O'Rourke pens letter to Mayor Strelow over Adani register
IT HAS been well documented that Adani has promised a fair slice of it's jobs on offer to Rockhampton locals, but local member Barry O'Rourke's calls for a council-run jobs register have gone unanswered.
Following the silence, Mr O'Rourke penned a letter to Mayor Margaret Strelow expressing his disappointment.
The opening line of the letter read "as per our phone conversation on Tuesday, I'm disappointed you do not agree with my proposal to establish an Adani jobs register".
Mr Rourke said he was told the Mayor would not consider the register as no such mechanism was in place for other projects.
However, his quest for transparency did not end there.
He argued in the letter to the Mayor that Adani's Carmichael mine was an exception.
"No other mine project has captured the attention of Rockhampton people as much as Adani, and no other mine has promised to create as many jobs locally," the letter read.
"There is confusion around the number of jobs that will be created on an ongoing basis by this project - a transparent record of jobs will clear up any confusion in the community."
He noted Adani had made recent moves to clarify the jobs estimates but said those in close contact with the miner, including Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, had contradicting figures.
"Even people who talk to Adani regularly seem to disagree over the number of operational jobs that will be created," Mr O'Rourke wrote.
"In today's paper you have said it will be between 800 and 1500, while Michelle Landry last week said it would be 'well over 2000'."
Mr O'Rourke also argued that the $15.5million fly-in, fly-out hub in the Galilee Basin funded partly by RRC warranted a return of local job certainty.
He cited recent jobs figures from Adani and put the expectation of "between 2000 and 4000 Rockhampton jobs", direct and indirect, on the proponent.
Mr O'Rourke said the register would also help keep on top of any job competition with Townsville, also labelled a primary employment hub by the proponent.
"That is a big number for our community and a jobs registry will help us to plan ahead to make sure we do not create a skills shortage locally," he said.
However, Cr Strelow told The Morning Bulletin she had refused to engage with Mr O'Rourke's follow up on his request.
"Sometimes it's best to let things pass," she said.
"The last thing we need is for the representatives of the different levels of government to be squabbling when our region is genuinely feeling confident and excited at long last."
She dismissed concerns of bad blood between the two and suggested the State Government could be put to task over keeping the track of the jobs.
"I've always had a fairly good and open relationship with Barry and I hope that will continue," Cr Strelow said.
"Maybe the Department of State Development could do an audit in 12 months or two years' time, but for now everyone's focus is on ensuring that as many jobs as possible land in our region."
Adani also tried to put to bed any inconsistencies surrounding the jobs on offer.
"We have repeatedly stated our commitment to Rockhampton and Townsville as our primary employment hubs for the Carmichael project," a spokesperson said.
"Over the years we have worked hard to develop strong relationships with Rockhampton and Townsville City councils, who are fierce advocates for their regions, to ensure they have the required information on the project for councils to plan effectively and to ensure we meet our project conditions."
Mr O'Rourke said an ideal register would firstly ensure the jobs going at Adani were consistent with pre-commencement promises from the proponent.
The register would also need to include a mechanism to ensure successful Rockhampton job applicants stayed in town, to prevent people moving to town for the job and moving back down south soon after.
"I think Rockhampton ratepayers have a right to know exactly how many jobs are being created here," Mr O'Rourke said.