Chi­nese have eyes on coast

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

IN AS lit­tle as 15 years, there could be a new town­ship on the Whit­sun­day coast, some­where be­tween Bowen and Proser­pine.

That’s part of the vi­sion for the re­gion es­poused by ECheng, an Aus­tralian in­cor­po­rated com­pany with a small group of Chi­nese in­vestors, whose main in­vestor is based in China’s Fu­jian prov­ince.

Not many de­tails are cur­rently avail­able about ECheng In­dus­trial Park De­vel­op­ment Pty Ltd and its plans for the Whit­sun­days, but those that are were shared with the 160-strong crowd at last week’s Ma­jor Projects Sum­mit in Bowen.

E-Cheng busi­ness con­sul­tant Bernard Moore told the au­di­ence the com­pany saw many op­por­tu­ni­ties for trade be­tween the Whit­sun­days and China, no­tably through the ex­port­ing of pro­duce.

“In this re­gion we be­lieve there’s plenty of po­ten­tial… and I’m sure there must be a bit of a buzz out there at the mo­ment, be­cause there’s lots of projects hap­pen­ing and there’s lots of money be­ing pumped into this area, not to men­tion the amount of money that we’re go­ing to be pump­ing in as well,” he said.

Mr Moore said the to­tal amount E-Cheng ex­pected to spend was around $17 bil­lion over a 15-year pe­riod, with $900 mil­lion in­vested in the first three years alone.

He said the com­pany aimed to ac­quire about 2500 hectares of land near the coast and 140,000 hectares “else­where”, with the lat­ter to be used for “farming and hus­bandry, food pro­cess­ing, res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment, commerce and in­dus­try, tourism, recre­ation, sports, ser­vices, schools, med­i­cal, etc” and the for­mer “to form a small town­ship”, with the em­ploy­ment growth es­ti­mated at 30,000 jobs.

Mr Moore said this would bring ben­e­fits to both China and Aus­tralia and if all went to plan, E-Cheng hoped to start in the sec­ond half of 2016.

BIG PLANS: E-Cheng busi­ness con­sul­tant Bernard Moore tak­ing ques­tions from the floor at the Ma­jor Projects Sum­mit.

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