Time to act

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

THE court de­ci­sion over­turn­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s rushed ap­proval of the Adani Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin, fol­lowed by Com­mBank’s with­drawal of any fund­ing for this pro­ject, gave the gov­ern­ment the op­por­tu­nity to re-ex­am­ine its sup­port for this con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal and look again at a bet­ter jobs fu­ture for Aus­tralia.

In­stead of tak­ing on board the le­git­i­mate con­cerns about cli­mate change and look­ing at sup­port­ing re­new­able energy, it is at­tack­ing com­mu­nity en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and the courts, and con­tin­ues to make ex­ag­ger­ated claims about the ben­e­fits of this en­vi­ron­men­tally dan­ger­ous and fi­nan­cially risky mine.

Now they want to take away the right of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and farm­ers to legally chal­lenge gov­ern­ment ap­provals of min­ing or any de­vel­op­ments that will im­pact on all of us.

Not only did the ‘En­vi­ron­ment’ Min­is­ter (who might be called the Min­ing Min­is­ter, con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of new mines he has ap­proved) over­look sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal threats to sev­eral en­dan­gered species that could be made ex­tinct by this pro­ject, he didn’t con­sider Adani’s dam­ag­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal record in In­dia and he ig­nored its pro­jected im­pact on CO2 emis­sions and cli­mate change, the big­gest threat to our Great Bar­rier Reef.

In­stead of the 10,000 jobs still spruiked by our PM, Adani’s own eco­nomic ex­perts have ad­mit­ted less than 1500 jobs would be cre­ated.

Adani had also ad­mit­ted in court that it over­stated pos­si­ble roy­al­ties by 300%; and in­flated its in­vest­ment com­mit­ment, now in greater doubt that over 11 ma­jor banks have with­drawn their fund­ing.

The idea that this coal will im­prove the lives of the poor in In­dia is painfully ab­surd, as these lower caste peo­ple don’t have the money to pay for elec­tric­ity, much less the ap­pli­ances of the mid­dle classes.

The idea that such mines are nec­es­sary for Aus­tralian jobs is equally weak, as this dy­ing in­dus­try is ex­pand­ing its au­to­ma­tion, get­ting more out of the ground with less and less work­ers, yet putting at risk over 60,000 jobs on the reef.

More healthy jobs would be cre­ated with se­ri­ous gov­ern­ment sup­port for re­new­able energy; build­ing so­lar ther­mal power plants, wind farms, tidal power and more, all des­tined to grow with the un­de­ni­able in­crease in cli­mate prob­lems.

While many of your read­ers don’t want to be­lieve the science be­hind these threat­en­ing cli­matic pre­dic­tions, and it ap­pears the gov­ern­ment is also in de­nial, we will have to con­front these is­sues and take se­ri­ous ac­tion be­fore so­cial and po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity over­takes many coun­tries around the world.

It is well past time for Aus­tralia to be­come a leader in in­no­va­tion and al­ter­na­tive energy, while it still can. Jonathan Peter, Air­lie Beach

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