Rocky's biggest challenge? Finding our story
CENTRAL Queensland is the state's powerhouse with a strong agricultural base, power stations, a large mining and resources industry, one of the largest commercial ports in Australia, alumina and aluminium processing as well as being home to one of the country's best, and Queensland's only, dual-sector university.
One of Australia's most respected social commentators, managing director of the Demographics Group and partner at KPMG until his retirement in 2017, Bernard Salt has provided data and insights into the Central Queensland region to help direct debate around future opportunities and challenges and what can be done to enhance liveability and prosperity.
Are we part of north Queensland, or dominating and leading the way as the undisputed "capital” of Central Queensland?
Rockhampton, according to Salt, is neither.
In a state where the discourse is predominantly about the north and the south-east corner, if Rockhampton is to remain influential, it will need to choose.
His data, presented at a breakfast for 100 people at Frenchville Sports Club yesterday, was discussed by a panel of four of the city's most influential people; Mayor Margaret Strelow, CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Nick Klomp, managing director of Cassidy Hospitality Group, Grant Cassidy OAM and Great Western Hotel general manager and former Beef Australia chief executive, Denis Cox.
The region's challenge is to find its narrative, a vision for the future and a plan to succeed.
But what does success look like and what does it take to get there?
Rockhampton is the 22nd largest urban centre in Australia, just behind Albury and Mackay and ahead of Launceston and Bunbury.
Population statistics predict Rockhampton will grow from 81,206 people in 2017 to 91,398 in 2030, a 13 per cent increase.
The city is expected to lead stronger growth in the late-retirement age cohort, whereas Gladstone will experience stronger growth in teens and young families.
Over the coming weeks, The Morning Bulletin will delve deep into yesterday's discussion and the opportunities and challenges that guide the region moving ahead into what all saw as a very bright future.