POS­I­TIVE OUT­LOOK FOR CQ

Central Queensland News - - FRONT PAGE - Kris­ten Booth Kris­[email protected]

THE last year was a pro­duc­tive one for Cen­tral High­lands De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, but they are ex­pect­ing 2019 to bring big­ger and bet­ter things for the Cen­tral High­lands.

Through­out 2018, CHDC de­liv­ered the re­gion’s first hackathon HACKCQ and two in­dus­try fo­rums that at­tracted over 200 at­ten­dees com­bined. They also won two ma­jor awards for the Cen­tral High­lands Ac­cel­er­ate Agribusi­ness ini­tia­tive.

CHDC Gen­eral Man­ager San­dra Hobbs said last year was big, but 2019 is “look­ing like a wa­ter­shed year for sev­eral ma­jor projects that have been on the cards for a long time”, such as the Cen­tral Queens­land In­land Port and Adani’s Carmichael pro­ject.

“These de­vel­op­ments do more than in­ject money di­rectly into the Cen­tral High­lands econ­omy,” Mrs Hobbs said.

“They in­ject con­fi­dence into busi­nesses and con­sumers – in­spir­ing busi­ness ex­pan­sions and boost­ing spend­ing ac­tiv­ity.”

She said re­source sec­tor ac­tiv­ity is look­ing up with an im­prov­ing global out­look.

“The Cen­tral High­lands has seen height­ened sale ac­tiv­ity and new de­vel­op­ments around coal and gas,” she said.

“The eco­nomic im­pacts that are al­ready ev­i­dent will con­tinue into 2019 – job ads have in­creased, the prop­erty mar­ket has tight­ened, skilled labour is in high de­mand and new mine an­nounce­ments have cre­ated buzz that ex­pects to de­liver strong pos­i­tive re­turns for lo­cal work­ers and busi­nesses.”

De­spite the chal­lenge of dry weather, Mrs Hobbs said the gen­eral out­look for agri­cul­ture is also “over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive”.

“Ex­ports are grow­ing, so too is de­mand – and prices – for crops like cot­ton and macadamias.

“Projects like the Cen­tral Queens­land In­land Port and re­gional meat pro­cess­ing plant will also be game chang­ers for the in­dus­try.”

A ma­jor high­light for CHDC in 2019 will be the launch of a short film as part of a ma­jor cam­paign to at­tract skilled work­ers to Cen­tral High­lands.

“It’s a vi­brant and up­beat mini doco that shows why the re­gion is a great place to live, work and play,” Mrs Hobbs said.

She said the Cen­tral High­lands will con­tinue to pros­per in the fu­ture with the help of lo­cals.

“Sup­port our tourism in­dus­try by get­ting out and ex­plor­ing the Cen­tral High­lands and dis­cov­er­ing the many ex­pe­ri­ences it has to of­fer,” Mrs Hobbs said.

“Be an am­bas­sador for the re­gion by telling ev­ery­one what a great place it is to live, work, and play.”

PHOTO: CHDC

NEW YEAR: CHDC gen­eral man­ager San­dra Hobbs.

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