BOOM TIME: There are $32.5 billion of mining projects in the region, planned or under way, which will deliver about 30,000 jobs.
BOOM TIME: There are $32.5 billion of mining projects in the region, planned or under way, which will deliver about 30,000 jobs. Peter Holt

Mining booty brings hardships

A WHOPPING $32.5 billion of mining projects in the region are set to deliver some 30,000 jobs, sparking calls for urgent investment in Mackay's infrastructure and services.

While some workers will live west or fly-in and fly-out, the boom will result in substantial growth in Mackay, putting even further pressure on everything from housing to counselling services.

Mackay Mayor Col Meng said funding was desperately needed for housing, water, sewerage and other infrastructure. He said it was about time the region got a fairer share.

"The Federal and State governments shouldn't expect Mackay ratepayers to foot the bill for the expansion of an industry they are making money from," he said.

The $32.5 billion of projects listed on REDC's latest regional development register will begin to be rolled out over the next six years. Estimates of construction and operational jobs for each project add up to 29,930 positions.

Cr Meng said council was pushing for funding from both higher tiers of government, especially the state in the lead-up to the election, in a bid to fund much-needed infrastructure projects. Priorities include a Mackay ring road and a major upgrade of the Mackay city centre.

Regional Social Development Centre (RSDC) social development director Deborah Rae was concerned about the impact of the growth on Mackay's working poor.

"They only have enough to pay their rent and basic living expenses; they don't have money left over," she said. "It (growth) is going to result in more housing price increases and more pressure on families."



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