GYMPIE region businesses and workers are missing out on much of the mining boom's potential, but not for long.
According to speakers at this week's Gympie Chamber of Commerce breakfast, a huge and largely untapped middle-
level market awaits our manufacturers and professionals.
The region's Cinderella status must end, according to Jason McPherson, of Gympie firm CPM Engineering.
Mr McPherson says the auditing and other compliance costs of dealing with the major mining firms is too much for most small businesses.
But the middle-ranking firms supplying them need the kind of expertise and manufactured products that Gympie businesses can supply.
To get this major marketing drive started, chamber members are promoting a bus trip next month, to take Gympie region business to the market.
They will attend the Surat Basin Energy and Mining Expo at Toowoomba Showgrounds on Wednesday and Thursday, June 20 and 21.
Government officials told the breakfast that more business could mean not only better profits, but the possibility of paying more competitive wages, "to stop the bleeding of workers into the resource sector".
"It doesn't have to be mining as such," CPM Engineering's Jason McPherson told guests. "There is an enormous amount of exploration activity going on too, some of it quite nearby.
"There are 66 drilling companies alone operating out of Emerald," he said.
Mr McPherson said his business provided one example.
"We make components for drilling rigs for Savik Mining and Contracting.
"They get sent to Brisbane for installation in drilling rigs, or for spare parts, many of them bound for export.
"The only things we can't do in Gympie are brain surgery and hot-dip galvanising, and we're working on the galvanising," he said.
Business people on the bus will be able to meet potential customers directly.