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Out with “minister for Adani” – in with a minister for renewables?

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An alliance of Australia’s top environmental NGOs, formed to oppose the development of what would be the nation’s largest coal mine in northern Queensland, has seized on the resignation of federal resources minister, Matt Canavan, as an opportunity for the Turnbull government to appoint an energy agnostic replacement, and to drop its support for the controversial Adani coal project.

MattCanavanScreenShot

Fat chance, but here’s the idea.

Stop Adani Townsville said on Wednesday that Canavan had acted less like a resources minister and more like “the self appointed minister for Adani” – the Indian company behind the massive proposed Carmichael coal mine and rail project in the Galilee Basin – while steadfastly ignoring the “enormous opportunities” in the state’s north for renewables.

Canavan, who quit Federal Cabinet on Tuesday after it was revealed he had “unwittingly” taken out dual Italian citizenship, is, indeed, well known for his pro-fossil fuels stance, as well as for his indifference to the Paris climate treaty, and the science behind it.

Some notable recent quotes from the minister, who also oversees the northern Australia portfolio, include “Stop trying to save the planet” – Tweeted in response to Queensland’s zero emissions target; and “forget about climate change.”

But most notably, Canavan has been a staunch defender of the virtually indefensible Adani coal mine, often using highly questionable data to support his argument, despite the weight of evidence showing it to be environmentally unviable, and loaded with financial risk.

“This unexpected turn of events is an opportunity for the Turnbull government to rule out the $1 billion public loan to Adani for its private rail line and leave the success of the mine project to the market,” said Stop Adani Townsville member Wendy Tubman on Wednesday.

Canavan has also been one of a number of key conservative ministers pushing for the development of a new coal-fired generator in northern Queensland, preferably funded by the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.

Meanwhile, as we reported here in May, there is some 4,200MW of large-scale wind and solar projects, all of them in central to northern Queensland, and billions of dollars worth of other projects in the pipeline, including biofuels and even a battery gigafactory in Townsville.

“Townsville and the region are sitting on a gold mine of opportunities,” Oliver Yates, the former head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a spokesman for Future North, told RenewEconomy at the time.

Said Tubman: “A gross error of Canavan has been to politicise the work of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, turning it into a slush fund for the Turnbull government, which appears desperate to support Gautam Adani’s private business interests.

“Poll after poll show Queenslanders want large-scale renewable energy projects not a dangerous coal mine that will fuel climate change and destroy the Reef.

“Three times as many Queenslanders oppose taxpayer subsidies from Federal or State governments to the Adani mine as support them,” she said.  

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  • solarguy

    Good riddance to the mutt. I had no time for him or his kind, or the other FF con jobs.

    • MaxG

      Haha… posting at the same time ey 🙂

      • solarguy

        Great minds think a like Max!

    • Joe

      Oh the irony that ‘The Rescuers Minister’ now needs…..rescuing himself….and rescuing from….his Mamma if you can believe his weasel words. I like to think that Karma has come to the ‘rescue’ on this.

  • MaxG

    Yawn…
    Wishful thinking at best… why wish the LNP should change? They won’t! Good riddance is what we need.

  • Rod

    Unfortunately he has only dropped out of cabinet.
    Not enough integrity to do the right thing and resign as others before him did.
    And we taxpayers have the privilege of paying for him to challenge in the courts.

    Fingers crossed Malcolm Roberts is next. Stat dec my arse.

    • Ren Stimpy

      Time for Mr Empirical Evidence to show us the empirical evidence of his citizenship.

      • Farmer Dave

        Great comment, Ren!

    • Joe

      If a Stat Dec is all that is required to settle an issue then Matty C. can just scribble one off to say he ain’t Italiano…Whosh….its all settled he’s back as Minister for Adani again.

      • trackdaze

        If one had real documents you wouldn’t bother with a stat dec now would you?

    • trackdaze

      And then we have a one nation senator hiding the real information behind a stat dec. Sounds dodgy to me.

    • Joe

      The story about ‘Aussie Robbo’ is a moving feast. The latest revelation must deem him as having been ineligible to have stood for election…bye, bye Robbo old boyo…The Empirical Data / Evidence has stung you in the arse!

      • Rod

        There is a precedent that says if you make a serious effort to renounce you are ok. It will all come down to timing. Fingers crossed.

  • Robert Westinghouse

    I would vote for shelving Adani. But pigs may fly and politicans may tell the truth

  • Radbug

    When Larissa Waters was 3 months old, she also UNWITTINGLY took out Canadian citizenship!! The black letter law is clear. Matt Canavan is an Italian citizen, full stop. If Canavan succeeds in convincing the High Court that he isn’t REALLY an Italian citizen, then Larissa and Scott aren’t REALLY Canadian & New Zealand citizens either. Section 44 is so unfair. What if you have dual Syrian/Australian citizenship? Does the Australian government even recognise the Assad regime/government, and if it doesn’t, does it not then have an obligation to ignore all decisions made by that regime/government, like acknowledgement of your declaration of renunciation of your Syrian citizenship?

    • Goldie444

      The LNP only like to use the BLACK LETTER LAW against the unions and other political opponents in the Labour Party.

  • Robin_Harrison

    ‘The Money’ own the parties. They get the politicians thrown in, all of them.

  • Robert Comerford

    This really is a farce. The notion you can be a citizen of more than one country is ridiculous. When you sign up for a new one your old one should be instantly cancelled under an international agreement/law.
    There is no way they will let Canavan resign. Wait for the out clause from Malfunction and the tie up in the high court that will go well past the next election while he continues to be a sitting member.
    How hard is it to find if Roberts is a dual citizen? Good riddance if he is!

  • Rebecca

    Something very wrong, taxpayers pay Matt Canavans wages, But he works for Adani. I wonder how may other politicians are working on life after politics. What a change to actually work for the Australian population

    • Joe

      Ex-ALP pollie, Martin Ferguson does spring to mind…from ‘Resources’ in parliament to…’Resources’ out of Parliament.

      • Rebecca

        Joe. I have a suspicion we may have an other ALP member working on life after politics. It only happens in politics, doesn’t matter how bad a job our former Premiers do in office there is a job waiting in corporations. Same applies to LNP