Bligh's dam a major business let down

"IT'S very disappointing for the economy of Gympie," Kerren Smith, of major Gympie engineering firm, J Smith and Sons, said yesterday, after he heard the news about the Traveston Crossing dam project.

He said the dam proponent, Queensland Water Infrastructure, had made a big contribution towards training and developing Gympie Region businesses, to enable them to benefit from opportunities associated with the dam project.

He said free training programs had led to the issuing of 300 construction industry "Blue Cards" and many people had taken part in intensive training courses, which resulted in recognised qualifications, including Diplomas in Project Management.

Courses included instruction in tendering and other big project skills aimed at ensuring that "if the dam goes ahead, there is the greatest benefit to the business community locally."

He said the dam would have benefited the whole community, including the Mary Valley and would have led to benefits "far greater than production out of the Valley as it stands."

The dam would have led to "some recession proofing for the local community. But no more," he said.

However, Mr Smith stressed that at no time had QWI or anyone else urged businesses to invest on the assumption that the dam would go ahead.

Gympie MP David Gibson, a long term opponent of the dam, said he remained concerned at the situation created by the latest government announcement.

"The way the State Government has treated the Gympie Region business community is a disgrace," he said.

"There are those in the electorate, including the business community and the long-term unemployed, who have believed what the government has said and they have made commitments in their businesses to prepare for construction of the dam, only to find that it's been a con and that is a disgrace.

"It is wrong for any government to operate that way.

QWI chief, Graeme Newton said his organisation remained committed to delivering the project as soon as it received Federal Government approval.

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