News on Thursday morning that Adani Australia will make both Townsville and Rockhampton host cities for the fly-in fly-out workforce for the Carmichael Coal project in the Galilee Basin, has been welcomed by both state and federal politicians.
All have been quick to claim a role in bringing the economic bonanza to the regional cities.
The decision was an endorsement of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s request to Adani chairman, Gautam Adani, last year, according to state Agriculture Minister and Member for Rockhampton, Bill Byrne.
Mayors of both cities travelled to India with the Premier earlier this year to make their case to Adani’s senior management, the Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra, Coralee O’Rourke, said, welcoming the news of the joint city hosting decision.
Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry said she had worked hard advocating for Rockhampton to be one of Adani’s FIFO hubs for the construction phase of the mine.
“I’m sure this announcement today will be very reassuring to those locals who are concerned about their job security going forward,” she said.
Nationals Senator for Queensland, Matthew Canavan, described the announcement as a “massive game changer for north Queensland”.
“More than 2000 jobs will be created in job-hungry north Queensland,” he said. “This is exactly the medicine it needs after a tough few years of job losses, rising unemployment and a tough economy.”
He said that 2000 families staying in the north, needing homes, schools and local shopping, would bring a spin-off economic boost in support jobs.
“Our focus has been to maximise the jobs it will generate, directly and indirectly, and see the benefits from this project spread right across regional Queensland,” he said.
The benefits of spending $16.5b in construcing the mine would be spread across the central Queensland region, Ms Landry said.
“This will provide a welcome boost to the local economies across Capricornia; not only for Rockhampton but for Mackay and smaller centres like Nebo, Moranbah, Dysart, and Clermont, as these will still be well placed to deliver service and maintenance to what will be a very large operation,” she said.
She described Adani’s commitment to central Queensland so far as “enormous”, citing local company AusTrak’s $82m contract to supply sleepers for the 388km rail line.
“This is the rail line that will open the Galilee Basin to the world and it will be built using locally designed and locally made railway sleepers,” she said.
Ms O’Rourke was also talking up the job and economy boost the project would provide to the north Queensland economy, “while ensuring strict environmental protections”.
Commitments made to the Premier last December, according to Ms O’Rourke, include:
- regional headquarters would be based in Townsville, opened on June 6 this year;
- remote operations centre in Townsville;
- rail and port operations headquarters in Bowen;
- mining services based in Mackay;
- rail maintenance and provisioning yard in the Mackay-Bowen region; and
- project sourcing centres in Townsville, Charters Towers, Rockhampton, Emerald, Clermont and Moranbah.
Mr Canavan said this could be “just the start” to a jobs bonanza.
“With five other mines slated for the Galilee Basin, north Queensland is now in the box seat to be the jobs hub for the whole of the Galilee,” he said. “The six mines all up are set to generate 16,000 direct jobs in mining.”
He called on federal Labor to drop its opposition to federal financial assistance in getting the rail line built.
“Every coal basin in Australia has been opened up with investment in rail and port infrastructure.
“Indeed just 10 years ago the Australian Labor Party under Kevin Rudd invested more than $1 billion in the coal network of the Hunter Valley.
“Labor politicians can’t have it both ways.
“They can’t, on the one hand, support these local jobs, but then deny the investments required in rail infrastructure to make them happen.”