Residents must tread with caution
THERE aren’t a lot of similarities between Gladstone and Broome, but the pace of LNG industry development in both towns has people concerned.
An LNG precinct proposed for James Price Point, about 60km north of Broome has galvanised community protest with at least 26 arrests of gas-hub protestors made and up to 7000 people attending a protest concert on Cable Beach last month.
In terms of size, the development is dwarfed by our own Curtis Island, so should Gladstone residents be taking it to the streets and protesting?
For Professor of Resource Economics at Central Queensland University, John Rolfe, the answer is a cautious no, as long as housing issues are resolved soon.
“When people on low incomes can no longer afford to pay rent, that’s when economic impacts turn into social impacts,” he said.
“Our modelling suggests housing prices will rise by 60-80%. We haven’t seen that peak yet.”
Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the people of Gladstone were facing a far more palatable future than two years ago.
“Gladstone saw the ‘whites of the eyes’ of the GFC two years ago. I think most people would find the current set of problems preferable to that set,” he said.
“We’re honest about the fact that Gladstone was built as an industrial town; it’s the heart and soul of the place, it’s the history,” he said.
Mr Fraser will inspect LNG-plant construction on Curtis Island today with Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers.