This has been a historic week for North Queensland.
The announcement of Townsville and Rockhampton as Adani’s FIFO hubs is just the medicine that our jobs-hungry region needs.
The thousands of jobs that the Carmichael mine creates will provide immediate relief for our economy and be the jump-start many struggling small businesses need.
As important as these short-term benefits are, the news is even more important to our long-term future.
The Adani Carmichael mine is located 400km from the Great Barrier Reef. It is 160km from its closest town, Clermont. For hundreds of kilometres around there is nothing but a few cows. Soon it will be one of the nation’s biggest projects, and the largest investment from an Indian company in Australia.
It will open up the first coal basin in Australia for almost 50 years. The Adani mine is just one of six mines that are proposed for the Galilee Basin.
Those projects remain stranded, however, without a rail line that would connect them up to a port. The six proposed mines would generate more than 15,000 direct jobs according to the Queensland Government’s Co-ordinator-General. The Galilee Basin would generate more than $40 billion in taxes, helping to fund more schools, hospitals and public services.
Fifty years ago the development of the Bowen Basin supercharged economic growth in our region. The development of the Galilee Basin has the potential to deliver the same impetus.
Indeed, I hope the joint venture between Townsville and Rockhampton on the Carmichael airport heralds a new era of co-operation among North Queenslanders.
Rockhampton will be a FIFO hub. Townsville will as well, and with the Adani headquarters. Mackay will be the mining services centre. Bowen has the port and will service the trains. Small businesses in Charters Towers, Moranbah, Emerald and many others have the potential for more business too. More people in North Queensland will mean more tourists for Cairns as well.
North Queensland is now set up to be the jobs hub for the entire Galilee Basin. The potential 15,000 jobs from the six mines in the Galilee is just the direct jobs in the mining companies themselves. The general rule of thumb is that for every direct job created there is another two indirect jobs made. That means opening up of the Galilee basin could generate 40,000 to 50,000 jobs in our region.
This is massive. To put that in context, there are 100,000 people employed in the entire Townsville region today.We should be developing our nation just like our forbears did. We need to make brave decisions, stand up to the naysayers and get things done. Let’s work together as North Queenslanders to make this happen.