Australian news, and some related international items

False promises about Adani coal project have sucked in Queensland Premier and Townsville Mayor

Not that it was in writing. The only assurance Queenslanders truly had was a photo of a handshake. The premier ought to have stopped there, but she kept going.
For a premier under pressure to create jobs in a state with a population of 4.6 million, of whom more than 160,000 were unemployed in May this year, supporting a coalmine that will see job losses from elsewhere seems a serious folly.
the myriad companies that make up the Adani conglomerate make it nearly impossible to follow the money. What tax on profits will be paid in Australia? How much will be siphoned off to Adani’s “marketing hub” in Singapore and the Adani family company in the Cayman Islands?
Revealed: Gautam Adani’s coal play in the state facing global-warming hell  The extraction of mammoth coal deposits in Queensland’s Galilee Basin will only exacerbate climate change. Who supports the mines – and why? The Age, Anna Krien, 9 June 17  “…….
It was December 2016 when Gautam Adani flew into Townsville to meet Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the city’s mayor, Jenny Hill. Yes, there was some animosity: a couple of hundred people gathered on the foreshore to protest against Adani’s proposed coal mega-mine, and two native-title owners, Carol Prior and Ken Dodd, were also on his trail.
But for the nation’s kingmakers, Adani may as well be Midas. That very morning he had nipped down to Melbourne to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the Coalition’s “conditional” offer to chip in a $1 billion loan to his project. After the meeting in the Townsville City Council chambers, there was the obligatory handshake photo with the Queensland premier, and then he was gone – a “fly-in, fly-out” billionaire.

Continue reading

June 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, employment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani announces “green light” for expanded coal mine, but still hasn’t got the finance

Adani gives itself the green light, but that doesn’t change the economics of coal, The Conversation, Samantha Hepburn, 7 June 17  Director of the Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Law, Deakin Law School, Deakin University Indian mining firm Adani yesterday announced that its board had approved plans to proceed with the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.But it is still far from clear whether Adani has actually obtained the finance to proceed with the A$16.5 billion project, or whether it has secured the necessary A$1.1 billion loan from the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility needed for the mine’s railway.

That hasn’t stopped the state government hailing the announcement as an economic win for Queensland, on the basis of job creation and for the signals it provides to potential investors in the region. But this amounts to little more than short-sighted politics. The government appears to be steadfastly ignoring the realities of the current energy landscape.

Let’s recap: coal mining is not economically viable within the constraints of a global carbon budget, while renewable energy production is rapidly expanding as the world moves to more sustainable investments. The result is that coal projects could become stranded assets, with price tags that may already exceed what would have been the costs of a timely implementation of climate action. Investors and lending institutions are shifting to sustainable projects that limit the risk of catastrophic environmental damage.

The people own the coal

The state government owns the coal resource, but it is a special type of ownership. This is “public resource” ownership, meaning that all decisions made by the state government to exploit it must be in the interest of the public as a whole.

Issuing resource titles that allow Adani to proceed with a vast coal mine – in defiance of the social, economic and environmental impacts of such a project within a carbon-constrained economy – arguably represents a dereliction of the state’s duty to act in the public interest.

It also ignores the fact that in order to have just a 50% chance of keeping global warming within 2℃, a key aim of the Paris climate agreement, 90% of Australia’s current coal reserves must stay in the ground. If the mine proceeds, it will contribute substantially to global warming and accelerate the destruction of one of the world’s greatest natural assets, the Great Barrier Reef. This could have huge knock-on effects for future tourism in the area, which generates A$6 billion a year.

The economics of the Adani coal mine simply do not make sense. While there may be limited short-term employment opportunities and royalty gains for the state should the project actually get financed, the longer-term projections are dire……..

In the end, the real question is whether any lending institution will seriously take a risk on this vast and irresponsible project, which ignores both the safety of the Great Barrier Reef and the fundamentals of carbon-constrained economics.

June 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Another obstacle has arisen to the Adani coal rail line plan

Adani white elephant hits another snag as GVK teeters at brink was a white elephant so white … and elephantine.

Besides their empty cries that coal from Australia is good for the poor people of India, while delivering monumental “jobs and growth” at home, the shrinking coterie of ideologues and thermal coal apostles has hit another hurdle.

