An $800 million contract to build gas and water infrastructure in Queensland's south-west is expected to deliver 1000 construction jobs in the state, where the unemployment rate has hovered above the national average since the global downturn.
Premier Campbell Newman yesterday welcomed Australia Pacific LNG's decision to award the contract to Leighton Contractors.
The deal is part of the first stage of the Origin Energy, ConocoPhilips and Sinopec $20 billion coal seam gas joint venture.
While yesterday's employment figures showed Queensland's unemployment rate fell from 5.5 per cent to 5.1 per cent last month, there are fears it could increase, given the state's faltering economy, especially in non-mining sectors.
The Australia Pacific LNG project is one of three big ventures in the $50 billion LNG industry in Queensland. The new industry is expected to deliver $850 million in royalties once it is running from 2015-16.
Leighton Contractors will build a $450 million, 1200-kilometre pipeline across the Condabri gasfields, near Chinchilla, as well as construct two water treatment facilities, worth $350 million.
Mr Newman said works such as the Australia Pacific LNG projects were crucial to help bring down the state's unemployment rate.
The Liberal National Party government has committed to reducing the state's unemployment rate to 4 per cent over the next six years. "Australian Pacific LNG is going to play a critical role in creating a new export industry in this state," Mr Newman said.
He also urged Origin managing director Grant King to sign off on the second stage of the Australia Pacific LNG project, which would be a further economic boon for the state. The state government was committed to reducing "green tape" as part of its push to cut approval times for major projects from about six years to three years.
He said the federal government needed to "get real" to deal with the issue of duplication of environmental regulation between the states and Commonwealth.
"We need all to work together to get this sorted out," he said.
Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney flew to Canberra yesterday to meet federal Environment Minister Tony Burke on the fast-tracking of project approvals.
Mr King said the company was close to deciding whether to proceed with the second LNG train at Gladstone. The $20 billion project was on time and on budget, amid a $5 billion blowout for a rival BG Group project in Gladstone.
BG Group's QCLNG project blamed the blow-out on increasing costs for local goods and services as well as regulatory compliance.
Mr King said Origin's project had factored in the rigorous regulatory regime for CSG/LNG projects in Queensland.
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