Rocky businessmen push for major economy boosting projects

FORUM: Friends of the Fitzroy Gap (FFG) Dick Macnevin, Dominic Doblo, Roger Toole, Ian Nicholas and Mark Wood have the answers of what the dam could mean for CQ.
FORUM: Friends of the Fitzroy Gap (FFG) Dick Macnevin, Dominic Doblo, Roger Toole, Ian Nicholas and Mark Wood have the answers of what the dam could mean for CQ. Kerri-Anne Mesner

THE proposed Gracemere Transport Hub and an international airport for Rockhampton would be two of the positive domino impacts of The Gap Dam being built.

That is according to The Friends of the Fitzroy Gap (FFG) - a group of citizens who have experience in one industry or another that would benefit from the proposal.

The group will be holding an information forum on August 1 after they became aware a lot of people had questions about the proposal, or didn't know enough about it to make an informed decision if they supported it or not.

FFG member Mark Wood comes from an agricultural irrigation background with his family having owned and operated properties at Moura, Dingo and Gogango in the past.

He pointed out how much water was crucial to Queensland with 90% of the state declared in drought last year.

Mr Wood said the flood waters Rockhampton had in April, after Cyclone Debbie swept down the coast, were wasted, being washed out to sea.

Roger Toole, who owns property on the fringes of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area and is a pilot, is also a FFG member.

"Stage one of The Gap Dam would double Queensland's water supply and it wouldn't have a large affect on inundating properties," he said.

Rockhampton businessman Dominic Doblo said Australia was in an economic recession, which was the most appropriate time to build a major infrastructure project like The Gap Dam.

He said the project would create jobs in its construction phase and long term domino jobs with other flow-on projects, such as an international airport or a transport hub at Gracemere.



He said there would be hundreds of thousands of acres between The Gap and Rockhampton to grow avocados and lychees for export via air freight.

Mr Doblo said he'd recently had calls from China looking for supplies of mangoes. He sold the mandarins and now they want the citrus fruit supplied on a regular basis.

Mr Wood highlighted the importance of creating a geographical spread of risk in the agricultural industry.

He explained this would be where bananas were not just grown in one part of the state which a cyclone would devastate. Prices soared for bananas across Autralia after Cyclone Yasi struck in 2011.

Mr Toole said one of the issues the group was trying to get everyone to understand was that if the old study was updated now to include the technological and agricultural advances in the industry, along with engineering advances in building such a dam, The Gap Dam cost would not be anywhere near as high as the old report predicted.

Ian Nicholas said other industries that would benefit from the dam would be machinery suppliers, maintenance workers, seed suppliers, tree suppliers, their families, the health and education sectors those extra families in the region would need.

"Forward vision like this is what's lacking with the politicians in this country for the past 20 years," Mr Toole said.

Topics:  dominic doblo mark wood rockhampton development

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