Visit Roma President Charlie Eames
Visit Roma President Charlie Eames

Push for new multi-million dollar tourism project

RECOVERY from the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis seems a long way from reality, but Visit Roma President Charlie Eames said if the right decisions are made now then the recovery will be fast and effective for the Maranoa.

The president said hundreds of people have already lost their jobs in the Maranoa, meaning millions of dollars in wages will not be spent in the region's economy.

"The economic impact of COVID-19 on the Maranoa economy is already enormous, and the worst is probably still yet to come," Mr Eames said.

"The closure of the Queensland borders for non-essential travel, the closure of pubs, clubs, hotels, local Visitor Information Centres and tourist attractions, restaurants and cafes being restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery and non-essential gatherings limited to 2 people means the local tourism and hospitality industry has been effectively shutdown."

Mr Eames was quick to congratulate mayor Tyson Golder on his second victory and the new team of councillors.

He said the results were very clear and the Maranoa region had spoken and they are looking for decisive and effective leadership.

He is hopeful the new council will prioritise projects that will enable the region to effectively respond and ultimately recover from the crisis.

"It was great to see mayor Golder in Tuesday's The Western Star stating that the first thing on the agenda will be to support the Maranoa through these difficult time," he said.

"The previous council awarded the tender to build The Bigger Big Rig and Tree Walk.

"Due to the local government caretaker period the Chief Executive Officer has not yet signed the contract, however this council can proceed immediately.

"Now is not the time to go slow," he said.

Mr Eames said the project is 'shovel ready' and when council gives the final tick of approval, work could start immediately.

"Once complete it will immediately inject $3.4m into the local economy, which will go a long way to getting everybody back to their jobs as well as create an additional 38 new jobs in the local economy," he said.

"The detailed designs are complete, there is a resolution to award the tender.

"And the Queensland State Government who provided funding will be very keen to see work get underway as the funding was offered back in 2019."

Mr Eames said it had been years since the Maranoa council had implemented a tourism project that would deliver a significant impact on the economy.

"No other projects have been to a detail design state, with government funding secured," he said.

"The Bigger Big Rig Project could be built and ready to launch as soon as tourism and travel is allowed.

"This will put us ahead of many other regions in the country, having a brand new attraction and get visitors flowing back into our region and new money injected into the local economy and creating more local jobs."