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‘Happy days for the Whitsundays’ was how Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox described yesterday’s Adani announcement that Bowen would become the regional headquarters for its rail and port operations.
The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine project, announced by Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk on Tuesday in Townsville alongside Adani Chairman Guatam Adani, is set to generate 10,000 jobs, with an operational life for the project over more than 50 years.
Mayor Willcox said it was a great outcome for the Whitsunday Region and he had been personally assured by Mr Adani that there would be no 457 visas as part of the project workforce.
“The most positive aspect of yesterday’s announcement is that the coal will be mined in regional Queensland by workers living in regional Queensland,” Cr Willcox said.
“While Bowen has been confirmed as the regional headquarters for port and rail operations the flow on benefits will be spread across the entire Whitsunday Region,” he said.
“This is about job opportunities for regional workers and is a real shot in the arm for our diverse community which has endured tough economic times recently.
“This announcement is just reward for council’s proactive approach to Adani last month where we pitched Bowen as the ideal headquarters for port and rail operations.”
Mayor Willcox also said council planned further discussions with Adani regarding FIFO opportunities.
“During our visit to Brisbane to meet with Adani last month we also presented a solid case for our region as a smaller FIFO hub utilising council’s Whitsunday Coast Airport,” he said.
“This council has been highly proactive behind the scenes and rather than blow our trumpet and beat our chests in the public domain we have been very professional in our negotiations with Adani.
The project involves construction of a near-400km rail line from the Carmichael Mine site to the Adani-owned and operated bulk coal-loading facility at Abbott Point near Bowen.
Adani had originally proposed to base all of its project offices in Brisbane, however it will now spread its workforce throughout the state.
Alongside those commitments, Adani has also proposed to establish a $200 million large-scale solar project near Moranbah.
Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj said it was a significant day for the company, with the mine "back on track".
He also announced Townsville would become Adani mining's regional headquarters but was yet to make a final decision on where the mine's fly-in,fly-out base would be.
Mr Janakaraj said construction on the mine and rail link would begin in mid-2017.
"There will be early works we plan to start in the quarter of June-July and we would want to start the main works from the last quarter of the year.”
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