AMMA’s CEO Steve Knott pens the following opinion piece on the benefits of the Adani Carmichael Coal Project and why the final approval can’t come soon enough.
WITH THE Adani Group reportedly to make its final investment decision on the Carmichael Coal Project within a few weeks, it’s time we all fully understood just how significant the proposed project is to Queensland and Australia’s prosperity.
New multi-billion dollar mining projects, which have driven jobs, revenues and opportunities in Australia for much of the past 15 years, have unfortunately become extremely rare due to the challenging economic conditions facing resource operators globally.
In this environment, Adani’s significant investment of more than $21 billion into mining, rail and port infrastructure is a massive boost for jobs and the economy that must be embraced.
The project will further open up the coal-rich Galilee Basin for development and bring a wealth of much-needed opportunities for economic prosperity to Northern Australia.
During the construction phase, Adani will inject around $21 billion into the Queensland economy, provide around 10,000 jobs, countless opportunities for small and medium businesses along the supply chain and create a real buzz of economic activity in many rural communities.
It will also be a sign to inject investor confidence in our nation, and confirmation that despite recent market challenges and ‘lawfare’ from disruptive activist groups, Australia can still get big resource projects off the ground.
Further, it will go a long way to helping secure future projects and the community benefits they bring.
And with an operating life of up to 90 years, the project will provide much more than just a short-term boost for Queensland’s economy.
In addition, it will create long-term opportunities for small business and provide taxation and royalties that will fund schools, hospitals and other community infrastructure for almost a century.
There have been many recent discussions in Australia about our nation’s energy mix and the role coal should play in our electricity needs alongside natural gas and emerging technologies including renewables.
While this is an important debate to have, it’s also extremely important to recognise that not every country has this luxury.
In India, there are hundreds of millions of people living in what most of the developed world would consider impoverished conditions. While culturally not abnormal, there are millions of people in India still cooking with solid fuels like wood, animal dung and crop waste, which the World Health Organisation attributes to more than four million premature deaths each year.
So while the Adani Project will have far-reaching benefits for Australia, it will also provide basic electricity needs for hundreds of millions of Indians as the nation continues to develop and evolve into a modern economy and more equitable society.
Those against the further development of coal also forget that Australia’s high quality thermal coal has amongst the cleanest burning properties of any deposits anywhere in the world.
Australia supplying developing nations such as India with their energy needs is ultimately better for global CO2 emissions than sourcing the commodity from dirtier, less-efficient sources.
So nearly seven years after making its first development application to the state government, committing to more 200 environmental conditions to ensure no impact on the Great Barrier Reef, and patiently seeing off a number of mischievous campaigns and legal challenges by misguided activist organisations, it finally looks like Australia is on the verge of securing the Carmichael Coal Project.
At a time where our national unemployment rate is at an unacceptable 5.9 per cent and even higher among young Australians and regional communities, underemployment is rife, and Australia’s resource industry has lost more than $160bn worth of potential projects, the remaining government approvals and company final investment decision cannot come soon enough.
It’s time we all recognise the true benefits of the Carmichael Coal Project and get behind the Adani Group as it brings jobs, revenues and prosperity to Australia.