ADANI HUNTS EIGHTY HOMES

Min­ing gi­ant seeks hous­ing for city head­quar­ters staff

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - TONY RAGGATT

THE first of about 80 staff to work in Adani’s new Townsville head­quar­ters for the Carmichael coal mine project are ar­riv­ing in the city, fir­ing de­mand for lo­cal rentals.

But while the city has plenty of avail­able units – 700 are for rent in the in­ner- city sub­urbs – many are not fur­nished, prompt­ing agents to call for more stock. “We are in de­mand for fully fur­nished stock,” Townsville Rentals man­ager Anita Stir­rat said.

Smith & El­liott prin­ci­pal Sally El­liott said they needed fur­nished stock.

“We are still look­ing for quite a num­ber of apart­ments,” she said.

Agents say Adani needs 80 fam­i­lies to be ac­com­mo­dated in the com­ing few weeks, with more ex­pected to be added later this year.

THE first wave of about 80 staff to work in Adani’s new Townsville head­quar­ters for the Carmichael coal project is ar­riv­ing in the city, fir­ing de­mand in an over­sup­plied rental mar­ket.

But while the city has plenty of units – 700 are avail­able in the in­ner- city sub­urbs – many are not fur­nished, prompt­ing agents to call for more stock.

“We are in de­mand for fully fur­nished stock,” Townsville Rentals man­ager Anita Stir­rat said.

Smith & El­liott prin­ci­pal Sally El­liott said they too needed more fur­nished stock.

“We are still look­ing for quite a num­ber of apart­ments,” she said.

The agents say Adani has an ini­tial re­quire­ment for 80 fam­i­lies to be ac­com­mo­dated over the next few weeks and ex­pect more de­mand from the com­pany later this year.

Adani an­nounced it was es­tab­lish­ing an of­fice at the River Quays build­ing in South Townsville ear­lier this year and would have a staff in the build­ing of up to 200 by the end of the year.

An Adani Aus­tralia spokesman yes­ter­day told the Bul­letin they had been mov­ing peo­ple to the city over the past few weeks, staff who mainly worked in pro­fes­sional roles in en­gi­neer­ing, ge­ol­ogy and hu­man re­sources.

They all seemed to be en­joy­ing the change, he said.

The spokesman said a lot of pre- de­sign work on the project’s $ 2.5 bil­lion 388km Galilee Basin to Ab­bot Point rail line was re­quired. But real es­tate agents say de­mand is not only be­ing boosted by Adani but other con­trac­tors com­ing to the city for work on projects such as the Townsville sta­dium and util­ity- scale so­lar farms.

“We are start­ing to see in­quiries pick­ing up,” Ms Stir­rat said. “There’s a lot more con­trac­tors com­ing to town. It’s a good in­di­ca­tor that, hope­fully, our mar­ket is on the turn.”

Ms El­liott said Adani staff were look­ing for apart­ments in the in­ner city and South Townsville, no more than 4km from the CBD.

“I think it’s ter­rific news for the city,” she said. “It puts a bit of confidence back into the city and provides some relief for our landlords, who have done it tough for a long time.”

Townsville econ­o­mist and land­lord Colin Dwyer said the va­cancy rate in the in­ner city area was prob­a­bly around 7 per cent and drop­ping fast.

Mr Dwyer said the ben­e­fits of more rental ac­tiv­ity in Townsville would flow through the econ­omy.

“It’s a step in the right di­rec­tion but we still need that va­cancy rate to get down to three or 3.5 per cent,” he said.

Mr Dwyer said rents could rise next year for qual­ity, well­po­si­tioned prop­er­ties.

IT PUTS A BIT OF CONFIDENCE BACK INTO THE CITY AND PROVIDES SOME RELIEF FOR OUR LANDLORDS SALLY EL­LIOTT

HER­BERT MP Cathy O’Toole still re­fuses to sup­port the Adani Carmichael coal mine, claim­ing her per­sonal opin­ion is “to­tally ir­rel­e­vant”.

Ms O’Toole said yes­ter­day her po­si­tion re­mained “if Adani stacks up, it stacks up”.

It comes after the La­bor fed­eral MP dis­tanced her­self from the project last month when she posted a photo of her­self at the launch of Adani’s head­quar­ters in Townsville.

Ms O’Toole said the project needed to stack up “en­vi­ron­men­tally and com­mer­cially” but when asked to de­tail what she meant, she would not.

“I have al­ways sup­ported fed­eral La­bor in the fact that we do not sup­port giv­ing bil­lions of tax­payer dol­lars to a wealthy for­eign com­pany,” she said. “At the launch of Adani in 2016 at the Townsville Port it was stated that they did not need Northern Aus­tralia In­fra­struc­ture Fa­cil­ity fund­ing – this project must be able to stand on its own merit.”

Ms O’Toole said she was aware Adani was a del­i­cate is­sue for the com­mu­nity.

“I am aware we are in a jobs cri­sis,” she said. “We have a high un­em­ploy­ment.

“It is crit­i­cal that we do not take our eye off the main game here and that is en­sur­ing that Townsville se­cures the fly- in fly- out hub.

“My per­sonal opin­ion is to­tally ir­rel­e­vant in this mat­ter and I will not be dis­tracted be­cause I was elected to rep­re­sent this com­mu­nity.”

Sen­a­tor Ian Mac­don­ald said talk­ing about a world­wide com­mer­cial com­pany “stack- ing up” was just “weasel words” for lack of real com­mit­ment.

“It will en­vi­ron­men­tally ‘ stack up’ be­cause it has a record num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that have to be met and will be met,” he said.

“I think it’s laugh­able that an Australian politi­cian with­out any busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence could pos­si­bly sug­gest that one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful com­mer­cial en­ti­ties would need a politi­cian’s ad­vice on whether a ven­ture of this size was com­mer­cially vi­able or not.”

Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald said Ms O’Toole did not un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of the project.

“It would be in­ter­est­ing to see some res­o­lu­tion from the ALP State Con­fer­ence in Townsville this week­end of whole­hearted and un­equiv­o­cal sup­port for this job- cre­at­ing ven­ture,” he said.

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