Articles published expressing views that Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the Carmichael coal mine would have a 100 per cent FIFO workforce have sparked controversy with claims of inaccuracy.
The Daily Mercury published an interview transcript on 26 May in which the question “Would you support 100 per cent FIFO at the mine site?” was followed by a reply from Janakaraj: “At the mine site there is no other option”.
However, Adani have revealed an audio transcript from the same interview between a Daily Mercury journalist and Jeyakumar Janakaraj which shows the line of questioning and answers.
The Daily Mercury have also republished the same transcript in clarification of the matter.
A spokesperson for Adani this morning questioned the reporting of Jeyakumar Janakaraj's views about 100 per cent FIFO as a policy at the prospective Carmichael coal mine.
"The interview you're referring to saw repeated questions about 100 per cent FIFO- and repeated, clear answers from the company noting no decision has been made,” the spokesperson said.
“Indeed, the company made clear that 100 per cent FIFO is unlikely, and that the company and its contractors are considering several workforce options for the mine site, of which FIFO will be one."
The Adani CEO told The Daily Mercury in interview that there was no other option than FIFO for the proposed coal mine, and indicated that the company would not allow employees to drive to the mine for safety reasons.
However, when pressed with questions about whether Adani would implement a policy of 100 per cent FIFO, Janakaraj said the company could not commit to any specific percentage of FIFO employees, but could not rule it out either.
"Today it is too early to decide whether it is a hundred, or ninety, or eighty," he said.
"We cannot rule out at this stage because for us right now, the project is more critical than anything else, and the economics of the project have to stack up.
Janakaraj also said it was too early to decide whether the company would build a town for the mine at the start of operations, but it was an option the company was considering.
"We are building a town, we will build a town, but it is something that cannot be predicted today."
Daily Mercury deputy editor Troy Kippen said the publication stood by their reporting of the interview.
"The Mercury's story on Tuesday made it clear that Mr Janakaraj was referring to the mine site only when he said there was 'no other option' but a 100 per cent workforce," he said.
"We stand by the accuracy of the story and have since published the full excerpt of the line of questioning relating to FIFO workers, to allow our readers to make up their own minds."
CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said earlier this week the suggestion that Carmichael could only be staffed by 100 per cent FIFO policy was "arrogant".
CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said it was important that Adani ensure opportunity and choice for workers at the mine.
“There are communities in close proximity to this proposed mine like Moranbah and Clermont, to name a few, that can provide workers and services,” he said.
“There’s no difference to a worker driving from Mackay to Blackwater, or from Rockhampton to Blackwater or Emerald; this has happened since the 1990s in the Bowen Basin.
Smyth said the CFMEU wanted to ensure that regional Queensland is not left out of the potential benefits from the Carmichael project.
“Governments and companies need to understand that there’s more to Queensland than the south east,” he said.
“Here is an opportunity to boost jobs and again kickstart this part of Queensland.
“Further dialogue and discussions with all industry stakeholders is required if you want the best outcomes.”
The following is an audio transcript supplied by Adani, from an interview of Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj by The Daily Mercury.
DM: Would you support fly-in, fly out?
JJ: For us, in our mine site, we are so far away from anything okay. So it will be there.
DM: Yeah…so you would support it?
JJ: Yes, so fly-in, fly-out will be there for the mine site. But whether it's for the port or the rail –
DM: Is there any way you would support one hundred per cent fly in, fly out-
JJ: No it's not….that's why I said there is nothing like a hundred per cent in anything. It is about how much can come from, say, drive-in, drive-out, or….because, if you, say, take our whole project. Take Bowen, for our port-
JJ: We don’t need any fly-in, fly-out, everybody will come from Bowen.
DM: Yeah I know, but, on site though, isn’t it – would you support one hundred per cent fly in, fly-out at the mine site?
JJ: In the mine site – in the mine site there is no other option.
DM: No other option?
JJ: There is no other option.
DM: Except for one hundred percent fly-in, fly-out?
JJ: When we say a hundred per cent, you see, today it is too early to decide whether it is a hundred, or ninety, or eighty. It’s too early to decide, because the workforce structure is not…..but there is nothing there. It’s not safe to-