Queensland government hits panic button on Carmichael coal mine approvals

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The Queensland Government and Adani have issued each other new deadlines as both seek to expedite coal mine approvals

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Credit: Dean Sewell
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An unusual stand-off has emerged in Queensland as Adani, and the Queensland Government are tripping over themselves to push through approvals for the Carmichael coal mine.

Following the re-election of the federal Coalition government, it appears that final approvals for the Adani Carmichael Mine are now a foregone conclusion as enormous pressure is placed on the “independent” reviewer by both the proponent and the state Labor government.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk went to Mackay in regional Queensland on Wednesday to demand that Adani and the coordinator general for planning come together and set an agreed timeline to end the approval process.

There are two management plans required by the Queensland Government that remain outstanding before Adani can commence construction on the project. These are a Black-throated Finch Management Plan and a Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan.

Palaszczuk is eager to show constituents in regional Queensland that she heard the message voters sent to Labor at the federal election.

Stopping short of explicitly saying that she supports the mine, Palaszczuk clearly signalled her desires to see the mine go ahead, calling for an agreed timeline between Adani and independent planning assessors to get the project over the line.

“Enough is enough. What I’m asking for today is, I’m asking for the two parties, Adani and the independent regulator, to sit down with the coordinator general. I’d like them to meet tomorrow, and work up, with a definite timeframe on decisions around these reports.” Palaszczuk told media.

“I want a timeline, hopefully, agreed to by all of the parties by Friday. So that I can release that to the public, so the community has certainty, I have certainty, everybody has certainty, about the process going forward. “

“I think enough is enough. I hope that both of the parties will accept this way forward in the best interests of Queensland.”

In response to the demand from Palaszczuk, Adani Mining’s local CEO Lucas Dow issued his own demands, saying that he wanted the whole approval process for the Carmichael mine completed within two weeks.

“We have been asking for clarity of process and timing from the Queensland Labor Government in relation to the approvals of our outstanding management plans for more than seven months now.” Dow said in a statement.

“We are looking forward to receiving a call from the Coordinator General so we can meet first thing tomorrow morning, and at that meeting I will be seeking the timeline for approving the two outstanding management plans come to a conclusion within the next two weeks.”

“Any timeframe for a decision on these outstanding management plans longer than the next two weeks is nothing more than another delaying tactic by the Queensland Labor Government designed to delay thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders”

The Adani Carmichael mine has been the target of anti-coal campaigners who are seeking to see the new coal project stopped in a wider push for Australia to move away from fossil fuels.

Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt described the issue of the Adani mine as a proxy war, as both sides of politics have used the mine as a symbol of their different agendas.

Conservatives have claimed a mandate for the construction of the mine following swings to Liberal-National candidates in regional Queensland seats at the election.

The mine has faced criticism from environmental campaigners due to expected contributions coal from the mine will make to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Adani has also come under scrutiny for promoting job creation figures for the mine that seem to be grossly inflated. Adani has claimed the mine will create up to 10,000 new jobs, while their own consultants conceded overall job creation attributable to the mine could be as low as 1,464.

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