CHIEF Executive of lobby group the Coal Council of Australia Greg Evans has called for the Queensland government to overcome its hesitation and to back the Adani Carmichael thermal coal project.
The project would likely generate a vast shipping export task, but remains controversial given the links between the use of fossil fuels and climate change.
In a statement published by CCA, Mr Evans said “the Queensland government must draw a close to the stalling tactics”. He also called on federal Labor to support and recognise the big contribution of coal to Australia’s economy.
“The case couldn’t be clearer. The project and further development in the basin will provide jobs and a much-needed boost to the regional economies of central and north Queensland,” he said.
Mr Evans’ push for the Adani project to get underway is said to be due to the competitive nature of the thermal coal industry, with commodity Insights analysts projecting the addition of 400m tonnes of annual import demand from Asian countries by 2030.
Mr Evans said if Australia missed the opportunity to increase coal exports, other foreign suppliers would step in and “we will forego a significant economic benefit”.
“Also, inferior quality coal is likely to be unutilised unnecessarily contributing to higher emissions,” he said.
Aside from climate change, opponents argue the project’s close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the impact on groundwater justify the blocking of the project.
The discovery of the endangered black throated finch in the area has added another complication.
For these reasons, the project has galvanised the environmental movement in ways not seen since the campaign to save the Franklin River in Tasmania in the early 1980s.
One Labor figure for the #StopAdani campaign described the case as “talismanic”.
“It’s the litmus test. Adani has become shorthand for ‘are you serious about climate change?’” the source was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
But Mr Evans said the project would prove positive if approved, citing its job-creation potential. “Thousands of job seekers between Gladstone and Townsville have shown interest in working on the opening of a new coal basin,” he said.