TODAY’S announcement that Indian miner Adani’s $22 billion Carmichael coal, railway and port project will be based in Townsville and begin construction from early 2017 is overwhelmingly positive news for regional Queensland, the state and the nation.

“After spending years obtaining the appropriate approvals, mining leases, demonstrating its commitment to environmental management and fighting continuous and often mischievous legal challenges, today’s strong progress on Adani’s Carmichael coal project is warmly welcomed by Australia’s resource industry,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

“This project is expected to inject 500 new jobs into regional Queensland in its first phase, create up to 10,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout its construction period, and employ an ongoing workforce of 4,500 during its long-term production phase.

“New multi-billion dollar mining projects are an extreme rarity in the challenging economic conditions currently facing resource operators globally. In recent years more than $160bn worth of potential resources projects have been dropped from consideration in Australia, almost half of which was flagged for Queensland.

“Adani’s Carmichael project will be much more than a short-term boost for Queensland’s economy. With an operating life of up to 90 years, it will create opportunities for small business and provide taxation and royalties that will fund schools, hospitals and other community infrastructure for almost a century.”

AMMA notes that despite obtaining almost all approvals needed to begin construction, and complying with more 200 environmental conditions, efforts are still underway by minority activist and community groups to derail the project through continuous court challenges, appeals and protests.

Mr Knott says Australia can learn from the excessive and unnecessary costs and delays in getting the Carmichael project to its pre-construction phase, in seeking to improve our processes for assessing and approving future job-creating developments.

“It is not missed that as most of the country celebrates one of very few new major resource projects in Australia coming closer to fruition, there are ongoing strategies by vocal minority activist groups to frustrate and stall the project through Australia’s courts,” he says.

“While nobody should be denied their right to legally and responsibly object to a development on legitimate grounds, the continuous legal activism known as ‘lawfare’ seen in the Adani case is counter-productive to our nation securing future projects and the community benefits they bring.

“The irony of the anti-coal brigade is that Australia supplying developing nations such as Indian with their coal energy needs is not only good for our economy and jobs, but ultimately better for global CO2 emissions  due to the cleaner burning properties of Australia’s high quality thermal coal.

“In doing so, Australia is also strengthening our relationship with one of our most important emerging international trade partners, and doing our part in helping bring billions of people out of poverty.”

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