The Rockhampton City Council launched the project in November 2004 after recognising the tremendous growth of mining in the nearby Bowen Basin. According to project coordinator Prue Hinchliffe, it was “time for Rockhampton to stand up”
“The project is there to build relationships – facilitate contact between mining companies and local business, assist business in serving the mining industry and attract mining town residents to the Rockhampton region,” Hinchliffe told International Longwall News.
The project aims to build a stronger supply and service base from the Rockhampton region for the central Queensland mining industry and mining communities. Those businesses in mind include those directly serving the industry, as well as secondary services such as boarding schools and universities.
Part of the initiative is the monthly Coal Country Advertiser newspaper, which promotes local business development, investment property, goods, services and entertainment. The newspaper is distributed to 14,000 mining homes throughout the southern Bowen Basin.
On top of the newspaper and monthly online stakeholder updates, the council also holds business information sessions. At the last session two mine managers spoke to local businesses on their operations and their expectations of mining suppliers.
Hinchliffe said the project also runs a variety of events to facilitate the interaction of businesses and the mining industry. Early in 2005 senior mine managers were invited to Rockhampton for the weekend to attend a range of activities including a Gala Mayor’s dinner, football game, industry conference and mini trade show.
The Rockhampton region will also be showcasing a range of its goods and services at the Queensland Mining Expo later in the year. A number of both lifestyle and mining-related businesses will be attending in a regional approach, with marketing activities planned to attract expo attendees.
The Rockhampton City Council, together with nearby regional economic and tourism bodies, has also set up the CQ Jobs Project – a recruitment drive and skill matching facilitator for the region. The idea came about when Rockhampton’s mayor Margaret Strelow and Hinchliffe were out and about visiting various mines in the Southern Bowen Basin. Word came through that Holden was retrenching 1400 of its employees in Adelaide, so in the next two months they worked with various employers, economic development and tourism bodies and the Department of State Development and Innovation and took a team of 14 to South Australia.
The website www.cqjobs.com.au includes a facility that matches the skills requirements of individual mines and businesses with individual job seekers on the site, and puts the two in contact.
Hinchliffe said the site had been receiving a rising amount of registrations and had gathered some international interest as well. A full article on the CQ Jobs Project will be published on International Longwall News in the upcoming Recruitment and Skills Shortage feature in April.