Part of the push for a rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot point has hung on the argument that this railway will be a “common-user facility”; that is, it will not only be used to freight Adani coal but also that of GVK. GVK is a smaller Indian company, teetering on the brink of obsolescence, which apparently still harbours hopes that its Alpha coal project in the Galilee will one day be developed.

GVK Hancock is a joint venture between GVK and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting. It is partnering with rail group Aurizon in the southern end of the Galilee Basin while Adani’s Carmichael project lies to the north.

In another blow to those who wish the Galilee to be developed with thermal coal mines, GVK Power & Infrastructure announced on Friday it had sold its remaining 10 per cent stake in Bangalore International Airport to Fairfax India Holdings for $US200 million.

It seems GVK has been reduced to selling core assets to stay afloat. Net debt is now $US1.8 billion versus a market value of equity at $US145 million.

GVK has suffered six years of losses, last reporting a net loss of $US209 million for 2017 as its auditor raised questions as to whether it was a “going concern”. Meanwhile, Adani is still holding out for taxpayer subsidies in a bizarre negotiating process knowing full well that, in India, the cost of building new solar capacity is cheaper that new thermal coal.

Adani Power Management recently conceded that almost $US9 billion in existing thermal coal plants fired by imported coal at Mundra, Gujarat, are no longer viable. It referred to the prohibitively high costs of imported coal.

No doubt, while coal futures languish well below the spot price, rendering Adani’s hopes (if they really still harbour them without taxpayers backing the lot) futile, the Carmichael cheer-squad will gloss over these small details as somehow bad for the poor people of India while they continue to promote this most effulgent of white elephants.

It will never happen, nor should it.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping Acland coal mine expansion

Acland coal mine: Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping expansion, ABC News, By Andrew Kos, 31 May 17, Landholders and farmers in the Darling Downs are claiming a big win following a Land Court decision recommending the $900 million Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland Coal Mine be scrapped.

More than 60 property owners have been fighting the New Hope Group’s proposed project since the State Government indicated support for it in 2012.

The expansion, which would see the mine produce coal for a further decade, was granted Federal Government approval earlier this year.

Opponents took the matter to the Land Court last year arguing the mine expansion would damage groundwater levels, air quality and prime agricultural land.

The case became the longest in Land Court history, with more than 100 days of hearings and 2,000 exhibits.

In a judgment today, the court recommended the Mining Leases and Environmental Authority amendment for Stage 3 not be granted for the proposed expansion…..

Government could still permit project

In a statement to the ASX, the New Hope Group said it remained committed to delivering the project and would actively progress it through the final stages of approval…… The State Government is the final decision maker for the project and will need to decide whether to follow the court’s recommendations or approve it regardless.

A spokeswoman said the Government was examining the court’s judgment.,-court-rules/8576886

June 2, 2017 Posted by | legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani to make $billions out of rail line, NOT coal mine – Pauline Hanson is right

Pauline Hanson says no to Adani train line, Pauline Hanson has scuppered the mine line being held by Indian multinational, The Age , Amy Remeiki , 2 June 17, 
Pauline Hanson has told the Turnbull government to build the billion-dollar Galilee Basin coal line itself, announcing she would oppose a “foreign multi-national” from owning the crucial infrastructure.

The rail corridor, which would run from the central Queensland coal basin to the Abbot Point port on the state’s coast, has been deemed a key feature of Indian mining company Adani moving forward with its project.

But the One Nation leader, who has maintained support for the mining project itself, said she had asked Resources Minister Matt Canavan to build the line “as a piece of national infrastructure”.

“This approved rail corridor will eventually connect to the national line, so it should be owned by the Australian people, not a foreign multi-national,” she said in a statement.

“This railway could make the Australian people hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Adani are here to build a coal mine, not a gold mine.

“This is a railroad that should belong to the people. We should build it, own it, control it and make sure no future government can give it away.”

The rail corridor is seen as a crucial piece of infrastructure in opening the Galilee Basin up to mining, with both GVK Hancock and Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal having earmarked projects in the region……

June 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Dispelling the myth that the Queensland economy actually needs the Adani coal mine

The myth that Adani coal is boom or bust for Queensland economy, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 29 May 2017 There are a whole bunch of reasons why the Adani coal mine does not make sense: for the environment, the climate and on basic economics.

