MILES PLANS YEAR

Fed­eral MP dis­cusses fu­ture

Chinchilla News - - FRONT PAGE - Brooke Dun­can Brooke.Dun­can@chin­chillanews.com.au

MILES com­mu­nity mem­bers dis­cussed the town’s fu­ture with Western Downs re­gional coun­cil and Mem­ber for Mara­noa David Lit­tleproud at the an­nual Year Ahead din­ner last Thurs­day.

The event comes af­ter nu­mer­ous an­nounce­ments of en­ergy and re­source de­vel­op­ments around the area, which posed a con­sid­er­able topic for dis­cus­sion.

For Mayor Paul McVeigh, the fo­cus for Miles in the months and years to come will sur­round agri­cul­ture, man­u­fac­tur­ing and en­ergy.

“We talked about hav­ing $5.5 bil­lion worth of re­new­ables com­ing our way but the ex­cit­ing thing with that is we’re not just talk­ing about that now,” Cr McVeigh said.

“We ac­tu­ally have $1.2 bil­lion worth of re­new­ables un­der con­struc­tion and we do have in the pipe­line a lot of re­new­ables that will come and will be of mas­sive ben­e­fit to around the Miles re­gion.”

But the flurry of an­nounce­ments has some com­mu­nity mem­bers con­cerned.

Miles and Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce mem­ber and real es­tate agent David Swee­t­ap­ple said he was afraid a poorly man­aged in­flux of work­ers could see a spike in the hous­ing mar­ket, im­pact­ing rent and house prices.

He said it was good to see de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion, demon­strat­ing con­fi­dence in the town and busi­nesses, but af­ter house prices plum­meted with the last boom, it’s un­likely in­vestors would want to build ac­com­mo­da­tion to house, he es­ti­mates, what could be 200–300 in­com­ing work­ers.

“My pre­dic­tion is rents will rise, as will house prices, and it is sim­ply eco­nom­ics of sup­ply and de­mand,” he said.

“In the real es­tate of­fice we see the de­mand, we see peo­ple come to us ask­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion.”

“It’s go­ing to hap­pen again, maybe not to the same ex­tent.”

Cr McVeigh said the coun­cil hoped to ap­proach the is­sue as a “slow burn” rather than a “gold rush” to pre­vent prob­lem­atic mar­ket fluc­tu­a­tions.

Mean­while Mr Lit­tleproud fo­cussed his speech on the ben­e­fits of the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship for the area and the role of en­ergy projects in push­ing the re­gion for­ward.

Mr Lit­tleproud also praised the roll-out of the NBN, with work al­ready com­menc­ing to con­nect about 1000 homes and busi­nesses in Miles to the fi­bre-to-the-node net­work.

“Bush com­mu­ni­ties in Mara­noa will greatly ben­e­fit from e-learn­ing, tele-medicine, video con­fer­enc­ing, tourism and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties which a faster in­ter­net con­nec­tion will pro­vide.”

❝ It is sim­ply eco­nom­ics of sup­ply and de­mand.

— David Swee­t­ap­ple

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

YEAR AHEAD: Mara­noa MP David Lit­tleproud, Western Downs coun­cil­lor Ian Ras­mussen, mayor Paul McVeigh, Miles and Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce's David Swee­t­ap­ple and cham­ber pres­i­dent Rachel Ker­wick.

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