350 workers to spend big in $31m power station overhaul
A $31 MILLION dollar overhaul will extend the life of a station that brings power to most of Central Queensland to 2033, but it's the two-month boost to the local economy that locals are hanging out for.
The publican of Biloela's Commercial Hotel, Peter Law, said while the overhaul of the Callide Power Station is only short, any boost to the town's struggling economy would be a plus.
"Anything that can boost the town along would be helpful," he said.
"The town needs a bit of a kick along."
Mr Law said in the past year the town and its surrounding villages, including Callide and Thangool, had been thrown into "a bit of uncertainty" as new owners prepare to take over Callide and Boundary Mine.
It's on top of a cut in production at the local abattoir that had seen meatworkers' hours reduced.
Mr Law said while his own business hadn't been hit as hard as he could count on locals playing the pokies or dropping in for a beer rather than solely on accommodation, some local motels only had occupancy rates of 25%.
He said while shutdown workers only tended to come in for one night of the week, they usually spend big.
"They'll have a few drinks, let their hair down, stay at accommodation, eat and come in for entertainment," he said. Queensland's Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the "flow-on economic benefits" for the local economy would extend to a range of local service providers, including "accommodation providers, caterers, transport companies and many more in the region".
Mr Pitt also said the "economic uplift" the upgrade would provide shows Labor's campaign against the Newman Government's plans to sell-off state-owned infrastructure - including electricity -- has paid off.
Mr Pitt said it means the government was able to prioritise government-funded projects by weighing up the need for a boost to the local economy and jobs with the infrastructure needs.
"In a decentralised state like Queensland, government building projects help deliver employment when and where it's most needed," he said. "By investing in well-maintained and modern facilities, we are ensuring the region continues to grow and prosper."