Development of Adani’s Carmichael coal project appears more certain following a visit to India by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week.
Palaszczuk, along with a group of eight regional Queensland mayors, visited India in a bid to strengthen business ties between the state and country.
During the trip, the Queensland Premier had meetings with several Indian-based businesses, including with the leadership of India-based Adani, which is planning to develop the $21 billion mine-rail-port project in regional Queensland.
Speaking to media during the visit, Palaszczuk said: “I have indicated very clearly by coming here and being accompanied by eight mayors how important this project is for regional Queensland jobs.”
If approved, the Carmichael project would provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland, where unemployment has risen significantly since the mining downturn.
The Adani board is expected to approve the project next month, with construction then likely to begin in August this year.
According to a comment from Adani Group chairman, Gautam Adani, over the weekend, it seems increasingly likely that the company will give Carmichael the go-ahead.
“Yes, definitely,” he said, when asked if he was confident of the project being approved.
Protests, usually focused on the environmental impact of the project, have followed the proposed development for years, and even in India at the weekend during Palaszczuk’s visit, when a group of Australians opposed to Adani’s plans reportedly confronted the Premier.
Most recently in Australia, a campaign involving businessmen, musicians and former sportsmen, and Greens Party senators has seen a petition sent to Gautam Adani claiming Carmichael does not have support here.
According to The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA), the latest campaign against the coal project “misses the point”.
“It must be remembered that the Adani project will provide enormous benefits to people and communities who are doing it much tougher,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.
“During the construction phase, the Carmichael coal mine and railway will inject around $21 billion into the Queensland economy, provide around 10,000 jobs, countless opportunities for small and medium businesses along the supply chain and create a real buzz of economic activity in many rural communities.”
Knott said the job-creating potential of the Carmichael project came in an environment where Australia’s unemployment was rising.