Queensland Labor’s under-siege members of parliament have backed the Premier’s decision to create a timeline for Adani’s approvals process.
Speaking at the Rockhampton Airport, Infrastructure Minister Cameron Dick said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk asked the Coordinator-General to meet with the proponent Adani and also the Department of Environment and Science before publicly releasing those timelines by Friday.
“That gives structure and shape around those processes going forward,” Mr Dick said.
“There’s been a whole range of approvals that our government has already provided to Adani to allow the mine to proceed and there’s been variations to the project as we’ve gone along.
Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke said as a local MP, 100 per cent of his job was to fight for the people of Rockhampton and Central Queensland.
“That’s why I’m so pleased the Premier has set a time table for the final approvals necessary to end uncertainty over Adani’s Carmichael mine, which we all want to see happen,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“It is important that we listen.”
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said she could sense the frustration of the community.
She repeated the Premier’s statement earlier yesterday expressing frustration that “everyone’s had a gutful of this, frankly”.
She hoped the process spelt out by the Premier would allow all parties work out a definitive timeline agreed to by all of the parties, by Friday.
“I think she has put a pathway forward for his project and for the whole community to have more certainty about where this project is going,” Mrs Lauga said.
Upon hearing the news from the Queensland Premier that a timetable would be revealed on Friday for the resolution of two outstanding approvals for Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine, members of the Liberal National Party have weighed in.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan accused Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of visiting Hay Point terminal near Mackay to “lecture us, not listen to us”, telling people they were wrong and her government was good for mining jobs and granting approvals.
He described the situation as almost Monty Python-esque, “beyond a farce” where they thought the solution to creating jobs in North and Central Queensland was “another bloody meeting”.
“Premier we don’t need meetings. We don’t need more talk. We need a government that takes action,” Senator Canavan said.
“We need these management plans approved and we need jobs to start in the Galilee Basin now.
“No more talk Annastacia, just approve the mine.”
He raised a concern about the logic of Premier’s announcement.
“The Premier and the Queensland Government has to answer how is Adani having a meeting with the Coordinator-General going to get management plans approved, which are the responsibility of the Department of Environment?” he asked.
“Not only is this meeting more talk, it’s also more talk between the wrong counter-parties.
“She should sit down with Adani and have a meeting with them.”
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington accused the Queensland Government of being in crisis and the Premier of not having the back bone to make the decision on Adani.
“This isn’t a decision, this is a meeting,” Ms Frecklington said.
She said the Co-ordinator General had been involved since 2010 and no one was buying this excuse.
Ms Frecklington wanted to see jobs created in Central and North Queensland and right now the only job the Premier was interested in was her own.
“We’ve got one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation, we’ve got a resources industry that is screaming out for some leadership, and what have we got? We’ve got a weak Premier who is incapable of leading this state of ours,” she said.
Capricornia Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary and acting president Phil Henry said the Premier’s announcement today was a good first step towards approval of the mine.
“At the very least it provides some measure of transparency about the process,” Mr Henry said.
He said the key issues will be continuous updates from the government which must be publicised as each identified step is undertaken and that the Carmichael mine is not subjected to additional, inconsistent approval measures.
“The EIS process is detailed and standardised, but the measures of scrutiny it applies are in each case appropriate to the size and nature of the project under review,” he said.
“Carmichael must not be subjected to inconsistent levels of rigour through application of the government’s requirements.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the Palaszczuk Government must ensure its Friday deadline brings to an end the delays and uncertainty for the final approvals on the Adani Carmichael mine.
“The Adani Carmichael mine has been undergoing its approvals process for nine years. In 2010 the Bligh Government announced the Coordinator General’s awarding of ‘Significant Project’ status for the Adani mine,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Since then the project has undergone comprehensive assessment in Queensland and in Canberra.
“Like all projects, it has followed the normal processes for approvals. All projects deserve a fair go.”
Mr Macfarlane said resources projects need certainty about approvals and certainty about royalties to ensure they continue to create regional jobs.
“The QRC has been meeting with regional businesses in Rockhampton and Townsville over the past two days,” he said.
“The clear message from those communities is they want more resources jobs and they want certainty that projects will go ahead to support regional communities.
“The Premier said today she is fed up with the length of time this process is taking. Well so are Queenslanders.
“The patience of regional Queenslanders will be severely tested if this week’s meeting doesn’t provide a resolution and a crystal clear timetable for final approvals.”
He said the QRC welcomed the recent approvals granted for projects including the Olive Downs coal mine, the Winchester South project and ongoing approvals for gas projects.
“But we can’t take future resources investments for granted. There must be a clear and transparent process that applies to every resources project with no exceptions. And there must be a commitment not to put new royalty taxes on the resources industry,” he said.
“Without those commitments, Queensland runs the risk of losing future investment and jobs.
“As the Federal election showed, Queenslanders know that the future of the resources industry determines the future of the state. When the resources industry does well, Queensland does well.
“On behalf of the 315,000 people who work in or with the resources industry the QRC is calling for the full support of the Queensland Parliament to support a strong future for all mining and resources projects.”
Originally published via The Morning Bulletin