I was very pleased to listen to the concerns of this local group at the Boonah Show – and I’ve met with them several times. I respect their passion and their right to campaign on this issue. I am always happy to meet and discuss issues with local residents.
My job is to weigh the concerns of all residents on a range of issues including infrastructure planning for the future – but by far the biggest concern that I hear about is cost of living pressures, including the cost of electricity. To be honest, I am more concerned with what happens around local kitchen tables, than this project which is not in my electorate.
Household budgets are stretched and people don’t want to see their bills keep on rising – so I am very sensitive to any issue that puts potential upward pressure on household energy prices. The electorate of Wright has the highest uptake of solar panels in the country evidencing the enthusiasm of locals to combat the rising cost of living.
I do want to address some of the claims being made, because there is a degree of alarmism in what has been said about this project – and I’m not sure it is warranted. It’s important we look at the facts:
The Adani mine project has been subject to rigorous environmental processes and is situated 300km west of the Great Barrier Reef – mining will not have any impacts on the reef.
Adani’s proposed $16.5 billion Carmichael project has the potential to create thousands of jobs and deliver significant economic and other benefits including funding for schools, hospitals and emergency services in Queensland.
While the Adani mine is expected to be the largest coal mine in Australia, Australia’s share of the world’s thermal coal production would only marginally increase from 4.3 per cent to 4.6 per cent. We’ve addressed the global threat of climate change by ratifying the Paris Agreement which will see Australia reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels.
The Queensland Government has granted Adani a water license. As such, Adani will be subject to agreements in place with landholders whose ground water entitlements may be affected and Adani will pay the Queensland Government $20 million before they can use any surface water. Adani will be limited to volumes of approximately 1 per cent of what is available to farmers in the catchment while the mine and environmental regulations imposed on the Carmichael project will ensure other water users are not affected by the operation.
The National Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) offers concessional loans to encourage and complement private sector investment in infrastructure that benefits the development of Northern Australia. Investment decisions for the NAIF are a matter for its skills-based independent board and assessed against merit criteria set out under the NAIF’s investment mandate. To date, the NAIF have not made any decision regarding this project.
While I don’t share the concerns of this group, I have met with them, made representations on their behalf, and delivered the response from the Federal Minister to their concerns. I certainly respect their right to campaign, to lobby myself and Ministers directly, and to make their voice heard. That is what our democracy is all about.