PREMIER Anna Bligh (pictured) has discussed the carbon tax, recovery of tourism and property and announced a new week-long rugby festival while on the Gold Coast.
Speaking at a recent Gold Coast Media and Corporate Club luncheon on top of Q1, Bligh spruiked the State Budget’s property stimulus initiatives and her commitment to revamping the Coast’s tourism sector.
She also says Queensland can become ‘the resources powerhouse of Australia’, but deflected questions on how the Federal Government’s carbon tax could impact the three key sectors.
“I look forward to the details outline by the Prime Minister on Sunday. We’ve said from day one we’ll look at the proposal and we’ll look at it with one set of glasses on and that is ‘is it good for Queensland and can we make it work here’,” says Bligh.
“We’ll be putting Queensland first when we assess the package this weekend. Right now there’s a lot of ‘if’s’, I’m going to leave my judgement until I see the facts.
“You would expect big mining companies to be concerned about anything that might change their profitability, let’s wait and see what the ultimate package looks like. I want to make sure households are looked after and I want to make sure our industry has a very bright future.”
In welcome news for the tourism sector, Bligh used the opportunity to announce the week-long Festival of Rugby, to be held in the week leading up to the Rugby Sevens tournament in late November.
The event is expected to deliver an economic boost of $7 million and attract about 40,000 spectators.
“The Rugby World Seven’s will be coming to the Gold Coast this year for the first time and they will be accompanied by a Rugby Union festival that will last a week in the lead up. We’ll see a veteran’s competition; a women’s competition and that will hopefully bring tourists here for longer,” says Bligh.
“As we saw last weekend with the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, the Gold Coast certainly knows how to show visitors a good time and put on a great event.
“Events like this and the Gold Coast Sevens will showcase the first-class sporting infrastructure on the Gold Coast, as well as support our bid effort for the 2018 Commonwealth Games - particularly with Rugby Sevens being a Commonwealth Games sport.
“Visitors to the Gold Coast means jobs on the Gold Coast and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring them here.”
During the event, Arts Centre Gold Coast general manager Destry Puia asked the Premier to commit to building a cultural precinct in the city. Bligh again banked the initiative on whether the Gold Coast secures the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“We’ve seen how the establishment of a cultural precinct in Brisbane around GoMA has changed Australia’s perception of arts in Queensland. We’re as committed to the arts on the Gold Coast as we are in securing major events,” says Bligh.
“We’ve talked in the past with the people proposing this, but we see the Commonwealth Games as an opportunity to sit down and really talk seriously about how we can make it happen.”
After yesterday ordering Cougar Energy to close its underground coal gasification (UCG) plant near Kingaroy, Bligh also dismissed the UCG industry as an ‘untried technology’.
The statements could be a worrying sign for large UCG companies across Queensland, particularly Brisbane-based Linc Energy (ASX:LNC), which has a market capitalisation of $1.4 billion.
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