A few people have asked where I stand on the Adani mine. Again, I am opposed to it many grounds and have been vocal in my opposition.
- Read my letter to the Premier of Queensland for 30 March 2017) (LINK)
- Read a motion passed by the Bellinger River Branch (LINK)
Here are two transcripts from Labor’s decision makers, Mark Butler and Tony Burke, indicating that Labor will deal with the problems associated with the project when it gets into government.
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change; Shadow Minister for Energy
“I do not support opening new mines in the Galilee Basin” (Click to watch)
Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer
Radio 2CC Canberra, 1 November 2018
SHAW: Thank you, good feedback. Finally the 48th federal Labor Conference is big, 16th to 18th of December. Will Labor we saying yes or no to Adani?
LEIGH: The Adani project depends primarily on state environmental approvals. I don’t think it’s stacked up so far environmentally or economically. We’ve seen a drop off in coal demand globally, indeed India is demanding less coal right now. Labor has said that we didn’t want to give it federal cash, at the time the Coalition wanted to swing one billion dollars of taxpayer money to an Indian coal billionaire. We’ll be scrutinising it rigorously, but it is important for those holding those anti-Adani placards to remember that the Environment Minister is the decision maker under the Act. If Tony Burke, the Shadow Environment Minister, were to come out today and say he’ll oppose Adani under any circumstances, he’d basically be opening up the federal government to a large compensation claim from Adani. He needs to scrutinise the Adani proposal according to the Act, and I’m sure he’ll do that if we’re elected.
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change
Sky News, 18 July 2018
CONNELL: And yet, overseas, it might be a different matter because the Adani Carmichael coal mine reports they are inching closer to getting funding for the railway section of this and clearing another hurdle. What exactly would your approach be here if you got into government?
BUTLER: Well my approach at the moment would be not to hold my breath. I mean, if I had a dollar for every front page where Adani said they had finance for this new coal mine I’d be a very, very rich man, Tom. Frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it because the fundamentals of the global thermal coal market in a structural sense have not changed over the last few years. Indeed, the fundamentals of the Indian thermal coal industry, particularly their intention as a government to phase out thermal coal imports hasn’t changed either. So I think the views that I have expressed about this project now for a couple of years remain my views in spite of, I guess, just the latest front page where Adani says ‘nothing to see here, it’s all going fine.’
CONNELL: Look, it is a fair enough comment on the front pages but just on the approach, Labor is still open is it to using whatever power it would have, theoretically, if you win office to try to halt the project. Is that the strength of feeling?
BUTLER: I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about where this project might or might not be when we win government. My view about this has been-
CONNELL: But this is simply about if you win government and what you might do. It is not too many steps.
BUTLER: Honestly, we will deal with those circumstances if and when they arise according to the law and according to the facts on the ground if you like, Tom. But my view about this project has been clear for some time. I don’t think it stacks up, I don’t think it is in the national interest, particularly given the impact it would have on existing operating mines, particularly in the Hunter Valley. As to what happens in the future, we will deal with that if and when that arises.
Tony Burke, Shadow Minister for the Environment.
RN Drive, 1 May 2018
KARVELAS: It’s interesting all the things you’ve just listed. There’s one gaping omission in my analysis Tony Burke and that is you haven’t mentioned the Adani coal mine. If you listen to the Australian Conservation Foundation and Geoff Cousins who I actually interviewed on National Wrap that you’d been on, in fact, I’ll invite you again. He actually came on the program and mentioned the Adani coal mine and was critical of the reef package on the basis of the Government’s strategy on climate change but also Adani. Now Labor has had a kind of flip-flop approach to Adani too. You’re not mentioning it and you’re not opposing it.
BURKE: The Adani mine has become emblematic of action on climate change…
KARVELAS: But do you see it as destructive to the reef?
BURKE: I think it adds to the problems. It adds to the problems. There’s no doubt about that. If we win Government I’ll be the person in charge if there are any remaining approvals. And so I certainly can’t in this interview now prejudge the decision that I might have to make in Government. But what I can say is the more I’ve looked at this project the more sceptical I’ve become about it. I remain deeply concerned. Now, this is not a specific issue on reef health. The reports that came out some months ago into the dumping of coal-laden water into the Caley Valley wetlands where there is federal responsibility for those wetlands and the Environment Minister’s response was ‘oh that’s just a matter for Queensland’. I can’t for the life of me see how that’s a way that the responsibilities of the Federal Environment Minister are properly being acquitted. So yes I do have deep concerns about the Adani mine.
What I’m really careful to do though, just as it is an exaggeration to look at Josh Frydenberg’s package and say that fixes everything, it’s also an exaggeration to claim if we stop Adani then we have fixed everything for the reef because it is one of the projects that adds to the pressures. And the reason I avoid benching it I guess is twofold.
In the first instance, I may end up being the decision maker over it and I can’t prejudge it. If I do any decision I make would be thrown out in court. The second thing though with Adani is I do believe we shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing if we stop that project then the reef has been properly protected because the list of things that need to be done goes way beyond Adani.
Updated: 13 August 2018