'Stop knocking Bundy if you want to see development'

ONGOING ROLE: Bill Moorhead signs his UDIA letter of appointment to the role of president, witnessed by Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman. Photo taken on Thursday, 14 May 2015. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
ONGOING ROLE: Bill Moorhead signs his UDIA letter of appointment to the role of president, witnessed by Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman. Photo taken on Thursday, 14 May 2015. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

BUILD Bundaberg up, don't knock it down, negativity breeds negativity according to Bill Moorhead, who says everyone has a role to play in developing a positive environment to stimulate growth.

Mr Moorhead isn't pretending Bundaberg's economy is all rosy, but he refused to be negative as he signed his letter of appointment to Bundaberg Urban Development Institute of Australia as president for a third year.

"I think we're coming from a pretty low base here in Bundaberg, we've had a lot of missed opportunities over a generation and I think it's time for Bundy to shine now," he said.

"One of the things I try and bring to the role is some positivity and encouragement for people to invest and do things in the district.

"Our local port which is technically unviable at the moment, it's only got a 5% utilisation rate at the moment so there's 95% excess capacity sitting there when most ports in the world are full to overflowing."

"I see that as a positive thing, to be able to say if you want to move product in and out of Bundaberg you're going to pretty well take a boat in and out when you want. That's a great opportunity."

Mr Moorhead said the availability of commercial and industrial land offered countless opportunities for potential businesses and the next business to set up shop in Bundaberg could to be another $70 million investment, like Knauf at the port.

But he said everyone needed to do their bit to make it happen.

"To say everything's fine is just ridiculous. It's not. We have the highest unemployment rate in the country just about and have done for a long time," he said.

"We've got intergenerational unemployment here and it's up to us to turn that around.

"Myself with UDIA representing the development industry we can play our role, council's playing there role, the state government can play their role.

"But you know what, so can the grandma in the street who's sold the cane farm who's whinging about everything.

"We need to shoot down the naysayers a little bit. We give them too much oxygen.

"It's about time people realise we live in a fantastic area with fantastic opportunities and every time we talk it down we're actually putting a nail in the coffin of someone who might decide to spend another $70 million."

To achieve it, Mr Moorhead said there needs to be sensible control for development.

 "It's getting better. Council's a lot more facilitative in terms of allowing development to progress," he said.

"We have pre-lodgement meetings for anyone who wants to do them where we can iron out issues before they become deal-stoppers."

Mr Moorhead said he felt a major issue was unnecessary red tape and the duplication of having to meet the same development application requirements across all three levels of government.

He said the UDIA negotiated infrastructure incentives with council last year to stimulate the building and property development industry, and there were further confidential requests currently with council to achieve even more.

Topics:  bundaberg consumer confidence economy

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