$1b megafactory, property boom and impending land shortage
GYMPIE businesses need to focus on good customer service and the Gympie council needs to start fasttracking subdivision approvals to meet the imminent demand for land and residential development here.
Business heavy hitters from the Sunshine Coast, Eighty20 Partners director Aaron Flanagan and QAPR director Peppe Bueti addressed a crowd of 120 at the Gympie Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the The Pavilion yesterday, advising on steps and strategies the region needs to adopt to ride the wave of growth tipped by nation leading property analysts and demographers, Bernard Salt and Terry Ryder.
The entire Gympie Regional Council attended the meeting, high school principals, a respresentative of the USC and Gympie MP Tony Perrett.
Mr Flanagan said it was important Gympie attract the right anchor tenant for the CBD, which currently has more than 50 empty storefronts, and that needed to be something like a customer service centre or centres.
These were several major points in a raft of suggestions put to the meeting, which also heard there will be no such thing as the "post-COVID" work era and that local real estate agents claimed some Victorians were snapping up Gympie region properties "sight unseen".
"The way that we work has changed for good," the crowd was told.
"We are not going back. This has implications for office assets in this region."
Mr Flanagan said the standard of customer service on the Sunshine Coast was "not where it needed to be" and this was an issue that could be applied broadly to Queensland.
'You need to provide outstanding customer service," he said. "It's a cultural thing. It creates a genuine competitive advantage.
"Don't try to be like the Sunshine Coast. Be Gympie. Embrace your competitive advantage."
Chamber president Tony Goodman said the COVID-19 silver lining was coming.
"There is going to be a cultural shift," he said. "People are coming out of the cities."
Gympie was already experiencing a real estate boom and was running out of land to build on.
"The council needs to start rubber stamping some subdivisions," Mr Goodman said.
"We are going to have a $1 billion megafactory on our doorstep for the next four years. This is something we have never had before. This is going to be a real shot in the arm."
Mayor Glen Hartwig said the council needed to change from being a regulatory body that policed growth to one that facilitated growth. The SUnshine Coast was becoming too congested and losing its relaxed feel and the Gympie region would benefit from that, he said.
"We don't want Rainbow Beach or Tin Can Bay to be the next Noosa. They have a unique appeal and that needs to be maintained.
"The council needs to get out of the way and pave the way for business to grow."
One thing the region did need was an industrial hub that would serve well into the future, without clashing with urban encroachment.
"We need to be thinking 50 years ahead," he said.
"In the past our industrial development has been a bit piecemeal.
"The future is bright because we have the best place and the best people."