EMERALD may be a "bright green spot" in rugged central Queensland but it could help solve the United States' soaring unemployment rate.
Speaking exclusively with the CQ News yesterday, US Consul General Niels Marquardt said Emerald represented a gateway to employment opportunities for US workers, especially the $10 billion Adani project.
While the whirlwind tour was to be focused on tourism, Mr Marquardt said there was a serious edge, as the Bowen and Galilee basins represented opportunities for people in his home country.
"I wanted to come and look at mining, particularly the fly in, fly out phenomenon which is so important in the Australian economy," Mr Marquardt said.
"We looked at a mine site where it is going to be the anchor for a $10 billion investment and the connection to the US is that it will be using a lot of US equipment.
"It might be using US companies, it might be employing US workers."
Mr Marquardt said it was "phenomenal" Emerald had a 2.1% unemployment rate, and particularly noted the booming building and construction industry.
"There's a lot going on here that's quite positive," he said.
"So here you're at the gateway to the Bowen Basin and almost the Galilee Basin.
"So you get a lot of kick in the economy from that and the whole issue of skill shortage.
"We're trying to help with that by encouraging more Americans to come work in Australia... and they're coming.
"They just weren't aware of the opportunity so we're trying to get the word out for Americans to come work here temporarily, because we've got a lot of excess skill in our economy right now."
Mr Marquardt said the diversified local economy, through agriculture, mining and logistics, was a stabilising force for the town and ensured growth and sustainability.
"You're at a big crossroads here between two highways," he said.
"It's a combination of all those things.
"It's a beautiful place, and you can see that just from landing here.
"There's a reason why it's called Emerald - it's a bright green spot."
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