The Surat Basin – Chinchilla, Miles and Roma
What is happening in Chinchilla, Miles and Roma in the Surat Basin is nothing short of spectacular. Rarely can you find an area to invest in that is so diverse, from agriculture, cattle, forestry, mining, gas power stations, gas to liquids plants the Surat Basin trumps all other resource regions for economic diversity.
There are over 80 Billion dollars and 47 separate projects to be completed in the Surat Basin between now and 2020. The population of these three towns is due to double over the next 5 years. Origin Energy alone estimates they will need up to 18,000 new employees during the peak construction phases. This area is unique as it has so much infrastructure to be constructed, once this construction takes place these workers will be replaced by permanent operational staff. Due to the shear number of projects and the staggered commencement of projects, there will be a critical rental shortage for up to a decade.
This is a diversified build up of many different industries and in short, this is the ground floor in the biggest industrial-mining and power generation build up in Queensland history. We have seen build ups like this happen before, both in the Bowen basin as well as the Pilbara region. These areas have had stratospheric growth and rental returns. Don’t miss your chance to invest in this area before it becomes prohibitively expensive.
Roma, a town of around 8,000 people is known as the cradle of Australia’s oil and gas industry and is a fitting location for the $7 million Big Rig oil and gas museum. It is the largest regional centre in south west Queensland. Strategically located at the junction of the Warrego Highway and the Great Inland Way, Roma is the primary service centre for much of Queensland’s South West. It possesses a diverse economy, excellent infrastructure and a relaxed country lifestyle that is the envy of many major regional centres.
Currently, the Maranoa region surrounding Roma is the scene of massive expansion in coal seam gas exploration and mining. As the original birth place of the Australia’s Oil and Gas industry, the Roma area is well known for its natural gas assets and recent increases in demand for natural gas has seen strong industry development throughout the region. Major energy companies currently operating in the region include: Origin Energy, Santos, BG Gas and Queensland Gas Company.
The Maranoa’s region has an agricultural industry worth approximately $620 million annually, 64.3% being generated from crops. Agriculture, forestry and fishing in the Maranoa make up 58% of businesses in the region. Roma’s Cattle Sale Yards are the largest in Australia, selling over 400,000 cattle a year.
Roma offers a complete range of retail and professional businesses which service the local and broader regional communities. With its cafes, restaurants and specialty shops it has a cosmopolitan feel without losing its country charm and hospitality. Education facilities include public and private schools (Preparatory Year followed by Year 1 to Year 12), special education, Instrumental Programs Unit and TAFE. Sporting clubs and facilities include golf, swimming, all codes of football, netball, squash, archery, cricket, horse riding, dancing, pony club, polocrosse, tennis and motor racing.
Roma is also a social hub. Annual events include the Roma Show, Easter in the Country Festival, Q150 Outdoor Film Festival, Roma Picnic Races and the Roma Cup.
Top 10 Queensland hotpots – Roma
The Surat Basin region north-west of Toowoomba is coming alive with action connected to the new boom resources sector, conversion of coal seam gas (CSG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Environmental approval for some of the major CSG-to-LNG developments has really put this region on the map for property investors.
The Surat Basin is a largely-untapped resource for coal and CSG, but that is changing rapidly as national and international companies move into the area. The development of multi-billion-dollar projects based on CSG will bring major change to towns such as Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma and Miles. Rapid population expansion is predicted and property price growth appears inevitable.
The Toowoomba Chronicle reported in July 2011: “Towns in the Surat Basin are preparing for an employment boom after Origin Energy announced a $20 billion investment into its liquefied natural gas project near Gladstone. The joint venture with ConocoPhillips is expected to create 770 permanent jobs for towns like Roma, Chinchilla and Dalby.
The 2020 Growth Outlook Study into the state’s minerals and energy sector released in November 2011 revealed the Surat Basin will need at least 5,500 new resource sector workers by 2020. Forward projections found the figure would at least triple when support workers are counted. The workforce is expected to be made up by 55% non-resident workers. The Surat Basin is expected to maintain its status as the state’s biggest producer of coal, more than tripling its production to almost 700 million tonnes a year by 2020.