Thank God for Adani, Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer. In their hands are some of the largest coal reserves on the planet. If Palaszczuk doesn’t like it, she can lump it
SOONER or later Annastacia Palaszczuk is going to have to explain to Queenslanders exactly where she stands on Adani’s Carmichael coal mine – and the others that will follow it.
Adani will be exporting quality thermal coal from the Galilee Basin, west of Mackay, within two years.
The Premier’s refusal to publicly congratulate Adani speaks volumes. Her lines were glib and seemed to me to be deliberately vague.
It is as though she was mimicking set words sanctioned by the oily Bill Shorten.
One minute Palaszczuk and Shorten seem to be in favour of mining; the next they express grave reservations, as if they are willing the project to fail.
We have some of the largest untapped coal reserves on the planet. If Palaszczuk doesn’t like it, she will just have to lump it.
The Premier has one leg each side of a barbed wire fence. She is wedged between the green left and her own party’s “progressives” on one side, and the need for jobs and royalties revenues on the other.
In 2016 she gushed over Gautam Adani in Townsville and jumped at the chance to pump his hand in a photo op.
Palaszczuk now seems to have repudiated statements she made only last year when she backed the project.
Last March she issued a press release headed: “India rise spurs Queensland export growth.”
It read: “The Carmichael Coal project promises to provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland.
“As Premier, I am determined to ensure we maximise the benefit of this project for our communities and our state economy.”
Palaszczuk’s support for Adani followed Anna Bligh’s lead.
In 2010 premier Bligh sidled up to Adani for a photo when he visited Brisbane to open its Queensland office. Palaszczuk was a member of the Bligh cabinet that declared Carmichael a “significant project”.
Today Palaszczuk and Shorten are terrified that Labor votes are leaking to the Greens, and they have stepped up the anti-coal rhetoric accordingly.
Queensland Resources Council chief Ian Macfarlane says the Carmichael mine, albeit in a scaled-down version, will be the catalyst for up to five other coal mines.
Will Palaszczuk also run cold on the proposed $6.7 billion Chinese-backed MacMines coal mine in the Galilee Basin that was approved by her Government last week?
Will she pay due respect to Gina Rinehart for risking $6 billion on mines at the Kevin’s Corner and Alpha projects in the Galilee, both run by India’s GVK. They, too, have received environmental approvals.
Clive Palmer, often demonised in the media, should likewise be congratulated for kickstarting his Alpha North mine in the Galilee.
Macfarlane says thermal coal is now paying around $11 in royalty taxes for every tonne exported.
“So at current rates, for every 10 million tonnes of coal exported, Queenslanders receive about $110 million in royalty taxes,” he says.
“Over the life of mines, this adds up to billions of dollars, even accounting for price fluctuations.”
India, especially, needs our coal. It plans to build 50 gigawatts of modern High Efficiency, Low Emission (HELE) coal-fired power stations in the next five years.
Fossil fuels are expected to earn Australia $100 billion this year.
The International Energy Agency has just tallied last year’s global coal consumption and noted that demand had risen by 250 million tonnes, more than 3 per cent.
The argument from the Greens that the coal industry should be shut down by 2030 makes no sense. The invasion of anti-Adani protesters in State Parliament this week was a disgrace. They should have been arrested and charged.
Meanwhile, claims by anticoal zealots about the potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef and the climate change impacts of the Adani mine must be considered in a global context.
The Supreme Court in Queensland has considered both issues and ruled in favour of the company. That said, our regulators must be prepared to enforce the strict environmental conditions placed on coal projects.
I liked what the Conservative Party Senate candidate for Queensland, Lyle Shelton, had to say: “Hundreds of High Energy, Low Emission power plants are being built throughout the world and the demand for Queensland coal is only going to increase.
“The sad irony is that as Australia’s failing electricity grid becomes more unreliable, Asia is burning our coal in modern power plants, yet we have no plans to replace lost base-load electricity here.
“If we can burn it there, why can’t we burn it here?” It’s a fair question. How will Palaszczuk and Shorten answer it?
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Two years ago Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured with Gautam Adani) was a supporter of Galilee Basin coal projects.