Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australians’ opposition to subsidising Adano coal project – ranges from 70 to 86 per cent

Frydenberg’s carbon capture pipe dream, The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno 3 June 17  “….. no matter what voters think of the [Adani coal] project, they are overwhelmingly against any taxpayer funds bankrolling the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani. Research by the advocacy group GetUp! in marginal seats in Queensland and elsewhere has found resolute opposition to any government loan. Paul Oosting from GetUp! says opposition ranges from 70 to 86 per cent depending on the seat. He has mobilised dozens of his 350,000 members to make 50,000 scripted phone calls into marginal seats in Queensland and around the nation.

It sort of worked with the Palaszczuk Labor government. Much to the delight of Adani, the premier organised a royalties pause. The miner will be given 60 years to pay the tax, although he will attract an interest charge for any delay. That puts all the risk on taxpayers if the project fails to perform as promised or Adani’s labyrinthine company structure for the mine collapses. With some companies registered in the Cayman Islands the existence of a lucrative escape hatch for Adani cannot be ruled out.

Ominously, Indian newspapers are reporting Adani is under pressure to sell its Australian assets. The Reserve Bank of India is worried about a looming debt crisis and is pressuring banks to demand repayment of loans worth billions of dollars. The influential Hindu newspaper noted that the Standard Chartered Bank recalled loans of $2.5 billion from Adani and that “global lenders have backed out from funding the $US10 billion coalmine development project. State Bank of India also declined to offer a loan despite signing an MoU [memorandum of understanding] to fund the group with $1 billion”. What all of this means for Adani’s bid to get a concessional billion-dollar loan from the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is not yet known. It should make it highly unlikely, but given the zealotry of Canavan and his leader Barnaby Joyce for the project such concerns are a mere bagatelle.

Federal Labor’s stand is in line with the GetUp! research, maintaining that no taxpayer dollars should be thrown at the Carmichael mine. In that Shorten has the support of Adani’s commercial rivals such as BHP, the Hunter Valley miners and the huge coal port of Newcastle. They all say the project should stand or fall on its merits and that it’s not the role of government to use public money to undercut them.

Again we have seen Turnbull’s need for pragmatic appeasement of the conservatives in his ranks undermine his brand on the environment and climate change. It probably goes a long way to explain why again in this week’s opinion polls he is still deep in negative territory for approval of his performance and Labor’s lead looks entrenched.

The resignation of Dr Peter Hendy from the inner sanctum of the prime minister’s offices is being read by some in the Liberal Party as a sign the government’s days are numbered. The economist, long-time Liberal apparatchik and former MP is planning to hang up his shingle as a consultant. “He wants to cash in on his contacts while they are still in power,” was one explanation. Another was: “Peter’s been around a long time and knows when a vote is cemented in.”

On that view Hendy is not waiting to see if the handful of pro-Adani seats in Queensland will be enough to save the federal government. Its chances are up in smoke and out the chimney – like the Beijing carbon capture pilot project. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2017/06/03/frydenbergs-carbon-capture-pipe-dream/14964120004723

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June 5, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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