Six unanswered economic questions surround Adani project

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The Australia Institute have today published an open letter to the Prime Minister outlining the unasked and unanswered economic questions regarding the Adani Carmichael mine proposal and its potential public subsidisation of $1 billion.
The letter appears as a full-page advertisement in the Australian Financial Review.
The questions put:

1 –  Will the Adani mine pay full coal royalties to the Queensland Government, or has it been granted a ‘royalty holiday’, as was promised under the Newman Government?

2 – Will the Adani mine pay the full company tax rate in Australia, or will Australian coal be sold through Adani’s entities in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Singapore?

3 – How will the project employ ten thousand workers when Adani says, under oath, that only 1,464 jobs will be created, and boasts “everything will be autonomous from mine to port”?

4 – Will the Adani mine be made to pay for the billions of litres of water it will use?

5 – If Adani exports 60 million tonnes per year of new subsidised coal, will this reduce coal exports and jobs in other parts of Queensland and NSW?

6 – Does the Australian government think the world will really use more coal, not less, in the future under the Paris climate agreements?

Huge importance is placed on the claimed 10,000 jobs Adani says it will create, yet under oath in court the company admitted only 1400 direct and indirect jobs would be created. Even that does not consider the miners’ stated plans to automate the entire project ‘from mine to port’, employing as few people as possible.

The economic claims now be propagated have reached an hysterical level with claims that the benefits of this one mine are ‘limitless’, ‘beyond comprehension’; a complete ‘game changer’ for Queensland; and ‘could revitalise the Queensland and national economy’.

Such economic hyperventilations are a recipe for disaster as Queenslanders will inevitable be let down as the benefits do not transpire. Meanwhile other more cost effective productive, Labor intensive investment opportunities are forgone as Government’s focus on one very large, capital intensive, small employment coal mine.

Queensland Treasury makes it clear that “spending on mining related infrastructure means less infrastructure spending in other areas, including social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Giving $1 billion to a foreign coal company is a choice to not spend $1 billion on infrastructure in our cities and town, on our schools and hospitals.

If Malcolm Turnbull is unable answer these questions, he should rule-out handing over taxpayer subsidy to this project.
Ben Oquist is director of The Australia Institute.


  • trackdaze

    Great spot for a heap of solar. No rail lines needed.

    • john

      Adani did announce a solar farm to go ahead actually i think they intend to build several in Australia.
      In India meanwhile they have committed $500 million to a solar panel manufacturing plant to supply the basic equipment for the huge solar farms they intend to build.
      As to this having an end user of the product time will tell it seems the logical place India has a plan to curtail imports and the same for China.
      Perhaps Adani having committed to building a lot of Solar Farms they may be given leave to import thermal from Australia.
      As to the jobs aspect, it would appear to be a FIFO operation, which may or may not benefit some communities on the coast or may in fact have very few locals but a work force of imported labour.
      Frankly if the Government intends to spend a billion dollars on this project they should make a payback agreement so the taxpayer is not saddled with a white elephant of a line that can be used only by a few cattle properties at best once the mine proposal falls over.

      • trackdaze

        200mw or something like that. If the coal mine goes ahead it would be Lipstick on a pig.

        • Coley

          With every month that passes it seems less likely that it will go ahead.
          And Turnbull & Co should be roasted for making such a financial commitment with so few benefits in return.

  • David McKay

    Gov’ts never publish the cost benefit analysis for their investments, as they don’t want scrutiny. As this is tax payer money, we should have available full transparency on the deal.