Premier Peter Beattie and Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan.
Premier Peter Beattie and Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan.

Coal fires jobs boom

A total of 625 jobs will be created by the massive $1.8 billion Wiggins Island Coal Terminal which was given the green light in Rockhampton yesterday by Premier Peter Beattie.

When completed, the project will make Gladstone the biggest coal export facility in the world.

MORE than 600 new jobs will be created in Central Queensland as part of a major expansion of Gladstone Port.

Yesterday on the opening day of State Parliament in Rockhampton, Premier Peter Beattie announced that the proposed Wiggins Island Coal Terminal had been declared a "significant'' project.

That paves the way for a $5 million environmental impact study to begin.

Completion of the $1.8 billion project, scheduled for 2010, would boost the coal export capacity of Gladstone Port by 20 million tonnes a year.

This, along with a major expansion under way at RG Tanna Coal Terminal, would make Gladstone the largest coal exporting port in the world.

It would create 500 construction jobs and 125 new operational jobs when complete, Mr Beattie said.

"We are in stellar times and Central Queensland is riding the crest of a great development wave,'' Mr Beattie told the Parliamentary sitting at Pilbeam Theatre.

"We aim to make CQ the export capital of the world.''

The Gladstone Port announcement was just one of many yesterday.

Mr Beattie said over the next four to five years, coal companies had committed capital expenditure of between $6 billion and $8 billion to cater for a massive increase in demand from China, India and throughout Asia.

"This (expenditure) is almost exclusively here in Central Queensland,'' he said.

"It will underpin the prosperity of CQ for decades.



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