Fear Adani subsidy detrimental to coal
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.