The latest results from Adani Power, revealing over the weekend a $US954 million loss ($A1.3 billion) for the last financial year, its fifth loss in a row, and a growing preference for domestic over imported coal, not to mention the endless delays and requests for government support, underline the fact that the project makes no financial sense.

And we know that on environmental and climate grounds, it makes no sense either. Rescuers minister Matt Canavan counts Adani’s benefits on the basis that the mine will last 60 years. That timeframe assumes that the world will not act on climate change.

Another myth that refuses to go away, and seems to be prosecuted by everyone from the Coalition, to the state Labor government and to the local councils, is that the Queensland economy depends on Adani and its Carmichael mine for jobs and investment, and that the region’s economy would be devastated if the mine didn’t go ahead.

It is simply not true. For a start, the inflated figures being pedalled by those state and federal politicians – the claim of 10,000 jobs – have been debunked by Adani itself, and its more modest investment plans now suggest maybe one-tenth of that, at best.

And perhaps those politicians should have a look around and see what else is happening in the region. It is really quite stunning: some 4,200MW of large-scale wind and solar projects, all of them in central to northern Queensland, and billions of dollars worth of other projects in the pipeline, including biofuels and even a battery gigafactory in Townsville.

The list of already committed projects, compiled by a private consortium known as Future North, include world leading solar resources, world leading solar and storage projects, a world-leading solar-wind-storage hybrid project, and a unique solar and pumped hydro plant proposed for the old Kidston gold mine.

Together, they represent investment of more than $7 billion and jobs of more than 3,200. And as a bonus, they will deliver electricity at an average cost of around $80/MWh, possibly less. Already, it is cheaper than the price of the Queensland grid in the first half of the year – and the low price will be locked in for 25 years.

Some are already going ahead, courtesy of some targeted support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corp, or in the case of Sun Metals’ 116MW solar plant near Townsville, in a bid to cut electricity costs and underpin the expansion of the local zinc refinery.

Another 3,000 jobs and $4 billion of investment are on the cards from half a dozen of biofuel projects that are also in the pipeline, and another 2,000 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs could emerge if the consortium led by Boston Energy and Innovation, and supported by US giant Eastman Kodak, goes ahead with a battery storage gigafactory in Queensland.

“Townsville and the region are sitting on a gold mine of opportunities,” Oliver Yates, the former head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a spokesman for Future North, told RenewEconomy on Friday in our Energy Insiders podcast.

Yates says the mixture of solar, wind, storage, hydro, biofuels and manufacturing makes the region ideally placed to be “the centre of action” in Australia’s energy transition.

“The opportunities that they have dwarf anything that they could get  (from coal) … tese are sunrise industries. That town gets subject to a lot of pork barreling and nothing ever happens. And no one talked much about solar and wind  …. and yet it is happening.

“They are siting in the land of opportunity. It’s the only place in Queensland that has got wind, it’s the got best solar resources, and best water resources. Townsville should be the centre of action.”

The projects include the soon-to-be completed Lakeland solar and storage facility, the massive wind, solar and storage facility at the Kennedy Energy park, the Kidston solar and hydro hybrid plant, large wind farms such as Emerald and Forsyth and others, and a host of large-scale solar farms proposed by Pacific Hydro, Esco Pacific, Eco Energy World, FRV, Windlab, Overland, Edify and others.

Future North is proposing a North Queensland Company should be created – with a minimal amount of government seed funding – to ensure that these projects come to pass.

“We believe there is a massive opportunity for North Queensland to become an economic powerhouse across a range of industries,” a new document says, adding that it is not a choice between new and old industries, but recognises the abundant land, water and sun it has for the many future sunrise industries.

Still, many in the Coalition are locked into those sunset industries. …….

as the Adani results over the weekend reveal, the company is now looking at using domestic coal supplies for its massive Mundra mega-coal plant. India is focused on reducing imports of coal, and also encouraging a domestic solar manufacturing base as part of its ambitious renewable energy targets.

Little wonder that Adani is looking for third parties, including governments, to underwrite the cost, and bear the risk, of long-dated infrastructure such as rails and ports.

