-isation of Gladstone" when the first sod was turned at the site yesterday.
Work on the $29.5 million East Shores expansion is under way, with the finished project to feature a waterfront cafe, improved cruise passenger interface, amphitheatre and further landscaping works.