Adani approval to bring infrastructure to regional Queensland
The go-ahead for the Adani Carmichael mine could be win-win for small business in regional Queensland, as well as the South East corner.
The Queensland’s Coordinator-General has given the green light for a 300-bed temporary workers camp and the final 32km of heavy haul railway line for the mine in the Galilee Basin. The project is now waiting on a water licence approval.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said the milestone comes as a big win for Queensland’s central and northern regions, particularly for Townsville where it is expected Adani will announce as the headquarters for the Carmichael mine project.
Innovations such as driverless machinery, mining technology and hundreds of related jobs are anticipated to be based in the city, set to transform Townsville into the “hub of Queensland’s economic growth for the next three decades”.
The $22 billion infrastructure investment by Adani will also boost the economies of a number of other Queensland’s regional towns. Both Charters Towers and Moranbah have been earmarked as service centres for the mines, while Bowen is expected to be the base for rail construction.
CCIQ Policy Advisor Catherine Pham said CCIQ’s Federal Election survey conducted earlier this year found Queensland businesses wanted the Government to focus on progressing, as a matter of priority, key infrastructure projects across Queensland to grow the economy.
“It is expected that the commencement of the Carmichael mine will build momentum, as well as fund further infrastructure investment around the State,” Ms Pham said.
“Royalties and taxes expected to go into Government coffers as a result of the Carmichael mine going ahead means there’s hope that other key infrastructure projects might see the light of day.
“This includes Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, much needed upgrades to the Bruce Highway and a number of rail upgrades for both passenger and freight lines across the State.”
Expected to begin construction late next year, the Carmichael mine is anticipated to create at least 9500 jobs, directly and indirectly, at a time when unemployment in Queensland’s regions is at a high.
“CCIQ’s recent unemployment analysis found regional unemployment remained at 7.5 per cent in October, with Townsville (10.6 per cent), Wide Bay (9.4 per cent) and Cairns (8.1 per cent) recording the highest rates of unemployment,” Ms Pham said.
“Jobs for young people in our regions are disappearing at alarming rates, with the Outback (33.7 per cent), Cairns (27.4 per cent) and Townsville (23.8 per cent) recording some of the highest levels of youth unemployment in the country.”
CCIQ believes the divergence in unemployment between South-East Queensland (5.5 per cent) and Regional Queensland (7.5 per cent) largely reflects the slowdown in the resources sector and new projects such as the Adani mine could see the gap start to close again.
“Directing infrastructure investment where it is needed the most, and on projects that are expected to give us the greatest economic returns, makes logical sense. It’s about supporting our regions and not leaving them behind, creating new jobs and supporting our youth,” she said.
“Projects such as Adani is definitely a win for our regions, but all Queenslanders should see the positive economic impacts of the project once it kicks off.”