“It is an admission that (Adani Power) can’t afford expensive imported coal from Carmichael,” IEEFA’s Tim Buckley wrote in an analysis of the results on Monday.

And there are yet more developments that point to a bleak picture for coal in Asia, including the cancellation of 14 coal projects in India, and the announced closure of coal plants in South Korea.

And that is why Future North wants to jump in now, to ensure that the pipeline of wind and solar projects gets the finance from the private sector it is looking for…..

May 31, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Telstra funding construction of $100 million solar farm in northern Queensland

Telstra’s solar contract part of bigger power play, AFR,  Angela Macdonald-Smith 30 May 17 Telstra has lifted the veil on its highly anticipated new energy strategy, revealing it will underpin the construction of a $100 million solar farm in northern Queensland as part of a wider play to protect itself from soaring power prices. Under a deal struck with renewable energy giant RES Group, Telstra will buy all the power generated by a 70 megawatt solar project to be built near Emerald over “multiple” years.

Head of Telstra’s new energy division Ben Burge also said the telco was gearing up to use its hundreds of megawatts of backup power at exchanges around the country to offer electricity into the wholesale market when ultra-high demand causes prices to surge.

“It’s a highly distributed, highly responsive source of energy which over the coming years we will look to make better use of in order to improve our resilience but also to address extreme wholesale prices in the market,” Mr Burge, the former head of Meridian Energy’s Australian business, said.

 He said Telstra, which accounts for about 1 per cent of the country’s power demand, was looking to protect itself from movements in power prices the way large corporates did for exchange and interest rates……..

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Adani coal mine dispute: it’s not only about money, and climate: there’s also black lung disease for miners

Does Queensland really want Adani’s dirty, black lung inducing jobs? Independent Australia  David Shearman 30 May 2017On top of ecological destruction and $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies, will the re-emergence of black lung disease, due to government regulatory incompetence, be the final nail in Adani’s Carmichael mine coffin? Dr David Shearman reports.

ON A DAY WHEN a Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry finds catastrophic administrative failures resulted in the reappearance in pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) – a serious but preventable disease – Queenslanders should be asking themselves some important questions.

In particular, whether their State and Federal governments have the competence to deliver the Adani Carmichael mine with its ephemeral jobs and riches or whether the collateral damage to them and to Queensland is likely to be too great.

The reappearance of black lung disease in our wealthy, advanced country is an indictment of health monitoring in the coal industry, for which the Queensland Government has the ultimate responsibility to set health standards. The Parliamentary ‘Inquiry into the re-identification of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis in Queensland’ identified “major system failures at virtually all levels” and this includes the medical assessments.

Parliamentarians who fondle coal and spruik it as “cheap” need to recognise the true cost of coal lies in the suffering of workers, and the community from air pollution from its mining and combustion. Coal is heavily subsidised by the health services for the cost of care of a significant proportion of the 3,000 Australians who die each year from air pollution.

In promoting this mine, the Queensland and Federal governments have already dismissed the likely demise of the Great Barrier Reef, the significant impact on world greenhouse emissions and the climate of Australia, the increasingly poor image depicted in the international media of Queensland and the concerns of our Pacific Island neighbours about new coal mines. In the face of black lung, the competence of the Queensland Government to regulate and monitor the development and running of this vast mine has to be questioned. It will be difficult to find any reassurance.

Imposed on the Adani mine development are 270 conditions that will need monitoring and supervision by the Queensland Government. Many of these relate to water security, because inland Queensland with its probable drying climate has human and agricultural demands on its water. Unlimited use of water from the Great Artesian Basin is to be allowed in the face of concerns expressed by an eminent scientific committee. These included the impact from possible pressure reduction in bores and impacts on existing settlements.

The possible health consequences of the Adani mine have been detailed by Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) in a fact sheet with a foreword by Professor Fiona Stanley.

Let us look at the record of successive Queensland governments…..,10348

May 31, 2017 Posted by | health, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland govt dumps support for $1 billion rail loan to Adani

Adani’s coal mine dealt fresh blow as Queensland shunts $1 billion rail loan role, Brisbane Times, Peter Hannam 28 May 17, 
Prospects for the controversial Adani coal mine have dimmed further after the Queensland government said it wanted no role in any federal loan to support the project.

