Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill at the Adani HQ last year during the announcement where Townsville and Rockhampton were to split the FIFO hub benefits.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill at the Adani HQ last year during the announcement where Townsville and Rockhampton were to split the FIFO hub benefits.

Mayor pulls Adani cash for airport

TOWNSVILLE City Council is redirecting $18.5 million earmarked for Adani's Carmichael coal mine airport to shovel-ready projects around the city.

Mayor Jenny Hill announced the move yesterday, saying that while she fully supports the mine, its continued delays mean the money will be invested in projects here.

The arrangement by the Rockhampton and Townsville councils to fund Adani's airport in return for jobs at the mine has been a contentious one with objections from residents and other councils.

But the council has stuck to its strategy and says it will revisit the arrangement should Adani secure finance.

"Council has on two occasions extended our agreement to part-fund the airport in the Galilee Basin," Cr Hill said.

"I made it clear to Adani that they had until June 30 to get the project going, otherwise council would be using the money to invest in other local job-generating infrastructure.

"We've got the $225 million three-point water security solution under way with contracts awarded and I am about to hand down council's budget, which will have a key focus on infrastructure and creating jobs. Like many people in the community, I want Adani to start their operations as soon as possible but we can't wait forever.

"The budget is coming up in just over a week's time and there are a huge amount of local projects, such as Townsville 2020 and the lithium-ion battery plant, that council is funding for our community.

"I've made it clear to Adani that should the company secure finance and is ready to start mining then council will be back at the table to ensure those FIFO jobs remain in Townsville."

A spokeswoman for Adani said they remained committed to Townsville.

"We look forward to Townsville and Rockhampton being vibrant and prosperous communities and home to our future mine employees and their families," the spokeswoman said. "Townsville City Council has told us they will re-engage with Adani in order to guarantee 750 long-term mine jobs will be based in the city, as soon as we confirm financing for the Carmichael Project is in place.

"We estimate the investment in the airport will be returned to Townsville many times over each year the mine is in operation as the employees and their families who are based in the city spend their wages and contribute to the local economy."

Cr Hill said all councillors were committed to creating jobs for locals.

"Council is doing everything it can to create jobs for locals, whether it's attracting the lithium-ion battery plant to our city or tailoring work packages on the new water pipeline to ensure local businesses win a slice of the work," Cr Hill said.

"There's no doubt our community wants well-paying secure jobs that the Carmichael mine would deliver and council will continue to fight hard to ensure those jobs come to Townsville when the mine is ready to start operating."