What’s stopping $700m project and 500 jobs
IT'S the essential last piece of the puzzle.
Just one final approval from the State Government is all that's needed before a vital $700 million energy project in North Queensland can kick off construction in September.
At stake are 500 well-paying jobs on the Kidston pumped hydro storage project, which will take four years to build and has been likened to our version of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme.
But Genex Power top gun Simon Kidston and his crew are still waiting to wrap up talks with the government over the co-funding of an indispensable 185km transmission line to be built, owned and operated by state-owned Powerlink.
Annastacia Palaszczuk announced last September that her government would kick in $132 million to build the line.
Although Kidston has been waiting 10 months to nail down the final terms for the construction, operation and maintenance of the line, he didn't seem terribly irritated when City Beat rang for chat on Wednesday.
"The Queensland Government has been a great supporter of this project and it's a great example of Federal/State co-operation,'' Kidston told us. "We've got all the contracts in place with builders and the funding's arranged.''
Genex, which has secured a concessional loan of up to $610 million from the he Federal Government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, nailed down a 30-year deal in March to sell the power to EnergyAustralia.
The project, based about 280km northwest of Townsville, will see water pumped between two former gold mining pits to drive turbines. It's the first of its kind in the national electricity market in nearly 40 years.
A spin doctor for Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said government support "remains subject to agreement on final conditions with Genex to ensure value for money for taxpayers''.
"The Queensland Government has also been in discussions with NAIF regarding their decision to defer a final decision on the project until 30 September,'' he added.
What better way to kick off the new financial year than with a sweeping organisational shake-up and new operating model?
Suncorp boss Steve Johnston unveiled a raft of senior management changes on Wednesday spurred on by the sale of the group's life insurance arm and the global fallout from COVID-19.
Undoubtedly the biggest casualty in the game of musical chairs was Gary Dransfield, who ran the insurance wing since late 2017 and will be heading for the exits in about two weeks.
Oversight of the remaining insurance empire has been split in two, with the big winners being a couple of rising stars inside the organisation: Paul Smeaton and Lisa Harrison.
Also coming out on top was ex-CBA player Clive van Horen, who was tapped to fill the vacant spot running the Banking & Wealth division.
City Beat spies say he pipped another main contender for the job, former Bank of Queensland interim CEO Anthony Rose, who left that role in December.
30 YEARS LATER
She started as a temp on a two-day casual assignment at national charity yourtown.
On Thursday Tracy Adams celebrates her 30th anniversary with the Brisbane-based non-profit, where she rose to become CEO 12 years ago.
Putting somewhat of a dent in her plans to kick up her heels this week, Adams suffered a toothache that forced to her to undergo a root canal on Tuesday. Ouch!
Others are doing it much tougher, of course.
Adams told us that yourtown, which is primarily self-funded through Art Union ticket purchases, has seen a 40 per cent surge in demand for assistance during the pandemic crisis mainly through its Kids Helpline counselling service.
But, in a hopeful sign, the last two art union prize homes have sold out of tickets, easing fears that the group's annual revenues of about $105 million would take a major hit.
Originally published as What's stopping $700m project and 500 jobs