Economy Matters

COMM11008 – Blog Three
By Amanda McRae

The Gladstone region, known, to be where major industry of Australia resides, is experiencing the flow on effects of the current economic downturn.  From the recent boom made up of several, new major, and large, world-class industry projects commissioned and constructed simultaneously. There have been great benefits to the region because of boom.  As the town resets, however, Member for Flynn, Mr Ken O’Dowd said, “we are coming off a high and moving towards a very low  low,” (Hansard 2016d, p. 117).

ken-odowd
Figure 1: Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd in Parliament.  Source: Hansard (2016e)

In parliament, O’Dowd (Hansard 2016d, p. 117) stated, many businesses have been hit hard.  Unable to pay staff, businesses are in receivership after decades of being in business.   People left without work, large debts from assets that they can’t pay off and families are struggling.  Not to mention the extent of the many houses, units and businesses left vacant for over a year.

One of many business owners, Ms Helen Neil closed the doors of an iconic furniture warehouse after eight years.  Ms Neil said, “people just don’t have any money at the moment, you don’t expect the town to die this much,” (Mortimer 2016a, n.p).

The business is holding a closing down sale with 50-70% off stock.
Figure 2: Simply Solid Timber Furniture business.  Source:  The Gladstone Observer (2016a)
e
Source: The Gladstone Observer (2016b)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball acknowledges, “we know Australians are facing tough challenges in managing their household budgets,” (Hansard 2016b, p. 44).

“We have seen a big lift-up in mining construction investment and then a decline, and that was always going to happen,” said the Prime Minister (Hansard 2016c, p. 53).

1444899997418
Figure 3:  Prime Minsiter Malcolm Turnbull during question time in parliment  Source: AFR (2016)

“My government is providing the clear economic leadership Australia needs to remain a prosperous and secure First World economy,” said Turnbull, (Hansard 2016a, p. 70).

Mr Ken O’Dowd reiterated the current situation in the Gladstone region in parliament. “While the nation’s economy continues to grow strongly, many in Central Queensland are doing it tough,” (Hansard 2016d, p. 117).

Some businesses seeing the downturn as a challenge, an opportunity to reset, plan, start, renovate and get strategic with innovation. Particularly with “Advanced QLD” innovation initiative.

Stimulating the economy with the injection of funds and creating new jobs is crucial for the region.  Further new projects announced due to start construction in near future:

  • $42m Gladstone Hospital upgrade  – to start mid-2017 (Palaszczuk 2016).
  • $16m Southern Oil Refinery, an advanced bio-fuels pilot plant (Gillie 2016a, n.p).
  • $10m CQUniversity’s Gladstone Marina campus upgrade (Hansard 2016d, p. 117).
  • New retail shops (Gillie 2016b, n.p).
  • $950m Hummock Hill Tourist Development (Gillie 2016c)
  • Tourism boost through P&O Ships
  • $17m marine terminal (Mortimer 2016b)

The community remains resilient and positive.  It does raise questions, however, learning from the last boom, what will be done to prevent this from happening again locally in the future?  How do you soften the brunt next time?  Only time will tell, however, it is good to see the local Federal and State members addressing the downturn in parliament and progressing further on new projects.

References:

AFR 2016, Image: Malcolm Turnbull, viewed 20 September 2016, http://www.afr.com/content/dam/images/g/k/9/x/q/f/image.related.afrArticleLead.620×350.gka5lx.png/1444899997418.jpg

Enoch, L 2016, Leeanne Enoch MP, Twitter, viewed 20 September 2016, http://twitter.com/timgentle/status/605946859870224384

Gillie, C 2016a, New industry gets state tick approval, The Gladstone Observer, view 20 September 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/new-industry-gets-state-tick-of-approval/3077761/

Gillie, C 2016b, Two new restaurants for Stockland Gladstone, The Gladstone Observer, viewed 20 September 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/two-new-restaurants-for-stockland-gladstone/3091159/

Gillie, C 2016c, Govt approves Hummock Hill Island tourism development, The Gladstone Observer 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/hummock-hill-island-development-gets-environment-m/2855176/

Hansard 2016a, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Questions without notice: Economy,  Debates, 15 September, pp. 70, viewed 20 September 2016, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F9de5f081-9ccf-4f72-a05a-02462c1f3a0c%2F0101%22

Hansard 2016b, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Questions without notice: Economy, Debates, 14 September, pp. 44, viewed 20 September 2016, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fbf6692fe-063a-41a2-9ebb-5de513f31940%2F0113%22

Hansard 2016c, Australia, House of Representatives 2016,  Question without notice: Economic, Debates, 12 September, pp. 53, viewed 20 September 2016, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fd961ab05-d592-46b4-8a71-e41c76b2d8ae%2F0143%22

Hansard 2016d, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Federation Chamber – Constituency Statements – Flynn Electorate: economy, Debates, 14 September, pp. 117, viewed 20 September 2016, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fbf6692fe-063a-41a2-9ebb-5de513f31940%2F0215%22

Hansard 2016e, Image: Ken O’Dowd, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Federation Chamber – Constituency Statements – Flynn Electorate: economy, Debates, 14 September, video, viewed 20 September 2016, http://parlview.aph.gov.au/mediaPlayer.php?videoID=322244&action=backFromDownload&operation_mode=parlview&position=480

Mortimer, J 2016, Two iconic Gladstone Businesses close their doors, The Gladstone Observer, viewed 20 September 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/two-iconic-businesses-close-their-doors/3015042/

Mortimer, j 2016, Market opens as Gladstone sellers drop prices to force a sale, The Gladstone Observer, viewed 22 September 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/gladstone-property-sellers-offer-massive-price-dro/3092595/?utm_campaign=alert&utm_source=Gladstone+Observer&utm_medium=email

Palaszcuk, A 2016, Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Twitter, viewed 11 August 2016, https://twitter.com/AnnastaciaMP

The Gladstone Observer 2016, Image: Furniture warehouse, viewed 20 September 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/two-iconic-businesses-close-their-doors/3015042/

The Gladstone Observer 2016, Image: business, Gladstone workers in uncertain future as sale ‘deadline’ nears, viewed 23 September 2016, http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/transport-workers-future-up-in-the-air/3093034/?utm_campaign=alert&utm_source=Gladstone+Observer&utm_medium=email

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