‘Clear lack of understanding’: Chamber CEO calls out PM
The CEO of Toowoomba’s Chamber of Commerce has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to clarify comments he made about the city while slamming a proposed quarantine facility at Wellcamp Airport.
Mr Morrison took aim at the State Government’s plan to build a massive hub near the airport, which would house up to 1000 visitors and 300 staff.
Speaking to the media on Monday, the Prime Minister said the facility would need to be close to Brisbane.
“The idea that you can just put these out in the desert somewhere, and I know Toowoomba’s not in the desert but the point being (that) they need to be close to a major capital city airport,” he said.
“The planes aren’t going somewhere else, they’re coming into Brisbane, and that is a very long trek over to Toowoomba.”
Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport is capable of hosting international flights, with planes regularly taking off for Asia weekly.
Toowoomba Chamber CEO Todd Rohl said Mr Morrison’s comments showed “a clear lack of understanding” about the city’s capacity as a major regional hub.
“The facts are Toowoomba has a fantastic airport which serves domestic and international markets, high quality health care facilities, great hospitals and is a short drive to Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city,” he said.
“Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport is a great business with global reach (and) our health care facilities and hospitals are great businesses.
“The way Toowoomba was portrayed demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of this great city and region, what we offer and its reputation as a leader in aviation and health care.”
Mr Rohl urged the Prime Minister to come to Toowoomba and meet with local businesses.
“The PM’s comments can have a direct impact on the image of the city and on business and the Toowoomba Chamber stands up for business and the city,” he said.
“We call on the PM to clarify his comments and take up the Toowoomba Chamber’s offer to come and meet the Toowoomba business community.”
In response to the criticisms, Groom MP Garth Hamilton said the issue was not with Toowoomba’s size, but distance from Brisbane.
“The key issue with Toowoomba’s location is our distance from a major capital city hospital,” he said.
“We all know we’ve got great facilities here, that’s not in question.
“While an hour and a half to Brisbane isn’t far for a shopping trip, it’s a bloody long time in an ambulance, and that’s what the state government is proposing.”
Originally published as ‘Clear lack of understanding’: Chamber CEO calls out PM