Rocky apartment tower aimed at Gladstone DIDO workers

The one-and-one-quarter hour drive from Rockhampton to the LNG boom town of Gladstone is comparable to a commute from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, which many people do every day. Hence it makes sense that Rockhampton is being used as a base for drive in-drive out (DIDO) workers in Gladstone. This morning’s Rockhampton Morning Bulletin (Solly backs $20 million high-rise) reports on a new apartment tower aimed at Gladstone DIDO workers:

WORK on a $20 million, high-rise serviced apartment complex on the banks of the Fitzroy River will start this month…

…The Victoria Pde development is being developed by Queensland Property Developers, a company backed by Rockhampton identity Solly Stanton (of the former Silly Solly’s discount store chain), and George Callianiotis…

…Mr Callianiotis jnr said the development was the beginning of an investment overflow from Gladstone for the coming boom in liquified natural gas projects…

…Mr Callianiotis said: “I really think 2013 is going to be a big year for property all over Central Queensland.

“We are already seeing lower vacancy rates in Rockhampton, and Gladstone is full.

“Despite what some people think about fly-in fly-out workers or drive-in drive-out workers, the reality is that it’s going to happen.

“We are already seeing some people like high-income Santos engineers fly in and out of Gladstone to and from Brisbane.

“This project will cater to those workers in Gladstone running these projects to drive in and out from Rockhampton.”

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2 Responses to Rocky apartment tower aimed at Gladstone DIDO workers

  1. The Happy Hillbilly says:

    As a Gladstone resident, I have been less than impressed with the outcome of this boom. The benefits to the city have been minimal and have largely been outweighed by social problems caused by sharply escalating rental and housing prices. Pubs and brothels have no doubt done well enough but the nature of FIFO means that the bulk of the income earned by highly paid LNG project workers simply flies away elsewhere without ever entering the local economy. Most local small businesses have gained little or nothing.

    The rental hikes have driven significant numbers of lower income earners out, many will likely never return. Local landlords have done well – it would be interesting to know exactly how many local landlords remain though. The turnover of property has been such (around 80% for investment purposes last year) that I suspect a large volume of rental accommodation has been bought up by investors from outside chasing high returns. Such a situation mirrors the FIFO problem itself – a lot of rental income is probably being drained away by absentee landlords residing in Brisbane and Sydney rather than being spent into the local economy.

    True, it’s probably reasonable to expect rents and property prices to fall in time due to a likely oversupply – everywhere I look in the area, units and housing developments have been springing up like mushrooms and while the LNG projects employ many thousands of workers, almost all of them will leave upon completion since a mine or plant only requires a tiny fraction of the number of people to run it once complete compared to the size of the workforce required in the construction phase.

    Measures could have been put in place to minimise the negative impacts on the community but the Bligh government saw only dollar signs and the potential for harm was ignored. While Queensland has no doubt benefitted from the Gladstone LNG project and will continue to do so into the future (though perhaps not nearly as much as was first believed, given the prospect of rising international competition for the seaborne LNG trade), I am forced to consider the irony of how such a huge investment could have so little overall benefit for the town that hosts it and that my community could end up being more of a casualty of industrial development than a beneficiary.

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