In a statement on Saturday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that “consistent with our election commitments, cabinet has determined that any [Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility] loan needs to be between the federal government and Adani”.

If the NAIF does provide funds for the 388 kilometre, $1 billion-plus rail link to support the proposed Carmichael mine, it will do so without the support of the state government. The NAIF’s guidelines say loans should “align” with a state’s needs.”If [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull wants to spend his money in this way, that’s his decision,” a source said, requesting anonymity.
David Barnden, a lawyer for Environmental Justice Australia, said Queensland’s move appeared to block any NAIF loan to Adani under the current laws.”The Commonwealth’s legal power to fund projects through the NAIF is granted by a constitutional power for the provision of financial assistance to the states,” Mr Barnden said.
“If Queensland is not a part of any agreement for NAIF funding, then, in our view, Adani’s railway line cannot receive NAIF concessional loans under the current legal framework.”The NAIF abstention comes a day after the state government called a snap cabinet meeting to settle on the royalty plan to be offered to the Indian-owned miner. Adani says it will consider the plan.

Fairfax understands the cabinet agreed on a capped payment for the first six years of $5 million annually. Any delayed payments would be made up in later years with interest.While touted as a $16.5 billion project – excluding the railway and port expansion – the mine is looking increasingly less ambitious, if it gets built at all. Rather than 60 million tonnes, annual output is likely to be much less than the “mega” scale promoted, and a price tag is closer to $4 billion at least for the start.Ms Palaszczuk defended the royalty plan on Saturday, saying there was no “holiday” and that Adani would have to pay “every cent … in full”.By avoiding involvement in the NAIF loan, the government will argue it has kept its pre-election promise not to provide financial support for the mine. ……

Environment groups have applauded Queensland’s decision to avoid serving as a go-between for the NAIF funds.”Today Queensland Labor are holding firm to their promise at the last election not to throw taxpayer funds at Adani’s coal rail line, by refusing to hand over money from Senator Canavan’s slush fund,” GetUp national director Paul Oosting said.”The pressure is now on the federal government to put an end to special treatment for the megamine, and stand with Australians to say no to Adani.”






May 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland cabinet has decided not to grant a royalty holiday for the Adani Carmichael mine.

Palaszczuk rules out royalty holiday for Adani  Felicity Caldwell, 27 May 17 

Queensland cabinet has decided not to grant a royalty holiday for the Adani Carmichael mine.

It comes after ongoing reports of tension between the Left and Right factions in the Palaszczuk cabinet over royalties for the Adani mine. Adani released a statement on Friday evening following news of the unanimous decision.

“Adani Australia will give urgent consideration of state cabinet’s decision tonight on a royalties arrangement for the $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine project.”  “Adani will analyse the details when they have been formally provided (and) confirms again that it will pay every cent of royalties to the state as was always the case.”

Ministers were called to a cabinet meeting on Friday afternoon to make a decision on the issue. In a brief statement released at 5.29pm on Friday, Ms Palaszczuk said state cabinet had “unanimously agreed to a new policy approach for the future development of the Galilee and Surat Basins and the North West Mineral Province”.

“Under this new policy, the Adani Carmichael mine will pay every cent of royalties in full,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “There will be no royalty holiday for the Adani Carmichael mine.”

On Monday, May 22, Adani announced it would postpone its final investment decision on the $21 billion central Queensland project after learning the cabinet did not make a ruling on royalties.

Earlier this week, Ms Palaszczuk told journalists that cabinet would meet as usual on Monday, May 29. She did not flag the unexpected Friday afternoon meet-up.  More details would be released in “due course”, Ms Palaszczuk said.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Most Queensland voters reject taxpayer support for Adani coalmine

Most Queensland voters oppose taxpayer support for Adani coalmine – poll
59% give thumbs down to state or federal assistance for Carmichael mine as state government faces factional fight over whether to give project a royalties holiday, Guardian, Katherine Murphy, 25 May 17 
Queensland voters have given the thumbs down to taxpayer support for the controversial Adani coalmine, with 59% saying they were opposed to state or federal assistance.

