Mayor Ron Dyne
Mayor Ron Dyne

Gympie left out of Qld Govt plans

GYMPIE Region has been left out of high-level State Government plans to harness the mining boom in areas of high unemployment, despite its larger Wide Bay Burnett region showing Australia's highest unemployment.

Mayor Ron Dyne said yesterday he would be "intrigued to know why."

Announcing the Work for Queensland conference this week, Premier Anna Bligh's office said it was to be held at the Gold Coast yesterday and would include "senior executives from resource companies and mayors from areas with higher unemployment."

Cr Dyne said he suspected the summit was aimed at areas with airports servicing fly-in fly-out mining workers and was concentrated on larger centres.

"They're competing to give the aircraft industry better deals," he said. "But Gympie has people flying in and flying out to work in the resource industry now.

"I was talking to a young bloke three weeks ago who flies to Brisbane, flies to Perth and flies from there to Karratha and then he does the opposite to get home.

"I would have thought that, with the unemployment we are supposed to have, that we and Bundaberg also would be included, not just Fraser Coast out of the Wide Bay Burnett Region.

"Wide Bay Burnett seems to have one of the poorest demographics in the country and the highest unemployment. Why aren't all of us invited?" he said.

The Summit, held at the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE, also was set to include Federal Government representatives, Ms Bligh said.

She said mayors would attend from the Gold Coast City, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Whitsunday and Cairns.

While Queensland's larger regional centres vie for a share of mining boom benefits, the other side of the "two-speed economy" shows in the latest Queensland Master Builders Association survey of industry conditions.

The survey's June quarter edition says that troubles in the Gympie Region building industry are a reflection of hard times for the industry across Queensland.

"The rain may have stopped but the sun did not shine on the state's building industry," the report said.

The report attributes building industry weakness to the national "two-speed economy", with many consumers and business unconvinced about the future.

Premier Bligh indicated the Gold Coast employment summit was an attempt to harness mining boom benefits for other Queensland communities.

"I called this summit because we have significant numbers of Queenslanders, particularly in some regional areas, out of work and yet the mining industry is facing a skills shortage," she said.

"This is about going to the top and matching jobs with Queenslanders in areas that are facing higher unemployment.

"Queensland is on the cusp of a huge resources boom with our new LNG industry and demand from China and India for our coal and other resources."

The event also included executives from Anglo-American, Arrow, Bechtel, BMA, McArthur Coal, QGC Pty Ltd, Rio Tinto, Santos, Origin, Thiess, Vale Australia and Xstrata Coal Pty Ltd and the Queensland Resources Council.

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