Rocky ready to reap rewards of CQ's mega jobs bonanza
In what has been a drawn out and divisive issue for the region over the past six years, the Adani Carmichael mine was given the green light today.
The project is something many in Central Queensland are pinning their hopes on to kick start the revitalisation of the region with businesses and investors now having the certainty and confidence to start making solid plans for the future.
Located 160km north-west of Clermont, the $16 billion project was predicted to generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Local politicians have lauded the decision to proceed with the mine, which would be not only the largest in Australia but one of the largest in the world.
A host of dignitaries were on hand for the announcement in Townsville including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Senator Matt Canavan and Adani Australia Chief Executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj.
Cr Strelow has labelled today's official sign off on the first stage of the Carmichael Mine a massive win for Central Queensland providing certainty for thousands of people.
"This announcement is a game-changer for Queensland and the potential economic benefits for Rockhampton cannot be overstated,” Cr Strelow said
"Today's announcement paves the way for work to begin in the September Quarter which will see thousands of jobs created during construction and over the life of the project.”
She said we had a skilled workforce who were well positioned to do this work and was focused on ensuring Rockhampton realised this opportunity.
"Rockhampton has supported this project from day one and we continue to have positive discussions with Adani as we look forward to future announcements about the location of the FIFO Hub,” Cr Strelow said.
"We've already seen Adani support our region in announcing an $82 million contract with Austrak last week for concrete sleepers for the rail line and I am confident that this is only the beginning of more benefits for Rockhampton to come.”
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said today's announcement for the first stage of funding for the Carmichael Mine is a win for Central and North Queensland and a win for investor confidence.
"The LNP has fought tooth and nail to get this project approved, remaining steadfast in the face of personal attacks and rallying from city greens and the Labor left who don't comprehend the need for job security outside the South East corner,” Ms Landry said.
"We persisted, and today the dividends have paid off.”
She said today's decision is a great step in the right direction and she would continue to lobby Adani to establish the Rockhampton region as a FIFO hub.
"We have consistently pressured Adani to deliver contracts to Australian companies and I applaud them for sticking to this promise with AusTrak and Downer announced as contract winners,” she said.
"Pre-construction works hope to begin in September this year, with the regional headquarters opened today in Townsville.”
The Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said all greenfield coal, mineral and gas projects in three basins will pay royalties in full with interest when the Carmichael Coal mine and rail project in the Galilee Basin proceed.
"Opening up these three regions for development has the potential to support thousands of new jobs that are needed in regional centres along the coast as well as in outback Queensland," Ms Lauga said.
It has been only six months to the day (6 December 2016) since the Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk met with representatives of the project.
"Most significantly she secured agreement that the workforce for the Carmichael Coal project would be sourced from regional Queensland and it will not use foreign workers on 457 visas."
"This means there will be more jobs for Queenslanders and importantly more certainty for investment in North Queensland," said Ms Lauga.
Livingstone Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig greeted the opportunity for people in his region to gain employment.
"This is positive news for CQ and Queensland as a whole and it will create long term jobs and opportunities both in direct work and the construction that goes into building this long-term project."
Cr Ludwig gave credit to Rockhampton Regional Council for taking the lead in spearheading the push for the project to go ahead.
He appealed for Rockhampton to be considered as either the sole FIFO headquarters or if not, to share it with Townsville.
"I believe it would be inappropriate for CQ to lose out, it would be a body blow to CQ given we've got such a close connection with the project."