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600 being made redundant on Curtis Island each month

BY December there will only be a few thousand workers left on Curtis Island.

Building the three LNG plants brought more than 26,000 workers into Gladstone since 2011.

But by mid-2016 construction will be over, and by December next year Bechtel will have left the city.

They've already started demolishing the camps and are looking to offload a huge volume of equipment and machinery, including up to $9 million worth of vehicles.

Right now there are just over 10,000 employees left and 600 people are being made redundant each month.

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Bechtel's general manager Kevin Berg has 38 years' experience working on 25 huge construction projects - although nothing on the scale of the three LNG Plants.

His company built stage one and two of the Boyne Smelter during the early 1980s.

Mr Berg said the same atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the wrap up of that project, which employed about 3000 people, was similar to the feeling in Gladstone right now.

"There was certainly a high expectation of the impact that would have on the community," Mr Berg said.

"But we found that it didn't meet the community's expectations. Yes, it was difficult for some people at first, but generally everything just returned to normal.

"We're hoping for the same outcome here."

Already 80% of the workers who came to Gladstone to work on the LNG projects have returned to their homes.

Others have taken positions on Bechtel's other LNG project in Western Australia, or headed up to Darwin where construction company Ichthys is building another processing plant.

Bechtel still has leases on 239 homes in Gladstone, but not all of those will be released onto the market at the same time.

As well as meeting with real estate agents regularly, the company says it also monitors social media to see if they are flooding the market and having a negative impact on local businesses.

Mr Berg is personally expecting the metals and mining industries to take on some of the employees coming off the gas projects.

"Historically when oil prices are low the metals and mines industry comes up, so I would hope we will see that happen again now," he said.

Mr Berg was a guest speaker at Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd's networking lunch in Gladstone on Thursday.

Topics:  bechtel curtis island gladstone industry lng



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