Australian news, and some related international items

Wangan & Jagalingou Aboriginal people expected to lose their rights for economically unviable Adani Carmichael coal mine?

The Numbers Don’t Stack Up: W&J’s Rights on the Chopping Block for Adani’s ‘Non Viable’ Project, New Matilda By John Quiggin on In the fourth in a five part series on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine, John Quiggin looks at the numbers for the project, and like virtually all other parts of the planned project, they don’t survive closer examination. John Quiggin explains.

In what was lauded as a landmark moment for the Adani Group, in June 2017, its chairman Gautam Adani announced his board had given final investment approval for the $5.3 billion first stage of its Carmichael mine project in the Galilee Basin, as well as approval for the associated rail line project, to be constructed from the Basin to the Abbot Point coal terminal.

At the same time, however, Adani asserted its project’s future would remain contingent on finance. Given the projects’ outstanding financial issues, exposed in detail here, alongside Adani’s sustained failure to reach agreement with Traditional Owners, which undercuts the legal basis and legitimacy for this mine to proceed on W&J Country, its future remains uncertain.

Seven years since Adani Mining Pty Ltd. – Adani’s Australian arm – moved into Australia when it secured coal tenements, it has neither financial nor legal close for its proposed Carmichael mine.

These are the shaky grounds on which W&J are expected to forego their rights, assume the destruction of their country, and be grateful for a tiny sliver of the pie.

Yet the rhetoric of 10,000 jobs and great social advancement that would flow from the supposed benefits of the project to Traditional Owners along its corridor, and especially the W&J on whose country the mega mine will operate, is a far cry from that which Adani has actually put on the table.

preliminary analysis commissioned by the W&J Traditional Owners and presented to the claim group meeting on 2 December shows what a miserable proposition Adani’s proposed deal is for Traditional Owners.

Adani is offering Traditional Owners just 0.2 percent of its total revenue; far below industry benchmarks that indigenous groups should get 0.35 – 0.75 percent.

To put this in perspective, even if Adani doubled what was on offer, it would still only be equivalent to some of the lowest Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) deals in Australia.

The deal on offer is also out of balance in terms of the kinds of economic opportunities it will afford Indigenous communities; with primary focus on highly speculative job opportunities. Seventy-five per cent of Adani’s benefits package is wrapped up in jobs; and yet if the jobs don’t come, the purported benefits will simply not be realised.

While the economics of the mine represent a very poor deal for Traditional Owners, they are at the same time expected to cop the brunt of the costs – including destruction of country – for the mines go ahead………

Even with financial breaks from government, the evidence – drawing from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and other recent figures – demonstrates the Adani mine-rail project is highly unlikely to be economically viable. On this basis, any public money lent to the project, whether through the NAIF, or through a deferral of royalties, is unlikely to be recovered……

Adani has proposed a package to support Traditional Owners – a kind of quasi compensation for destruction of Country – including a $250 million Indigenous Participation Plan for the Traditional Owner groups along it’s project corridor, and the wider Aboriginal community of Central Queensland.

The details of this, however, have been described by W&J as a parlous deal. Demonstrating this, W&J draw attention to the very limited job creation. And on the basis of figures provided by Adani, Traditional Owners employed by the mine would be paid just $35,000.00 per year, a figure that barely meets Australia’s minimum wage.

This plan on offer is no exchange for the losses of land and waters, cultural and self-determination that W&J would incur; which is why they remain resolute in their opposition to the proposed mine. They alone are expected to give up their ancient legacy and birth rights so that others can benefit.

W&J has every right to object to the mine and refuse consent………..


December 29, 2017 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL

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