Victory on FIFO down to airstrip
Summary: ADANI’S fly-in, fly-out hub could have been awarded entirely to Rockhampton if Townsville had not committed $18.5 million to help build an airstrip to service the Indian miner’s Carmichael mine.....
A source close to the negotiations with Adani told the Bulletin there was enormous pressure for Townsville to win the valuable jobs deal amid concerns that Rockhampton Regional Council would secure them all.
“It would have been easier for the (Townsville City) council to say we’re not getting involved but the reality is there was a very real chance that Rockhampton would have won all those jobs,” the source said.
“And it was shaping up on that when we (Townsville) won the headquarters.”
It is understood Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow wanted to fund the airport despite Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill encouraging her to “stand firm” against it.
“At that point you either say you’re in or you’re out,” the source said.
“The issue was that Adani could deliver a Queensland Nickel-sized project in one fell swoop.
“Now remember the community didn’t want the stadium, but despite the fact that some people didn’t want it there were others who said we did need it.
“If Townsville had not contributed to it they (Adani) would have gone to Rockhampton.
“Jenny has made the decision that jobs trump everything else at the moment.”
Cr Hill said Townsville was being strongly challenged as Adani’s FIFO hub by Rockhampton and Brisbane.
“Adani went to all the communities in terms of looking for who could supply people and things like that,” she said. “I make no apology for chasing jobs for our city.
“The commercial world understands what council has done to bring these jobs to the community and can see the benefits.
“There were risks involved. Rockhampton became a real risk in this, as did Brisbane.
“Once people see the direct jobs they will understand there’s a real benefit for them and their city.”
Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan said many people would have to be willing to move to get jobs.
“There’s no way they (Adani) could employ that many people from either town,” he said.
Rockhampton Regional Council did not provide comment.