Queensland parliament has thrown its support behind the Adani Carmichael coal mine.
The state parliament has supported a motion that all state government approvals be provided to help create jobs, with both state resources minister Anthony Lynham and treasurer Curtis Pitt telling parliament the project could create thousands of jobs and provide economic development for the region.
“The Government strongly supports the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin for the jobs and economic development it could provide for regional Queensland,” Lynham told the House.
“For that reason the Government and the independent Coordinator General have been working closely with Adani to facilitate their approvals in accordance with statutory obligations.”
This support comes less than a month after the miner struck a compensation deal with the local council for the mine’s region, which saw Isaac Regional Council get behind the operation.
Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj welcomed the support of the local council.
“Working together with Isaac Regional Council, the project is moving one step closer to delivering long term benefits to Queensland, while helping deliver higher quality, lower emitting coal that will help alleviate energy poverty in India,” he said.
Mayor Baker expressed her support for the project, highlighting the loss of 20,000 jobs from the mining sector over the past two years.
“It’s essential our communities and our businesses benefit from the Carmichael project,” she said.
Lynham stated that mining projects such as Adani’s could only move forward once compensation agreements such as these were reached.
He said he was “aghast” that the former LNP Natural Resources Mines Minister Andrew Cripps did not understand the appropriate process under legislation he had previously been responsible for.
“My focus is to do this thoroughly,” he said.
”Statutory assessments and decision-making process must be robust and comprehensive to minimise any risk of legal challenge.”
Despite these wins for the mine, it still faces a number of challenges.
At present there are two court cases still in progress against Adani, one by the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners and a second by the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Last year the Queensland Land Court found that Adani had exaggerated the economic benefits of the Carmichael mine, in terms of job creation and royalty payments to the government.
After Adani’s promotion of the new mine’s capability to create 10,000 jobs and $22 billion in royalties, it was Adani’s own expert witness Jerome Fahrer who revealed the project would not make anywhere near the quoted figures for job creation.
"Dr Fahrer's evidence, which I have accepted, was that the Carmichael Coal and Rail Project will increase average annual employment by 1206 fte [full time equivalent] jobs in Queensland and 1,464 FTE jobs in Australia," Queensland Land Court president Carmel MacDonald said.
MacDonald said this was not enough reason for her to rule that the project should not proceed.
The Carmichael mine, if it does proceed, will be one of the biggest open cut coal mines in the world, covering a land area similar in size to metropolitan Sydney and the western suburbs.