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Adani’s Carmichael coal mine a flashpoint for Australian election

Coal News - Published on Wed, 17 Apr 2019

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Reuters reported Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine has become a lightning rod for voters ahead of next month's general election, dividing the country as well as Australia's major political parties - the conservative Liberal-National coalition government and the opposition Labor Party. Both Labour and the Coalition constituents on either side of the issue of climate change, which has rocketed up the agenda after a summer of debilitating drought, devastating bushfires and a once-in-a-hundred year flood. While opinion polls point to a victory for Labor, the acrimonious debate over coal and climate has driven some voters towards a growing number of independent candidates. Queensland is set to be a major battleground in the election, with nearly half its seats on a knife's edge.

Michael McMillan, strategy director for Townsville Enterprise Ltd, a group promoting investment in the biggest town in north Queensland said "I think this is going to be a tight race. I think what we've seen play out in relation to the Adani mine will have an influence through the election process. Every job counts. When you have potential parties opposed to mining, that will be considered come polling day."

Peter Jones, a social work lecturer leading a Stop Adani campaign in Townsville, which was ravaged by floods in February, said "We're beginning to join the dots between activity like mining and burning coal and the impacts on climate. Jobs shouldn't be coming at the expense of the environment."

Far to the south, in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, the ruling conservative Coalition is under fire for failing to do enough to curb carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison famously brandished a lump of coal, Australia's second largest export earner, in parliament when he was treasurer, taunting the opposition over its renewable energy push.

The Carmichael mine, led by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, has been on the drawing board for nearly a decade, delayed by a long string of legal action from green groups and now held up by regulations under the federal Coalition government and state Labor government. Worried about a backlash from customers and investors, all of Australia's major banks have declined to fund the project, which has been whittled down to a sixth of its original size. Meanwhile, Australian coal prices have slumped to USD 70 from USD 120 a tonne over the past seven months, raising further questions about whether the project can turn a profit.

This week, Australia's environment minister gave the greenlight to Adani's groundwater management plan, but said the mine still needed nine more approvals.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 17 Apr 2019
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