IN THE inner-city Brisbane suburb of West End, business is booming.
Cranes dot the skyline as new apartment blocks go up and new shops open their doors.
That construction boom creates plenty of jobs – in fact, the unemployment rate in Brisbane is 5.8 per cent.
In north Queensland, it’s a different story. For example, the unemployment rate in Townsville is 11.3 per cent.
North Queenslanders are calling out for jobs – and there are great prospects to create them by opening up the Galilee Basin.
There are six potential mines in the Basin that could create a total of more than 15,000 jobs.
Coal is our nation’s second-biggest export, and the industry employs 44,000 people at the moment. An extra 15,000 is a big deal for north Queensland and for Australia.
The jobs from these projects come from more than just mining itself. They also cover the other industries that prosper when regional cities grow – office jobs, legal jobs, health and education.
And the good news for our regional cities is that Adani has decided to base its headquarters and significant hubs in regional Queensland – exactly where the jobs are most needed.
The Adani board was due to make a final investment decision about whether to proceed with the $16.5 billion mine in the Galilee Basin this week.
This would be a significant milestone, given the project has already been subject to seven years of delays and deferrals.
Incredibly, the Queensland Government is still mucking around, this time because of an internal brawl about royalties from the mine.
If the Queensland Government throws yet another hurdle in the way of the project at the 11th hour, we’ll know for certain that Labor doesn’t care about regional jobs and that it’s the Greens who run the show.
The decision about royalties is up to the State Government.
But Queenslanders have had enough of the stalling and the waffling from Labor. Why on Earth has the Palaszczuk Government waited until the last minute to think about this?
Either you support the Adani project and jobs – or you don’t.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says all the right things, and last year I was glad to join her in Townsville for the announcement of Adani’s headquarters.
But the time for talk is over. We need action.
We’re now finding out who’s the real premier of Queensland. Is it Annastacia Palaszczuk or is it Jackie Trad – the local MP in West End?
All Queenslanders deserve the opportunities from new jobs, not just those who live in the prosperous suburbs of Brisbane.
Opinion piece published in The Courier Mail, May 23 2017