Clive Palmer
Clive Palmer Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

Fears Palmer will bypass CQ

QUEENSLAND'S richest man Clive Palmer has pledged to offer 2000 mining jobs for Sunshine Coast residents as part of a major push to make the southern region the nation's lifestyle and training destination for the industry.

Former government minister Mal Brough, who pushed the idea with Mr Palmer, said the deal could be worth as much as $250m to the Sunshine Coast economy.

Mr Brough said the arrangement, which Mr Palmer has reportedly given an undertaking to, would see workers fly in and out of the coast to a series of new thermal coal mines near Alpha, west of Emerald.

The Galilee Basin operation is expected to generate about 6000-7000 jobs during construction and 1500 places during the mine's 25-year life.

But the move isn't seen as a good sign for Central Queenslanders.

CQUniversity professor of regional development economics John Rolfe yesterday said Central Queensland could miss out on a lot of the boom's benefits.

Prof Rolfe said mine workers should have freedom of choice where to live.

He said with the very big projects likely to source business supplies from the state's south-east corner, Central Queensland would get minimal benefits from the boom if it didn't house a large share of the workforce.

"It would be like having a project in another state," said Prof Rolfe, who has made a submission to the Australian Government's inquiry into fly-in, fly-out workforces.

He said CQ had a lot of potential to grow from the resources sector.

Mr Brough told The Sunshine Coast Daily he thought the Sunshine Coast had huge potential to become a base for highly paid mine workers who would want to build their long-term futures there.

The Morning Bulletin was unsuccessful in attempts yesterday to contact a spokesman for Waratah Coal, which is controlled by Mr Palmer.