Fear Adani sub­sidy detri­men­tal to coal

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA NU­GENT EX­CLU­SIVE vic­to­ria. nu­gent@ news. com. au

A QUEENS­LAND Air­ports Ltd board mem­ber has re­peat­edly slammed gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for the Adani mega mine de­spite Townsville Air­port’s bid to be­come the miner’s fly- in, fly- out hub.

Jonathan van Rooyen has re­peat­edly ar­gued against sub­si­dies for the In­dian miner, claim­ing the use of tax­payer funds for a new coal mine in North Queens­land could come at the ex­pense of other coal re­gions, in­clud­ing New­cas­tle.

Mr van Rooyen is the gen- eral man­ager of in­vest­ment at The In­fra­struc­ture Fund, which counts Townsville Air­port owner QAL and the Port of New­cas­tle among its as­sets.

Port of New­cas­tle is the world’s largest coal ex­port port and han­dled more 167.7 mil­lion tonnes of coal in 2016.

“My prin­ci­pal con­cern with the pro­posal to sub­sidise the Adani coal mine is that world coal con­sump­tion has fallen for the last three years and now seems like a very poor time to open up a new coal basin in Aus­tralia,” Mr van Rooyen told the Bul­letin.

“Mod­el­ling com­mis­sioned by The In­fra­struc­ture Fund shows that a sub­stan­tial in- crease in new sup­ply from a new coal basin will have a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact not just on vol­umes of coal pro­duced in the Hunter Val­ley, but in Queens­land’s own Su­rat and Bowen basins as well.

“Our air­ports in Queens­land are great air­ports and I am sure that they will pro­vide high- qual­ity ser­vice to any work­ers who may end up work­ing on the Galilee mines.”

Adani has pre­vi­ously said coal from Carmichael would not af­fect the mar­ket as it would be sup­ply­ing its own power sta­tions in In­dia.

Townsville and Rock­hamp­ton have submitted com­pet­i­tive ten­ders for Adani’s FIFO hub, with the com­pany’s de­ci­sion ex­pected soon.

Mayor Jenny Hill said Mr van Rooyen’s at­ti­tude to­wards Adani and his in­ter­ests in the New­cas­tle port and the Townsville Air­port ap­peared to be at odds with each other.

Mr van Rooyen said “there is no sce­nario in which sub­si­dis­ing the Adani mine pro­tects the funds in­vested in the Port of New­cas­tle that I am en­trusted to man­age”.

“I have an in­ter­est in the mat­ter of tax­pay­ers’ money be­ing used to re­duce the value of an as­set that our fund owns,” he said.

“Well- de­signed Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment pol­icy would not ask tax­pay­ers, or our TIF in­vestors, to choose be­tween help­ing North Queens­land or hurt­ing the Bowen Basin, the Su­rat Basin or the Hunter Val­ley.”

QAL CEO Chris Mills said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing Townsville’s air­port traf­fic.

“QAL fur­ther be­lieves that Townsville is the best lo­ca­tion for a FIFO hub to sup­port any ac­tiv­ity in the Galilee Basin, and will con­tinue to work with ( Townsville City) Coun­cil and other stake­hold­ers to se­cure these op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said.

QAL’s non- ex­ec­u­tive chair­woman is Annabelle Chap­lain, a di­rec­tor of Downer EDI Ltd, a lead con­trac­tor with Adani.

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