CALL TO DUMP QAL DIRECTOR
TOWNSVILLE Enterprise’s chief executive officer has called for Jonathan van Rooyen to be removed from the Queensland Airport Limited’s board, saying his southern interests conflict with the needs of the North.
Mr van Rooyen has argued against the Adani coal mine, claiming it would “cannibalise” the exports market, as Townsville continues its fight to become the fly- in fly- out hub. QAL owns Townsville Airport.
TEL’s CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said Mr van Rooyen had backed himself into a cor- ner with “divisive, anti- North Queensland comments”.
“Given he can’t and won’t accept logic, the QAL chair should send him a clear message that you cannot serve two masters and remove him from the board,” she said.
“His comments are ridiculous and show that he has an agenda to support southern interests that are in direct conflict with his role on the boards that make big decisions about investment in the North.
“We won’t step back from pushing for projects like Adani that create jobs and opportunities for people in our communities.”
The Bulletin reported last month that Mr van Rooyen believed it was “factually wrong” for Adani to suggest that its coal would only be sold back to India. Mr van Rooyen is also general manager of investments at The Infrastructure Fund, ( TIF) which lists QAL and the Port of Newcastle among its assets.
“TIF wants to see North Queensland thrive but we don’t think that growth should come at the expense of southern Queensland and New South Wales,” he said.
“Nobody denies that a big increase in coal exports from Queensland would result in a big reduction in coal production in the Bowen Basin, the Surat Basin and in the Hunter Valley.”
Mr van Rooyen said everyone wanted to see North Queensland’s economic expansion.
“... But not because other parts of Australia are being held back,” he said. “The Infrastructure Fund has a major stake in the development of North Queensland.
“Recent claims by an Adani spokesman that Adani would not cannibalise the export markets of the Bowen, Surat and Hunter coal mines is as confused as it is contradictory.
“On April 24 2015, in the Queensland Land Court, Adani Mining Proprietary Limited’s Mr Rajesh Kumar Gupta, who reports directly to the chief financial officer, confirmed under oath that less than half of Adani’s Carmichael coal would go to India and not all of that would go to Adani power stations.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said it seemed Mr van Rooyen was supporting Newcastle over Townsville.
“I’ve got someone who manages an infrastructure fund with major investments in Newcastle coal trying to tell us that we can’t grow our industry,” she said.
“One would question which master does he truly serve — QAL or Newcastle Port?”