2000 jobs as coal and gas projects come to Surat Basin
THOUSANDS of jobs are set to be created in the Surat Basin thanks to a revival of the region's resources sector.
The Darling Downs region's miners will have a much merrier Christmas after it was announced that upwards of 2000 jobs will be created in the next few years as a series of major projects commence.
Towns in the Surat Basin have welcomed projects like the Wilkie Creek coalmine at Macalister and the development by QGC of natural gas tenements near Wandoan.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise chief executive officer Ben Lyons said the developments were fantastic news for the region.
"QGC's $1.7 billion Charlie project alone will create 1600 construction jobs during the two-year construction phase, with the project creating a very welcome boost to southern Queensland's economy," he said.
QCG announced last month it would support the local jobs for the Charlie 1 joint venture with China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Tokyo Gas.
The development comprises 300-400 wells, a large compression station and associated pipeline and facilities that will feed into the existing gas and water infrastructure at Woleebee Creek.
"As we are all well aware, 2015 saw Queensland's CSG industry move from the construction to the operational phase of many of our major gas projects and as a result we have seen fewer jobs in the industry as there were in the previous boom years," Mr Lyons said.
"So it is good to see new job generation occurring in the Surat Basin region.
"Projects like Charlie are not just going to create jobs and boost Queensland's economy, they will also help local towns like Wandoan, in particular, and small businesses in the communities see benefits of increased local spending."
Mr Lyons said he expected the Charlie 1 project would be typical of gas field developments in Queensland for the next 10-20 years.
"As the industry normalises into a period of sustainability, the new pipeline infrastructure needs to be fed with gas so smaller investments and developments like this will follow from the first gas boom the Surat Basin experienced," he said.
Dalby Chamber of Commerce and Industry manager Trudi Bartlett welcomed the positive injection the projects would provide for the region, in particular for Dalby.
She said the community had shown great interest in the Wilkie Creek mine project, with the chamber hoping to host a function with Sekitan Resources CEO Trevor Bourne.
Sekitan Resources paid $10 million for the Wilkie Creek mine after it closed down in July and said they planned to hire 126 local workers for the project, which is scheduled to reach full capacity next year.
Mr Bourne said the project could continue for up to 15 years with 600 million tonnes of coal available at Wilkie Creek, as well as a licence to mine Horse Creek, near Chinchilla, which holds up to 500 million tonne.
"The community is very excited to hear that something else is happening. Every little bit helps and certainly adds up," Ms Bartlett said.
"People are definitely excited from an employment perspective and from a contractor perspective we have a lot of small businesses that are interested in what's happening."
Ms Bartlett said while it had been said towns in the Surat Basin were experiencing a downturn, she instead saw it as stabilisation.
She said there were exciting times ahead for Dalby, with the mines and also in the retail sector.
"We are still thriving, there's just change in industry that we focus on," she said.