Barrier-Reef-trashing monster coal mine to get a billion dollar tax handout
News has just broken that the coal-addicted right-of-centre Australian government is likely to break its pledge not to fund the proposed Adani monster coal mine in Queensland. Adani's unbankable, Great-Barrier-Reef-trashing mine is one step closer.
By Diet Simon, sourcing from WGAR News
News has just broken that the coal-addicted right-of-centre Australian government is likely to break its pledge not to fund the proposed Adani monster coal mine in Queensland. This means that Adani's unbankable, Great-Barrier-Reef-trashing mine is one step closer, with preliminary approval being granted for the federal government to hand over a billion taxpayer dollars for a nearly 400km rail corridor to serve the mine. Campaigning for the 2 July election, which returned him with a one-seat majority, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on camera that there would be no public money for Adani's mine. Green groups are fuming.
Protest rallies are being called this week in Melbourne and Townsville where billionaire Gautam Adani, the CEO of the globally operating and environmentally vandalising Adani group will visit. In Melbourne he’s meeting with Turnbull, in Townsville with the Labor premier of Queensland, Anastasia Palaszczuk.
Palaszczuk is under pressure to create jobs, with local governments across central and north Queensland unified in their support for the Adani mine. A miners and energy workers union also wants it to go ahead.
The proposed coal and rail project comprises six open-cut and five underground mines, covering more than 200 square kilometres, a 388km rail line and a new terminal at Abbot Point Port near Bowen. The largest in Australia and one of the largest in the world, the $21 billion project would trigger around 60 million tonnes of emissions a year from coal exported to India to produce power. A group called ←350 calls it “the most insane coal project in the world”.
To be located on land in central-western Queensland, over which the Wangan and Jagalingou Aboriginal people have a native title claim, this would be Australia’s biggest coal mine and one of the biggest in the world. The Aboriginal group is strongly resisting the project, and because of the potential damage to the already badly damaged Reef so are many non-indigenous groups across Australia.
The Aborigines have several court cases running and say the mine would “rip the heart out of our country” and destroy their culture.
Turnbull is meeting with Gautam Adani (Mr Adani himself) on Monday. Protesters will sting Turnbull that giving in would be a public relations nightmare for his increasingly unpopular government. Adani is set to make another announcement with Queensland Premier Palaszczuk in Townsville on Tuesday.
“With polling numbers as dismal as Turnbull's are right now, he's going to have a lot of nervous backbenchers on his hands,” suggests the million-strong activist group, GetUp!, which is running a signature drive.
Another petition is being run by the Australian Conservation Foundation, which writes: “When Mr Adani puts on the hard word, we need Malcolm Turnbull to know – we won't accept giving a billion dollars of public funding to a billionaire's company creating billions of tonnes of pollution. Mr Adani has a mining licence, but he will never have a social licence. Sign the petition calling on Malcolm Turnbull to put Adani's requests for publicly-funded subsidies in the bin.”
“It seems Prime Minister Turnbull is preparing to put the interests of big polluters ahead of the interests of the Australian people and misuse a billion dollars of public money to support the mega-polluting Carmichael coal project,” said ACF CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy.
“This would be a serious misuse of public money, a breach of previous assurances. If Adani is unable to fund the mine, Australia will be left with a railway to nowhere and an unpaid billion dollar loan,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“Prime Minister Turnbull can choose to entrench Australia’s dependence on a dirty, declining industry or protect the reef and steer us to a brighter, cleaner future. Any investment in coal in the 21st Century is a dud investment. Australians will lose this money and it will fund the death of the much-loved Great Barrier Reef."
The Australian Marine Conservation Society sees the Turnbull government “totally out of touch with public opinion on this issue” and signing “the death knell for our Reef”.
“A poll just released yesterday commissioned by AMCS and WWF Australia shows
that more than two thirds of Australians believe the condition of the Reef should be declared a ‘national emergency’. The same poll found that more than three quarters of Australians think Adani’s Carmichael coal mine will have some or a major impact on the Reef if it is allowed to go ahead.
“Poll after poll has shown that Australians do not support their money being used to prop up foreign owned mining companies such as Adani.”
GetUp! say they’ve heard that the Adani corporation will decide in four months whether to double down on the Queensland project or quietly walk away. They have designs to start construction in September next year, but the company is buried in debt. One billion dollars in taxpayer-funded finance would be just the thing to help them lure back the big four banks that protesters have worked hard to warn off.
The Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters said funding the project would
“condemn the reef to worse bleaching and jeopardise the 70,000 jobs it provides”. Waters criticised the state government for “creating loopholes for Adani and fast-tracking this disastrous project”.
Queensland passed laws on November 10 that require miners to get a water licence to extract groundwater, but it exempted Adani from the rules in a last-minute amendment. The exemption prevents Queenslanders from fighting an immense water grab by Adani.
The ←350 group argues that the Adani mine would “draw so much water (12.5 billion tonnes of water/year) that it will lower the water table beyond the boundary of the mine by as much as 20-50m. The same amount of water would be provide drinking water to the entire population of Queensland for three years!”
Several companies are lining up to invest in the coal-rich Galilee Basin who may also chip in for the rail project, including GVK Hancock, a joint Indian venture with Hancock Prospecting, and Clive Palmer’s China First Mine.