BETWEEN 3000 and 4000 workers for mining billionaire Clive Palmer's Alpha development are likely to come from the Rockhampton region.
Yesterday, the larger than life Palmer was in an expansive mood as he talked up Central Queensland's - and Rockhampton's - prosperous future.
He went on the front foot as he responded to the environmental concerns of the Greens (see accompanying story on this page) and fly-in, fly-out worries of the unions.
His message was clear: He wants as many Central Queenslanders as possible to reap the rewards of the mining boom.
The LNP political heavyweight, who took plenty of opportunities to promote Campbell Newman during a visit to the Rockhampton region, also threw his support behind the CQ NRL bid, saying the NRL would not be able to ignore basing a team here.
Mr Palmer said he wanted to see Rockhampton grow and prosper. "It's important companies like mine provide leadership for a community," Queensland's richest man said.
"This is a great place ... we want an expanding economy here in Central Queensland."
He said about 9000 workers would be needed during the construction phase of his Galilee Basin project at Alpha.
He said the Rockhampton region would be capable of supporting between 3000 and 4000 people that could work on the project.
These could fly in and out through an airport to be developed at Alpha. Mr Palmer also said some big announcements were lined up for this region in the new year.
"Rockhampton is a central location and Yeppoon is a great place to be. We want to do what we can to really help employment in this area get going," Mr Palmer said.
"This is all about everyone pulling together."
He said his project, and others, would revitalise CQ.
Royalties alone from these projects would help governments provide much better services.
Asked if he supported fly-in, fly-out workforces, Mr Palmer said: "We support everybody.
"I would much rather have people located on site, but we live in a free country.
"Fly-in, fly-out is not a question of dictation by the companies, it's a choice by workers.
"I can't control that," he said.
He said his company was investing billions in infrastructure at Alpha.
And in his own colourful way he said the LNP's leader Campbell Newman had the rarest commodity in politics, "political courage".
Clive Palmer's Alpha North Coal Project is located in the Galilee Basin north of Alpha
The project is an integrated coal project including a coal mine, railway connection to China First Rail and port expansion at Abbot Point.
The project has started feasibility studies and through a staged development process will deliver first coal.