Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh with Dalby Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rohan May.
Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh with Dalby Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rohan May.

Forget Brisbane, now’s the time to work in Dalby!

NOW that COVID-19 has many people working from their homes, there may not be a need to relocate to Brisbane for jobs in the future.

Dalby Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rohan May said council’s decision to waive infrastructure fees could help the town grow given the extra workforce present.

“We just came through 3-4 months of Australians working remotely away from CBDs,” Mr May said.

“That presents an opportunity for our region and Dalby to capitalise on that.”

Western Downs Regional Council’s decision to waive infrastructure fees for the next two years will mean that developers will face less of a burden when coming to the region.

“More people out here means more services, more people will be encouraged to start a business for those services.”

Mr May would like to see the opportunity spent with more secondary and tertiary agriculture coming to Dalby to support its strong primary industries.

“When the ag sector is not as good as it should be, manufacturing helps,” he said.

“It’s where we take the crops and add value to them, like an abattoir or a grain handling facility.”

But the barrier that Mr May sees for manufacturing is the shortage of skilled labour.

Deputy mayor Andrew Smith, who holds the portfolio of Planning, Environment and Agribusiness, said the waiving of infrastructure fees is an attempt to bring more business into the Western Downs.

“I think we all understand that business is doing it tough at the moment,” he said.

“I think, in general, regional areas have to look outside the box to encourage business in our region.”

Cr Smith said the fees would be waived for two years and the decision will be revised at the end of that period.

“On the back of our COVID-19 stimulus package, which has been really well received, this is another way of bringing economic growth to our region.”

Council hopes that the initiative will help bring more jobs and growth to the region in the future.

“Whether it be new business coming to our region or current business, this is a great opportunity, not only from a cost perspective but it’s a great opportunity to create jobs in our region,” Cr Smith said.

There are some concerns in the community that larger businesses might come to towns, such as department stores and fast food, and detract customers from established local businesses.

But Cr Smith said competition is always healthy for business and it helps them improve their services.

“You only have to look at our region now of where it is today or where it was 10 or 15 years ago and the facilities that are provided now are much greater standard than what they were and that’s because of competition,” he said.

“People see an opportunity in our region, they come but they also bring knowledge and sometimes better ways of doing business.”


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