Conflict of interest as Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) board members approve $1bn to Adani coal project
five of the seven Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) board members have what it calls “strong ties” to the mining industry.
Adani’s Carmichael coalmine doesn’t meet infrastructure fund criteria, says Greenpeace https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/21/adanis-carmichael-coalmine-doesnt-meet-infrastructure-fund-criteria-says-greenpeace
Analysis says $1bn of commonwealth funding would amount to paying $683,000 for each job generated, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 21 Dec 16, Adani’s coal infrastructure should not be given money from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund since it does not meet at least two of the mandatory criteria, according to analysis by Greenpeace.
In addition, despite the NAIF granting “conditional approval” for $1bn of commonwealth financing for a rail link between Adani’s Carmichael mine and its Abbot Point coal terminal and insisting it is “ready and able to make decisions” about funding, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF)has told Greenpeace it had not yet finalised its policies and guidelines for considering the funding criteria.
The Carmichael mine would be Australia’s largest coalmine and among the largest in the world. For it to receive funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF), it must meet seven “mandatory eligibility criteria”.
According to a Greenpeace analysis, two of those criteria are not met by the project. One of those criteria is that the project must “be of public benefit”.
In terms of jobs, Adani’s consultants have said the project would produce fewer than 1,500 full-time jobs. Greenpeace said the $1bn in financing amounted to paying $683,000 for each of those jobs.
It is unclear exactly where that money would flow. Recent revelations show Adani has set up a complex network of companies and trusts, which are located in the Cayman Islands tax haven, which would minimise its tax burden and could make it harder to gain compensation in the case of an environmental disaster.
“The prospects for any financial return from this project reaching the public coffers is further reduced by the fact that the Newman government promised the Carmichael mine a ‘royalty holiday’,” the Greenpeace report notes. “It is unclear whether this commitment has been maintained by the current Queenslandgovernment.”
In addition, Greenpeace points out there are considerable costs to the public. The associated port expansion would result in dredging inside the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area; coalmining and transportation will impact on the health of nearby populations; the mining would use billions of litres of local groundwater each year; and the cost of mine rehabilitation is at risk of being left to the public purse.
Greenpeace also argues the project might not meet a second mandatory criteria – that it will be able to repay the loan. It refers to modelling suggesting the mine would run at a loss, even with a high coal price.
Greenpeace argues that given recent comments by Adani spokesman Ron Watson saying the financing was not critical, the project could fail a third criteria – that “the project is unlikely to proceed, or only at a much later date, or with limited scope, without NAIF financial assistance”.
“Building the Carmichael coalmine is in itself a ludicrous proposition, let alone lending the company a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money that we may never get back,” Greenpeace campaigner Jonathan Moylan said. “Our investigation shows the public how important it is to stop Carmichael right now, before we wreck a valuable part of Queensland.”
NAIF told Greenpeace in an email, seen by Guardian Australia, that it had not yet finalised its policies and guidelines, outlining how it would interpret the mandatory eligibility criteria, including the one related to public benefit.
The Greenpeace report notes that five of the seven NAIF board members have what it calls “strong ties” to the mining industry. Some have served on boards of mining companies while others have clients in the mining industry.
“The Turnbull government has emphasised that the NAIF board is an ‘independent’ body,” the report said. “While the board may be independent from government, they have clear ties to the mining industry.” https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/21/adanis-carmichael-coalmine-doesnt-meet-infrastructure-fund-criteria-says-greenpeace
No comments yet.