A new poll of 1,618 Queenslanders taken by ReachTel indicates 57% of the sample objected to a loan for a rail link between the mine and Abbot point, which is championed by the federal resources minister Matt Canavan.

Just over 50% of the sample said a decision by the Queensland government to grant the project a royalties holiday would be a broken election promise.

The poll was commissioned by the progressive thinktank the Australian Institute.

It comes as the state Labor government is battling an internal split on whether or not to give the project a royalties holiday.

 Federal government sources have also told Guardian Australia that Canavan can expect strong internal pushback against any proposal to grant a concessional loan to Adani. Some argue the concept is objectionable.

This week officials from Infrastructure Australia told Senate estimates they had not identified the proposed rail line as a priority, and they had not consulted the body which is expected to stump up a concessional loan, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

Adani is seeking a $900m concessional loan from the Naif for the rail line. Infrastructure Australia and the Naif are required to consult on projects worth more than $100m.

As well as facing internal resistance to taxpayer support, the environment group, the Australian Conservation Foundation, has warned the Turnbull government it will pursue all avenues, including possible legal action, to stop a concessional loan being granted to the rail line.

The new poll also comes as federal Labor MPs this week have also broken ranks to express public objections to the controversial project……

May 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Final investment decision postponed by Adani, regarding Carmichael coal mine

Adani indefinitely postpones final investment decision on Carmichael coal mine, ABC News, 23 May 17  Senior Queensland Government members were in meetings on Monday night, discussing how to urgently convince Indian company Adani to proceed with a board meeting to fund the proposed Carmichael coal mine.

The mining giant has postponed its final investment decision on the $16.5-billion project in central Queensland until the State Government gives “clarity” over lower or deferred royalties.

A company spokesman said they were waiting for the State Government to advise on whether it would offer a lower royalty rate or deferred royalties.

The Adani board was to meet in India next week for final approval but has postponed the meeting.

The State Cabinet on Monday discussed whether to give Adani a royalty discount or deferral, but no decision has been made…….

The proposed royalty deal is understood to have caused division among Labor factions.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Roads Minister Mark Bailey, from the Left faction, have publicly opposed any government subsidy of the mine and said that had been Labor’s position since before the 2015 state election.

However earlier on Monday, Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said royalty arrangements were being considered by the Government…….

Greens, activists accuse Adani of bullying

Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters said the mining company was trying to bully the State Government into handing over $320 million in free coal.

“So far, Adani is in line for a $1 billion handout, unlimited free water, new legal loopholes, special changes to Native Title, a free pass on reef destruction,” she said.

She called on the Queensland and Federal Governments to abandon their support for the project.

Activist group Get Up said if Adani could not afford the project without a royalty holiday, it was not financially viable.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australia should not throw away $1 billion on a destructive and doomed Adani coal project

The first stage currently being discussed involves a total investment of around $5 billion, of which the Australian public is supposed to contribute at least a $1 billion.

we may easily end up with the worst of all worlds: no royalties and few jobs for a project that will contribute massively to environmental destruction both locally and globally.

We shouldn’t throw it away on a doomed project that will leave us with, at best, a stranded asset and a legacy of massive environmental damage.

There are better things to spend $1 billion on than the Adani coal mine, Brisbane Times, John Quiggin, 18 May 17 

Ever since taking office, the Palaszczuk government has been walking a tightrope with respect to the Adani Group’s proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

On the one hand, it’s obvious that the project is both environmentally disastrous and economically dubious. The government has been keen to avoid putting public money into this mess. On the other hand, if the project falls over, as still appears quite likely, the government is keen to avoid the blame.

The supposed benefits of 10,000 jobs and billions of dollars in royalties make an appealing case to voters at any time and particularly with the mining boom on the edge of failing. For most of the past 18 months, the government has managed the tightrope act successfully, but now it appears to be on the verge of falling. Adani is pushing for a ‘holiday’ from royalties, which might last as long as nine years. The project may go ahead if the government accepts, but the promised benefits to the Queensland public will disappear into the never-never.

The holiday is supposed to be temporary, but that’s unlikely.  Continue reading

May 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australia isn’t trying to stop global warming. We’re subsidising it.

