Tak­ing a risk

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

I WRITE in re­sponse to Tony Fontes' let­ter of Fe­bru­ary 4 re­gard­ing Adani’s Carmichael Mine.

In April last year Jerome Fahrer, Adani’s own eco­nomic con­sul­tant, told the Queens­land Land Court that the Charmichael mine would “gen­er­ate 1464 jobs, in­clud­ing in­di­rect jobs”.

Now, the ac­cepted eco­nomic the­ory is that for ev­ery job one in­dus­try gen­er­ates, an­other three jobs will be cre­ated in sur­round­ing economies which means that, given that three to one ra­tio, the Carmichael mine will in re­al­ity gen­er­ate 366 jobs. That's over the pro­jected 30 year life of the mine by the way.

In this day and age of con­tract em­ploy­ment, econ­o­mists mea­sure a job as a one per­son/year con­tract which means that Adani’s coal mine will ac­tu­ally cre­ate 12 jobs a year over a 30 –year span.

On top of that, some of the worlds lead­ing econ­o­mists have pre­dicted that the re­turns from the mine would be so low (the coal price has tanked) that Adani would pay al­most no tax in Aus­tralia while trouser­ing mil­lions of Aussie tax­pay­ers dol­lars in the form of the sus­b­si­dies that Mr Fontes re­ferred to.

Given that those in­di­rect jobs could just as well be cre­ated by build­ing things that we ac­tu­ally need – schools, hospi­tals, af­ford­able hous­ing, trans­port in­fra­struc­ture or God for­bid, plants man­u­fac­tur­ing wind and so­lar in­stal­la­tions or wa­ter con­ser­va­tion projects – the ques­tion to ask is, do we re­ally want to risk our world class tourist in­dus­try for so few jobs?

Most of which, if not all, will likely be FIFO in any case and not ben­e­fit lo­cals.

While many peo­ple are will­ing to travel half­way around the planet to visit our beau­ti­ful, un­spoiled(ish) Whit­sun­days , they are un­lik­ley to come here to look at a toxic gi­ant mine and coal port or a dead, bleached reef and ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent num­bers I can find ( 2014), while tourism in Qld em­ploys around 140,000 peo­ple, min­ing em­ploys about 8,000.

Clearly, peo­ple who claim that for­eign min­ing bil­lio- naires are go­ing to save us all (and here I would in­clude Ge­orge Chris­tensen) have only a ten­u­ous grasp on re­al­ity and none what­so­ever of pri­mary school arith­metic.

Mr. Fontes in his fi­nal para­graph asks “why would any politi­cian look­ing to do the best by Aus­tralia sup­port such a pro­ject?”

The short an­swer is – They wouldn't!

And here I have trou­ble ex­clud­ing Ge­orge Chris­tensen. David Avenell Bowen

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