Council debt a non-issue: expert

COUNCIL debt to the tune of $158 million has emerged as one of the biggest election issues for voters.

But Griffith University economist Professor Fabrizio Carmingnani, who has a particular interest in regional economies, says that's not the most significant financial issue for Gladstone.

According to Professor Carmingnani the level of debt is sustainable and the council's repayment plan sound.

He said voters, and the council, should be focused on buffering the region against job losses by preparing workers for the transition to new industries which he sees developing in the next five years.

"When we say $150 million it sounds a lot," Professor Carmingnani said. "But when we relate that to the size of the regional economy it is a relatively small proportion. There is a reason to monitor the debt, but no reason to panic.

"The council should be advocating for training programs, along with the State Government, to help with the transition. I would like to see more debate on that coming up to the election."