1 MARCH 2017: A RENEWED surge in the Central and North Queensland resources sector is setting up the Whitsundays for a tourism and construction boom.
Mines coming out of mothballs and construction of new mines has reignited a jobs boom in the region and, according to PRDnationwide Whitsunday Principal, Christie Leet, the Whitsundays will be in a prime position to catch the next wave of growth.
“Several mines in the west and north-west of the State use Fly-In-Fly-Out workers while others are drive to and from the worksite from their home base on the coast,” he said.
“Adani’s $16 billion Carmichael Coal Project, in particular, will be a real game-changer because all the workers will be flying in and out from the Queensland Coast.
“With Mackay, which is only 150km to the south, to be used as the main service centre and Townsville, only 270km to the north, nominated to host the company’s regional headquarters, there will be thousands of new direct and indirect jobs in our region.”
Both cities, as well as Rockhampton and Bowen, are vying to be a home base for Fly-In-Fly-Out workers.
Mr Leet said many workers would choose to live in a lifestyle centre like the Whitsundays and drive to the pick-up point.
“Working in the mines can be tough, especially spending so much time away from the family, so these workers appreciate having a home base in a great relaxed environment where they can unwind on their four days off,” he said.
“They are also paid quite well and expect a bit of luxury as an appropriate compensation for the impact FIFO working has on the family.”
In addition to one of the world’s biggest coal mines, the Carmichael Coal Project includes expansion of the port of Abbot Point, just to the north of the Whitsundays.
Combined with the reopening of the Collinsville mine, which is in the Whitsunday Regional Council area, hundreds of new jobs will be created right on the doorstep of the Whitsundays.
“Whether these workers live in the Whitsundays and commute or live closer to their jobs and spend their weekends in Queensland’s number one lifestyle destination it will all add more demand on residential and tourist accommodation,” Mr Leet said.
“We have already seen a tightening of the market with residential stock drying up and very low vacancy rates.
“The demand for new homes and more accommodation will inevitably lead us into a construction boom, which will bring even more workers and their families to the region.
“Vacant land will be in high demand, especially quality land with a view and beachfront, which is almost all gone.”