Monto an emerging magnet for investment
PROPERTY and livestock agent Brett Allen can see the positive signs all across Monto.
Sparks of confidence are being fanned into flames.
Last month, the first cargo of ilmenite from Goondicum Mine was shipped to China.
DJ's Steel & Concrete is expanding its premises on Mill Rd, such is its success.
And local businesses Monto Leading Appliances, Kim's Kafe and Mitre 10 have all recently changed hands or are under contract.
Add to that list Monto Livestock & Property, which has just been sold to Bundaberg outfit Galaxy Real Estate.
"It's good a Bundaberg company sees the opportunities out here, the synergies between the towns (Monto and Bundaberg) are quite close," outgoing principal Brett Allen said.
"There's more underlying confidence here than people think.
"People from outside the area see the opportunities in the bigger picture."
Asides from agriculture, Mr Allen nominates tourism and the burgeoning mining industry as ways the Monto economy is diversifying.
"I've sold two houses to people just travelling through in caravans over the years," he said.
"Most of our traffic is on the inland tourist route heading to places like Longreach.
"We're pretty well-known as a stop-over destination."
Mr Allen said drought conditions in inland Australia were driving producers to invest in the Monto region.
"Our seasons are reasonably stable, we don't suffer the issues they do further out West," he said.
"Eighty-five per cent of what we sell is to people who don't live locally."
Incoming principal Cheryle Rayson said Bundaberg and Monto already had "very strong links."
"Our Bundaberg office already has quite a lot of Monto property via Alwyn (Wolff)," Mrs Rayson, Galaxy's rural sales consultant, said.
She said listing with a larger outfit like Galaxy meant sellers could be promoted on a wider range of platforms.
Mrs Rayson said her goal for Monto was to be dominant in the rural sector, which she was confident of because of the "strength of our team".