David Gibson
David Gibson

Forum looking to put Gympie first

THE Gympie region's timber industry will be the focus of the inaugural Gympie First Forum lunch to be held today and addressed by academic Professor Roland De Marco.

Professor De Marco and a group of senior academics from the University of the Sunshine Coast will speak on changes within forestry in the Gympie region, including the impact of the carbon tax and the flow-on effects on employment.

The Gympie First Forum is the brainchild of Member for Gympie David Gibson and Gympie businessman Kerren Smith, who first shared a business leaders' breakfast concept with Mr Gibson after the last state election.

Mr Gibson said yesterday that initial idea had been developed further "into something that will bring real benefit in building business capacity and connections in the Gympie region".

In addressing the Gympie Rotary Club last Monday night, Mr Gibson revealed his Gympie First Forum plans and asked the Rotarians "what does a former police minister do when he is sin-binned and sent to the backbench"?

The answer was to develop an initiative designed to put Gympie first and lead the transformation and regeneration of the Gympie electorate as a region of opportunity and influence, he said.

"Too often the Gympie electorate has been overlooked. We either sit at the top end of the Sunshine Coast or the bottom end of Wide Bay and as a result we can miss out. Well, Gympie First is aimed at addressing this."

Mr Gibson gave the example of missing out on additional Bruce Hwy bypass funding in the recent Federal Budget as one of the challenges for Gympie.

"It is clear from the traffic numbers that were used to justify the upgrading of the four lanes of the Bruce Hwy through Gympie that we cannot afford any further delays," he said.

"If we face further delays in funding the bypass, by the time Section C is completed the Monkland St intersection will be gridlock.

"I recognise that the Bruce Hwy is a federally-funded road, but we need to look at alternate funding arrangements, like the $1 billion the Newman Government has put on the table on the condition that the Federal Government urgently brings forward expenditure to fix this link within 10 years."

Contact Mr Gibson's office on 5482 3651 or Gympie@parliament .qld.gov.au if you are interested in the Gympie First Forum.

Tickets are $30 and include a two-course lunch.