Exploring new markets: mayor talks about trade trip
ON MARCH 15, Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes accompanied Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and other regional mayors on a three-day visit to India for meetings with Adani leadership.
Here are his thoughts from the trip:
Who attended from the Central Highlands region?
I was part of a group of eight Central Queensland and North Queensland mayors who were invited by the Premier to complement her trade mission and to continue the business relationships that each of our local government areas have with Adani.
The Central Highlands was represented by Sandra Hobbs from the Central Highlands Development Corporation and myself.
Where did the trip take you?
We left Australia on Wednesday, March 15, and travelled via Singapore to Mumbai to meet up with the Premier, who was returning from the London part of her trade mission.
From Mumbai we flew to Bhuj in Gujarat State and then took a two-hour bus journey to Adani's port and power generating plant at Mundra on the Gulf of Kutch. After visiting the port, power station and solar panel manufacturing plant, we returned to Mumbai for a meeting with the chairman and board of the Adani company.
The next day we flew from Mumbai to Madurai, where we inspected Adani's solar farm, which covers 1000ha and generates 648MW of renewable energy. We then flew to Chennai overnight before departing for Brisbane again via Singapore.
What were the biggest points you took from the trip?
India is a vast continent and power generation is critical to the development of its ever-increasing population. Reticulation of energy will help reverse the constant migration of rural communities into the overcrowded urban spaces.
There are great opportunities for trade between our two countries, with Adani's Carmichael project being part of the resources strategy.
However, a nation that is struggling to feed itself needs agricultural products and the Central Highlands is perfectly placed to provide pulses like chickpeas and mungbeans that are staples of India's diet.
The Central Highlands Regional Council has a strong relationship with Adani and the chairman was very grateful of our long-serving support. We have had discussions and due diligence on securing agricultural product for the company and they have been watching with interest our advocacy around the Central Queensland Inland Port and its importance to the CQ freight network.
As an energy provider company with a focus on renewables, Adani is also keen to construct and operate a solar farm in the Central Highlands and has had discussions with council around a couple of sites.
The trip was an initiative of the Premier's department, however participants travelled and were accommodated at their respective council's expense, with some private transfers and travel provided by the Adani company.
How is the Central Highlands positioned to benefit from Adani?
The Central Highlands has long-standing and effective relationships with many resource companies and they are all important to our future prosperity.
Our service industries, businesses and eminently liveable communities are all attractive for the mining businesses that are scattered through the Bowen Basin. Our regional council continues to work hard to make sure that the considerable benefits of doing business here are promoted and actively pursued.
Our region is the only council region that offers the full diversity match for Adani's interests and we look forward to creating the full range of opportunities that presents.