Palaszczuk and Turnbull governments are Adani mine’s lonely fans, Canberra Times, Ebony Bennett, 20 May 17 Australia isn’t trying to stop global warming. We’re subsidising it.

While the ACT is on track to source 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable energy by 2020, Queensland’s state government is doubling down on the No. 1 contributor to climate change: coal. Despite banks, economists and Australians in general showing little interest in handing Indian coal giant Adani billions of dollars to dig up a heap of carbon, many politicians just can’t seem to wait to throw your money at it. The Queensland government’s enthusiasm is exceeded only by that of Turnbull government ministers, who have taken to fondling lumps of coal on the floor of Parliament.

Ten days before the last Queensland election, then opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk blasted the Newman’s government for picking winners and losers, warning: “What we’re seeing at the moment is Campbell Newman throwing a bucket of taxpayers’ cash … at one particular company [Adani].”

She further promised that “Queenslander taxpayers’ money is not going to be used to fund commercial operations”. She then went on to win the election in one of Australia’s biggest political upsets.

Coal subsidies are unpopular

Despite being elected on a “no subsidies” platform, the Palaszczuk government has since offered Adani free water (in the form of an unlimited, unchallengeable water licence), free coal (in the form of a reported $320 million “royalty holiday”) and a possible 39-year raincheck on the clean-up bill. It’s also on track for a $1 billion subsidised loan for its rail line from the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

At this rate, we’ll soon be paying Adani to dig up our coal. And voters don’t appear to be impressed. Continue reading

May 20, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland govt must resist bullying by resources industry: mine rehabilitation should be progressive

Queensland mine rehabilitation should be progressive, not left as one big job: Miles, ABC News, By Louisa Rebgetz, 19 May 17, Environmental groups are urging the Queensland Government not to be “bullied” by the resources industry in a bid to fix a $10-billion legacy of mine rehabilitation.

It comes as the State Government is on a hard sell to tighten the demands on miners to ensure financial assurance and progressive rehabilitation with a discussion paper out until mid-June.

Campaigner with Lock the Gate Alliance, Rick Humphries, said the reforms were “long overdue” but the “devil will be in the detail”.

“It’s long overdue, the cause for reform. We see all the numbers going the wrong way in terms of the amount of progressive rehab,” Mr Humphries said.

“The devil will be in the detail and already there are some emerging concerns.

“The major issue though is in the past the mining industry has generally bullied governments of all persuasions in the past to drop any reforms, so the Government has really got to focus on the public interest and protecting the environment and make sure these reforms are solid and get the job done.”

Reforms to apply to existing and new operations: Miles

One mine’s progressive rehabilitation has Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles interested, who said it was what all mines would be expected to do under the proposed changes.

Hail Creek Coal Mine, in the heart of coal country in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, is one of the largest coal reserves in the country.

Rio Tinto exports about 10 million tonnes a year of coking coal from the site.

During a tour of the mine, Hail Creek’s Acting General Manager Michael Priestly said about 360 hectares had already been rehabilitated.

“It would be pretty close to what it looked like. Obviously the topography changes a little bit around with the dumps,” Mr Priestly said.

“It’s really a matter of tipping the dumps, shaping them and then progressively rehabilitating them with topsoil and natural vegetation.”

The Minister said the reforms would apply to both existing and new operations, including Adani’s proposed $21-billion Carmichael mine in Central Queensland. This program of reforms is all about making sure rehabilitation happens progressively so it is not left as one big job for the end of the mine’s life, and also ensuring that we have sufficient financial assurance every time one of those mines has been abandoned,” Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles said he hoped it would also create jobs for regions currently struggling through the mining downturn.

Fears clean-up for Ebenezer Mine will be left to taxpayers

Queensland has more than 15,000 abandoned mines ranging from small infrastructure to mega-sized mines.

Mr Humphries said Ebenezer Mine, on the outskirts of Ipswich, was a classic example of failed regulation in Queensland.

The coal mine has been in care and maintenance since 2002. The former operator, Japanese company Idemitsu, transferred the lease to Zedemar Holdings, who had planned to on-sell the site, but the deal fell through.

Mr Humphries said he feared it would be left to the taxpayer to fund the rehabilitation of the site……

May 20, 2017 Posted by | environment, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment