Australia's Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
Australia's Opposition Leader Bill Shorten LUKAS COCH

Labor questions why taxpayers should foot $1 billion Adani bill

FEDERAL Labor support for the $22 billion Adani Carmichael Mine is on shaky ground with doubts forming over the project's efficacy.

Shadow Climate Change and Energy Minister, Mark Butler warned over the weekend the completion of the project would negatively impact on other coalmining areas.

"It will simply displace existing coal operations elsewhere in Australia,” Mr Butler told ABC program Insiders.

"There will be jobs lost elsewhere in Queensland or there will be jobs lost in the Hunter Valley.”

Mr Butler's comments mirror the concerns of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who last month said he would only support the project if it "stacked up” commercially and environmentally.

"Let me be clear, I want to see more jobs in Australia, I want to see more jobs in regional Queensland,” Mr Shorten said.

"But I can't for the life of me see any good reason why Australian taxpayers should be paying, underwriting a $1 billion loan to giant Indian billionaire mining company.”

The project has also come under intense scrutiny from The Greens and environmental groups as they believe the mine will threaten the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani has the backing of State Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, who recently took regional mayors from Rockhampton, Townsville, The Whitsundays, Mackay and Isaac to meet with the company in India.

With the ability to provide thousands of jobs, Ms Palaszczuk previously met with Adani Chairman Gautam Adani to secure a commitment that the workforce for the $22 billion project would be sourced from regional Queensland.

In another blow for Adani, Westpac last week ruled out lending capital to the project after releasing a climate change policy stating it would limit thermal coal lending to areas with the highest quality coal and only lend to "existing coal producing basins”.

All other major Australian banks have already ruled out supporting the mine.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the Opposition's stance was at the cost of Queenslander's jobs.

"Federal Labor is at odds with the Queensland Labor Government, the unions, Indigenous groups and regional communities of central and north Queensland, who all want the jobs from the Adani project and the other mines in the Galilee Basin,” he said.

"We support the resources industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it creates.”



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