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Picture: GEA acting CEO Julie Gelder.
Central Queensland businesses generate millions of dollars for local economy at 2018 Major Industry Conference “IT’s about real jobs and real opportunities for Central Queensland” that’s how Gladstone Engineering Alliance acting Chief Executive Julie Gelder sums up their 2018 Major Industry Conference. “This year’s conference features 10 speakers involved in projects with a combined worth of $3.5 billion, all within 200km of Gladstone,” Ms Gelder said. “The projects identify the ongoing diversification of the industry landscape, with two solar farms – Acciona Energy’s Aldoga project and Renew Estate’s solar farm at Rodds Bay - expected to create plenty of interest. “And we also have amongst others Australia Future Energy who will publicly launch its proposal to build a coal gasification plant within the Gladstone State Development Area with plans for the coal to syngas plant expected to take two years to build, and create 900 jobs during construction.” In its 15th year, the GEA Major Industry Conference, presented by Aestec Services, has continued to evolve with this year’s conference reflecting a ‘broader’ view of opportunities with some ‘breakthrough’ projects within the renewable energy, construction, mining, tourism and coal sectors. Ms Gelder said despite some of GEA’s 200+ business members still seeking more work, she had noticed a feeling of optimism returning to the region’s industry sector. “My sense is that it’s getting better, but I still believe we have to do a lot of work on the connection between our members, the SMEs in town and the major projects and contractors at those projects,” she said. Ms Gelder said the conference would help strengthen that relationship and would give small businesses the opportunity to make themselves known among some of the region’s major employers. “This year speakers will also present their plans for their projects at stalls in the foyer of the entertainment centre which she believes will give businesses a better opportunity to network with companies they are interested in working with. “We have more than 1000 work packages identified at this conference,” she said. “It’s about sharing real opportunities and making sure the delegates and attendees can connect in to real work.” To complement the conference and to celebrate industry in Central Queensland, the GEA will host the industry’s night of nights, the GEA Gala Dinner and Industry Awards on the evening of Thursday, October 11 directly after the conference, at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre. Tickets for the 2018 GEA Major Industry Conference, Gala Dinner and Industry Awards can be purchased now by calling the GEA on 4972 9060 or from the GEA website at www.gea.asn.au