OPINION: Gladstone business downturn not end of the world

SO, BUSINESS confidence in Gladstone is the worst many have seen.

Or is it?

I was fortunate enough to attend parts of last week's GEA conference, where many speakers spent some time dealing with the economy, both locally and globally.

In all instances, their message was quite similar.

We have seen the most incredible amount of construction activity over the past four years - more so than at any other time in Gladstone's history - in fact quite possibly more than any other part of Australia has ever seen.

That flurry of activity and spending was obviously not going to continue. It just couldn't.

And so now we are experiencing somewhat of a downturn. That was inevitable, and for those business which ramped up to cope with the extra work from Curtis Island it's going to be a tough old time.

But we won't drop into the depths of despair, as many seem to think. We will return to some sort of normality, but that normality will be in a slightly higher plane than it was in 2010.

That was the message from the speakers.

And if anybody thought there was any chance of a mini recession in Gladstone, they'd be dreaming a little, and sniffling over their beer.

Sure, it's pretty tough and it's not what we hoped would happen, but the reality is that it was never going to be any different.

How on earth could people expect that a drop from something like 14,000 people in construction of the gas plants to around 450 in operations would not have any effect on business?

But we will settle and sit and wait for the next big one. It will come. We might have to wait a year or three, but there will be something big again, sometime soon; just nowhere as big as what we have just experienced.

It might be the oil refinery and its possible influx of employees. It might be steel; it could be another LNG train - once the conditions are right. But it will be something.