Rockhampton Regional Council has upped the ante in its push to be named as the regional FIFO hub for energy giant Adani by making a bid to own and operate an airport in the Galilee Basin.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said her council had unanimously decided to pursue the option, which would lever on council’s ownership of the city’s current airport to spread its wings into another operation.
“We are doing this because we have a vision for Rockhampton to be a powerhouse for mining jobs but we also feel there is an opportunity for a smart business decision for our airport as well,” Cr Strelow said.
“No other city can deliver what we will be offering mining companies in the Galilee and that is end to end control of costs and scheduling and the opportunity for their workers to live in a city with the lifestyle, health and schooling benefits without rival.”
Cr Strelow said the council had written to Adani offering the model of council building, owning and operating the airport, and proposed that it would be a multi-user airport able service the northern Galilee Basin.
It is expected to cost about $20 million.
“Clearly without Adani this deal won’t get off the ground but I am adamant it will be the first of several opportunities as other mines come on line in the area,” she said.
“We will analyse every element of the design to ensure we deliver the facility at the sharpest possible price.
“The facility won’t be profitable from day one but in the long term this will be a facility that helps diversify the asset base of an already successful airport.
“Equally importantly, it provides a point of difference that none of the other centres vying for this vital hub can offer and that will ensure up to 1000 jobs for my city for generations to come.”
Rockhampton has hosted several delegations from Adani and would push for all Fly in Fly out activity to originate or travel through Rockhampton’s Airport.
“I have come under fire from those opposed to coal for my vocal support of this project but I won’t take a backward step in ensuring there are jobs for people living in Central Queensland,” Cr Strelow said.
“We would have loved to have been named as the base for Adani’s office headquarters but we see the FIFO hub as being the main prize and we are bullish about being best placed to get it.
“Our united council has a strong balance sheet, ownership of one of the top 15 airports in the country and locals who sit around the State and Federal cabinet table.”
Rockhampton airport general manager Scott Waters viewed the bid as an opportunity to increase passenger numbers and make the facility viable for generations to come.
“We have the capacity, the capability and the management expertise to deliver an end to end aviation solution,” he said.