MILES PLANS YEAR
Federal MP discusses future
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
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.