Brutal impact: What Premier's Adani veto means for CQ jobs

14th December 2017 8:00 AM
UPDATED 9:43 AM
Michele Landry, Federal Member for Capricornia, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO Adani Australia, and Sen Matt Canavan, celebrate Adani's announcement that Rockhampton would become a FIFO hub for the Carmichael Mine. Michele Landry, Federal Member for Capricornia, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO Adani Australia, and Sen Matt Canavan, celebrate Adani's announcement that Rockhampton would become a FIFO hub for the Carmichael Mine.

WHEN the Queensland Premier came forward during the election campaign saying she would veto the $1b Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan for Adani, a shudder went through regional communities.

Recently named FIFO hubs in Rockhampton and Townsville were counting on the Adani Carmichael mine project getting off the ground to kick start their local economies and employment.

A spokesperson for the Queensland Premier said, "this project needs to stack up on its own, and the proponents need get on with the job," they said.

 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre), Labor's candidate for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke (right), and Labor's candidate for Keppel, Brittany Lauga, visit a Fire and Rescue station in Rockhampton, Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Ms Palaszczuk is on the campaign trail ahead of the November 25 state election. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre), Labor's member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke (right), and Labor's member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga. DAN PELED

There are potential implications for all future projects applying for NAIF loans will be held to the same level of scrutiny and veto them if they to didn't "stack up on their own".

The question arises whether like Aurizon's NAIF application to build a rail line in the Galilee Basin would be able to obtain a loan.

Senator Canavan wrote to Ms Palaszczuk about the Adani veto.

"I note an investment decision has not yet been made on Adani's NGBR proposal but is unlikely to progress any further in the NAIF's assessment given your announced position (during the campaign)," Senator Canavan said.

"This project is crucial to opening up the Galilee Basin and would mean economic growth, and jobs for many Queenslanders. I would appreciate if you could confirm by written notice that your government will veto the provision of the NAIF finance to this important project.

"Further, I would appreciate your urgent advice on whether your government intends to veto any investment proposals to the NAIF that seek to service the Galilee Basin, or more broadly in Queensland."

Senator Canavan said it was the Palaszczuk Government that first asked last year that the NAIF consider a loan to the Adani Galilee rail project in a letter from the now-sidelined former Treasurer Curtis Pitt.

 

Australian Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, November 16, 2017. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Australian Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan challenged the Queensland Premier on the role her veto would play on the outlook of Adani's Carmichael Mine project. LUKAS COCH

"But what the Queensland Premier has failed to say today is whether she intends to block all investment in the Galilee Basin," Senator Canavan said.

"The people of regional Queensland deserve to know which jobs will be next on Labor's hit list.

"I hope the Adani project proceeds because there are 800 people whose current jobs depend on it, and thousands of future jobs hang in the balance. If Adani does proceed it will be in spite of Queensland Labor not because of it."

Under the constitution, the federal government's funding must be facilitated by the state government to the private company.

Premier Palaszczuk's spokesman said her vow to veto the loan on 3 November - during the State election campaign was a "promise to the people of Queensland".

"The Premier and Labor secured a majority at the election and have formed a new Government with the swearing in ceremony yesterday.

 

PREMIER VISIT: Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has has paid Rockhampton her second visit of the election campaign.
Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stands by her decision to veto the $1b loan to Adani to build their rail line. Leighton Smith

The Premier said on November 3:  

"I announce that my Government has had no role to date in the Federal Government's NAIF loan assessment process for Adani - now we will have no role in the future. To action my decision, I propose to write to the Prime Minister to notify him that my Government will exercise its 'veto' to not support the NAIF loan - and to remove doubt about any perception of conflict. As we are in caretaker mode, a decision like this requires the support of the Opposition Leader.

I will be asking Mr Nicholls to endorse my decision." 

Mr Nicholls did not support the decision, so the letter could only be sent after the Premier was sworn in following the election.

"With regard to other NAIF applications, the Premier followed the Integrity Commissioner's advice and she announced that at the time," the spokesman said.

"In terms of Mr Canavan, he should be aware that Adani announced yesterday it would continue to 'get on with the job of making all of our projects a reality'. 

"Unlike the Turnbull Government that Mr Canavan is a part of, the Palaszczuk Labor Government keeps its commitments to Queenslanders." 

An Adani Australia spokesperson said the move to veto by the Premier would not alter its plans, which was one of the biggest investments by an Indian company in Australia.

"Adani Australia will now fully consider and adjust to the constraints the veto of funding brings," they said.

"Adani Australia is 100 per cent committed to Queensland, we have a strong regional Queensland presence. This will not change.

"We would not be investing our time, money and energy in this manner if our projects were not viable and if we were not serious about delivering our projects which will ultimately generate more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs across all of our projects."

Senator Canavan said he thought it was regrettable that the first act of the new Queensland government was to try and kill jobs in Central Queensland.

 

Senator Matt Canavan at the launch of the trial of the SBAS Satelite-Based Augmentation System.
Senator Matt Canavan wants to see the Adani project deliver jobs to CQ. Chris Ison ROK091117csatellite4

"I very much hope they can proceed with the project, I want to see it happen, I'll do everything I can to will work hard to see these jobs delivered to Central Queensland," Senator Canavan said.

"Obviously this creates challenges for them, its not the ideal way to attract millions of dollars in investment to our state.

"We've all got to make our voice heard too, I think people like Barry O'Rourke, Brittany Lauga and the mayor's been very strong on it, we've got to stand up.

"We've got to stand up for the region to those in Brisbane who don't think it's a big issue but when in reality it's our future at stake here getting this project and these opportunities in the Galilee across the line."